Other parts of this series:
Digital technologies are progressing at an unprecedented pace and affect all aspects of a business—and marketing is no exception. Using smartphones, tablets and even wearables, today’s connected consumers are accessing information through a myriad of channels, and marketing departments are tasked with developing compelling campaigns across these channels if they hope to expand their reach.
Along with the technology, customer expectations have also changed. Over the past few years, we have seen a transformation from mass marketing to a one-to-one model that is based on personalized offers and smart suggestions. Consumers are expecting tailor-made products and services, nothing less. So, how can marketing stay ahead of customer expectations?
Accenture research shows that the majority of Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) expect marketing to undergo fundamental changes over the next five years, with analytics, digital and mobile constituting the top three changes. While most marketers are using digital channels more effectively—think search engine optimization, online display advertising, mobile and social media—the research also indicates that much work remains to be done toward delivering the full omni-channel customer experience.
One solution for uniting fragmented channels comes in the form of artificial intelligence (AI). AI-powered robots within messaging apps, or chat bots, can help brands open up entirely new avenues for boosting customer experience and reaching new customers. For instance, they can help marketers interlink multiple marketing campaigns across various channels via messaging.
Chat bots can also help marketers monitor campaign performance and keep tabs on the key metrics that define a trend as it is happening. In terms of customer engagement, chat bots make it possible to respond to a customer inquiry in a timely manner and still allow for a human to intervene, if necessary.
Looking to the future, other potential areas for using chat bots in marketing include:
- Increasing reach by providing a more interesting introduction to a brand.
- Turning automated emails into personalized communication.
- Improving surveys and unearthing better customer insights for product evolution and customer service.
And there’s even more. According to research from Ericsson’s ConsumerLab, within five years’ time, AI will allow communication to take place without a screen. My colleague Jolie Huang regards this development as a game changer. Using intelligent capabilities like chat bots, consumers can interact through natural conversations and no longer have to operate multiple apps and sequences to complete simple tasks.
But even as AI technologies represent the future of growth, they cannot replace human competencies. Rather, they can free up the workforce so people can focus on higher-level analysis and decision making with personalization at the core. Marketers can deliver personalization to every customer every time by recognizing the need to change marketing operations for the digital reality. More than ever before, the operational side of marketing is tied to delivering market strategy and ultimately, meeting customer expectations. Technology can help us do that with more speed and agility.
In my next post, I will look at how technology is redefining the marketing role.