Today’s customers want personalised messaging. They are used to services like Netflix telling them the films or TV programmes they might enjoy; Spotify telling them the music they’d enjoy or Amazon telling them the products they might consider buying.
All of these recommendation-based programmes are based on artificial intelligence (AI) so it’s no wonder that the marketing industry is following suit.
Indeed, Nicola Morini Bianzino, the Head of AI at Accenture, that the biggest opportunity for the entire world of AI is in marketing as, “marketing is all about the efficient use of data and AI just allows you to be faster.
“If you know that a customer has already done A, B and C… then AI allows you to predict with accuracy that they will do D,” he said. “So let’s say that you’ve predicted that the next action they will take is a negative one, like unsubscribing from your emails. Then you know you’ve got one last chance to tempt them in with an offer.”
USAA is an insurance and finance company in the US and it’s been using AI to detect identity theft for the last few years. The USAA AI system looks for patterns that don’t fit with the customer’s typical behaviour and flags any unusual situations on the first go.
That’s a big change from the traditional model which wouldn’t catch a crime until the second time it happened. Now USAA can prevent its customers from being defrauded before it even happens.
USAA has also expanded its use of AI into the area of customer service. It employs AI technology built by Intel which mimics the randomness of the connections made by the human brain. It combines 7,000 different factors which can predict how customers will next contact USAA. So that means that it can predict whether a customer will get in touch by email, phone or on webchat.
The benefits of this are obvious – it allows USAA to accurately predict demand so that it can allocate staff to the areas that customers will be using.
Chatbots have been a bit of a buzzword in marketing for the last few years but companies are turning to them more and more to move customers down the marketing funnel. They provide always-on customer service and are getting more and more intuitive as machine learning advances.
One example of a company using chatbots effectively is the clothing retailer H&M. When a potential customer starts a chat with the chatbot, they are asked questions about the type of clothes they like.
They are given a few examples of different styles and looks and are asked to pick their favourite. It takes the form of an interactive quiz but when the chatbot has enough information, it makes personalised recommendations to the customer that will match their tastes.
Forbes described this latest iteration of chatbots as being a game-changer saying, “they’re online 24/7 [and] they can actually make good on the phrase ‘make money while you sleep’. Another benefit is that your chatbot can store information on the types of questions it’s being asked. Not only does this make the chatbot better equipped to answer future questions and upsell additional products, it gives you a better understanding of what your customers need to know to close the deal.”
Chatbots can even be used to help what we might call ‘traditional’ marketing campaigns. Before Disney released the movie Zootopia, it created a bot based on one of the characters in the movie – Office Judy Hopps – on Facebook Messenger. It used this bot to drive anticipation for the movie as well as generating buzz.
On average, users spent 10 minutes speaking with Officer Hopps – which is a phenomenal result for any marketing effort, and all thanks to smart marketing and AI.
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