Embrace Technology But You Must Keep Your Marketing Human

Original article was published on Artificial Intelligence on Medium

Embrace Technology But You Must Keep Your Marketing Human

AI, was the Top Marketing Trend of 2018

Use AI to Inform and Engage Your Customers

During the last year most Top Trend for 2018 lists that you have probably seen referred to AI, machine learning or chatbots. Marketing teams are leveraging AI for social listening, using it to inform and engage their customers in a different type of relationship.

AI can be Unsettling to Some Visitors

Marketing teams are adopting AI to optimize work flows and make them more seamless. A side benefit is to make the interactions more predictive and their ad targeting more precise, and strangely unsettling to many.

Consumer Experience vs. Marketing Efficiency

Leverage Technology to Convert Prospects

Marketers are leveraging technologies to understand and convert prospects. This lowers human capital costs and creates a more personalized experiences at scale.

We’re going to leave machine-assisted optimization out of this conversation since it’s numbers driven and not about direct digital interactions.

Customer Experience vs Marketing Efficiency

To look at what AI means for sales and marketing, we are using robots to better understand and connect with humans. If you believe the hype, 85% of all customer interactions will be with a robot within 2 years.

We’ve seen this in the movies, but in the real world marketers having to make real-life decisions between customer experience and marketing efficiency.

Do Consumers Accept and Expect AI?

AI and machine learning are crucial technologies that will transform our global economy and the marketing function is no exception. Human capital is expensive, and really smart human capital is really expensive, so it makes sense to augment our teams with the best technologies.

AI Optimizes Your Customer Experience

There is an upside for well-crafted AI interactions. There are already significant consumer expectations for it. According to BOP Design, 48% of US consumers expect brands to know about them and to help them discover new products and services.

Intelligent targeting and ad optimization are amazing and have led me to purchase several things I never knew existed.

AI vs Human Interactions

AI Interactions May Damage Your User Experience

With a wealth of marketing opportunities comes a glut of pitfalls. Consequences from poorly managed machine interactions that could be damaging for your customer experience and your entire brand.

Human Interaction Drives Conversions

There is an increased focus on making artificial intelligence work for marketers. We can’t lose sight of what is really driving conversions and closing business for your company, your human employees.

Human Connections Beat AI for Brand Authenticity

AI Makes Human Connections More Powerful

For marketers, the trend might be in AI, but the future is in making human connections more powerful. Technology that helps us create better human-to-human connections is where marketers should be focusing.

Creating customized content, scalable advocacy, and more powerful networking and sharing capabilities, just to name a few. Making your brand feel more human in the age of AI is more important than it has ever been.

Why is this so important?

Custom Content Beats Brand Marketing

As you read this, the odds are that your customers already don’t trust your brand. BOP Design reports that 54% of people simply don’t trust brands, and injecting artificiality into your brand certainly doesn’t make things better.

Compare that to companies that are focused on creating custom content for their customers, only 22% of their consumers distrust them. Put another way, consumes believe that brands that are less trustworthy are also brands that are less human.

Is the Future AI or Humanity?

What’s the answer? AI will be an integral part of your customer experience. You must never lose the feelings of being human. If your company isn’t actively trying to involve humans in its brand strategy, it’s not only less likely to be trusted, but it’s leaving money on the table.

People prefer to interact with other people, not with brands. As shocking as it may sound, even digital natives prefer to pick up the phone to talk to a human at a business rather than interact with the business digitally.

Even Millennials Prefer Human Interaction

According to MatterSight, only 1% of those screen-obsessed millennials would prefer to deal with a brand over social media than in person. Add the fact that marketing messages reach 350% more people when they’re shared by humans than by brands and it’s pretty clear that, for marketers, the future is human.

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Balance Your Technology And Content

Invest in Technology, but Keep Things Human

As you invest in new marketing technology, remember to keep things human. More importantly, don’t try and fool people into thinking your robot is a human. We’re getting close to living in Blade Runner, but we’re not quite there yet.

Your Customer Experience Can’t Feel Artificial

Chatbots, right-time communications, recommendation engines and the like are all transparently programmed. If you intelligently leverage AI, it can help you create great customer experiences. If you rely on AI too heavily, it will make your brand’s customer experience feel artificial.

Email Usage Growth Beats Everything Else

Zapier published this infographic a while ago, but it’s a good reminder that the main driver of your business isn’t Slack or your Facebook strategy, it’s simply email. Zapier recently published research that revealed an interesting trend, while team chat platforms like Slack have had a meteoric rise, email continues to grow at an even faster rate.