It’s human nature to want to strive for ways to do things faster, easier and more efficiently. Somewhat ironically, those very urges have delivered us to a fresh frontier: artificial intelligence (AI). It hasn’t necessarily come to life in the animated ways we once envisioned (at least yet): a heartless Terminator, R2-D2 or some other stiff, not-so-humanlike, metallic being. Rather, today’s AI is something most may not have dreamed up in the time of Star Wars.
Sure, physical applications have taken root in some environments—advanced manufacturing and logistics come to mind—but AI has a much stronger foothold in digital, web-based spaces, right where the heart and soul of a complete and effective marketing plan resides.
While AI practices may only just be creeping into most folks’ everyday life, into things like curation of the media and weekly fantasy football recaps, for us marketers it’s becoming more and more real, much, much faster. Here are four of the emerging ways marketing leaders are using, or catering to the bots that increasingly lord over the web.
The way people look to interact with brands is changing. Driven primarily by the web and mobile revolution, we live in an age where instant gratification is king, and businesses aren’t exempt. Those that cater to this shift in consumer expectations have an opportunity to set themselves apart from their competition.
One growing way to feed this consumer craving is through website-embedded chat interfaces. For customer service inquiries especially, employing people here still makes sense, but for everyday engagement, chatbots have advanced to the point where they make a lot of sense—literally and figuratively.
Algorithms that account for thousands of data points—customer interactions and language patterns—can answer basic product/service questions, guide visitors to the most useful part of a site for them or simply generate a chuckle. A user may have been able to find what they were looking for on their own, but having a bot assist is the kind of experience modern consumers have started to expect and will remember.
A[m] I [writing this?]
If you deliver, or aspire to deliver data-heavy content, pieces akin to quarterly business reports, stock performance summaries or sporting competition recaps, you and AI could be in business. Working within your business’ basic style rules and formats, an AI-driven content generator can take data and weave it together with colloquial language for blog posts, emails, etc. This allows for rapid delivery of high-level, timely analysis that readers largely won’t be able to distinguish from a well-trained and experienced biped author.
That said, here’s the obligatory grain of salt from the writer writing about robots writing: While the aforementioned kinds of content have value, keep in mind that content’s most powerful achievements are education, relatability and trust—things even C-3PO’s offspring would agree they can’t achieve, and won’t for quite some time.
Robots take it personal
Upwards of 60 percent of marketers say they personalize the interactions their web visitors, email subscribers and the like experience. More striking still, over 80 percent say it’s more effective than not personalizing.
When we talk personalization as it relates AI, it goes deeper than using an email recipient’s name in the greeting. The ability to understand a user’s online behavior is stronger than it’s ever been. Using that historical web behavior, bots can create curated content, offers and notifications across various digital touchpoints. Not only can you provide a more satisfying experience on the user’s end, but you can cater to their stage of the sales funnel, guiding them towards purchase.
Searching in tongues
This isn’t so much a tool you can use, but rather recommended adjustments to your SEO approach based on how Google, Bing and their brethren are using AI. With unmatched reservoirs of data, search sites are using machine learning to deliver results based on intention instead of what exactly is typed into a search field.
This is not only happening to improve search engine experiences, but also because of the rapid expansion of voice search. The way we ask questions or search with digital voice assistants like Siri and Cortana, is naturally different than when we write it. Search engines are accounting for that. As a result, longer, topic-based phrases are beginning to carry more weight than keywords. Feed the robots what they want, content with key topic phrases, for your organic search performance to grow.
AI is a new frontier for many industries. As is often the case with new technologies, marketing is on the leading edge. If you haven’t charted this new territory yet, we’re here to help you navigate.
Already started exploring? How are you putting what you’ve discovered to work for you?