Why AI holds the key to relevance and personalisation

by John Watton

Posted on 10-30-2018

In an era of dimin­ished cus­tomer loy­al­ty, increased com­pe­ti­tion and wide­spread dis­rup­tion across most indus­tries, brands are in a bat­tle to stay rel­e­vant and engage cus­tomers with rich­er, more per­son­alised experiences.

Per­son­al­i­sa­tion at scale has become some­thing of a Holy Grail for busi­ness­es. Adobe research of 600 brands across Europe con­firms this. The vast major­i­ty (89%) of respon­dents agree per­son­al­i­sa­tion is impor­tant to the suc­cess of their busi­ness, yet less than a third (31%) think they are get­ting it right.

A sig­nif­i­cant rea­son for their strug­gles is that too many of them con­fess to drown­ing in data and unable to process it quick­ly and effec­tive­ly enough to derive mean­ing­ful insights upon which to base a per­son­al­i­sa­tion strategy.

This is where AI comes in.

Get­ting per­son­al with AI

We have all expe­ri­enced per­son­al­i­sa­tion gone wrong, where brands tar­get us with adver­tis­ing or com­mu­ni­ca­tions that are all too obvi­ous­ly based on a crude, sin­gu­lar data point, such as the last thing we bought on their website.

What is hap­pen­ing here is that brands, flood­ed by too much data and unable to analyse it at scale, are tar­get­ing peo­ple based on a few pieces of infor­ma­tion often stripped of rel­e­vant context.

This is why brands are start­ing to get more bull­ish about their use of AI to bet­ter man­age their data and bring greater con­text to their deci­sion-mak­ing. AI gives busi­ness­es the pow­er they need to analyse large vol­umes of data quick­ly and derive action­able insights that can form the basis for more per­son­alised adver­tis­ing, com­mu­ni­ca­tions and expe­ri­ences. AI holds the key to per­son­al­i­sa­tion at scale.

Accord­ing to our research, 88% of Euro­pean brands are either plan­ning, test­ing or imple­ment­ing AI to deliv­er more per­son­alised mar­ket­ing, adver­tis­ing and cus­tomer expe­ri­ences. The same num­ber are con­fi­dent they will have imple­ment­ed AI for cus­tomer and busi­ness ana­lyt­ics by 2020.

From an almost stand­ing start, this tells us we are on the cusp of a sig­nif­i­cant peri­od of invest­ment in AI, such is the appeal of per­son­al­i­sa­tion and the desire to stay relevant.

How­ev­er, invest­ing in AI is only the begin­ning. How can busi­ness­es take advan­tage of the tech­nol­o­gy and turn data into action­able insights?

Here are three points every brand should con­sid­er as AI becomes an inte­gral part of their dig­i­tal cus­tomer experience:

#1 Don’t shy away from data – embrace it

Busi­ness­es appear to accept that ignor­ing per­son­al­i­sa­tion, and risk­ing becom­ing irrel­e­vant, would be bad for busi­ness. Doing it bad­ly – and per­haps prov­ing they are irrel­e­vant – could be even worse.

There­fore, busi­ness­es need to get to grips with the data they are drown­ing in. It is time to stop putting it off, to stop think­ing it is more effort than it is worth, or too com­pli­cat­ed to tack­le. Data, and the cus­tomer insights with­in, are too pre­cious and too impor­tant to leave untapped.

Adobe Sen­sei can help busi­ness­es start mak­ing sense of their data pret­ty much ‘straight out of the box’ (or tech­ni­cal­ly straight out of the cloud).

#2 Think, process and react in real-time

Busi­ness­es do not have hours to build rela­tion­ships with dig­i­tal cus­tomers. They do not even have min­utes. Deci­sions are made in the blink of an eye. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, most brands aren’t equipped to respond to this.

In fact, more than half of busi­ness­es sur­veyed admit they can’t process their data quick­ly enough. That is why pro­gres­sive, inno­v­a­tive com­pa­nies such as Swiss­com have turned to AI to build online expe­ri­ences that learn and adapt to cus­tomer behav­iour instantly.

In the case of Swiss­com, this means an approach to A/B test­ing that opti­mis­es the web expe­ri­ence in real-time so they are con­tin­u­ous­ly fine-tuned to the needs of each cus­tomer and keep peo­ple engaged for longer. This is no small feat for a com­pa­ny with 6.6 mil­lion mobile cus­tomers, 1.4 mil­lion tele­vi­sion cus­tomers and 2.3 mil­lion broad­band connections.

#3 Be experience-driven

Busi­ness­es must not just use AI to work the same way faster. They must use it as a cat­a­lyst to define new ways of work­ing that trans­late into a cus­tomer-cen­tric approach and great cus­tomer expe­ri­ences. AI can help brands get clos­er to their cus­tomers and under­stand more about what they want, when and where. Those insights must form the basis for a ded­i­cat­ed dri­ve towards increased per­son­al­i­sa­tion and improved expe­ri­ences for customers.

Epson Amer­i­ca has tak­en this think­ing to heart and seen incred­i­ble results. Epson Amer­i­ca serves a range of cus­tomers with vast­ly dif­fer­ent needs and uses Adobe Sen­sei to pro­vide employ­ees with cus­tomer dash­boards that pro­vide real-time updates on cam­paign per­for­mance. This infor­ma­tion enables the team to quick­ly iden­ti­fy rel­e­vant cross-sell and upsell oppor­tu­ni­ties that can be tai­lored for each customer.

Putting per­son­al­i­sa­tion in context

There is no great secret to per­son­al­is­ing expe­ri­ences for cus­tomers. Get to know your audi­ence, under­stand their needs, and deliv­er. What has con­fused mat­ters in recent years is apply­ing this process to dig­i­tal cus­tomers, who are far larg­er in num­ber, more dis­persed, and tired of irrel­e­vant expe­ri­ences dis­tract­ing from what they real­ly want to do.

When it comes to under­stand­ing this dig­i­tal audi­ence, con­text is every­thing, and AI is the means for brands to devel­op that con­text. It helps them gain a more com­plete pic­ture of each cus­tomer and become a rel­e­vant pres­ence in their dig­i­tal lives.

Learn more about the brands using Adobe Sen­sei to get clos­er to their cus­tomers and improve the way they work. Also check out our recent AI ‘Con­text is Every­thing’ cam­paign using the hub page here

Topics: Digital Transformation, artificial intelligence, customer expereinces, customer insights, data, personalisation, relevance, UK, UK Exclusive, Digital EMEA