AI and the personalised marketing approach of the future
Artificial intelligence holds the key to delivering more human and relevant marketing experiences at scale
I think it is fair to say that an in-depth and thorough understanding of consumers and their behaviours is the holy grail of relevant, i.e. effective, marketing. This principle rings true not only for B2C marketing but also for B2B, although the process and means of engagement may be different.
Consumer insight around culture, purchase behaviour, brand sentiment and advocacy are some of the key drivers behind relevant consumer engagement. Ask any marketer, salesperson or creative director.
As marketers, we live in a golden age. There is no better time to gain insight into consumer behaviour and to improve our segmentation approaches. The reason for this is simple – there is an abundance of available marketing data. Data, along with technology, has truly become the fuel that enables more relevant consumer interactions, at scale. That said, despite the significant stride marketers have made over the past decade, many have failed to capitalise on this opportunity.
Sure, techniques such as A/B testing and ever-more sophisticated segmentation strategies have allowed us to tailor brand interactions for more granular groups of customers, improving the relevance of engagement for each consumer. But these rules-based or manual approaches are limited because they don’t scale well and they don’t enable us to create a truly tailored brand experience for each individual. Enter Artificial Intelligence.
But making sense of this data to take real-time action is where the real challenge lies – with the sheer volume of data today, it’s simply beyond the ability of any human operator
AI holds the key to a more personalised and relevant marketing experience at a great scale. Its power lies in the way that it can crunch through massive datasets to learn about customers, then use this information to create an individually tailored message for each one.
Most marketers know there is no shortage of data about customers. Every day, people are telling brands what they want, need, prefer and expect through countless interactions with the brand on the web, social media, mobile apps, retail channels, and more. But making sense of this data to take real-time action is where the real challenge lies – with the sheer volume of data today, it’s simply beyond the ability of any human operator.
AI and machine learning can enable marketers to process big sets of data rapidly and accurately, driving truly personalised interactions with customers in real time. By observing data signals about behaviour and leveraging the information that customers supply about themselves, AI can make sense of their needs and preferences.
Using algorithms, AI can analyse and score customer traits, preferences, and behaviours, and factor in contextual identifiers such as their location or the time of day. There are few limits to the set of variables AI can leverage. And as well as delivering a more relevant and personal experience for the customer, the AI system can give marketers access to insights that help them make better strategic decisions.
Here are some examples of AI in action:
- Personalised recommendations, content, ads and messaging: Brands today might target content at people from different demographics or those who have shown different inferred interests or behaviour online – but AI takes this to new levels. It can automate the process of targeting the right content to the right person at the right time, based on numerous variables, including contextual data, behaviour, demographics, expressed interests and more.
- Granular customer segmentation: Most customer segmentation is still relatively broad. AI can help markets break down customers into more granular groups, based on insights from big data.
- Predictive analytics: Once you understand how the customer behaves, you need to predict what he or she will do next. For example, AI-powered tools can help brands predict when a customer might be about to churn, inferred from their behaviour. It can then target them with a personalised retention message or promotion.
According to research from Google, 90% of leading marketers say personalisation significantly contributes to business profitability and 61% of people expect brands to tailor experiences based on their preference. AI will have a key role to play in the future as this need to personalise marketing interactions continues to grow.