Getting personal: how AI-driven personalised marketing is the future of brand communications
AI-driven personalised marketing holds the key to winning and retaining consumers in the digital age.
The formula to acquire customers in today’s hyper-connected online and offline communication ecosystem, can be summarised through the following phrase: “right audience, right channel, right time.”
Moreover, this phrase even encapsulates what personalised marketing is all about. Simply put, it is the art of creating and delivering communication tailored according to each individual consumer’s preferences. Fundamentally, personalised marketing is the process of communicating the different value of the same product or service to various consumer segments, be it students, working professionals, millennials, middle-aged consumers, digital or offline consumers, etc. Hence, as the communication channels for each of these segments varies greatly, marketers must also craft their messages for consumers in such a way that it is connected to everyone. This simply means only pitching the content, products, and services that appeal to them.
Consumers today want to spend as little time as possible on choosing from the seemingly endless number of offerings in the market. Moreover, they are often looking to avoid the overload of messages from multiple brands across various channels. Hence, the success of personalised marketing hinges on short and precise messages that convey value and elicit a positive response from the consumer. Personalised marketing also delivers better measurable responses and can be leveraged considerably to not only acquire new customers, but also retain them in the long term.
Where does Artificial Intelligence (AI) fit into personalised marketing?
Today, Artificial Intelligence is that secret ingredient that’s enabling brands to win customers through hyper-personalisation of their products and services. AI has transformed the customer experience into something which, until a few years ago, was simply inconceivable, and several companies are already applying the technology for various digital marketing activities. For instance, AI is being deployed by businesses to create websites, social media posts, run email marketing campaigns, optimise content for different consumer segments, etc. Thus, it is helping brands become more agile in their communications, as well as more responsive to consumer demands, as and when they change.
Traditionally, marketing campaigns are designed around a single message or product. While the message may be a predefined one based on the customer lifecycle, these campaigns are usually targeted to a broad consumer segment. With AI, however, marketing campaigns can be made much more streamlined and targeted. The combination of AI, Machine Learning, and data analytics can enable marketers to do impressive things. For instance, insights from a customer’s behavioural traits, gathered through predictive analytics, can be an indicator of not only when they are likely to purchase a product, but can also help marketers create tailor-made messages based on specific data from the past. Customer profiles, purchase patterns and histories, brand interactions, and social data all create a detailed map of each customer’s mindset and preferences. Therefore, data and analytics play a crucial role here, helping marketers with the following processes:
- Identifying the audience and then dividing them into micro-segments for precise targeting
- Creating hyper-personalised messages based on individual consumer behaviour, historical data, transactional history, etc
- Relaying the message across relevant channels at the right time of day
Furthermore, by applying AI to the content creation process, brands can also go beyond generic forms of communication to design campaigns that truly engage audiences holistically. Although brands may have access to a vast amount of content or boast massive content creation capabilities, without appropriate segmentation and targeting, even a well-designed campaign may prove to be unsuccessful. With the capabilities of AI, brands and marketers can offer specially curated content to each individual customer that focuses on solving a specific problem for them. Such a customer-first approach to marketing can thus result in enhanced KPIs, better decision making, more leads, and more conversions for the brand.
AI-enabled marketing for organisational efficiency
Leveraging AI for various key functions can also have a potential impact on business processes, helping the organisation save time, reduce costs, and streamline marketing and promotion activities. A digitised approach to marketing will also offer more measurable results that can be used to optimise marketing budgets, as well to scale up campaigns.
In addition, Artificial Intelligence can potentially influence such activities as:
- Personalising web and app content creation
- One-on-one email marketing
- Content prioritisation
- Creating “segment of one”, or individualised customer segmentation
By enabling such a high level of personalisation, brands will no longer need to frequently and extensively modify marketing campaigns since content optimisation for each individual consumer will be automated.
Moreover, with enhancements in the AI recommendation engine, the performance and results will also concurrently improve further.
Now that we’ve discussed what AI can do in the realm of personalised marketing, here’s a few specific ways in which machine intelligence can be applied for better personalisation:
Push notifications: Push notifications are among the most effective ways in which brands can communicate with digital consumers. Since they are used to communicate with customers through their mobile devices, a highly personalised message conveyed through notifications can elicit the desired response from the targeted consumer in a much shorter amount of time.
AI-based image recognition: Images are powerful engagement tools, and with AI, they can be used as a vital source of information to assist marketers with smarter decision making. Image recognition software can help brands identify consumer behaviour and trends and gather useful insights from them. With AI-based image recognition software, it’s also possible to recognise and sift through hundreds of thousands of images posted on social media to identify patterns. In addition, this technology can also help brands see how and where influencers are using their products or service (online or offline), then design influencer marketing campaigns and find out which consumer segments are exposed to the campaign.
Multi-sensory conversations: AI and Machine Learning are enabling brands to create and facilitate a highly personalised customer experience, through advanced tools such as chatbots, voice recognition-based virtual assistants. Such conversational user-interfaces make customer interaction with brands more seamless. In 2018, we can expect some exciting developments in this space. Microsoft, for instance, is experimenting with ways to go beyond voice, using sight, sound, touch, and a consumer’s gestures to learn more about their needs and expectations. The machine learns this sensory information and analyses it to answer a consumer’s queries, anticipate needs, and deliver the right information, product, or service to solve their problem.
What marketers need today is an effective blueprint for how, when, and where to target customers. Artificial Intelligence, therefore, is one of the most efficient and data-driven tools to help brands create such a blueprint. Personalised marketing is also evolving constantly as newer and more efficient digital tools continue to emerge. Hence, it will be of utmost importance for brands to have such marketing teams in place who have sufficient knowledge of, and command of digital marketing tools. The opportunities in the present, as well as in the future, are huge for brands. However, how successful they are in capitalising on these opportunities and ensuring market growth will largely depend on how quickly they adopt new-age marketing technologies.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)