It’s not always easy thinking about big marketing initiatives when there are so many little things to keep track of.
This is the dilemma that modern marketers can encounter: while they may have the vision to offer incredible opportunities for potential customers and current customers, connecting with them all, all the time, is a challenge.
Certainly there are basic products like e-newsletters that are relatively easy for customers to sign up for and companies to send out.
But beyond this, it can be difficult to reach many people at once, and make your communications look personalized, rather than the same generic mass greetings for everyone.
But developments in Artificial Intelligence are making customer contacts and other aspects of marketing more manageable and less time-consuming, everything from helping find better audiences to smarter ways for your messages to connect.
These really go to the ultimate purposes of AI – to help people with automated tasks, free them to focus on larger projects, and even conserve resources by not paying humans for important but dull “busy work.” This can extend to everything from constantly watching site activity to keeping track of how often every customer is contacted and what to tell them each time. AI can even provide assistance to social media efforts, excellent news to anyone who may run out of creative or interactive things to share with audiences.
For those looking ahead to 2018, here are several areas where AI can help improve marketing efficiency.
- Better customer insights. By learning everything you can about different customer groups, you can create detailed profiles which can help you know how to contact them in the future. Programs like Dynamic Yield can help gather demographic data including location, age, gender, and marital status, and combine their spending or browsing history to create an accurate profile. They can be placed into different data sub-sets, such as by geography or frequency of activity, which can affect what messages they receive and how often or what products they are presented.
- Chatbots: Rather than dedicating at least one front-line person to route customer requests to the right people or department, AI can help with the first contact. By initiating a basic conversation, the bots can interact with site visitors and look for certain keywords. Perhaps they need support, want to buy something, or have other questions. Products like GrowthBot can be programmed to recognize keywords from commonly asked questions and respond with the correct answers. This can result in customers getting their questions answered quickly and easily, and them leaving satisfied, without having to interact with a human.
- Lead building: Knowing about customers, including how much they’ve spent in the past, or even how often they’ve returned items, can help identify priority customers who more energy can be focused on. Though every customer is valued, the ones who spend more money more often can be given extra attention than the one who may shop rarely or send things back more often, especially if resources are limited. While the first group may benefit from more personalized interaction and perhaps better offers, the second group may also be lured into becoming more frequent customers. A product called Conversica can assist in identifying the most promising customers, contacting them with an automated email thanking them for their past support, and inviting them to take advantage of more offers. These loyal customers can be handed off to a human for more follow-up.
- Content creation: This aspect of AI may not be fully ready for a complete worldwide roll-out in 2018, but they day will be coming soon as content technology continues to improve. Essentially, bots can use common keywords and grammar rules to generate headlines, stories, news releases, blog posts, social media activity and perhaps even corporate documents and graphs. Some services, like AI Writer, are free while under development, making the process even more appealing to business that don’t have time, budgets or skills for in-house or outsourced writing. Another service called Wordsmith also can suggest and analyze keywords for better response. Pro writers say these artificially created pieces may sometimes lack ‘heart’ or personality, or use more formal grammar than a human would, but often they are a good starting place for busy organizations. Perhaps a writer or editor can work with the final piece, but the bots can create the first draft.
Overall, marketers looking to save time and remain competitive can engage with a variety of products in the year ahead.