AI has radically altered consumer behavior, and brands need to play catch-up.
That’s the key insight from Mathew Sweezey, Director of Market Strategy at Salesforce, in his talk at the Marketing AI Conference (MAICON) 2021.
Sweezey calls this new consumer the “post-AI consumer,” and his talk provides a tactical playbook for understanding and reaching them.
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Post-AI consumer behavior
What behaviors do post-AI consumers exhibit? There are seven major ones.
- Empowered expectations. Post-AI consumers don’t have short attention spans, contrary to what you might think. They just have extremely high expectations and demand best-in-class experiences.
- AI helps them make better decisions. Post-AI consumers routinely use AI-powered apps and services to make decisions.
- They have more free time. AI services from Amazon touchless stores to self-driving cars are freeing up the time of these consumers.
- They reward better recommendations. When you leverage AI to provide these consumers with better recommendations, your business wins. (For instance, Netflix’s recommendation engine alone adds $1 billion a year to their bottom line.)
- They ask more, and better, questions. We now have the ability to ask more questions than ever before and get answers in seconds thanks to AI-assisted services like Google and voice. This leads consumers to make more considered purchases.
- They use AI to hack their lives. Consumers are ready and willing to use AI to produce better outcomes through wearables like the Apple Watch or AI-powered apps like Noom.
- They have a different “job to be done.” “Jobs to be done” is one way marketers can determine what role their product or services fills in a consumer’s life. That’s about to change. The post-AI consumer is no longer performing the actual work—they’re managing the programs that complete tasks on their behalf.
How do you reach the post-AI consumer?
With this changing behavior, how can brands reach the post-AI consumer? Sweezey offers three tips.
1. Focus on outcomes.
Brands need to focus on the outcomes their products or services enable. As the post-AI consumer manages programs to enrich their lives, they’re less focused on features and more focused on benefits.
As a result, outcome-based selling should be top-of-mind for every company.
2. Context, not creative copy, is what breaks through.
It’s not about spending days to craft the perfect piece of copy anymore. Marketing cycles are now tracked in minutes, rather than months. Context is what drives engagement. Brands need to engage with consumers over shorter time frames for more relevance and resonance.
Fast advertising is key. Messages must be created, tested, and deployed in near real-time, so that feedback from one round of messaging can be deployed for the next one, creating a constant feedback loop.
3. Create data flywheels.
To reach post-AI consumers, you need to offer better experiences. Data is the fuel for those experiences. First-party data must be collected, connected, and activated by brands to succeed.
The goal is to create a flywheel: Collect data, deploy insights dynamically to create better experiences and outcomes for post-AI consumers, and then use new data from these experiences and outcomes to power next actions. Rinse and repeat continuously to spin the flywheel faster.
As Chief Content Officer, Mike Kaput uses content marketing, marketing strategy, and marketing technology to grow and scale traffic, leads, and revenue for Marketing AI Institute. Mike is the co-author of Marketing Artificial Intelligence: AI, Marketing and the Future of Business (Matt Holt Books, 2022). See Mike's full bio.