A little more than a decade ago, digital advertising had two big arms: display and email. Today, the arms have multiplied to include digital TV and radio, display, email, mobile, native, search, social, and video. Big difference, right?
Digital marketing has become an eight-armed marketing hydra, with each arm accounting for one of the channels markets must factor into a digital strategy. Each arm has a "mind" of its own; each clamoring for budget based on disparate key performance indicators (KPIs).
Unfortunately, in the rush to compete in each of those channels, marketers have come to rely on different teams and tools, some in-house, others outsourced, but all uncoordinated.
Moreover, marketers have more opportunities to appeal to customers than they did a decade ago solely based on the number of channels available to target. However, keeping messaging and strategy unified as a consumer interaction swells has become a difficult undertaking.
The different arms of this hydra don't know what the others are up to. The results are greater costs, duplication, waste and, worst of all, unhappy customers constantly hounded and targeted with irrelevant messages.
The consequence is your marketing becomes anti-branding. Even worse, your customers adopt ad-blockers.
Acting in Unison
But what if marketers could give the multichannel hydra a single brain that acts on a unified information stream? What if that brain could constantly learn to make smarter decisions to lower costs, more efficiently achieve goals, and build a knowledge base that ensured that customers were never hounded and always informed by your messages?
Authentic marketing messaging will come to fruition for marketers who implement solutions that use artificial intelligence and machine learning to track and execute marketing strategies.
Marketing brains that unite, coordinate, attribute, and execute custom messages across all channels and devices will ensure that orders are executed faster than, and in place of, an army of planners and analysts.
A consumer researches his upcoming trip on his computer at work, crowdsources recommendations on his commute home on the Facebook mobile app, and searches a variety of destinations and flight options in the next few weeks before going directly to the chosen travel site to purchase the ticket.
Marketers for travel sites targeting prospective customers not only need to be present in all channels where prospects use media to navigate the user journey, they also need to identify where users engage and apply this knowledge across channels.
A single, executable brain for all channels will make this seemingly uncomplicated and separate marketing efforts from a seamless data processing, attributing, and application process.
With the help of an artificial intelligence marketing brain, the consumer researching destinations will now see a banner ad for the travel retailer. The AI brain will learn that he engages on display with the banner but is not active on the website. It will then adjust the message automatically to entice him and spread the word across his preferred channels. He now is being prompted to like the retailer’s Facebook page (Facebook is his favorite channel) to receive a discount on his next booked flight. To further entice him to book the flight, a paid ad, as well as a top listed result, is shown to him.
With the behavior identified and the prospect's preferred user engagement channel for intent-driven conversion stored in the system, marketers can use this information to target future users with similar behavior patterns. The AI brain is continuously creating user audience profiles to ensure that the new acquisition is strong and the messages are constantly adapting to changing user behaviors.
That process is instantaneous. It's automatic, and it is happening all the time. With a developed AI base and adaptive machine learning capabilities to support the system, a vendor need only be aware of constant changes in user behavior and the addition of digital channels as they are developed.
What You Need to Do
What decisions can marketers make today to reach this autonomous messaging future faster than competitors? Marketers need to:
- Unify data
- Assess and unite channel silos
- Benchmark versus competitors
- Evaluate unified, machine intelligent solutions from the best-of-breed vendors
Marketers who take these steps will emerge with marketing brains that can make real-time decisions on which message to play to each customer across all channels and devices with the help of marketing platforms that capitalize on unified data combined with the power of machine intelligence. This AI-driven marketing is not something of the future—it is now.