Over the past few years, artificial intelligence (AI) has changed consumers’ lives, transformed technology and business, and helped marketers reach audiences in more powerful ways. By 2035, AI has the potential to increase economic growth rates by 1.7% across all industries and increase productivity by 40% or more, according to “How AI Boosts Industry Profits and Innovation,” a study by Accenture Research and Frontier Economics. AI even factors into content creation, with 20% of all content expected to be written by machines by 2018, according to Daryl Plummer, vice president, distinguished analyst and Gartner Fellow.
Marketing has been heavily transformed by the AI explosion, and marketers have, in turn, benefited from increased productivity brought about by the technology. AI technology is being used to gather customer insights across multiple sectors, from financial services to retail to CPG. AI’s uses in marketing are seemingly endless. The technology has improved the precision and personalization with which brands interact with consumers across channels and campaigns.
The many applications of AI in marketing
AI allows marketers to be proactive by predicting user behavior and churn and providing the right incentives at the right time to “win back” customers before they lose them. Segments can be identified in real time based on the preferences, interests and affiliations consumers make on social media and branded platforms every second. Automation makes communication with consumers seamless from touch point to touch point, be it via a welcome e-mail, thank-you push notification or order-tracking chat bot.
Personalization is a tenet of AI, as it allows everything from the ads consumers see to the content they consume to be intelligently curated for them alone. Facial recognition, another AI-driven technology, lets marketers recognize shoppers in their stores and target them with push notifications on their apps or via social media with special offers, sales notifications or other brand- or product-specific messaging.
AI also assists with ad targeting, and is a force for remarketing and marketing automation. In pay-per-click advertising (PPC), such as Bing Ads, AI helps marketers for brands in multiple categories optimize the real-time bidding process for pricing and personalizing ads online. Marketers can improve their PPC to better target certain demographics and personalize content geared toward specific customer segments. AI helps marketers execute PPC advertising campaigns by creating feed-based experiences that help with automated rules. Bing Ads Editor is one AI tool that has automated and feed-based experiences, such as Bing Shopping Campaigns. Those rules make it easy to buy and program ads on the search engine platform – yet another way that AI helps marketers connect with their audiences in more engaging ways.
How bots empower marketers
Bots, powered by AI, are widely used in marketing. According to information offered at the Gartner Customer 360 Summit, in just two years, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with a business without interacting with a human – interacting with a chat bot, instead.
Chat-bots will be there to answer customers’ questions, help them purchase a product or service and increase customer loyalty. Bots built into digital assistants and mobile phones give marketers the ability to predict customer behaviors and preferences, and soon they will be an integral part of the digital experience. By using them, marketers can forge stronger relationships with customers.
AI also is prevalent in messaging apps, which have seen usage soar in recent years. More than 4 billion users are executing tasks from within messaging apps. Microsoft Teams, a chat-based digital workspace in Office 365, integrates bots, including SurveyMonkey (an online survey tool), MailClark (a communication tool that sends and receives e-mails, Facebook messages, tweets and Twitter DMs), Statsbot (an analytics tool) and Dribbble (an online design community). Bots make it easier for marketing professionals to get updates on workflows, survey their team, query sales data and share praise with teammates.
Battling the data deluge
The massive amount of data in the world presents both challenges and opportunities for marketers. As the data continues to flood in, marketers still only have 24 hours in a day. By using AI, marketers can mine and optimize that data to get a better insight on customers and prospective customers – and, most crucially, to predict customers’ future behaviors. Overall, AI helps marketers create high-impact content, automate routine tasks and surface key insights from data.
Artificial intelligence in every day work
Microsoft has a long history of investing in AI, thereby helping marketers work more efficiently, streamline their processes and forge better connections with customers. Marketers can use AI more effectively by harnessing such innovation, which will ultimately help them work smarter and more efficiently.
n their everyday work, marketing teams can use AI-enabled features of Office 365 like PowerPoint Quick Starter, powered by the Bing Knowledge Graph, which provides carefully curated outlines for any topic, including recommendations on information to include, categories to consider and associated images tagged with Creative Commons licenses.
PowerPoint Designer is another helpful tool, which recommends professional design options for different types of slides in the presentation. Another one is Morph, which creates cinematic motions for images and 3-D objects making the presentation more visually impactful. Another AI feature, Word Researcher, allows marketers to find material related to any topic from the web through Bing Knowledge Graph and add it, plus its properly-formatted citation, to a Word document in one click, which is specifically useful while working on campaign strategies and concepts.
PowerPoint designer and morph
In the future, AI will continue to reshape technology and business, and marketers need to prepare for that changing landscape and adjust to the AI-driven world by integrating it into their current campaigns and everyday work. In the next decade and beyond, implementing AI into everyday processes will provide marketers with more insightful customer data to connect with their audiences in innovative ways.
Because of AI, customers will see and interact with more customized, personalized messages and ads on social media and online. They’ll shop, order food or search for information via a voice assistant. They’ll also be recognized and marketed to when they enter stores through facial recognition. This technology will help consumers to get better, more tailored offers and spend less time searching for what they need and help marketers raise the profile of their brands in the minds of consumers.