Artificial Intelligence (AI) – the idea that machines can exhibit ‘human-like’ intelligence to solve real-world problems – is already an intrinsic part of the human experience.

Unlike popular misconceptions, the idea is not new, going way back to 1956 and then becoming more advanced over time.

Since the idea of AI was first proposed, it now finds numerous applications in areas such as streaming media, eCommerce, self-driving vehicles, customer support, and even finance/banking.

No wonder the AI market in the US alone is expected to grow at a compound actual growth rate of about 50% through 2021!Artificial Intelligence is also shaking up one particular area of business in tangible ways: Marketing.

AI and Marketing – a match made in heaven?

“AI has the capacity to create richer, more personalized digital experiences for consumers and meet customers’ increasingly high brand expectations.”

— Mark Simpson, VP at IBM Watson Marketing

In other words, AI makes it possible for firms to design and implement creative marketing strategies that are more human – strategies that can delight customers and turn them into loyal brand advocates.

But how? Here are 6 ways!

1. Increase Marketing Efficiency and ROI

With AI, marketers can segregate customers into distinct groups for more detailed segmentation into highly-targeted niches. Now they no longer have to create one generic ad campaign to reach all their target customers and hope that it leads to better conversion. Rather, they can now create more tailored marketing content that will be different for each targeted segment based on their specific characteristics.

Example: By tracking what type of online content consumers are most interested in, marketers can ‘curate’ their websites or show personalized ads on social media sites that are targeted at specific users. Amazon also does this by showing shoppers lists of items related to their current or past purchases.

Thus, by offering customers experiences they are most likely to enjoy and get the most benefit from, marketers can increase conversions and get better ROI on their marketing investments.

2. Analyze customer data to design more useful, focused campaigns

AI has changed the way marketers collect customers’ data in both quantitative (how much) and qualitative (more specific and detailed) terms. With AI-powered data analytics, firms can better identify new and more profitable customer segments. They can gather, synthesize and analyze customer data to identify and harness key trends. They can also design and scale their marketing personalization campaigns and craft marketing messages that are more relevant to consumers’ specific needs, challenges or objectives.

All these capabilities give marketers the flexibility and agility they need to be more strategic and creative with their marketing campaigns to garner more profits for them and more value for their customers.

Example: If a regular customer at a particular supermarket puts a bag of lettuce in her cart; in-store cameras could relay this information to an AI application that has ‘learned’ her habits and preferences based on her shopping history. Through a screen on her cart, the application could then suggest that she might also like to purchase other items like salad dressing, garlic or olive oil, which the app already knows she likes.

3. Improve customer relationships 

AI helps companies understand how to be more ‘human’. Marketers can think differently about their communications strategies to move their relationship from transactional to trust-based.

Chatbots and voice-powered personal assistants like Siri and Alexa are great examples of this. Chatbots converse with users, provide useful information and keep customers engaged with the brand. They can also provide recommendations based on better conversions.

Example: National Geographic lets you chat with Albert Einstein on Facebook messenger to promote its original series Genius. This is more likely to make the user watch the show and even recommend it to others.

4. Provide a more holistic and detailed view of the customer journey

Gathering data for a customer’s journey takes a lot of time and effort. AI simplifies the way marketers visualize the journey and ensures that up-to-date information is always available to formulate an effective marketing strategy.

With AI-driven analytics and insights, firms can identify areas where they’re falling short of meeting consumers’ expectations. They will be able to reach consumers at every stage of the process based on their interests, demographics and previous purchase behaviors. 

Thus marketers can find more effective ways to improve short-term customer engagement, medium-term conversion, and long-term loyalty.

5. Charge the right TARGET the right PRICE

With AI, not only can firms deliver the right message to the right target, but they can also charge the right price that benefits both the firm (more sales and higher profit) and the target (greater satisfaction).

With the right kind of customer data, marketers can use AI to price goods and services dynamically. Thus they can raise prices when a consumer appears willing to pay more (or when demand goes up) and lower them when the opposite happens. Airline seats and hotel rooms have already been dynamically pricing their offerings. AI makes it possible to extend dynamic pricing to other industries as well.

Example: Thanks to AI, eCommerce websites can monitor consumers’ cookies, searches and other online activities to provide dynamic, i.e. personalized pricing based on demand, availability and the customer’s profile.

6. Design more holistic marketing campaigns with multiple touch-points

Thanks to AI, marketers can now design campaigns that cover multiple touch-points in both ‘traditional’ and ‘digital’ marketing areas.

AI-generated or assisted content simplifies digital content marketing. AI also benefits digital advertising. In fact, ‘programmatic’ online advertising, an area that constitutes a massive 80%  of the US advertising industry’s output, is one of the best examples of how AI is changing the online marketing landscape. 

AI also automates and simplifies the management of social media content. Marketers can monitor brands’ social presence to create detailed profiles of people and then create and send out accurately targeted messages based on their emotional states, preferences, and history.

The Future of AI in Marketing

The technology dreamed of at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire (USA) is well on its way to reaching its true potential. One of the challenges marketers face is how to predict the future and prepare their business in the present. AI is not perfect (human-like, not human) nor is it all-pervading. However, its power and scope are making it possible for marketers to design brilliant strategies to serve their customers in tangible and meaningful ways.

Read more: Step By Step Guide To Online Marketing