Artificial intelligence and machine learning are concepts that often split opinion. But the technology is shaping the future of marketing and businesses must start to factor them into their strategies.
AI is already improving campaign performance for forward-thinking brands. In this blog, we look at the ways that AI is influencing the marketing world and how your business can utilise the technology.
AI in email marketing
In the last few years, machine learning has started to revolutionise the way we think about email marketing. Emails can be hyper-personalised, to recommend the right products and content for different prospects and customers, at the right time.
Simply sending [first name] personalised email is a thing of the past. Don't get me wrong, that's still effective, but there's a massive shift in this area. New-world personalisation is all about dynamic email tools, product recommendations tailored to individual user behaviours and live content, which updates and shows the most relevant content at the very second that an email is opened. Cool, huh?
There are some great dynamic email tools on the market, such as Moveable Ink, which help marketers to create relevant email marketing content and journeys for subscribers. AI tools like Phrasee use machine learning to predict the type of subject lines that will yield an increase in engagement and ultimately, conversions.
Smart homes and AI assistants
Recently there's been a surge of interest in smart home devices. From Amazon Echo to Google Home, there are people all over the UK (and globally) having conversations with AI- powered devices. This has interesting implications for marketing, especially as thought-leaders predict that by 2020, 50% of all searches could be voice searches.
Specific apps can be created for these devices to give customers an incredible experience that they're likely to remember when they're in buying mode. This is demonstrated well by be found in Diageo's "Alexa Skill" called The Bar. Diageo is embracing voice technology to inspire consumers to create cocktails at home.
Check out the brand's video below:
The brand is looking to provide people with something truly engaging, with the intention of increasing sales further down the customer journey.
Voice search and how SEO is evolving
This increased interest in smart home technology and voice search presents a challenge for marketers using standard SEO practices.
As searches via AI assistants are often more conversational, as you're speaking to a device rather than typing in words, long tail keyword searches and questions have never been more important in SEO!
This means brands need to think about the key questions their personas may ask in voice searches and what language they're likely to use. Also, consider how to simply answer the voice search questions that won't take a long time for devices to read out.
A 2016 internet trends report from KPCB found that around 22% of searches were looking for local information. This makes claiming your business in Google a necessity, as customers look for the nearest retailer, restaurant or service centre.
AI is starting to have a big impact on commerce, as the entire retail journey is becoming possible through voice.
Having a horse in the race themselves, it's no surprise that Amazon are championing this push to AI-driven voice purchasing. With a couple of simple voice commands, Amazon customers can re-order any items they need regularly, without ever having to see a store front!
This video, "Voice Shopping with Alexa", demonstrates this nicely:
In 2017, Google also stepped into this market, by combing their own Google Home with Tesco's wide range of products. Currently, it requires some set-up through the If This Then That (IFTTT) platform, but it does show an important step in what could become commonplace among shoppers going forward.
According to Statistia, the market for AI-driven personal assistance is only going to increase in 2018. By 2020, there could be up to 1.6 billion active users, all searching without having to look at a screen. A combination of low error rate in conversational speech recognition and improvements in language processing engines have made these smart home devices much simpler to use, leading to further acceptance by consumers.
These improvements are not only giving marketers a new way to reach customers, but also providing a chance for consumers to engage with brands in a whole new way!