AI al­lows re-imag­i­na­tion of seg­men­ta­tion & tar­get­ing

The in­fu­sion of ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence is set to re­defin­ing the bound­aries of mar­ket­ing:

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Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence (AI) and ma­chine learn­ing is in­creas­ingly be­come a dis­rup­tive force in mar­ket­ing and its ex­plo­ration will def­i­nitely change the land­scape of mar­ket­ing and open up a whole lot of pos­si­ble av­enues for savvy mar­keters. When we talk about AI to­day, we are re­fer­ring to the con­cept of ma­chine learn­ing. Mostly, this in­volves heavy data-crunch­ing by ma­chines to see pat­terns and pre­dict be­hav­ior.

Right from con­tent cu­ra­tion, to price pre­dic­tion and ad tar­get­ing, to even con­tent generation (‘Wordsmith’) and web­site de­sign (‘The Grid’), mar­keters have been able to find a myr­iad of ap­pli­ca­tions for this tech­nol­ogy.

Ma­neesh Mittal, head of ecom­merce and big data an­a­lyt­ics at In­finiti Re­tail (Croma) shares his per­spec­tives on the role of AI for tar­get­ing cus­tomers: “Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence is po­ten­tially one of the most pow­er­ful tools in the mod­ern mar­keter’s kit, al­low­ing the re-imag­i­na­tion of seg­men­ta­tion and tar­get­ing. Mar­ket­ing strate­gies are now start­ing to gear to­wards tar­get­ing the ‘Seg­ment of One’, a stark con­trast to tra­di­tional tech­niques of de­mo­graphic and even be­hav­ioral seg­men­ta­tion. The abil­ity to per­son­al­ize in­ter­ac­tions for each in­di­vid­ual al­lows for a much more rel­e­vant and en­gaged cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence, thereby help­ing the mar­keter to also de­liver bet­ter re­turn on com­mu­ni­ca­tion.”

REAL-TIME BASED

Real time avail­abil­ity of cus­tomer be­hav­ior data through click-stream anal­y­sis and so­cial pro­file in­for­ma­tion, cou­pled with high speed analy­ses of his­tor­i­cal data to­day al­lows the mar­keter to prac­ti­cally cre­ate truly per­son­al­ized mes­sag­ing and con­tent for each cus­tomer. These are then aug­mented with mod­ern fla­vors of tra­di­tional tech­niques, such as ap­ply­ing look-alike tar­get­ing, thus al­low­ing per­son­al­ized en­gage­ment with even those cus­tomers with whom the brand is en­gag­ing for the first time. And while all these en­gage­ments and in­ter­ac­tions keep hap­pen­ing, AI tools keep learn­ing in re­al­time based on each cus­tomer’s re­ac­tion to the var­i­ous stim­uli, con­tribut­ing to­wards mak­ing the next en­gage­ment that is much more per­sonal and rel­e­vant.

AI jour­ney is en­abled by fun­da­men­tal shifts in par­a­digms, start­ing with the very first pil­lar of mar­ket­ing – un­der­stand­ing the cus­tomer. Says Sourabh Chat­ter­jee, head of IT, dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing, direct mar­ket­ing and web­sales at Ba­jaj Al­lianz gen­eral in­sur­ance: “While tra­di­tional re­search method­olo­gies al­lowed mar­keters to un­der­stand ag­gre­gated cus­tomer be­hav­iors, many of these tech­niques needed to be ad­justed for chal­lenges such as sam­pling bias, vari­a­tion in stated pref­er­ence vis-à-vis ac­tual be­hav­iors, lag be­tween re­sponses, ac­tual in­sight­ing and ac­tion.”

Man­ish Sharma, pres­i­dent and CEO of Pana­sonic In­dia & South Asia com­mented on use of AI for de­vel­op­ing mo­bile de­vices: “We an­nounced a new ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence [mech­a­nism] called ARBO; it is more of a vir­tual as­sis­tant within a smart­phone which tries to un­der­stand your us­age habits and, us­ing ma­chine learn­ing tech­nol­ogy, no­ti­fies us ac­cord­ingly. Thus, the en­abler aims at build­ing an ecosys­tem of ap­pli­ca­tions which will cre­ate a dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion of the mo­bile de­vices for us.”

Ma­neesh Mittal trusts ‘Seg­ment of One’ tar­get­ing for mod­ern mar­keters

AI REDIFINES MAR­KET­ING

The ad­vent of AI will help mar­keters un­der­stand cus­tomers in a way that hasn’t been done be­fore. Be­ing able to pre­dict user be­hav­ior is also bound to open dif­fer­ent touch points and av­enues that en­able mar­keters to pro­vide a seam­less cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence.

Mar­keters now need to be much more dig­i­tally and tech­ni­cally savvy than ever be­fore, while con­tin­u­ing to hone their in­nate func­tional skills.

Ma­neesh digs deeper into AI ca­pa­bil­i­ties: “Ev­ery as­pect of mar­ket­ing will con­tinue to be in­creas­ingly data-driven, with the de­mand for real-time met­rics, an­a­lyt­ics, in­sights and ac­tion start­ing to be­come an ex­pec­ta­tion from even the most tra­di­tional me­dia. The bound­aries of AI

ca­pa­bil­i­ties them­selves will keep get­ting pushed fur­ther and fur­ther, as mar­keters will learn to delegate more to ma­chines; ini­tially in the form of an­a­lyt­ics as de­ci­sion sup­port, evolv­ing into mi­cro-in­sight generation as rou­tine, and even­tu­ally into self-cor­rect­ing de­ci­sion au­toma­tion (within pre­scribed frame­works) through the pre­dic­tive power of AI.”

CUS­TOMER SER­VICE

Croma has started cre­at­ing and ap­ply­ing big data mod­els through de­scrip­tive an­a­lyt­ics for gain­ing in­sights into cus­tomer mi­cro-seg­ment be­hav­iors, al­low­ing us to take much faster cor­rec­tive ac­tions on as­sort­ment, pric­ing and cus­tomer jour­ney re­fine­ments. Ma­neesh com­mented on use of AI in the com­pany cam­paigns: “Dur­ing in­no­va­tive cam­paigns such as ‘MyWish’ which we ran dur­ing Di­wali last year, we com­bined the big-data in­sights from our vast repos­i­tory of his­tor­i­cal data with stated de­sires of our cus­tomers, to pro­vide each one of our cus­tomers with a truly per­son­al­ized com­bi­na­tion of fes­tive of­fers, com­bin­ing the right prod­uct & right price with at­trac­tive fi­nance schemes and pay­ment op­tions.”

He fur­ther added: “We are cur­rently run­ning proof-of-con­cept with a cou­ple of AI tools on our web­site that al­low us to cre­ate cus­tom­ized jour­neys for dif­fer­ent cus­tomers. We cur­rently de­liver this in the form of mass-cus­tomi­sa­tions, but are grad­u­ally mov­ing to­wards affin­ity based per­son­al­iza­tion that will al­low us to op­ti­mize the con­tent to the cus­tomer’s taste and re­quire­ment.”

Ba­jaj Al­lianz has adopted AI tech­nol­ogy for ad tar­get­ing and serv­ing. This has en­abled them to bet­ter tar­get the ads and en­sure that cus­tomers only see con­tent that is rel­e­vant to them. Sourabh said: “We have adopted this tech­nol­ogy for our ad tar­get­ing and serv­ing. This has en­abled us to bet­ter tar­get our ads and en­sure that our cus­tomers only see con­tent that is rel­e­vant to them.

In terms of cus­tomer ser­vice, we have al­ready put into place an au­to­mated self­ser­vice tool on Twit­ter (#Tweet­In­surance) and are look­ing at ex­pand­ing the scope of it into a full-blown ser­vice with Chat­bots.”

FU­TURE OF SHOP­PING

The com­pa­nies in In­dia are us­ing con­ver­sa­tional bots, in­tel­li­gent dig­i­tal as­sis­tants and speech recog­ni­tion tools to get fur­ther closer to con­sumers and pro­vide them an ad­vanced shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence AI is help­ing to com­pletely trans­form the way a per­son shops online. AI has the abil­ity to re­mem­ber cus­tomers taste and pref­er­ences, mon­i­tor their search pat­terns and click-stream data to pro­vide ev­ery in­di­vid­ual with their choice of prod­ucts.

Sourabh Chat­ter­jee fore­sees a grow­ing role of Chat­bots & Twit­ter in cus­tomer ser­vices

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