Brands are speeding up AI investment to deliver personalised experiences

Tyrone Stewart

AI machine businessBrands across Europe are increasing investment in AI as they prepare to deliver more relevant, personalised experiences for consumers.

According to Adobe research – involving 600 senior business-makers from regions including Benelux, France, Germany, the Nordics, Switzerland, and the UK – 89 per cent of businesses see personalisation as important for success, while 87 per cent are either planning (28 per cent), testing (35 per cent), or rolling out (24 per cent) AI.

“Customer expectation has never been higher,” said Bridget Perry, VP of marketing for Adobe EMEA. “They want brands to deliver experiences that are as personal as they are creative.  The investment we’re seeing in AI, alongside a GDPR-focused data foundation and governance footprint, shows companies appreciate this sense of urgency and are pushing to differentiate themselves from the competition.”

Despite understanding the importance of AI, only 31 per cent of brands are currently delivering a level of personalisation that they deem necessary. In the UK, this percentage sits at 30 per cent – behind Germany’s 42 per cent and the 35 per cent in France and Switzerland.

The biggest hurdle that brands are having to overcome is the amount of data associated with implementing AI. 56 per cent of businesses say they are unable to process data quickly enough, while 51 per cent are struggling to collate, structure, and integrate data. GDPR isn’t helping the process either – with 49 per cent of respondents saying the regulation has slowed down the AI implementation process further.

Brands may be struggling currently but 88 per cent expect to be using AI to increase personalisation by 2020 – a figure that rises to 92 per cent in the UK.

“UK companies are acutely aware that they need to get closer to their customers, and provide more personalised services if they are to stay relevant,” said Perry. “The level of analytics required for effective personalisation at scale may have seemed impossible just a few years ago, but AI has made it a reality, allowing companies to quickly gain vital customer insights from huge volumes of data.”

In order to get AI-ready, businesses are putting a heavy focus on hiring and training staff to get it right. Across Europe, 70 per cent of brands are training existing staff, while 69 per cent are hiring new skilled staff.

The biggest focus for hires is in IT, followed by data analytics, customer service, ethics, advertising, change management, and marketing.

“The rush to AI over the next two years will spark fierce competition for skills and create exciting new roles,” said Perry. “Businesses are recognising that in order to make the best use of AI they need more than just IT. They need broad skills, from analytics to ethics, and the right culture and understanding within the business to unlock the power of AI and deliver true personalisation.”