As a fragmented customer journey increasingly challenges brands, Sizmek’s UK MD Andrew Morsy explains why 86 per cent of senior marketers intend to optimise marketing and accurately deliver personalised marketing messages in 2018.
It’s the holy grail of marketing: to fully understand your customers’ preferences and shopping habits then communicate with them at the perfect moment. When and where they will be ready to respond to your call to action or click ‘add to basket’ is something that is so often guessed at or left to chance.
The multitude of devices consumers use only compounds the issue, with an offline and online customer journey that is now global, sporadic, fragmented and difficult for any individual marketer to predict.
A side effect of all this is the amount of data at our disposal. Now, after years of collecting it, purchasing it, updating it, or wondering if we have enough, we find ourselves with oceans of it. And brands, no matter how giant they might be, lack the human capacity or brain power to organise and utilise all this information.
Fortunately, savvy marketers struggling to find consumers at the perfect point on their journey regardless of the smartphone, tablet or desktop they’re using, can turn this challenge into an opportunity. With AI-powered advertising they can use technology to analyse masses of data before delivering the right creative at the perfect moment to inspire action – and all at speed and scale.
As much as a ‘nice-to-have’ AI-powered advertising might sound, it is no longer a myth. And it should definitely not be considered an optional extra. The marketers and brands that implement AI and more predictive methods of advertising will prevail in the coming years. Those businesses that ignore the trend towards machine learning, especially when it comes to serving ads and converting customers, will fail.
This is something we discovered at Sizmek when we commissioned a Forrester Consulting study in 2017, which included the views of CMOs and other senior marketers responsible for more than $1bn a year in ad spend. The research showed us that 79 per cent of respondents plan to increase the use of artificial intelligence in their marketing in future. In addition, 86 per cent plan to optimise marketing across the entire customer journey in the next 12 months.
It became clear to us that marketers are preparing for a world in which AI is powering their decisions, providing unparalleled levels of insights, and reaching their target consumers wherever they might be on whatever device they might be using – all in real time.
There is a good reason why so many senior marketers are making this a priority throughout 2018: because it works. While the amount of data we have access to becomes too vast for any individual to make sense of it, AI can do the heavy lifting, delivering ads with incredible speed, unprecedented intuition and impressive accuracy to the people who matter. But it’s not only the ‘who?’ and ‘where?’ that can be optimised to achieve results. Whereas before marketers and brands might have sacrificed creative quality in order to ensure their ads were seen by the right consumer on the right website, we can now also ensure we deliver the right message, product or promotion using dynamic creative
DCO enables AI to pick the product, promotion or visual from a suite of options that is most likely to be successful based on a consumer’s preferences, dropping it into the right ads at the right time for the right user. And, of course, what’s good for advertisers is also what’s good for consumers. As prospective customers, none of us want to be blasted with irrelevant advertising. As has always been the case with effective, impactful marketing, personalisation and relevance to the audience are key. Show a consumer a product they have no interest in and they’ll ignore it. But show them a product that does interest them or that resonates and you substantially increase your chances of converting.
Embrace the data
As our research has highlighted, it’s time for brands and advertisers to embrace the data available to them. It’s time to implement the technology that will allow them to reach the right customer at the perfect moment, delivering the precise creative that will inspire action. No more guessing, no more wasting advertising on people who are not interested in your products and services, and no more questioning how you can reach consumers across multiple devices. Just advertising that is intuitive and personal, and which leads to a greater return on investment.