Financial marketers can take advantage of the recent developments within AI to ensure their efforts are executed in a more accurate and efficient manner. Integrating the power of AI into your marketing strategy can ensure your budget is spent in the right areas and your reporting is meticulous. There’s a lot to think about, so grab a coffee and let’s get to it.
For years, we’ve been hearing about artificial intelligence (AI) and more recently machine and deep learning, but what does it mean and how can it be integrated into your marketing strategy? Well, to start off with, AI can be defined as allowing a machine to carry out human tasks in a ‘smart’ way. A report released by PwC stated that AI could add around $15.7 trillion (roughly the output of China and India combined) to the global economy by 2030. With this in mind, it’s worth spending some time to break down what AI really is and how you can integrate it into your marketing strategy in the best possible way.
The terms AI and machine learning can often get confused with one another. Machine learning refers to a machine which can access data and facilitates a process for it to learn for itself without being programmed how to do so. Machine Learning is an important aspect of AI and is needed to make it work efficiently. No human can match the level of responsiveness that machine learning can provide. Algorithms are created to operate on data being received which is then used to forecast future outcomes. We’ve seen glimpses of its potential, but mostly, it can be used to develop simulations to predict how specific campaigns will perform based on previous results. Predictive analytics can identify and target visitors who exhibit the same behaviour as visitors who are known to have a high lifetime value (LTV).
But marketing managers shouldn’t run for the hills just yet. There is a lot of marketing automation software available which makes the day-to-day running of a marketing department more efficient. If your marketing strategy is your driver, popping you on the green, then AI is your putter, bringing the money home.
To get a glimpse of how AI will transform and enhance business productivity we need to understand how to combine the advantage of humans with the power of technology. AI in marketing it is often heavily focused on predictive analytics – give customers what they want before they know they want it. But this is just the start. Some examples of how AI can be integrated into your strategy are to include advanced data analytics tools, social media sentiment analysis, retargeting, lead scoring and speech recognition.
AI vs. human behaviour
AI is causing huge interest and excitement in the market but can the creative intelligence from humans which includes the ability to be emotional, sympathetic and flexible be outdone by AI which basis its decisions on logical, algorithmic and programmatic orders? Well, the answer is YES. The human brain encounters cognitive biases, which are systematic mistakes when we make decisions. This can include stereotyping, selective perception, information bias and overconfidence. These, amongst others, are reasons why using AI to support decision making outweighs relying on human behaviour alone.
Using AI to enhance your customer experience
Companies which aren’t integrating AI in order to improve customer experiences are going to be playing catch up. Humans can make mistakes as a result of not analysing complex data correctly. AI software comes in here to improve a marketing department’s productivity, save time and streamline a team’s efforts.
In line with data collection and security, it’s worth mentioning GDPR which is a new EU data protection law that will come into effect on 25th May 2018. This is early innings, but in a nutshell, it will require companies to change the way they store and secure personal data of individuals. It’s not exactly clear how things will change for CMO’s but it’s important to continue to observe announcements about how this will allow data to be used for marketing purposes, and especially how it is being stored securely.
AI and the future of the financial services industry
Strategic investment in the right type of AI technology is needed in order to make it work for you. Brokers need to be open to innovative approaches and task restructuring across all departments. We all want to gain a deeper understanding of our customer’s profitability to ensure we spend our budget in the right areas. For brokers wanting to develop their product offering, they can use AI to gain a better understanding when making performance-based decisions and being more transparent in their reporting. Profit and loss data can be collected and analysed to support decisions about budget allocation towards customer acquisition and/or retention.
The finance industry is becoming ever more turbulent and is rapidly evolving, meaning your customer support needs to stand out from the competition. To get a glimpse of how AI will transform the financial services industry we can look at the compliance procedure every broker needs to go through. AI can help filter through applications and speed up compliance checks; this kind of support is invaluable in a regulatory environment which is constantly changing and becoming more scrutinous.
Using AI to make everyday marketing better
Chatbots are definitely game-changing. According to IBM, Chatbots for customer service will help businesses save $8 billion per year. Automating conversations is becoming the new norm and humans are becoming more and more comfortable conversing with technology. Chatbots are conversational interfaces which can reduce knowledge leakage by using natural language processing (NLP) technology to communicate with customers. The technology is capable of producing logical, coherent text and stores the most common questions and answers being put forward to a client services department or a sales rep. Gartner’s recent study stated by year-end 2018, a customer digital assistant will recognise individuals by face and voice across channels and partners.
Another way NLP can be used within financial service is to give more meaning to numbers. By taking massive amounts of repetitive data we can request the most important figures be extracted and organized into a manageable report or executive summary which is easier to understand and to use to make accurate decisions.
The voice search revolution
There is no question that in 2018 voice technology is going to disrupt the way people search for companies and products. Matt Bush, director of agencies at Google UK stated “Our research shows that a staggering 75% of consumers said they search more now they can use voice search, while 83% of consumers agree voice capabilities will make it easier to search for things and 89% believe voice will enable users to find things more quickly,” But how do you optimise your website for Voice Search, i.e. spoken voice commands instead of typed words? If you already have SEO best practices in place then you don’t have to change much as Google recognises voice search queries in a similar way. Just make sure you don’t hide any answers in images and keep them in HTML as you want to make it easy for Google. In terms of site structure, you should keep in mind that when customers use voice search they are usually looking for answers to specific questions, for example, your address and telephone number or a particular product offering. You should structure your content to make it easy for Google to crawl your website to find the answers to these common questions. It might seem time-consuming and simple but try preemptively answering some questions to see if Google manages to find the answers.
Another way to leverage AI in everyday marketing campaigns is to collect and correctly analyse the information which is already present. Marketers don’t need a degree in mathematics to be aware that subscriber data used correctly will help send targeted and relevant emails. People are bombarded with content everywhere they go. The marketing strategies which will be successful in the long run are those that use this structured and unstructured data and turn them into insights to provide customers with a personalised experience delivered in a language that suits them, at a time convenient for them.
Whether you want to boost sales or optimise new leads, there are many ways in which powerful customer behaviour information collected from your website analytics can be used to trigger campaigns. Highly persuasive personalisation can be achieved by looking at the time users spend on a webpage, specific movements and drop off rates (especially on an application form). Once this data has been collected and stored securely it’s easier to create a customer segment and remarket relevant content. Gartner predicts, “By 2018, 20% of all business content will be authored by machines.”
What if each time a customer contacted your company, you had a system in place which remembers the trader’s entire history of interactions with any company representative, trades placed, common behaviours, preferences and timings? This would allow you and your team to have more intelligent conversations and avoid going over often repeated processes, conversations or problems.
Ray Kurzweil, Google’s Director of Engineering, said that in just over ten years “singularity” (when artificial intelligence exceeds a human’s intellectual capacity) will come into effect. But he’s not worried, explaining “What’s actually happening is [machines] are powering all of us. They’re making us smarter. They may not yet be inside our bodies, but, by the 2030s, we will connect our neocortex, the part of our brain where we do our thinking, to the cloud….. we’re going to be funnier, we’re going to be better at music. We’re going to be sexier. We’re really going to exemplify all the things that we value in humans to a greater degree.”
A marketing campaign involves coordinating many different responsibilities and tasks. It would be impossible for one AI to take over every aspect of a marketing campaign without human interaction. Tasks that require less emotional judgment are increasingly susceptible to machine learning. AI can help companies tailor products to each individual customer by incorporate real-time data into actionable insights within the marketing material the customer sees.
In the near future, AI will affect almost all areas of a marketing strategy to a certain degree. Without the integration of AI traditional marketing models will soon not be worth the paper they are written on. With this said, if done wrong AI can cause operational, financial and legal damage as well as affecting a company’s reputation to ensure you have a dedicated team to decide how and when to implement AI.