It’s always fun to watch movies from a decade or two ago that forecast crazy technological advances. Back to the Future thought we’d all be floating around wearing clothes that fastened themselves. Other movies predicted our cars would have wings instead of tires, that space travel would be as common as taking city transit, and robots would be an integrated part of our society.
Of course we aren’t there, but we are actually living in an age of amazing technology. Every industry is being touched and often improved by a newly-developed program, process, or product. And the marketing world is no exception. Marketing has been evolving in technology for years, and already entering the powerhouse called “AI.”
What is AI?
This may sound like something straight out of those movies we were joking about (it actually is the name of one of those movies), and it may also sound like something terrifying and world-dominating. In reality, you’ve been interacting with AI in your marketing for years! In fact, 84% of people have interacted with AI in the past year, and 50% of people had that interaction without even realizing. AI or “artificial intelligence” has been defined “as any task performed by a program or a machine that, if a human carried out the same activity, we would say the human had to apply intelligence to accomplish the task.” (source)
AI helps marketers by giving them unprecedented customer data and helping marketers use that data to make groundbreaking customer experiences when interacting with companies during the buying process. Ever had Amazon show you suggestions for similar products? That’s AI. Ever chatted with a representative on your refrigerator brand’s website? You were probably talking with AI. Chances are you carry around a popular face of AI in your pocket every day (we see you, Siri).
So what does this mean for you as a marketer? Do you have to jump both moon boots into this AI tidal wave and take your company on a wild new ride? Yes and no. Like anything new, it’s wise to take a step back and evaluate whether or not this fits your business goals and your customers’ expectations. If you think AI would make life easier for everyone, here are some great ways you can start to incorporate it!
AI and Search: Using AI to enhance your customer’s search flow on your website can be an incredible lucrative move. Autocorrect and infinite amounts of keyword lists are used to provide visitors on your site with a super simple and quick path to finding exactly what they’re looking for, even if they don’t know what that is yet!
AI and Recommendation Engines: Amazon, Netflix, and countless other brands have been able to add billions of dollars to their revenue each year, simply by adding in a “personal touch” for their customers’ shopping sessions through recommendation engines. These AI workhorses cultivate vast amounts of user data and craft customized reaches to your customers, based on what the AI feels they would be interested in. (And it’s usually scarily accurate!) Netflix saves $1 billion a year by increasing customer retention with its recommendation engine, all because it’s saving its user a 60-90 second manual search session on their website.
AI and Speech / Text Recognition (Conversational Commerce): Siri. Alexa. Cortana. That cheerful voice when you call your cable company. These are all examples of AI being used as a company or brand’s “face” when customers need help. The beauty of these representatives? They’re always there, never need a sick day, and can help keep customers coming back to you thanks to the pure ease of working with you. Chatbots are becoming an increasingly popular addition to websites, as they help begin contact with a curious or frustrated customer and either resolve their situation or direct them to the proper human contact within your company. It has been estimated that by 2022, 90% of banking customer interactions will be handled by a chatbot. Companies like Uber and Domino’s and products like Alexa have taken this AI technology and given customers the ability to eliminate tedious tasks like typing and scrolling during the buying process and instead just use their voice. Talk about ease of use!
These are just a few examples of the endless ways your company could be using AI to improve your customer experience and increase your revenue flow. If you’re interested in learning more about this amazing tech, contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org. *Hoverboards not required*