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Delusions Courtesy Multiple Data Platforms
Before we talk about data, let’s talk about all the technology vendors who promise to provide a “360-degree view of customers”. Players in this segment include CDP, DMP and CRM software providers. Which one’s really fit for you?
Would you deploy an array of such software platforms to identify a channel you’d rather invest in to drive sales, promote your brand or generate leads? Even if you do, it does not clearly pick and show you all of your customer’s interactions with your brand’s campaign across sites and ad platforms.
Driving Sales But Not Customer Engagement?
Although there isn’t a direct link between a sale and a campaign, having your point-of-sale and digital identifiers synced can get you answers with some level of certainty. Digital identifiers include cookies and mobile advertising IDs. If you have a sale done at your store, wouldn’t you want to match it with the digital campaign that influenced the customer to make the purchase?
Some tech partners can help you achieve this by studying the change in foot traffic at your stores. Oftentimes, GPS lat/long data points, WiFi connections, and the data from Bluetooth beacons are measured to attribute sales.
So you have enterprise software vendors and a good number of tech partners but would you claim that you put all this data and the customer’s proximity to your stores to good use?
Disparate Systems Equal Data Silos
Companies resort to matching customer details with hashed email IDs to attribute sales but no one’s sure of its accuracy. Why? Because, conditions apply. You must identify the user across sites and apps. The user must opt in to share his/her location. Your store’s information about still being in business must be mapped across cities. That’s a lot of data and there’s still plenty of sources that house customer information, like:
- Customer Relationship Management Software
- Data Management Platforms
- Customer Data Platforms
- Transaction Data
- Customer Forms or other databases
How do you finish the customer jigsaw with pieces of information from all the above sources? Or can you already tell that these sources have a superset that can potentially cure all your data hiccups? Here’s an article if you’re interested in reading a little more about how to use your data efficiently.
Did you know the telephone was a first of its kind virtual reality technology? It took us five decades to adopt it as a commodity we use daily. It took a little less time to adopt radios and televisions. But we swiftly embraced the PC and mobile phone in less than ten years. And now, can you imagine your life without a cell phone? I don’t even want to begin answering that.
From Chatbots to Cortana and Siri, today, we interact with machines in ways that were once the exclusive territory of humans. What’s next and how is it going to affect our future as marketers?
Artificial Intelligence? From virtual assistants to image-recognition apps to self-driving cars, which was once fictional has now become a reality. Internet and mobile phones have brought in depths when it comes to targeting an audience. Likewise, AI will change a person’s interaction with information, technology, brands and services.
Why do Digital Marketers need Artificial Intelligence?
Because it brings with it convenience. Marketers depend on tools that automate their work and reduce the overall manual effort. With big data sets examined, segmented and filtered, AI can predict human behaviour to impressive extents. This implies how specific targeting can get while offering individualization and personalization for an end user. Artificial intelligence in digital marketing is all about the ‘segment of one’ and how products and services are marketed to an individual or to a smaller group with more specific interests and goals in mind. Example being Netflix or e-commerce recommendations. Netflix isn’t merely considering what movies a person has watched, it also analyses how many times you have watched it, fast-forwarded it or rewound it. All these behaviours are accessed over millions of other users to come up with the best recommendations. Hence with the help of AI, marketers get the time to innovate and grow their brand, rather than worry about how to automate emails for millions of users at a time.
Artificial Intelligence is improving and evolving in ways that it will be able to select the right message and design for the right individual over the right channel. This will simulate a two-way conversation in real-time. AI will customize content that will allow users to give instant feedback, ask questions about product and services. It’ll be time to say goodbye to plastic and irrelevant ads!
AI in advertising influences how a user engages with your ad and saves brands’ significant advertising spends. This not on works in favour of the firms placing the ads and the sites hosting them but also the user viewing the site. Firms can aim to earn more revenue through fewer ad placements, media owners can trim the number of ads based on its relevance to the user. It not only improves the onsite experience for users but will also increase the likelihood of people engaging with the ads they see.
Cloud giants like Amazon, Microsoft and Salesforce also bow down to the power of AI. Proof being, they are all a part of a $27 million Series C investment in Tact.ai, a start-up that has been trying to change the way sales people interact with information in CRM systems using voice also helping reduce the conflict involved in adding and retrieving information from the database, making life easier for the sales people as they easily get the information they need. Hence more potential sales, and all that through a virtual assistant? Fabulous!
Is AI a one-man army?
Algorithms are like an engine, which means you still need someone to turn the ignition on. Creative minds (humans) are still very much needed to plan, design and run the marketing campaigns because they are the ones feeding the AI system with all the new information required for them in the first place. AI is basically under “supervised learning” by human, they cannot mimic the way a human learns & thinks naturally. AI can only do what it is “programmed” to do, unlike humans it is unable to make split-second judgements based on a gut feeling.
There isn’t any doubt that virtual assistants are transforming the sales process by answering the questions and providing the information to the customer. But what if a customer isn’t responding positively to the service, the strategy will backfire. It’s difficult to narrow down humans and our likeness towards things. A human support is required as a backup because a computer program or piece of software is only helpful as the information it’s given.
AI promises to help sales and marketers with the most mundane, time-consuming and logic-driven tasks. This means more time on you to focus your effort on subjective matters. Artificial Intelligence will and is driving exceptional experiences.
To quote Noam Chomsky: “Thinking is a human feature. Will AI someday really think? That’s like asking if submarines swim. If you call it swimming then robots will think, yes.”