In today’s world, AI and its offshoots are beginning to transform how we market products and services.
A little bit of AI will go a long way in augmenting your marketing efforts, and yes, AI and its applications are relevant even to small and medium sized business, not only the large corporations. Let’s take a look at how you can use artificial intelligence to augment your marketing capabilities.
What we mean by AI in this context
First things first, let’s get this out of the way: when talking about using AI in your marketing efforts, we don’t mean some futuristic invention not known to mankind. Rather, we’re talking simple applications of AI, including machine learning, that work with automation to substantially improve your marketing processes and turnaround times.
Specifically, we’re focused on how machine learning and automation can combine to provide you a complete overhaul of your segmentation, messaging, and communication strategy.
Let us consider for a second how most companies market today. Consumers are receiving an unprecedented number of emails from companies. Reasonable people make reasonable efforts to set up filters to sort out desirable messages from unwanted ones.
Yet, companies keep sticking to their guns, in the hope that at least a small percentage of the emails might generate a response. That someone might click the proverbial link to generate traffic, views, make purchases, etc.
And despite the seemingly ‘personalised’ nature of some of these messages, such as just starting off the email by naming the individual receiving it, doesn’t mean you are sending a message customised for that individual’s needs.
So how do you stand out from the crowd?
Automate customer segmentation based on behaviour
Machine learning is the most effective and accessible form of AI available to us today. It is essentially where the system is fed loads and loads of data about the consumer, and learns to make sense of the data over time.
Mr. A buys a coffee from Starbucks at around 10am and 3pm every weekday. That is data. Can I make my offers and discounts via my mobile app to send notifications around the same time with deals from coffee shops around Mr. A’s office?
Ms. B keeps checking out winter clothing on my shopping website regularly. Is it worth alerting her to a sale that offers 50% discount on winter clothing, instead of sending her a repeat generic ‘on sale’ message whenever there is one?
This type of analysis and targeting can be done by humans – if you employ thousands of them for the sole purpose of segmenting and customisation. With an intelligent system, however, this job becomes much easier, resource-efficient, and cost effective. Feed data, rules, templates, etc into the system, and over time it learns to become incrementally accurate at predicting customer needs and addressing them.
The outcome for your business and your customers will improve as you don’t have to spam thousands of people every day to attract them to your product or service. You can target a minimum number of customers based on their behaviours for maximum output. This also means cost savings in the medium to long term, as you shave off the precious cents that you pay to send each message. You also increase the likelihood your marketing is impactful and reaches a large portion of your intended audience whose eyes don’t glaze over when they see your message.
AI has its benefits for small and medium sized businesses
It’s not just for the big players out there. Your business, however big or small, can use AI in some form to improve your marketing performance. Look for marketing automation systems that offer machine learning as a core capability. Such products come with a central ‘brain’ which drives the impact the system has on your marketing efforts over a period of time. They can analyse terabytes of data to pick a conducive target customer base, and customise and deliver high-impact marketing. Depending on how deep your pockets are, the market offers a range of cloud-based, piecemeal or wholesale solutions to suit your needs.
In pursuit of marketing excellence
Artificial Intelligence systems haven’t yet reached the dizzying heights we have come to expect of them, but there is no doubt that they will get there eventually. Current AI capabilities, including machine learning, provide practical application to our daily lives and our businesses. Marketing is no exception to this. Augment your marketing efforts with AI-driven systems, and your marketing performance will receive a significant boost. Machine learning will significantly improve customer segmentation, targeting and personalisation, and leave you with happier customers and more profit to show for your efforts.