Leveraging AI Content Strategies | Towards AI
6 Ways You Can Leverage AI to Market Better Today
Jump on cutting edge tech trends early to ride the coming wave of engagement
AI is all around us. We use it all the time, every day, in things that are neither trivial nor new — they are things we rely on day in, day out.
It isn’t just one single tech either, it’s a constellation of discrete models, each trained with superpowers in their own narrowly defined lane.
Here are some things you use every day that use AI that you probably didn’t know of:
- Face ID — a mobile device with a facial recognition ID uses AI. As your face changes, it learns from the thousands of times you unlock it.
- Social media — AI learns what your friends look like and automatically tags them, as well as curating personalized news feeds just for you.
- Maps — your map app uses AI to route you through the best journey, getting you to your destination quicker.
- Music streaming — apps learn what you like to listen to, and make recommendations based on that, giving you a more luxurious listening experience, and developing customer loyalty.
- Video platforms — can automatically generate captions; articles can automatically be translated into any language.
- Speech recognition — we’ve all used ‘Hey Siri,’ or ‘Okay Google.’ This is AI.
As a marketer, this is your baseline. Knowing you can rely on AI to carry your consumers to the content they’re looking for helps you focus on making better stuff. But that’s not all of it.
If you embrace the latest steps in AI early on, you can even start using it to create content in the first place and to better send your message to consumers and customers.
Here are six real, practical applications of AI in marketing you can make use of, not tomorrow, but today.
1. Seeing and Understanding
Thanks to what has become the world’s most important sensor — the camera — computers can now see and understand the world. So much so that AI is now superior to humans at identifying objects.
Not even the ‘chihuahua or muffin challenge’ can confuse computers anymore! Computers are now smarter than us at detecting objects. On average, 98% of images can be identified by machines, in comparison to roughly 94% for humans.
The camera has been a real game-changer. Visual searches are now possible through apps like Pinterest, so if you see something you like, you can take a photo of it, and then use AI to search for it, identify it, and link you to a site to complete a purchase.
And computers can not only see but also describe the world. Instagram has just released technology that generates a description of photos for screen readers so you can hear a list of items that photos contain, greatly helping people who are visually impaired.
Simple, everyday tasks could also be transformed by cameras and AI.
Take Amazon Go, for example. You can walk into a branch, and cameras will identify you and charge your account for what you put in your bag. No checkout needed, so no waiting in line.
Video and computers can even make decisions. The Chinese insurance company Ping An is testing cameras that monitor facial micro-expressions as part of their fraud prevention strategy.
Businesses can currently utilize facial recognition software for enhanced security and retina scans for logging in and out of smartphones. Eventually, marketers may be able to track email metrics using eyeball scanning software that will be able to estimate how many people actually read an email by following their eye movements.
2. Augmenting Reality
Shopify Create 3D Models of Products for Enhanced Customer Interaction Using AR Tech
To augment something is to make something greater by adding to it. And that’s just what AR does to customer experiences now that AI is driving it.
It gives context about your environment, blurring the boundaries between the physical and digital worlds. Or, if you like, creating UI’s for the physical world. It’s already starting to change things.
If you want to see what a new armchair would look like in your living room, Ikea’s UI for interior design allows you to get a good impression. By pointing your camera where you want the armchair to be placed, it will appear as an overlay on your device’s screen, as if it were in the room with you. No more lousy decision buys!
There are many other UIs appearing in a variety of apps that help with everyday tasks, from helping you identify how to read those cryptic icons on the labels of your clothes when you want to do laundry, to finding the right ingredients in supermarkets by guiding you through aisles quicker when you want a curry in a hurry.
If you need to fix your car engine, well, there’s an AR app to help you through that too. Just point your camera at it.
Last November, Shopify, a Canadian eCommerce platform, launched an exciting AR feature. The feature helps customers interact with the product by providing them with a more realistic sense of scale and dimensions. Sellers can make these 3D models using the 3D Warehouse app.
Eventually, AR and VR will synergize, which could open many doors for product marketers and eCommerce marketing professionals. These technologies increase the tangibility of products by creating immersive environments for customers to ‘test’ them before they purchase.
3. Hearing and Speaking
Computers have been able to read text (think scanning) for a long time, but the comprehending text was a whole other matter. Now they can, and they can do much more than that — they can hear and interact.
This is because speech recognition has developed to the point that it is equal to humans in terms of understanding and speaking. But while something like Alexa is incredibly impressive from a technological perspective, there has been a struggle to expand use cases beyond the basic ‘play this song’ or ‘order this product.’
However, new UI models around natural speech are beginning to emerge that are promising to be exceedingly useful, like Google’s virtual assistant mimicking a human voice during a salon booking.
It’s going to revolutionize customer service because if your systems can understand what your customers are saying, and how they’re saying it, you can unlock their intent or sentiment.
So when an agitated customer sends an email or calls, AI will identify this and route them to an empathetic human to deal with the problem. But if the email or call is more routine, they can be routed to a more straightforward solution.
Marketers will be able to use sentiment recognition to create personalized messages based on potential customers’ perceived mood. The possibilities are endless here. Imagine being able to market a whole product range based on the positive sentiments picked up by AI.
4. Content Creation
Two Imaginary Celebrities Generated by Nvidia Research
Another significant development is that AI can now create content. Bloomberg Media has just launched a feature that automatically generates a single sentence summary of the most critical articles within its global news network.
Going one step further, there are AI algorithms that can create images entirely from scratch. The chip manufacturer Nvidia published research on how they used AI to create photorealistic pictures of fake celebrities.
The results were startlingly realistic. It was made possible by one network generating the images based on the vast amount of data it was fed, while a second network (the discriminator) checked to see if the pictures looked real.
This level of realism is already blurring the boundaries of what is real and what is artificial. Naturally, there is a certain sense of unease amongst a portion of the population.
The luxury fashion brand Belmain, for instance, used AI models in a recent campaign, to a mixed reception. Not only did some people feel deceived (the models were, again, startlingly realistic), but it provided amplification of the theory that AI will replace human roles.
It is widely believed that AI will augment jobs, not replace them — particularly in marketing. When computers can create, whole marketing campaigns can be designed for just a single person, creating true 1:1 marketing.
This could be interesting for SEO marketing, as companies strive to thread keywords into relevant pieces of writing to boost their search engine rankings.
5. Making Predictions
AI Scanning Retinas to Make Predictions About Eye Health
Humans have been analyzing data and making predictions based on the results for a long time. But AI has supercharged this in truly fantastic ways, continuously learning from user data, and generating exponentially more accurate predictions as a result.
In healthcare, AI can be used when comparing photographs of retinas, predicting things like age, sex, blood pressure, and body mass index to help to diagnose diseases earlier.
For marketers, the implications of AI are just as exciting — honest!
A global magazine used AI to determine the optimal amount of free articles to allow before their paywall kicked in. Using software, they A/B tested a new variant of just four articles per month, in competition with their usual ten.
The variant serving four free articles performed significantly better, and when rolled out to all users, it resulted in increased subscriptions by a massive 27%. AI also enables brands to reach their customers at the optimal time for each customer.
For example, a high school teacher has a very different schedule to a nurse working night shifts.
A message sent at the wrong time for either of those people is likely to not only be ignored but could even be an annoyance. But by predicting the optimal time, engagement is expected to be doubled.
Similarly, AI can predict the churn propensities for your customers at each step of the customer lifecycle so that preventative action can be implemented. After all, reducing churn by just 1% typically leads to a 5% increase in profitability.
6. Acting Autonomously
This area gets more attention than any other in the AI world. And rightfully so, as it has the potential to truly change the world and how we live in it,
particularly when it comes to autonomous vehicles. But it is undoubtedly a long, long way off being a part of our everyday lives.
Chatbots can act autonomously after they have spent some time talking with the same person. As tech progresses, autonomous sales agents will be able to take our marketing to the next level, generating leads and enticing prospects using intelligence and sentiment analysis to deliver perfect pitches.
In the meantime, we will make do with incremental improvements, like autonomous last-mile delivery, where drones or robots deliver goods to customers, hopefully through wind, rain, and snow.
AI isn’t just the future anymore — it’s here. How will you use AI to supercharge your marketing?