AI: Some Tips On How To Use It in Digital Marketing
Being a huge Sci-Fi fan, I always knew AI would be something I would naturally gravitate towards, once it could feasibly be applied in digital marketing. I still remember the first conversation I had with my then-boss, about adding a chatbot to the company homepage. He was outraged, to say the least, and I distinctly heard him mutter something about “apocalypse now”.
Granted, that was quite a few years ago. AI has since become an accepted and welcome part of our lives. Just think of the number of people who rely on Siri and Alexa to get through the day.
When it comes to the field of digital marketing, however, many of us are still not sure where to start. Sure, chatbots are more widely spread than before. But there has to be more to it than that, right?
In fact, AI can help you understand more about your target audience. With it, you can improve your brand and its voice, and help keep your customers satisfied, engaged and happy. And you can do all of that at a fraction of the cost you are used to.
Let’s delve a bit deeper into the matter and see of what use AI actually is:
Get to Know Your Customers Better
You may have already heard some chatter about AI as a way to offer support to customers. You might have certain doubts about the process. If, for example, you install a simple chatbot to take care of the usual inquiries, how can that inform you about the people you are selling to?
In fact, AI can be of huge help when it comes to offering a service your customers are truly looking for. You probably have a buyer persona or two already devised, and you use them when crafting any additional strategy. But what did you use to craft this persona? Did you go over piles of big data, or was most of it based on educated guesswork?
Now, with the help of AI, you can base your personas on user behavior.
You can graduate from the simple:
“Man who works in accounting”
To the more detailed:
“Man who works in accounting and likes watching sports, goes on holiday to warmer climates and is interested in ‘how to’ articles on process automation”.
All of this will help you figure out an even more personalized approach to this person.
Granted, not all AI is this smart, but big data has been playing a huge role in the development of marketing campaigns for years now. And it’s time to join the fun!
Predict What Visitors are Going to do
Traditionally, the way to analyze user behavior was backwards. After something happened (you have run a campaign), you go back in time and see what the reactions were. You then analyze how you can change things in the future.
Data analysis can help you look forwards, and predict how a user is going to behave – before they even get to the point of behaving. These predictions are based on previous behavior. But since a machine is doing the thinking and not a human, the entire process is faster, less straining and more accurate.
Here’s an example:
Starbucks have introduced a new feature in their app (yes, they have an app), that now uses AI when processing orders. They now use the data they gather through the Rewards program to identify a user and to streamline the ordering process. This works even if the user has never been to a particular location before. It also suggests new products for the user to try. It bases these recommendations on facts like the weather and the user’s location, as well as previous purchases.
In other words, after a customer has made even a single purchase from you, an AI feature can help you identify what product they might be interested in next. It bases these recommendations on purchases from similar users. You can suggest this item to them via email or on the site itself. When you think about it, you can see that a lot of major online retailers are already making good use of this feature. How many things have you purchased just because they were suggested to you? Think Netflix, for example.
Send the Right Message to the Right Person at the Right Time
Spammy email gets on everyone’s nerve. However, not all of us have the same spam-o-meter. No matter how fine-tuned a one your customers’ may be, AI now lets you reduce the chance of being degraded to the spam folder.
Everyone is much more likely to open a message that speaks to them, than a message that is clearly a mass email – and perhaps even machine generated at that. You can easily avoid that with all the data you have already gathered about your customers.
You can not only offer suggestions and recommendations. Utilize the available Data to tailor discount codes based on things such as
- A customer’s wife has a birthday coming up
- Their oldest son is going to college in the fall
This sounds a bit creepy, I know. Why would you want anyone to know all of this about you?
Well, the fact is, someone out there already knows this. In fact, a lot of companies know this. We all leave a lot of data on social media channels, and every move we make online speaks volumes about our interests. Google already knows all this, and is using it to give you better ads and search results. It will only take time for the rest of the marketing crowd to catch on.
If any of this sounds even remotely useful, you might be wondering how to implement this AI solution that has sparked your interest. Here are the more important steps you will need to take:
- Start by doing research – what is the one process AI could help you with? Is it customer service or lead generation? Remember to focus on what your customers would be looking from you as well, not just your own wishes.
- Find an IT guy – if you have a tech team, you can leave it to them to find the right software solution. If not, you can outsource the task or start looking for a solution yourself. There are at least a couple of companies offering every type of bot imaginable, so finding one will not be too hard.
- Test it out – once you find the right piece of tech, implement it, and be patient. Results will not be instantaneous, as the AI will need time to gather data.
- Tweak and adjust – after your piece of AI has been operational for a while, see what else you can do to improve it. Do you need to change anything on the website itself, or maybe on your social channels? How to help it perform at its best?
AI is no longer a thing of the future. It is the reality we have come to live in. And as harsh as it may sound, if you do not make the most of it, someone else will. So why not see what it can do for your next marketing campaign?
You may also want to read: How Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Can Be Used for Marketing
Featured image: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-holding-black-pen-1020325/
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