This is a guest post by Ryan Gould, Vice President of Strategy and Marketing Services at Elevation Marketing.  You can connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter (@ryanscottgould).


There’s a single key to modern marketing, and that key has a name: personalization. Today’s consumers crave a personalized experience. You need only look at the shopping habits of millennials to know that this is the case. After all, 75% of them want instant, personalized engagement, and they’re willing to give up their own data in order to receive just that.

Personalization
Source: Martech Today

Speaking of which, there’s currently no technology in existence that can help marketers realize the full potential of personalization other than artificial intelligence. One study states that 74% of 300 marketers surveyed felt that AI-fueled personalization helped their business see an increase in sales. The reason for this is obvious. There’s only so much data that human beings, and even CRM software tools, can process on their own. What AI and machine learning allows us to do is process enormous data sets that was otherwise impossible until now.

Like digital marketing itself, AI is in a state of evolution. It’s ever advancing, to the point that what the landscape of marketing personalization looks like in five years will likely be almost unrecognizable to what it is today. To that end, here are some ideas for how you can start using this technology today while ensuring you keep up with the technological advances already visible on the horizon.

Utilize ad targeting

This goes beyond the mere metrics that tell you how an ad is performing. AI engines are now powering targeting applications which can maximize engagement with specific users. For example, you can feed a few sample ads into the AI-powered app and, using predictive analytics, it will forecast the odds of success based on such things as target audience data, design, color, etc. Applications like these can also determine the ad’s adaptability with mobile devices and tablets.

One other way in which ad targeting is effective has to do with fatigue, that condition that arises when an audience is tired of seeing the same old advertisements. With this AI-based technology, marketers can now use the insights provided by targeting applications to tweak their ad campaigns, change the websites on which they display the ads, or create new ads from the ground up based on audience interest.

Go beyond regular email marketing with personalized messaging

Email personalization is all the rage right now. This is because there’s a direct correlation between how well you tailor an email to a specific recipient and an increase in click-through rates and conversions. However, to ensure you’re delivering that relevant message you need to harvest all kinds of demographic and behavioral data. You need to know which social media sites your recipients like, how long they spend on them, what other web pages they’re viewing, and what they’re clicking on in general.

Enter AI-based email solutions.

AI-driven applications can now utilize behavioral data to create highly personalized and dynamic email templates that can be effective in both the B2C and B2B worlds. This is particularly useful for those visitors who abandon a browsing session after just a short time. These email applications can look at that browsing history, regardless of length, and put together and trigger a personalized email that reminds them to complete the action.

How is this possible? It’s all accomplished by machine-learning algorithms. A/B testing tied to segmentation strategy allows these algorithms to determine whether they are dealing with a first-time website visitor, a repeat visitor, a returning customer, someone who was referred by a customer, etc. These applications can make real-time machine-learning-based decisions regarding what variation to tailor to each individual target based on 1st party or 3rd party data. This is something humans just can’t do.

One other way AI-based email can boost personalization is through optimized send frequencies. So not only can AI put together that perfect template for your recipient, it can also analyze what content they prefer to engage in across the web and include tailored content within the email. Then the AI engine will choose the perfect time to send that email based on past metrics such as purchase history and general email habits. It’s a highly effective way to not only boost your email open rates, but boost your content marketing game as well.

Look to dynamic websites

With advances in technology it’s time to fundamentally reconsider how we design websites. With AI technologies it’s now possible to design a more dynamic, intuitive website that can offer a personalized experience to the user. It achieves this by such things as face and voice recognition, and it can use behavioral data to automate repeatable tasks such as rendering and tagging photos.

In short, this technology can allow you to create the website of your dreams. Machine-learning algorithms can take into account your type of business, location, and other factors to help you design what elements and colors to use. It can look at the behavior of your customers, such as their activity on social-media, and use that to make recommendations as to how better to optimize your website.

Consider AI-powered multi-sensory applications

You want to offer your audience full personalization? Then it’s incumbent upon you to go beyond mere data and engage them on a multi-sensory level. You can do this to some extent now, and the technology will only become more wieldy in the future. Expect to see more AI-based applications that analyze voice and speech patterns as well as image recognition. Shortly it will be possible not only to engage your prospects at the precise moment of initial engagement with your brand, but to recognize them based on their speech and general behavior. What could make your audience feel more warmly welcomed than that?

Conclusion

All roads running from AI and marketing lead to one place: personalization. The machine learning-strategies listed above allow marketers to reach the desired effect of tailoring custom messages to a single person’s needs. Play your cards right and invest in AI wisely, and this will eventually lead to the ultimate goal of being able to facilitate a direct conversation, in real time, between the customer and the brand.