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