In today’s world, you cannot separate digital technology from innovation in many fields, and most certainly business. Whether your business will flourish or wither strongly depends on its ability to make smarter choices faster. You need to be beat your competitors creating efficient consumer-focused solutions, and most of these are powered by a complex interplay of systems, data frameworks and devices.
This is where artificial intelligence, deep learning and machine learning come into play. Forward-facing businesses in 2017 can no longer afford to ignore the potential and proliferation of AI. Through complex mathematical algorithms, businesses can customize and contextualize data to give better and smarter business insights. This is made better by machine learning, which is the ability to learn data trends/patterns/insights and tweak underlying algorithms for even better results. All of this is supplemented by newer computing systems with magnificent capabilities in terms of processing power via cloud computing.
Why is AI so important?
Data is at the heart of any marketing strategy, and today’s marketers have access to a lot more information than they ever had. There is so much data that specialized systems are required to sift through the volumes to identify trends and patterns that can be leveraged to understand consumer behavior and make better decisions.
AI tools can be used to process and manage huge data volumes efficiently and serve up fast results to ensure businesses gain or maintain their competitive edge. Of course, this does come at a cost, and not just monetary cost. Effective application of AI demands new skills, new IT/business frameworks and new thinking. Older IT/business models are being shaken up completely, and earning customer loyalty is now much harder than it was in previous times.
Getting real with AI
Digital technologies are already pushing their boundaries in adopting AI tools. Today, countless businesses have systems to identify buying trends and consumer behavioral patterns and hence provide more engaging and custom content in webpages, newsletters, emails, social networking channels and other content sharing platforms online. These tools are also being leveraged to perform complex tasks such as image and speech processing.
For example, today you can conduct barcode, speech and/or image searches through the Amazon mobile app. Their popular Echo device is now working with Alexa (speech processing) and other tools to process and filter results and plug them into future pages and screens.
Of course, the most noteworthy use of AI in marketing is in data analytics. Big data sets are being turned into personalized and contextual messaging for consumer communications. This involves using a carefully crafted mix of point-of-sale, demographic, geolocation, social and other data forms to give users appropriate offers at appropriate times.
AI is also capable of spotting patterns and trends in seemingly random data sets. Think about this astounding story about a Target customer who received advertising content from the retailer based on data analytics that gleaned she was pregnant, even before she’d had a chance to tell her father (who, as Murphy’s Law would have it, saw the email and raised quite the kafuffle). Patterns are everywhere.
While Amazon has distinguished themselves as the leader in AI adoption for sales and marketing, all businesses can find ways to leverage simpler forms of AI to improve consumer insights, marketing and service delivery. The goal is to find out what customers want and give it to them, sometimes even before they themselves have figured out that they want it. Thankfully, with artificial intelligence, that world isn’t as far off as it was just a few years ago.