AI allows re-imagination of segmentation & targeting
The infusion of artificial intelligence is set to redefining the boundaries of marketing:
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 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.”
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