The decision by Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s competition authority, to rule against Facebook’s plans to merge user data from Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram is hugely significant and perhaps the first step towards the separation of data from the digital monopolies.
While we may not always be aware of it, artificial intelligence (AI) is deeply engrained in our everyday lives. From Apple’s Siri to Amazon’s Alexa, and from Netflix recommendations to Google search predictions, AI is everywhere. But this is just the beginning. AI and its role in our lives will continue to grow, profoundly changing the human experience.
The need to manage a personalised, contextual and intuitive engagement journey is greater than ever. However, delivering proactive, predictive and personalised customer experiences can be a challenge. It requires managing a dynamic and adaptive dialogue across all channels, anticipating customer needs and being able to deliver the service, product and information customers want – at the right time and on their channel of choice.
In order to embrace AI, marketing departments need to start with these five strategies. These will enhance customer experience, improve revenues and drive competitive advantage.
Checklist of artificial intelligence ideas:
- Know thy customer
Because AI gathers and analyses data from internal and external data sources such as websites, customer feedback, call centres, social media posts and more, service providers can map the individual journey of every customer based on this data. Using natural language processing, deep learning and pattern recognition, AI correlates dissatisfaction of any relevant point along the journey, then analyses and predicts the potential impact on customers with recommended actions for proactive engagement, including which incentives should be offered, such as discounts or compensation.
Traditional marketing campaigns are based on slickly-produced ads and content pushed out across multiple channels including TV, web, retail and out-of-home advertising. The concept was simple: coverage and more coverage equals more success. With AI, organisations can move from this ‘casting a wide net’ approach to one of ‘laser guided’ marketing.
By using AI, organisations can give every customer individualised, personalised treatment, automatically targeting the right person with the most appropriate offer at the right time. The result? An enhanced customer experience and an increase in sales revenues. Marketing becomes high definition and campaigns automated and ultra-targeted.
- Create a consistent experience across all channels
Today’s consumers engage with brands across multiple channels (eg. websites, email, social media, messaging platforms, mobile apps) and yet marketing interactions with customers lack integration and are typically specific to a single channel and usually based on static segmentation. Interactions with customers will become even more complex and demanding, going forward, as potential touchpoints – wearable devices and technology, smart TVs, connected cars and household appliances – proliferate. Marketers not only have to engage in a personalised, consistent way with consumers across multiple channels, but must also determine marketing attribution across the different touchpoints.
AI can enable adaptive, personalised marketing across multiple channels in an integrated manner. AI ensures the customer journey is automatically tuned, is interactive and is continuously evolving, with integrated feedback collection. This enables more targeted, contextually relevant customer interactions. One company that is putting AI to good use is Smart Communications, which is personalising customer journeys for its 60 million subscribers.
Smart – the Philippines’ major wireless services provider – wanted to introduce a new way to engage with customers. As opposed to the typical mass-market or segmentation-based marketing campaign, they’re using an intelligent customer engagement solution – based on big data analytics and machine learning – that will allow them to target individual customers with products and services that can offer them the most value when they are most likely to need them.
As a consequence, Smart will be able to sell more effectively and execute the right retention strategies, driving revenue growth and improving customer loyalty and net promoter scores overall.
- Deliver intelligent product catalogue
When defining a new catalogue item, AI proposes the optimal price, content, size, validity and other parameters. It will propose the new item configuration based on deep learning of the competition from available data such as advertisements, voice of the customer feedback and other sources of data. It will also provide the justification for this recommendation, outlining the performance benefits, eg. ‘reducing the price by £50 will increase take-up rate by 2.1%’. AI will adapt as needed and generate reports on item configuration performance.
- Opportunities for intelligent agents beyond customer service
There is a strong and immediate use case for AI-powered intelligent agents and chatbots in the customer service department. But intelligent agents can also play a compelling part in broader marketing activities of organisations today. The interactive, personalised forms of engagement enabled by intelligent agents are perfectly suited for service recommendations, cross-selling and upselling.
- Familiarise yourselves on data privacy regulations
AI can leverage very granular consumer data insights, with an understanding both of how and why customers use services and of their anticipated needs and intent. These capabilities will accelerate and deepen going forward, enabling AI systems to become highly efficient profiling tools. This can benefit both consumers and marketers, but data privacy in the AI context is already attracting attention and this will intensify, going forward. Marketers should be proactive and visible in demonstrating how their AI solutions safeguard data privacy, building a reputation for trust that can act as a point of differentiation.
Look to AI solutions that safeguard data privacy – build a reputation for trust.
Where to start
As marketing embraces new concepts, like AI, and moves from an art to a science, there needs to be a change in skillsets, processes, cultures and accountability. The alliance of traditional marketing artists and the new data-driven marketing scientists is what will take marketing departments to the next level.
Today, we are in a ‘new world of customer experience’; an era marked by the need to overcome internal system complexity to accelerate business value and deliver a differentiated customer experience. Marketers need to embrace this change and be the revolutionaries driving it forward.
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