You’re probably very good at your job. You have an abundance of knowledge, skill, expertise, and experience, and you can’t think of any part of your job in which you are deficient. But I can name one thing in which you’re woefully lacking, and you’ll agree. You’re lacking a sufficient amount of time to do all the things you need to do to satisfy your customers.
Customers today expect their relationships with companies to be very personal, and companies have the necessary data available to fulfill that expectation. But who has the time to sift through all the analytics for every customer—to gather and unify data from multiple channels and then create a message with content, products, and offers that are custom made for each customer? No human has that kind of time. That’s where artificial intelligence (AI) can help.
If you’ve ever wondered what the future of marketing holds or what will shape the marketing landscape in the years to come, all indications are that AI is going to be a mandatory component of any marketing strategy in the near future. That being the case, let’s spend a few minutes so you can get to know a little bit about your future BFF.
Although AI and machine learning (ML) are not exactly the same thing, they’re close enough for this blog. The history of ML goes back nearly 60 years, to 1959, when Arthur Samuel realized that, rather than teach computers everything they’d need to know about a given task, why not create a program that would teach computers how to learn for themselves.
Take that idea and add to it all the data made available with the emergence of the internet in the last 30 years, and the opportunity for machines to learn developed quickly—especially once machines were given access to all the information in the world via the internet.
AI is built on algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions. A recipe is a type of algorithm. Algorithms can become extremely long and complex, but that complexity can make the results more exact, more personalized.
An easy-to-understand example is Netflix. When signing up for Netflix, customers are shown the names of a fairly large number of movies and TV shows and asked to pick at least three favorites. Netflix creates a list of qualities based on your picks—such as genre, cast, rating, length—and then looks for movies with similar qualities. The more movies and shows you watch, the more detailed and fine-tuned the list becomes.
Binging on a series tells Netflix one thing and turning something off after five minutes tells it something else—all building a more and more exact profile of what you like.
And the specific criteria learned from the moves you’ve chosen and watched is compared to the other 130 million Netflix subscribers to discover what other movies those subscribers are viewing. All this information is combined and constantly updated to create suggestions specifically designed for you.
The Netflix AI is apparently very good at its job because more than 80% of the TV shows people watch on Netflix are from the company’s recommendations.
Of course, Netflix is not alone in using machine learning. Amazon uses artificial intelligence in much the same way to suggest products. However, according to Forbes, Amazon takes it even farther, combining your online purchase history along with your Amazon Go purchases, your Amazon Prime viewing history, and your Alexa requests to know exactly what you like, what you want, and what you need.
It would be impossible for humans to do what Netflix and Amazon can do. But AI can do it with ease—and constantly gets better and more accurate.
The good news is that, in the next year or two, artificial intelligence and machine learning will no longer be just for large corporations. As the technology become cheaper and easier to use, it will become available to smaller companies. The day will soon arrive when companies will be able to analyze each customer’s purchase history, compare it to similar customers, and suggest new products.
And a small company’s website could be personalized so that visitors are greeted with products chosen specifically for them. It will also be possible to email customers with incentives based on their individual history combined with all the personal data collected. And when would that email be sent? AI will know the exact time each customer visits your site, finding patterns and creating a profile of every customer to predict exactly when they will be online.
All of that technology is available now and being used by big companies. And when artificial intelligence seems right for your advertising strategy, McFadden/Gavender will be there to help you implement it. Until then, contact the professionals at McFadden/Gavender and let our team take your brand further.