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What we learned from AIMCON 2018: The latest on how AI will affect Marketers and Marketing

A recent McKinsey study found that AI will have the most impact in marketing and sales, supply chain management, and manufacturing.

So where do you start?

When we talk to people about AI, often the first thing people tell us is about a negative experience that they have had or how it just doesn’t work for them.

“It never recognises my voice”

“I always get told to call someone, because it doesn’t have the answer to my question”

“I can always tell it’s a robot”

It’s true – the technology is in its early stages, it’s still learning and it doesn’t always work that well today. But if you think about how quickly technology advances, it won’t be long before the power of AI is being harnessed and if you want to run with the disruption pack, you need to be getting started now.

Try it out. Make some mistakes and start learning!

Last week at AIMCON, the AI event for Marketers was based on the theme “Think big – start small.” The speakers encouraged us to think about the power of AI and where it would go, before taking a first baby step into exploring this new tech.

So how do you get started today, how do we break down big ambitions into small bite sized chunks to  test with customers?

Here is a short summary of the speakers and their view in this area:

Jodie Sangster-  IBM Spoke about getting to know your customers better and the ways in which cognitive AI can support humans, not replace them.

AI excels at

  • Locating information
  • Eliminating biases
  • Finding patterns
  • Automating simple tasks
  • Natural language processing at scale
  • Providing endless capacity

But, AI is only as good as the information available and it often requires a human sense check, particularly in the stage of maturity we have today. If you combine AI with human judgement and intuition, you get a powerful combination.

Human + machine = 3

 

Hamish Rumbold – ClearPoint talked about the future of Voice in marketing. He explained that 50% of all searches will be made by voice by 2020. The big technology companies are investing significantly in this area as purchases through devices such as Google Home and Amazon’s Echo are projected to leap from $2bn to $40bn by 2022 in the US alone.  This trend will mean that marketers need to ensure they are thinking about their brand in terms of voice and also how they will service this new communication.  Voice is the first disruption that will be driven by the capabilities of deep learning.

Marketers need to ensure they can be found through:

  • Digital knowledge management
  • SEO SEM on steroids
  • Building ‘skills’ and ‘actions’ in your teams
  • Build an AI platform not just a chat bot

Key questions you need to be considering:
– What is the customer or business need and use case that I am going to start with?
– How are you going to measure success – better UX/CX, faster response, easier, cost out…Am I in this for the long haul
– Do you have the data, tech, architecture and capability?
– Do your homework ask providers/partners: What outcomes have they had?

You need to ensure you are thinking bigger… AI is bigger than just chat bots and digital assistants.

Hamish talks to Radio NZ about these trends:

 

Nathalie Morris  – Qrious discussed the way successful organisations are seeing integration between marketing and data teams. Bring your people closer together and create a common language around data. Also democratise your data for more ready access for everyone who may need it.

She also explained to develop a solid AI roadmap, you need to start with a solid data roadmap.

What data is available?
Is it in central location?
Is it in a common format?
Is it complete?

Nathalie views AI as the next big change for marketing after the web. The future of work as marketers will involve AI recommending actions, doing them on command and freeing us up to focus on the creative and strategy work.

Consumers are demanding more AUTHENTICITY from the brands they deal with.

 

Byron Powell – Vodafone talked us through how AI can be used in Pricing.

He quoted Warren Buffet’s statement that “The single most important decision in evaluating a business is pricing power” = the ability for a firm to increase its pricing while not losing market share He explained that marketers need to think about two things in your pricing strategy – the price of something and the value customers are getting.

He discussed that pricing can be personalised to a customer in response to how they behave and AI can help provide that insight. AI can help but there are hurdles to implementation and it can be tricky to execute.

Byron illustrated this working in practice with a recruiter who were not sure how to price their service.

They started out with a $99/mth subscription for businesses to use the service with the hypotheses that lower prices would result in more customers and consequently more profit. They then tested this strategy over a month by varying pricing while collecting information about the customer. During this month they received 25% fewer clients but increased revenue 14% with varied pricing.

More importantly, they got insights into what customers expect to pay for their service and based on an algorithm, introduced two pricing levels of $249 and $399/mth which led to an 84% increase in profit!

 

Mike Lovegrove – Jrny told us to start with the customer journey, then work out where in the journey you are going to start applying AI to better the experience.

When you apply AI to the on-boarding part of the journey, you can understand what drives customer behaviour and measure the impact of changes you make.

Customers are more likely to talk about bad over good experiences and they are impatient. They expect an immediate response. Contacting potential customers back in less than an hour, increases the change of qualifying them by 7x!

 

Alex Bartley Catt- Spacetime spoke about augmenting your customer data with their persona, so you can understand more about them and how best to meet their needs!

Adam – IBM Watson talked about the use of search and how to we overlay things like context and intent to improve search results. Understanding what the customer has in mind when they search, what is the context?

Vince Warnock – Cigna NZ.  Similar to Hamish’s analogy of thinking of your robot as a new employee, Vince compares the new AI Bot to a toddler. It probably won’t make much sense to begin with, but over time it will learn and mature.

So, in a time when the majority of chat bots are a bad or just ok experience, are there any examples which stand out as being good?

Check out Dr Wobot, a chat bot designed to use cognitive based UI to help with Mental Health. A conversation with Dr Wobot helps you to understand how you are feeling and explore ways to improve your stress levels and mental health. The big appeal of this feature is that you learn something while you interact.

The opportunity is out there and the potential for AI is huge, but getting started can be hard.

If your organisation is keen to get going but not sure where to start, then get in touch, ClearPoint can help!

Think big, start small, be awesome!

 

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