The buzz around Artificial Intelligence (AI) has reached a fever pitch in recent months because it solves a genuine problem for businesses; it helps to manage and process complex data, so they can change the way they engage, understand and interact with their customers.
Just think – a digital campaign targeting tens of millions of people, in dozens of markets, creates more data in a day than an entire year’s worth of campaigns would have created just a decade ago. Tasks have become more time-intensive and brands are adapting to digital platforms more slowly than they’d like because they are simply collecting more data than they can manage. In fact, Adobe’s recent “Context is Everything” research found that more than half (59%) of UK brands cannot process data quickly enough, while 52% believe they are collecting too much data from too many sources.
So, how can customer experience teams, both in IT and marketing, find answers in this sea of information to stay relevant to their customers and be more efficient? And how can they help uncover new insights which will inform future activity?
One of the biggest benefits of AI is that it allows companies to spend less time looking at the past and more time gaining a step on the future. Most analytics solutions (even recent ones) were only designed to collate and summarise facts. They combine data on customers, content performance and third-party sources into a more digestible format that serves a marketing team’s reporting needs. Of course, this is hugely valuable information, but they are still limited to asking the same questions they’ve always asked, just on a larger scale.
Now, with AI, brands are uncovering insights they didn’t even think to explore. For example, marketers are finding more interesting combinations of data sets which can have much broader implications than what that data says on the surface. It can take months or even years to uncover patterns that reveal it’s time for a change, whereas AI algorithms can do the job in seconds.
This is why nearly 85% of executives believe AI will allow their company to develop or sustain a competitive advantage, according to one MIT Sloan study. Our own research reinforces this point, with the majority (91%) of UK respondents viewing personalisation as a priority. Communicating this message will help brands appreciate how they can use this technology to drive performance and have a direct impact on the bottom line.
To achieve value from data, they first need to understand the different forms of analytics currently relied on, of which there are four. This will help them to see how they can take performance to the next level:
In particular, many marketers may feel out of their depth. They likely didn’t study IT or data science, and may wonder how they are supposed to understand and use advanced data analytics technologies. But the beauty of AI is that the technology has matured and become far more accessible.
Novices or occasional users should be able to get useful, actionable insights from their data easily and on their own. They do not need to know how the technology works or be able to develop an algorithm from scratch.
UK companies have an aggressive timeline for the implementation of AI for business and customer data analytics. Just under three quarters (70%) plan to have implemented AI for business and customer analytics by 2019, going up to 92% by the end of 2020. However, the technology will drive the best results for the business when everyone is empowered to find the information they need, when they need it, and act on it in time.
Jamie Brighton is Head of Product Marketing for Adobe Experience Cloud, EMEA.
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