1. Trigger a Purchase at the Right Time

How to Boost Your Marketing with Artificial Intelligence

Self-driving cars, intelligent drones, robots and more: Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is expected to be the biggest revolution in the digital space since the dawn of the world wide web. And maybe the last one, as cynics like to say: From Stanley Kubrick (2001: A Space Odyssey) to Stephen Hawking, many have warned about the dangers of AI surpassing us.

From a marketing perspective, AI looks like a great, rather than a gloomy, possibility. The future is full of promising applications for it. Here are some you can already use:

Predictive Algorithms

Tracking tools have become more and more sophisticated. They make it possible to track all the actions of your website visitors, from the first visit on — but for the marketer there lies a challenge in actually reading the phenomenal amount of data they gather. “Big data” is only of use if you can leverage it for concrete actions.

This is where AI comes in: It can review all the data from the past to predict the future — or anticipate likely upcoming behavior of the customer. This allows the marketer to know exactly when and where to invest time and energy in order to maximize lifetime value.

For now, Agilone is the most advanced platform to combine precise tracking with corresponding actions. The company helps retailers leverage their consumer analytics with concrete actionables for campaigns.

With their latest update in September 2016, Agilone announced integration of data across all channels: digital, physical and mobile. This means all interactions between customer and brand, wherever they may happen, are identified and tracked. This “omni-channel” approach is the best way to provide a customer with a personalized experience with the brand along their journey across all channels.

Ultimately, thanks to machine learning, algorithms will become better at predicting behavior. The marketer will be able to reach out at exactly the right moment, offering the right product when the lead is the most likely to proceed to checkout. With automation, this outreach could happen by itself.

Personalized Aesthetics

The existing image recognition technologies on the market have already started wowing users: Snapchat’s face swap has boosted the app’s success, even if the technology behind it is limited to basic facial recognition. Google is automatically sorting through its users’ photos to present smart photo albums.

What is the application for marketing here? The establishment of a true brand image is no longer just a matter of a logo. Promoting a consistent story is a visual challenge. Most successful brands have clear guidelines for their visual communication. But brand managers can struggle to find photos that respect those guidelines.

Photo curation solves that problem, but it’s costly and time consuming. At EyeEm, we offer automation to this process. Based on a selection of representative photos, the EyeEm Vision technology can search a catalog of over 80 million images and find a selection of photos matching the desired visual style.

That technology is already available — clients like The Boston Consulting Group are successfully using Personalized Aesthetics to source images. Curious how it works? You can try the curation engine for free.

Virtual Assistants

Bots are revolutionizing customer support by managing some of the most basic interactions with customers.

They will soon be able to assist you in your daily tasks as a Marketing Manager or Growth Hacker. The first application is on the information research side.

Hubspot’s CTO Dharmesh Shah developed a bot for this purpose: GrowthBot is designed for Marketers and answers their questions on Slack or Facebook Messenger:

- What are the top articles on growth hacking?

- What software does Hubspot use?

- How was organic traffic last week?

On Slack, you should add GrowthBot to your #marketing channel, so that any member of your team can ask questions. It’s still quite limited, but getting smarter every week.

Ultimately, smarter bots will proactively provide comprehensive reports, review tons of data, and propose relevant actions to take immediately. Who will still need a human Business Analyst?

Automation and Bots

With the collapse of organic reach, it’s become harder to catch your subscriber’s attention on social networks — unless you regularly invest budget into buying reach, like boosting posts on Facebook. That makes social media management more expensive while profitability remains uncertain.

Many Social Media Managers have begun using automation tools like IFTTT. With it, they automate the publication of specific content, for example, automatically publishing a blog post across all social pages. Some tools are also dedicated to a specific platform. On Instagram, Instagress is a great bot that likes, comments, follows and unfollows 24/7. It does what no human can do, and therefore accelerates your social growth.

In the future, artificial intelligence will be able to spot attractive content for your subscribers and relay it automatically, organize quick contests, interact with your members. Social media is bound to get a lot more interactive.

For now, the most famous experiment in this space remains Microsoft’s Tay bot. Its results were mixed, to say the least, but it is only a matter of time until a viable solution will become available.

This list isn’t exhaustive, and many more domains exist: from dynamic and personalized price definition to ad targeting and even voice recognition.

Marketing is about to upended by AI. However, there’s no reason to fear, since the changes won’t be what the critics were originally afraid of. Rather than a hostile intelligence, we’re creating advanced analytics platforms that are able to review large amounts of data, “learn” from it and provide corresponding ready-to-use solutions. Companies that quickly embrace AI are best positioned to boost their growth and stand out from the crowd in the coming decade.

The main challenge will still be to take advantage of those new AI-powered possibilities while staying true and authentic to human eyes. This is the reason human marketers will always be needed behind the most successful campaigns, AI is just a fantastic tool to augment their ideas and capabilities.

This article was written by Sane Lebrun, @EyeEm’s Head of Digital Marketing. You can follow him on Twitter here.