Machine learning is reinventing marketing — and a growing number of marketers know it. According to recent research from the IBM Institute for Business Value, 91 percent of marketers at companies that outperform their competitors believe artificial intelligence is important to the future of their organizations.

At the same time, only about a quarter of them use it today. Industry analysts report AI empowers businesses to mine and interpret valuable data and make stronger connections with their customers. Yet most still aren’t applying AI to their marketing strategies.

Today’s consumers expect a lot from digital experiences. They want marketing content that’s useful and relevant to their lives. In an age when deep learning has become so advanced that it’s uncovering multi-faceted customer behavior and helping brands forge lasting relationships, the time to leverage AI is now.

And the place to start is with IBM’s leading AI platform for marketers, Watson Marketing.

How well do you know your customers? With so much data sourced from online behavior, social media activity, and browsing patterns, delivering messages that matter to them should be easy. But consumers are complex. To provide a totally relevant marketing experience across channels, you need to extract the deep, evolving insights from behavior as it’s happening, something that only AI can do.

ING DIRECT Australia took this approach to create the “bank of the future” for its customers. Using Watson Marketing, ING interpreted users’ actions to help identify customer preferences, build loyalty, and boost trust. AI’s diverse capabilities enabled the company to filter data based on more than 100 contextual triggers daily, and deploy relevant messages to 1 million prospective customers a month.

Without the holistic view that AI can provide, it’s impossible to get the whole story about your customers’ behavior. You could wind up delivering the wrong message and compromising that vital loyalty and trust. But AI can help you positively influence the customer journey to get the conversions you need.

As digital technology has grown more sophisticated, the task of managing critical customer data has become overwhelming. There’s so much data to process and assess that humans simply can’t do it alone. If you want to succeed in today’s ever-changing, omnichannel environment, there’s no question about it: you’ve got to connect data from multiple sources. And doing that is easier than you think.

Watson Marketing can be used to automate even the most labor-intensive activities, bearing the brunt of routine tasks like data collection so marketers are free to focus their energies on higher value work like strategy and creativity. Because AI built into a variety of products, all you have to do is add your data to Watson Marketing, and you’re on your way.

“When tedious marketing tasks are automated at scale, and data-driven customer insights are readily available, marketers have more time and energy to innovate,” says Mark Simpson, VP of offering management at IBM Watson Marketing. “In essence AI is like another member of the marketing team, able to lend knowledge and expertise to unburden marketers of time-consuming, repetitive tasks while helping to support, augment, and amplify their campaigns.”

Atlanta’s Georgia Aquarium uses Watson Marketing Insights to fill the gaps left by having siloed data sources. As a result its email newsletters produced a 32 percent lift in revenue and double the traffic to its website. ”

As a nonprofit, we are always looking to do as much as we can with as little as possible,” says Andrew Carlson, manager of digital marketing with Georgia Aquarium. “So we looked to AI to help us expand our team without adding headcount to be able to see what insights we can get out of it and provide a better, more personalized experience to our customers and guests.”

Delighting customers when they interact with your brand is no longer a perk, but a core component of successful marketing experiences. One of the best ways to satisfy this criteria is with personalized messaging. “We’re constantly engaging our users with content and information that they’re unable to see anywhere else, so we can give them up-to-the-minute insights, summaries, and even triggers to act in a certain way,” Carlson says.

Customer interactions with brands should feel seamless and rewarding, and tailoring content to their interests meets these requirements while also improving ROI. Yoox Net-a-Porter Group, for example, uses Watson Marketing to maximize its data and analytics and determine exactly what its international audience of shoppers wants.

Offering a personalized commerce experience with AI allows the luxury fashion retailer to build a “one-to-one relationship” with its customers by providing more relevant promotions. Combining customer data with external data like social, research, and even the weather — which can influence fashion purchasing decisions — lets Yoox Net-a-Porter create that personalized experience consumers increasingly expect.

The marketing world is changing. Consumers are complex, and so is their data. With an AI-powered marketing platform, you can blend analytics with creativity to help transform both the customer experience and the way your team works.

If you want to reach your customers now and in the future, the answer is simple: Work smarter with the help of AI.

Find out more about how Watson Marketing can uncover insights to help you better understand your customers.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.


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