Are you leveraging technology to drive authentic conversations?

Technology doesn’t often find itself in the same sentence as authenticity.  We generally think of customers interacting with technology as quite the opposite – standardized, templatized and impersonal.  Not exactly the ideal customer experience we as marketers are all hoping to create, right?

But today, technology can be used to create authentic, truly personal experiences.  And no, I’m not talking about the creepy kind recently illustrated by Google’s Virtual Assistant.

Last week I attended a Richmond AMA luncheon where Samantha Stone talked about how we can use marketing technology to develop interactions that are MORE human.  The way we have historically thought about technology in the marketing process, while designed to be more personal, is in fact highly impersonal.  Just because you can put my name in the email, doesn’t mean you are speaking directly to me.  As Ms. Stone pointed out, much of that technology is rules-based and doesn’t interpret the situation or need, it only follows the given rule.  A rule cannot adapt to changing situations, moods or preferences and it is only as good as the human who designed the rule to begin with.

“We shouldn’t use technology to mimic human behavior, because humans sometimes suck, we must use technology to elevate interactions to the best of human behavior.”

-Samantha Stone, Marketing Advisory Network

Artificial intelligence and machine learning give us the opportunity to customize to the current conditions and infer context that we as humans may even miss.  By taking in the full set of data we have about a customer and leveraging it to learn, we can improve the customer experience across the lifecycle.

Ms. Stone provided 4 tenants for using AI responsibly:

  1. Transparency – don’t pretend
  2. Address Bias – often data has an inherent bias, we must understand it and the impact on our data
  3. Empower People to Make Decisions – let humans do what they do best
  4. Find Ways to Integrate Human & Machine Intelligence – it’s the combination that’s powerful

Ultimately, AI is not about replacing humans in the marketing process.  It’s about helping to make us smarter.  Technology can help to eliminate the manual and repetitive tasks, so humans can spend more time doing the most value additive tasks.

We are currently using machine learning to help an organization leverage their data to better predict which of their members might have a need for a future service, helping a receivables organization to better score and predict the best potential purchases and helping an organization better understand their customer data to predict future buyers.  We love working with organizations to put their data to work to create meaningful impact.

How will you use AI in your marketing process?