by Warren Raisch, Executive Strategist, IBM Watson Customer Engagement Division
The power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming more available for marketers to tap into, helping win, serve and retain their most valuable customers. Leading technology vendors are beginning to build in AI and cognitive capabilities to enhance man-machine interfaces with voice and natural language interfaces in many industries. Clearly, AI and cognitive computing have the power to assist in solving some of the world’s leading challenges in health, finance and energy, but the current trends show that CMOs and marketing organizations are driving a majority of the technology spend in organizations. As AI permeates all aspects of life, marketers are looking to implement it strategically as well.
AI can be applied across multiple industries and use cases. Below is a landscape chart of the current state of the AI:
MARKETING AND AI: THE NEW DREAM TEAM
We all know that capturing, understanding and acting on data is the key to the next generation of advanced marketing. We are all driving towards the goal of one-to-one customer engagement. But how do marketers achieve this goal at scale when you need to serve thousands and in some case millions of consumers all at once? The massive amount of both structured and unstructured data that is being generated each year across the web, social networks and mobile apps is staggering. AI is offering a path forward for marketers to capture and interpret these mass amounts of data in real time to make content publishing, merchandising and next-best offer decisions on the fly with customers and prospects through highly personalized communications driven by AI.
Marketing organizations are using AI in a variety of ways including AI virtual assistants, cognitive engagement, predictive analytics, cognitive campaign management, cognitive content optimization, self-optimizing offer strategies, optimizing programmatic advertising purchases as well as AI front-ends that communicate directly with customers for support, account management and self-service interfaces.
These new cognitive capabilities are transforming how marketers are able to provide personalized one-to-one marketing as well as transforming how people and businesses interface with computers, developing a new cognitive era that is transforming businesses into cognitive enterprises.
Companies like IBM (Watson), Google (AI Interface), Amazon (Echo), Adobe (Sensei), Salesforce (Einstein+Watson) are developing and delivering new AI interface capabilities to deliver new customer engagement models; content publishing and personalization; and data analysis and recommendation solutions.
The natural language interfaces are providing for more human-like engagement methods for marketers to leverage and scale their marketing efforts to thousands and even millions of consumers at one time.
According to recent IDC research, the worldwide revenue for cognitive and AI systems will reach $13 billion this year, an increase of 59% over 2016. Global spending on cognitive and AI solutions will grow 54% through 2020 when revenues are projected to pass $46 billion. These technologies will enable processes that automatically learn and make recommendations or predictions, and one of the main areas of development is expected to be in automated customer service agents—one of the key AI uses for marketers.
However, the AI market still appears to be somewhat segmented, based on the study. The top use case based on 2017 market share is the category of ‘other,’ providing an idea of just how many experimental AI applications there are in progress.
Other industry partnerships of note include Salesforce partnering with IBM to leverage the IBM Watson AI technology coupled with its industry leading CRM solutions and Adobe partnering with Microsoft to integrate analytics with the Microsoft Dynamics CRM solutions. New forms of Cognitive Customer Relationships will emerge from these industry partnerships.
HOW MARKETING AND AI CAN WORK TOGETHER
Cognitive and AI capabilities will start to be incorporated into everyday applications like search technologies, mapping, ecommerce, shopping, ordering products, customer support and marketing automation, but the process will be interactive and ever changing.
The early stages of AI will be Augmented Intelligence rather than replacing human cognitive capabilities. As AI is excellent for tasks that would be physically impossible for humans to do like analyze massive amounts of data and come up with recommendations, diagnosis or analytics, it is easy to see how helpful the new capabilities will be for marketers and consumers as well.
Please note: This article contains the sole views and opinions of Warren Raisch and does not reflect the views or opinions of Guidepoint Global, LLC (“Guidepoint”). Guidepoint is not a registered investment adviser and cannot transact business as an investment adviser or give investment advice. The information provided in this article is not intended to constitute investment advice, nor is it intended as an offer or solicitation of an offer or a recommendation to buy, hold or sell any security.