Lily-Rae Hewitt Jasilek

Retail & Banking 4.0 – AI, Big Data, Automation & Digital Marketing: What you need to know

Emergent technologies such as AI, Big Data, and Automation have changed the face of Digital Marketing and it doesn’t stop there: marketers can now leverage these tools to create more effective and better targeted digital marketing campaigns.

Through these new technologies, marketers’ are streamlining their efforts to provide personalised services to customers, based on their interests, preferences, and behaviours. These recently developed systems help in achieving better conversion rates and provide higher ROI for businesses.

But, how exactly are each of them changing the ever-evolving field of digital marketing?

Big data speeds up data process

Before the development of big data, marketers’ had to manually organise and interpret tons of data to gain new insights and new trends about their customers. With big data analytics, marketers’ can now accumulate, manage, and process large amounts of consumer data at a much faster pace.

This depth of consumer information makes it possible for marketers’ to obtain actionable and meaningful insights to create ‘highly-effective’ marketing strategies. In fact, 54% of Chief Marketing Officers (CMO’s) believe that big data and analytics will be essential to their marketing strategy over the long-term.

The use of platforms such as Google Trends, to monitor trending topics is arguably the most approachable method of using big data. Marketers’ can use this data to access and understand the popularity of certain topics across countries, languages, and sectors. Applying the found keywords and literacy trends in future posts will support their marketing campaigns while optimising their engagement rate across the board.

With the help of big data, marketers can: derive knowledge from data points, analyse market trends, gauge customer behaviour, and even understand their competitors better.

AI enhances targeted content marketing

With AI solutions, marketers can harness this customer data to target potential buyers, helping them identify key areas which they should focus on. For instance, AI can uncover hidden insight and make content recommendations based on customers’ past behaviour, historical data, location etc. This allows companies to offer a personalised experience to each customer, as well as helping them deliver successful marketing campaigns. An study tells us that ‘brands who have recently adopted AI to enhance their marketing strategy, predict a 37% reduction in costs along with a 39% increase in revenue figures on average by the end of 2020 alone’.

The importance of adopting AI-powered digital marketing platforms cannot be denied. Scripted, a database created in 2006, is an online marketplace that uses AI to connect marketers’ to freelance writers. With the help of machine learning to analyse different writing samples, it identifies the most qualified writers to produce suited content. The topic and style of writing, amongst many other factors, is then matched to the original request. The marketer can then include personalised messages into this bespoke content, targeting potential buyers more promptly.

This tool, mixed with a dose of human measures, can make content production and distribution faster, smarter, and scalable. It is in this human-AI collaboration that the future of targeted content marketing lies.

Automation makes task management easier

It is well known that in most businesses, marketers’ tend to juggle a range of different tasks. One day they might be updating the landing pages of a website and creating social media ads. The next day, they could be creating blog articles or analysing data. The role can therefore be extremely varied and every day is different. Studies show that once a workflow is interrupted, it takes an average of 23 minutes to get back to the initial task at hand. This can accumulate to a huge amount of time per week, per worker, slowing down the completion of bigger department-wide goals.

To help with these functions, many marketing departments automate tasks like posting on social media, email marketing, and ad campaigns – not just to make the whole process a little easier, but so they can provide a more personalised experience and enhance the customer’s journey. Sprout Social is a prime example of marketing automation being used to save time and effort. While it simultaneously creates valuable reports, across multiple networks, using measuring units such as the Click Through Rate (CTR) to optimise any further posting.

Research from The Annuitas Group, tells us that businesses using marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified leads. The time and cost-saving effects of marketing automation can only increase as an organisation grows in size and complexity.

Which industries are leveraging AI, big data, and automation?

Although AI, big data, and automation adoption vary from industry to industry, they are becoming increasingly more prevalent in the finance, eCommerce, and retail industries.

Here are some examples of companies leveraging these technologies:

The North Face leveraging IBM AI-powered tech

The North Face, makers of outdoor apparel, equipment, and footwear, are a great example of eCommerce retailers leveraging AI-powered technology to better understand consumers.

By using IBM’s AI solution called Watson, The North Face was able to help consumers determine their perfect jacket. To achieve this, they asked customers questions like “where and when will you be using your jacket?” through voice input AI technology. Based on variables such as location and gender preference, the software then scans options available to help customers find the item that they are looking for.

By using IBM’s AI solution, the company was able to remove friction points for customers such as data entry and it improved efficiency and conversion rates for the marketing team.

Nike’s Stylebot automation technology personalising customers’ experience

Nike recently implemented a bot to promote Nike Air Max Day. The Nike StyleBot brought the brand’s unique Nike ID platform to Facebook Messenger through an AI eCommerce chatbot that was created by Snap. Customers could design and create their own shoe designs as well as browse other versions to help inspire their own designs.

This strategy not only helped the sports retailer to engage with customers and personalise their experience, but Nike’s chatbot improved CTR by 12.5X and sales conversions by 4X, making it one of the best performing campaigns to date.

Tesco leveraged big data analytics to customise coupons

Major grocery supermarket brands like Tesco’s have also leveraged big data analytics to customise coupons and vouchers for their customers, which, as a result, increased their coupon redemption rate from 3% to 70%. This just highlights the impact data analytics can have in the retail sector when used correctly.

Natwest AI chatbot aims to address customer queries

Last year, Natwest, began testing a text-based chatbot called ‘Cora’ which customers can use on the bank’s online help pages to find answers to any queries that they may have.

According to the Guardian, Cora currently has the capacity to provide basic answers to common questions such as ‘How do I log-in to online banking?’, ‘How do I apply for a mortgage?’ or ‘What do I do if I lose my card?’. Just like a human, Cora is built to deal with new subject matters and can learn from the mistakes it makes when interacting with other humans.

Even though Natwest hasn’t fully deployed this technology yet, they believe that it can eliminate unnecessary waiting time, and deliver more immersive, personalised customer experiences around the clock.

What skills will marketers’ need to thrive in the age of AI?

As AI and automation become more and more ingrained in the field of digital marketing, these types of technology haven’t evolved enough to replace humans just yet.

Instead of fully replacing marketers’, the emergence of AI represents a huge opportunity for both humans and AI to co-exist and achieve increased efficiency. While AI may currently replace a few routine marketing tasks, it will help transform the role of marketing and compel marketers’ to improve their skill sets as AI becomes more and more advanced over time.

This begs the question: what skills do marketers need to develop to co-exist with AI?

Soft skills

AI can solve some of the most perplexing issues that marketers’ tend to face, but it lacks interpersonal skills/soft skills, which are necessary for collaboration and connecting. The blend of soft skills such as communication, empathy, and curiosity are traits that only humans possess and it might be something that AI systems won’t be able to replicate. However, as AI technology like chatbots continue to evolve, taking the time to hone in on and develop these soft skills will be crucial if marketers’ want to remain relevant.

Data and analytics

AI is well-equipped to manage and sort out large chunks of data. It can be used to organise data, predict new consumer patterns, and highlight valuable insights that humans could potentially miss. But that data needs to be translated in order for marketers to apply those insights to their digital marketing campaigns. Therefore, marketers need to be able to read, interpret, and visualise data to generate more successful marketing results.

Create engaging content

Although AI is capable of creating content through social media posts, blog posts paid ads, and emails, it cannot personalise content in the same way human’s can. Therefore, marketers’ need to have the creative ability to produce different types of content that can inform, engage, and entertain their audience. By combining AI with effective content, marketers’ can drive higher conversion rates.  

Call to action

Here at UpSkill Digital, we realise that AI, automation, and big data are having a remarkable impact on all aspects of digital marketing. Digital marketers who continuously learn, develop their skills, and evolve alongside AI will be able to deliver effective marketing campaigns in 2020 and beyond.

Is your marketing department reaping the full benefits of AI? Do you need help in order to maximise the full power of AI? To help your marketing team make the most of these fast-evolving technologies, we provide AI for Leaders Training. If you would like to learn more about this workshop, or any of our other digital marketing or soft skills training sessions, please get in touch.

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