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How AI Is Changing the Marketer-Customer Relationship

Artificial intelligence will allow companies to better understand their customers. That means they can reach them better and create a more meaningful connection.

Chick Foxgrover

Chief Digital Officer, 4A’s

How can artificial intelligence create more personalized messaging and connections with consumers?

Where we want the most personalization is in the context of an existing relationship and especially in customer service situations. But that can also include recommendation and creating awareness of new products.

Artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms can more easily uncover patterns in our use, derive insights from other sources of data, derive a general sense of the consumer’s sentiment and intentions through language and visual signals when available and map that to our customer profiles.

We’re starting to see principles of anticipatory design in action. For example, on iOS and Android, we see that reminders and suggested actions are constructed from calendars or travel time estimates are created. These hold a lot of promise for certain brands to add a whole new dimension to what we call marketing

How is AI specifically helping to fill a gap or challenge in the marketing world?

AI technology is gradually being introduced to improve by marketers to find audiences that will likely positively receive their messages. AI algorithms are helping marketers create defined custom audiences. They’re grouping common individual properties, such as demographics and past purchases, along with contextual properties like the weather, a media channel or video or article. The targeted people can be reached on certain websites and soon on TV through cable and subscription streaming devices.

Visual recognition advances have been one of the major signals that a key component of the quest for AI is moving quickly. Marketers are using visual recognition and visual search to match user-supplied photos with product catalogs or find similar items. It also enables marketers to find instances of their logos and products in social photo streams and adds a deeper understanding of prevalence and consumer sentiment or identification with a brand.

I know you’ve mentioned facial recognition and emotion tracking as interesting uses of AI. Are there any others you see making waves with marketers in the near future?

It’s going to be exciting and unsettling to see how AI technology can work to create a new piece of creative communication. But for certain contexts, it’s very much on its way. Natural language generation is used to write articles and ad copy use cases are emerging along with layout and image selection algorithms to create digital ads variations on the fly. It’s in its infancy now, but we’re seeing this increasingly used in China.

What advice would you give to businesses looking to improve their marketing processes?

Marketing today has become very complex. There is a dizzying array of media formats, channels and contexts. Brand building increasingly requires the combined talents of many disciplines that have not traditionally worked together in the compressed time frame of a consumer-driven marketplace. So agencies need to find ways to build teams of the right skills for the right business challenge and fight the desire to work only through traditional workflows.

What has AI in conversational commerce done to the way businesses interact with consumers?

We know there is a demand for AI-driven conversational customer service utilities at least. These are saving companies money, and all are wondering how they will deal with voice-driven shopping. We’re seeing the emergence of chat-based ad formats that can be delivered in mobile apps or online in browsers. Altogether, businesses are just beginning to interact through AI with human oversight. With new learnings and improvement, and when automation becomes reliable across many situations, the operational savings will propel adoption.

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