If there is anything every business leader in the world can agree on — and let’s face it, there’s not a lot — it is that artificial intelligence is about to have an indescribable impact that will change the way business looks. Among the many areas it is set to revolutionize entirely is, of course, marketing.
In 2018, we saw the marketing landscape change as AI adoption was fueled by growing customer expectations. The demand for one-to-one personalized interactions with brands has influenced the way marketers communicate with their customers. Most notably, it has forced marketers to turn to AI to not only supplement but also to enhance their marketing strategies and beat out the competition.
As we head into 2019, marketers can expect to see AI continue to be used to drive customer engagement and they will see AI’s use accelerate even more.
The benefits of true AI
As the amount of data created by consumers increases every day, marketers are being handed more opportunities to collect information and uncover crucial insights into customers’ daily lives. But as marketers know, no single person has the bandwidth to manually gather, analyze, and scale a personalized marketing campaign for each individual consumer. This is where AI has come in to solve the problem of personalization at scale.
Beyond simply being a buzzword, marketers are already beginning to experiment with AI to expedite processes, enhance user experiences, accurately identify target markets, and predict customer behaviors.
In 2019 and beyond, we expect more marketers to experiment with process automation and AI, and discover its true potential beyond repetitive tasks.
Its ability to search and interpret marketing data much faster than humans means marketers can be freed from the mammoth task of mediating the data deluge to focus on what truly matters: Humanizing the brand, delighting customers and sustaining authentic connections over time.
AI’s impact across industries
This year marketers can also expect to see three distinct industries embrace the true impact of AI:
- Media & entertainment
Use of AI in travel
The use of AI in travel marketing is not new. Airlines and travel organizations have used this technology to transform customers’ experiences with dynamic, real-time content. According to an American Express study, personalization is so important to millennial travelers that 83% said they’d allow travel brands to track their digital behavior if it would result in a more personalized experience.
Brands that use the “one-size-fits-all” email itineraries will simply not make the cut in 2019. As a result, we will see companies like Google step up their AI utilization to present customers with frictionless booking experiences, offering travel date recommendations and prices all in one browser, topped personalized in-email boarding passes. By pulling users’ browsing data, brands will deliver real-time content based on a consumer’s travel itinerary.
Use of AI in retail
Similar to travel, consumers have become so accustomed to receiving highly personalized marketing from their favorite retailers that if they receive communications that are not personalized, they will be immediately put off by the brand. This year, the true test retailers will face is keeping up with brands like Amazon who are constantly deploying AI marketing tactics to stand out among the competition.
Use of AI in media & entertainment
Lastly, media & entertainment will continue to be impacted by AI supported marketing. The use of AI has become so ingrained into daily media experiences that it has changed the way consumers react to content. For example, streaming services like Netflix and Hulu use extensive algorithms to learn about a user’s watching behavior. From this data, AI presents TV shows or movie recommendations based on past behavior to keep consumers returning for more. And it will continue using this tactic even in 2019.
AI in 2019 and beyond
As customers continue to shift their brand expectations and graduate to more sophisticated methods of communicating and engaging with their favorite suppliers, marketers will be forced to adapt their AI supported initiatives throughout 2019 and beyond.
One of the trends we’re seeing is the continued growth of voice AI. Marketers will need to incorporate and provide for this channel in the way they do with every other.
Marketers can expect to see voice technology continue to transform the industry. As of January 2019, 66.4 million US adults owned a smart speaker, up from 47.3 million in January 2018.
As we see this technology become more accessible, voice AI will gain even more traction among marketers.
AI is no longer just a buzzword. More and more brands are turning to this technology to transform all aspects of customer communication. As technology continues to evolve, so will the customer data that is produced.
For marketers, this means the ability to apply AI to analyze the data and create automated, personalized, omnichannel campaigns at a scale that free them up to focus on the valuable tasks such as strategy, content, and creative to really drive differentiation.
Sean Brady is the President of Emarsys Americas. He can be found on Twitter @seanbrady36.
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