As surprising as it may seem, AI is no longer just a simple science fiction concept. Nowadays, it affects nearly every aspect of our personal and business lives.
From a marketing viewpoint, AI can be used to improve customers’ experiences and increase bottom lines. Using different AI applications, businesses can make the most of their customer feedback loops and ensure that their products and services meet expectations. This is vitally important, considering that about 60 percent of customers switch brands as a result of a bad experience.
However, using AI to get the results expected is not that easy. And no, we are not talking about “training” virtual assistants and robot staff to interact with customers but about using AI to maximise your inbound marketing conversion rate.
Now, a very important question every business professional should ask, is: “What is the real role of AI in inbound marketing?” To answer this question, let’s analyse AI in relation to some key areas of the customer feedback loop.
Data Collection and Analysis
Once a customer chooses one of your products or services, the continuing success of your relationship with him or her depends partly on your customer support. If you get it right, you win loyal customers for life.
But how can you make sure the support you provide meets—or, even better, exceeds—your customers’ expectations? By finding out exactly what your customers want and need.
Nowadays, people use different means of communication to provide feedback. Whilst some people prefer to send emails or fill out surveys, others will call support centres or leave comments on Facebook pages.
Getting feedback directly from your customers is a good thing. On the downside, how can you collect and analyse all those bits of information expressed in a language that—as creative and contextual as it already is—evolves constantly?
Analysing large amounts of complex and diverse information, and getting in-depth insights into customer feedback is a Herculean task that you can accomplish only with the help of AI.
By leveraging innovations in AI, deep analytics and natural language processing, and integrating them into the core of your inbound marketing strategy, you can go beyond simply bridging the gaps between Big Data and strategic execution.
Harnessing insights from the perspective of your customers will allow you to come up with better products and services, more effective inbound marketing strategies, and efficient lead generation and sales activities, whilst creating an experience that is bespoke to each customer, across different channels.
AI gives you access to a new data universe. With various AI tools, you can analyse large clusters of user-generated data relating to your blog posts, videos, ads, landing pages, answers to questions and even comments on your Facebook page.
Since your customers are what they read and watch, you can identify new behavioural patterns with the help of different AI applications. Being able to analyse the content, product and service choices of your leads and customers can help you indirectly predict what types of products and services they prefer, and even what they are going to do next.
Also, AI tools allow you to find out how individual customers use your services, products and systems. The results from such an analysis will enable you to learn more about individual customer demands and depict distinguishing features, whilst gaining insights into the specific preferences and requirements that drive particular user groups.
Based on certain criteria, such as location, age, gender, interests and new behavioural patterns, you will be able to better segment your customer basis. More effective customer segmentation and targeting, implicitly, is of great interest especially to a business facing competitive market situations.
What’s more, by combining AI with CRM and cognitive APIs, you will be able to move beyond customer segments and reach down to individual levels, which allow for more individual actions, at a larger scale. This will have a positive impact not only on the development of your products and services but also on your sales strategies and bottom line.
Social Media and Sales Strategies
Vision-driven AI applications can also help marketers excel in two other important inbound marketing areas: social media and sales.
In a world where high expectations relate to ever-expanding data sets, being able to transform information into meaningful insights has become a critical aspect for the businesses whose success depends on their interaction with customers.
Providing real-time insights into social media channels, AI applications can be used not only to collect, analyse and understand all the “unstructured” data that abounds across social media but also to engage with customers, drive meaningful, actionable conversations and offer real-time solutions to their problems.
This approach will give you the opportunity to make customer experiences more interesting and, if you are really good at, even memorable.
On the other hand, the mechanics of AI technologies often involve combining different algorithms with specific data sets. Doing this can help you accomplish predetermined outputs, such as sales targets. Once the expected outputs are achieved, you will be able to identify the patterns that made it possible for you to get the results predicted.
In conclusion, AI is one of the most important elements your business needs in order to close the customer feedback loop, regardless of whether your intent is to reinforce a positive experience or rectify a negative one. What’s more, relying on the input and efficiency of AI applications can help any company increasingly personalise its inbound marketing tactics and positively impact all the cycles of the customer journey.
As experienced marketing professionals, we expect AI to disrupt the marketing landscape with a force similar to that of the mobile revolution. However, we know that AI can enable businesses not only to engage with customers in a truly personalised and impactful way but also to increase the efficiency of their inbound marketing operations, so they can deliver smarter, more relevant and profitable engagements across all channels. For all these reasons, the adoption of AI is critical, irrespective of how challenging it is.
AI to Inbound Infographic
We have created to following infographic to help explain how AI fits in with Inbound Marketing. Also available as a PDF