Google Search uses it to spot trends. Retargeted Facebook ads use it to reunite customers with their abandoned shopping carts. Even Netflix uses it to suggest shows based on your viewing preference or rating.
Projected to be a $71 billion global market by 2024, artificial intelligence (AI) has become a powerful tool for digital marketers. The force behind everything from voice recognition to powerful learning algorithms, AI has changed the way consumers are searching for things online and interacting with websites. As a result, marketers are rethinking their SEO strategies and reimagining everything else in their arsenal, from lead nurturing to cross-selling and customer retention.
Whether you’re marketing your business, or you’ve been hired to market someone else’s, you’ll want to tap into the power of AI.
Computer Science, Not Science Fiction
A term that seems made for the movies, this synthetic form of intelligence has very real value. In fact, marketing platforms infused with AI can extract more meaningful key findings, further optimize personalized marketing activities and customize content to provide truly scalable 1:1 communication. In other words, AI technology is enabling marketers to close the gap between data science and personalized customer experiences.
Used in everything from digital assistants and chatbots to the facial-recognition system in your iPhone, AI refers to the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines. Equipped with this intelligence, these machines can sense their environment, think, learn and take action in response to what they’re sensing and what their objectives are.
Making Marketing Smarter
Understanding what customers want is the start of every successful marketing initiative. AI can make that job a lot easier by tapping into deep learning. Designed to mimic the network of neurons inside our brains, deep learning lets marketers use customer data to provide a personalized customer experience. Moreover, every interaction a customer has with a product or solution can be used for future optimization.
Here are some examples of AI and machine learning in action in the world of marketing:
Search engines — With innovations like natural language processing and semantic search, search engines can determine the links between products and suggest similar items, as well as find relevant search results. AI is also used to help rank sites and ads based on user intent. In other words, search engines are now capable of understanding what users need — the driving force behind every successful marketing effort.
Data filtering and analysis — Digital marketing is more dependent on data than ever. When used effectively, the right data can improve the customer experience and lay the groundwork for a lasting customer relationship. AI algorithms can look at data without human bias, find hidden patterns and update audience segments automatically.
Product and content recommendations — Companies like Amazon, Netflix and Spotify have made a science of suggesting products and content that resonate with customers. All three companies use AI-based systems that continually adapt to a customer’s likes and dislikes, responding with new recommendations.
Categorizing products — Machine learning has made the process of tagging and categorizing products more efficient. For example, if different retailers use different language to describe the same product, an algorithm makes the connection and tags the products accordingly.
Audience targeting and segmentation — One of the keys to effective marketing is clear audience segmentation. By dividing your audience into groups, you can target messages to customers with similar characteristics and needs. The extent to which you can segment, however, is limited to how well you understand your customers and how good you are at capturing — and interpreting — data about them. A machine-learning algorithm can break down complex data sets, correlate them with other information and deliver invaluable insights about your audience. Armed with this intel, you can refine your content and create smarter, more effective marketing.
Chatbots — Microsoft has Zo. Salesforce has Einstein. The healthcare industry has Loyal. By simulating interactive human conversation, chatbots can help improve virtually every part of your marketing funnel, from initial sales questions to customer support.
Speech recognition — Tech giants Amazon, Apple and Google have led the way with Amazon Echo, Siri and Google Home. This technology makes it easy for customers to communicate with a company, while enabling that business to obtain valuable customer data in the process.
Perfect for Paid Search
Thanks to AI technology, companies using paid search can now target potential customers more effectively than ever. Today, people browsing the web are served ads based on keyword query or search intent, as well as how they have been behaving online. AI excels in putting all of that together.
Leading the paid-search push is Google with its AdWords program, enabling businesses to set a budget for advertising and pay only when people click on the ads. AdWords Smart Bidding uses machine learning to help optimize pay-per-click campaigns based on specific goals.
Here’s how it works. Every Google search user has several identifiers, or “signals.” These include things like device, location, gender, age, income level, time of day and day of week. Google shows its advertisers aggregations of performance from any of these signals — or a combination. Translation: Powered by AI, paid search can help you get granular with your customers.
Supercharge Your Marketing
When it comes to your marketing goals, AI can help you check all of the following boxes.
1. Up Your Sales Forecasting Game. Marketers can now compare inbound communication side-by-side against traditional metrics to help answer strategy-related questions. Thanks to AI, you’ll know whether a prospect is ready to engage with your business.
2. Get to Really Know Your Customers. AI equips marketers with invaluable intel. Through data capturing and machine learning, you’ll know what consumers are thinking, saying and feeling about your brand in real time.
3. Create Detailed Customer Profiles. The more data you gather, the more in-depth profiles you can build. AI enables you to capture data every time a customer interacts with your brand online and personalize your marketing content to further engage them.
4. Optimize Your Ads. AI enables you to tap into the wealth of consumer data hidden in keyword searches and social profiles. The result? Smarter and more effective digital ads — the kind that drive traffic to your website.
5. Capitalize on Real-Time Conversations. AI can analyze large blocks of open content and identify trends, enabling you to interact directly with customers in real time. Communicating with a customer during a decision-making moment can help directly influence that customer’s buying decision.
What Lies Ahead
The advent of AI has unleashed an array of possibilities for marketers to know their customers better. AI has given us tools to help with predictive selling, informed buying and data-driven decision making. In short, it’s the driving force behind a great customer experience — and a rewarding, long-term relationship.
To discover how Hileman Group can maximize your digital marketing, contact us.