Change is the only constant in digital marketing. Not only has the consumer decision journey grown to become more and more predominantly digital and complex, the amount of intellect needed to understand that customer journey has growth, too. This means that it’s becoming increasingly difficult for brands to connect with their customers in an authentic way.
The new customer experience battlefield is where brands compete for attention with a personalized digital experience. By 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key differentiator between brands. With more data at our disposal than ever, AI technologies are now allowing marketers to make sense of it all.
In fact, AI provides a scalable, highly-efficient way to deliver on big data promises.
Recently BrightEdge surveyed over 500 search, content, and digital marketers on how they view AI and machine learning. They were asked eight key questions related to the future of marketing and topics centered around the challenges, solutions, and adoption of artificial intelligence.
You can download the full survey and findings here—and find some of the key findings below.
1. Major Marketing Trends Are All AI-Related
The BrightEdge survey highlights the fact that marketing is undergoing a massive transformation—the discipline is more data-driven than ever before and making sense of data is the key to delivering personalized (intelligent) experiences.
When asked “What do you see as the next big marketing trend?” respondents pointed to all areas of marketing that are all AI-related. The top three answers were:
- Consumer Personalization
- Artificial Intelligence
- Voice Search
These answers accounted for 75% of all responses. And the answers make one thing very clear: Marketers are excited about AI.
2. AI Helps Marketers Better Understand Customers
The need to change and adapt to the connected consumer has never been more important. Winning requires marketers and brands to leverage AI, machine learning, and deep learning technology to drive deep insights that can be used to create a strong competitive advantage and build a personalized customer experience.
When asked what successes they were seeing with AI, marketers pointed to a few big areas where AI is driving success:
- Better understanding of the customer
- More productivity and time savings
- Better performing content
The power of AI today lies in giving a clear view of the consumer’s path to purchase. That helps marketers engage in digital storytelling that is tailored to a consumer’s past interactions with the brand. This kind of customer understanding also results in better performing content, too. On top of it all, AI is driving good old productivity and time savings for already busy marketers.
3. Marketers Expect Solutions Providers to Be AI-Ready
One last insight we found interesting was that the vast majority of marketers expect marketing tech to be AI-ready in some fashion. When asked if they expected their marketing tech provider to have native AI capabilities, just 9% answered “no.”
The rest answered anywhere on the scale of saying it’d be interesting to see, but not a deal-breaker to AI is a must-have and is mission-critical.
This all points to a singular truth:
The neural networks, advanced algorithms, and deep data that drives AI help marketers understand the intent of consumer inputs better. And it helps them provide better, more accurate outputs. AI is allowing marketers to make better decisions—the single most important output marketers produce for their companies.
Better decisions are why marketers get ahead and why they get promoted to higher levels of responsibility. Machine learning and automation is now a must-have for staying ahead of market trends, consumer preferences, and competitive shifts in the market—and marketers are vocal about this.
See what else they said about AI: download the full survey here.
Andy Betts is a chief marketer, consultant and digital hybrid with more than 25 years of experience in digital and marketing technology—working across London, Europe, New York, and San Francisco. He works as a global executive adviser and consultant for start-ups, agencies, and many Fortune 500 companies. He spends considerable time working in marketing technology communities on strategic marketing initiatives, influence and public relations projects.