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What Search Behavior During Coronavirus Tells Us About AI in Marketing [RESEARCH]

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New research from BrightEdge shows how the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated digital transformation — and it has implications for how marketers approach AI.

The research used BrightEdge’s AI-powered search platform to analyze consumer searches from March to mid-May across different industries.

The data analyzed by BrightEdge correlates search to key pandemic events and found that consumer behaviors are changing to accommodate our new normal.

The research found that:

  1. Consumers are having different, more emotional experiences when looking for products, solutions, and services.
  2. Safety, social distancing, and avoiding contact are priorities, making online research more important than ever.
  3. The marketing mix is changing. Marketers need to rethink the traditional marketing mix and the role of digital across product, price, digital strategy, and local search.

Why does this matter for marketers adopting AI?

Two big reasons, we think.

1. AI is a key piece of the digital transformation puzzle.

According to the research, searches increased in digital marketing as brands realized they couldn’t rely on in-person events or marketing tactics to win more customers.

Brands are waking up to the fact they need to own consumer touchpoints online — and AI is a key piece of the puzzle.

It is almost impossible to manually personalize consumer touchpoints in a truly effective way as a larger brand. Artificial intelligence is required to truly personalize 1:1 across digital channels at scale.

We have predicted in the past that bigger brands would wake up to this potential for mass 1:1 personalization, and the savviest would build competitive advantages with it.

We believe the pandemic will only accelerate this change, and this research seems to support that view.

2.  The competitive marketing landscape will require you to use AI.

As brands go fully digital, they need to realize it’s impossible to compete effectively across certain digital channels without AI.

Imagine two enterprises with comparable budgets and teams devoted to content marketing and advertising. Both have a level playing field in terms of possible opportunities to rank content and drive conversions with ads. Competitive advantage goes to the brand that executes the best strategy in the best and fastest way.

But if one brand uses AI to coordinate its content marketing and advertising activities, it’s not even a fair fight. AI systems exist today to help you capture search opportunities at scale in real-time. AI systems also exist to run profitable ads at scale. Even very smart human strategists can’t beat the machines at their own game.

That means once one brand in an industry begins to use AI-powered platforms, their competitors will be forced to follow suit.

That’s even more likely to happen as brands look to pivot quickly and make up lost ground as a result of the pandemic.

This is just scratching the surface of BrightEdge’s research. You can see a full on-demand webinar with further insights below.

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