By: Nigel Arthur Managing Director, EMEA & APAC
Remember Minority Report, those floating adverts that sensed characters’ emotions, addressing them personally as they walked around? While technology is advancing, signs have never been clearer that this dystopian future will never arise in the somewhat alarming way it is portrayed in the film. Why not? Consumers are taking control of their data, aided by technology and increased data protection regulations, they are deciding how they will allow brands to engage with them.
Consumers are clamoring for a personalised experience, with offers and messages that are relevant to them and provide value at just the right moment. Increasingly, when marketers take a one-size-fits-all approach to targeting their users — the playbook of the era of mass marketing — returns are rapidly diminishing. Targeted digital experiences coordinated by brands for their customers are now a requirement. In fact, it’s been reported that by the end of the year, organisations that have fully invested in online personalisation solutions will outsell companies that have not by more than 30%.
Further highlighting the difficulties for marketers when it comes to targeting consumers, Gartner reported that nearly 40% of marketers feel that reaching their audiences at the right moment continues to be their top multichannel marketing challenge, particularly with the rise of new digital channels and devices. With the proliferation of all these platforms, and nearly three-quarters of shopper journeys occurring over multiple channels and devices, understanding what customers want gets more complex. Tying all of this data together and using customers’ behaviors as signals to predict where, when and how to engage with them is one area where the value of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the form of machine learning models can really benefit marketers.
A key benefit of AI is that it can take billions of data points into account in real-time to find patterns that can be used for predictive models. These models are then fed “live” customer data to individualize predictions for each customer with real-time automation making execution scalable. Today, AI is guiding marketers with predictions related to which customers are at risk of churning, the best time and channel to reach each customer, and what content or offers should be sent. It is freeing up marketers’ time, avoiding repetitive data crunching tasks and gleaning insights from massive amounts of data, which computers are much better suited to perform than humans. And as a result, marketers can spend more time devising strategies, creative executions and adding the human touch in customers’ digital interactions.
To meet and exceed customers’ growing expectations, marketers should be embracing tools such as AI Orchestration which has been implemented in Urban Airship’s Digital Growth Platform. Developed specifically for marketers, AI Orchestration helps businesses interact with their customers at just the right moment on any digital channel. The open platform also offers a single interface to coordinate notification-style messages for any existing or emerging solution or channel, with bi-directional data that enables marketers to maximise use of customer data, real-time automation and machine learning predictions across their entire martech stack.
Using the technology removes the speculation from delivering highly relevant cross-channel messages and instead allows the customers’ data to dictate how the marketer should target them. For example, the technology helps marketers message each customer at the precise time they are most likely to engage. Data further shows when those messages are personalised or targeted, response grows by another 4-7 times.
Joining AI, are data and preference-based intelligent orchestration rules that coordinates cross-channel messaging to help ensure that customers see important and time-sensitive notifications, over less urgent ones. It also prevents over-messaging and can lower marketing costs. For example, optimising message delivery across channels including apps, email, SMS, and mobile wallets, marketers can divert messaging to higher performing or less expensive channels.
Research from IMRG reports that 51% of marketing leaders are already benefiting from AI and that its use will grow by 53% within the next two years. The marketers who will be successful at delivering a truly personalised experience for the customer will be the ones who recognise that AI can help them gain a deeper understanding of their customers’ data and increase return on investment (ROI).