You can’t talk about marketing today without the conversation steering to artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning. Once touted as a silver bullet for data collation, analysis, as well as customer service, AI and ML have grown past the original hype and smart marketers are using them as a way to amplify human intelligence, rather than as a replacement for it.
1. AI will augment humans, not replace them
When AI first came out, many companies saw it as a silver bullet to replace all human interaction involved in customer care. Those a little further down the road know thatâ€™s not possible and can make you customer experience worse, not better.
It is important to know AI will augment humans, not replace them.
â€śWhen Facebook first announcedÂ chatbotÂ integration with Messenger in 2016, many considered it the end all be all of customer care, resulting in many businesses finding them over hyped,â€ť Spredfast and Lithium, CTO, Raju Malhotra, said. “Unfortunately, brands put too much onus on chatbots handle everything, an all or nothing approach. Artificial is not meant to replace the customer service agent, but empower them.
â€śEach year, customers expect more direct interaction with brands and they demand quick responses. In 2019, we will see brands truly embrace the chatbot/agent relationship to automate the boring stuff, free up time for agents to focus on customers, and master their SLAs.â€ť
Itâ€™s not a matter of getting on the bandwagon and finding a use for AI, but rather assessing the problems and opportunities in the business first and identifying the decision making processes that could be improved to help resolve those problems or drive those opportunities faster and smarter. Working backwards from here will determine what data insights are required to inform these decisions and how a company can supply them.Â After all, the value of AI is not in the models themselves but in a companyâ€™s ability to harness these and operationalise them at the front line and throughout the business.
2.Â AI will drive business growth
Of course there will be repetitive or low value tasks increasingly becoming automated by AI. For industry thought leaders, this will see AI making a significant difference to the marketer’s bottom line.
we’ll start to see a distinction between the successful early adopters of AI technology and the lagging companies who have yet to invest, or have invested hastily without a strategy for increasing ROI.
Winning companies will become more efficient by automating previously manual or low-value tasks which will free them up to invest in other more revenue-impactive initiatives, or weâ€™ll see these companies directly driving top-line performance by using AI to outperform competitors.
3.Â AI-powered marketing attribution hits its stride
In todayâ€™s digital environment, attribution continues to be a challenge â€” businesses are still piecing together data points from different platforms and many are still struggling toÂ understand the full path to purchase â€” which marketing channels are driving revenue? What kinds of content help retain customers and at which stage of the customer journey? Where are customers falling out of the funnel? AI can sequence that customer journey together and identify when a customer comes to a company’s site and leaves without converting.
4.Â Conversational AI as learning potential
Another area of growth isÂ conversational AI. Through conversational AI, we now have an unprecedented ability to learn about our customers and prospects, experiment with targeted messaging faster than ever before.Â Â
More traditionally minded marketers will use it to automate knowledge base lookups and provide a simplified interface to canned responses. Cutting-edge digital marketers will embrace the learning potential and use it to more deeply to understand the needs of their audience.Â
In addition to the obvious partnership with sales, truly savvy marketers will partner with their customer success, product management, and user experience peers to maximize the impact of conversational AI will have on the business.