The AI era is officially here. Or so goes the word around the marketing bonfire.
According to a recent Forrester Research report, “The Promise and Potential Peril of AI,” 57% of marketers identified improving customer experience as being the biggest benefit of AI to their business.
But how has AI been able to achieve this improved customer experience?
Well, according to Leslie Fine, VP of data and analytics at Salesforce Marketing Cloud, AI has successfully transformed the consumer journey by using three concepts:
- Never-before seen pattern recognition
- Intelligent journeys
- Shortened iteration cycles
In years, past pattern recognition was performed manually, which, Fine says, led to what can be amounted to an “educated guess” about customer demographics. However, with recent segmentation ability by AI, brands and marketers are able to narrow marketing campaigns to one-to-one relationships with the consumer.
“AI platforms give brands the ability to integrate data across all devices, triangulate the data, then develop and send out custom, coherent messages to the consumer in real time,” says Fine.
Take for instance, the company ConAgra Brands. ConAgra used the Salesforce Krux DMP to launch a focused marketing campaign. It determined the optimal number of times a consumer should see one of its ads in a month — 20 times.
ConAgra also turned to Salesforce Krux to bring all of its data together to uncover consumer segments it could offer targeted, relevant messaging to. Putting the data to work, ConAgra tested this data-focused approached with one of its brands, Hunt’s — the tomato products vendor. This resulted in the delivery of sustainability messaging to its environmentally conscious consumers, and a 300% jump in customers who said they’d buy Hunt’s.
“We like to think of these intelligent journeys as paths in the grass that haven’t been paved yet,” says Fine. “And AI allows us to develop insight enough to pave these paths, and find the most productive journey.”
The productivity of these journeys is the key to shortening iteration cycles, where brands and marketers are attempting to get recommendations and messages pinpointed to any given consumer in real time.
For example, the branded athletic gear company Fanatics, with one click of “Send” on the Salesforce Marketing Cloud platform, was able to send out customized emails to over 300 brands. The capabilities allowed Fanatics to send out over 3.5 billion emails and 23,000 campaigns last year. As a result, the “recommendations” section of Fanatics’ emails became the second-largest contributor of engagement from customers, generating between 15 to 20% of overall clickthroughs.
“Relevance is the currency of the digital economy, so it’s no longer just enough to deliver personalized customer experiences — those experiences need to be smarter, faster and in the right context,” says Bob Stutz, CEO of Salesforce Marketing Cloud. “Artificial intelligence (AI) powered by machine learning will be crucial in delivering these next-gen personalized experiences for customers, and as the conductor of the customer experience, marketers need to embrace this in order to succeed.”
So, what does the future of this AI convergence look like?
Quite simply, this invisible interface, according to Fine, will become so efficient and so effective, it will establish its own historical benchmark.
“We are entering a new industrial revolution – the AI era is here,” says Fine. “And if marketers and brands want to be productive in connecting with consumers, they need to consider spending more time with AI.”