Each of us has a comfort level with things that we know and understand. That’s why artificial intelligence scares us so much. It’s new and unfamiliar. Knowing that someone out in cyberspace learned something about the items we need and the services that we buy makes our palms sweat and our hearts race with fear and trepidation. The very thought of big brother watching our every move makes us uncomfortable. The unknown is a scary place and we feel threatened by it.
A Scary Concept, But We’re Learning To Like It
AI was still a fairly new concept in 2017. Guess what? While it still scares most of our customers a little, they’re also starting to see how AI can make their lives easier. As I was thinking over my marketing plans for 2018, I found myself mentally toying with how I could incorporate AI into my company’s marketing strategy. It forced me to think about how I’ve developed my own comfort level with AI.
When I have a question, Siri gives me an answer at the sound of my voice. Siri is pretty smart. And Siri can be a little snarky and sarcastic at times, too, which makes me believe for a scant moment that Siri is a little more human than I thought.
And what about those self-parking cars? The very idea of it scared me in the beginning. Why? Because I like to be in control. But enough auto manufacturers are now producing self-parking cars with good results that I’m starting to get more comfortable with it. Why not take a little stress off and let my car park itself?
Have you seen videos of people wearing virtual reality headsets? They’re fully engrossed in the virtual reality experience. To an outside onlooker it’s a comical sight, but at the same time it gives us a greater comfort level with AI.
Giving AI A Fresh Look In 2018
The un-virtual reality is that we’re on the tip of the iceberg when it comes to learning about how AI can assist digital marketers in making stronger connections with customers. We have to help our customers have a greater comfort level with AI before we can make it work to our advantage.
When I’m browsing on social media, ads of items that I’ve purchased or considered purchasing sometimes appear on the page. Is it a coincidence that Facebook never shows me black blouses? Not really. I never search for black blouses and Facebook is tracking that, so they know which products I’d be interested in buying.
It freaked me out a little in the beginning. Then I thought, “What’s so bad about seeing blue blouses in ads? I love blouses in every shade of blue, and it saves me the time of scrolling past all the black blouses.” I’m starting to like those ads because I’ve suddenly realized the value that they bring me.
AI On The Backend Of Marketing
As digital marketers, AI not only gives our customers a better experience, but also tells us about their buying behavior, likes and dislikes and helps us predict their future buying behavior. Now that’s information we can use. Data gleaned from AI will help narrowly define our target markets. Past digital marketing experience tells me that the more narrowly you can define your target market, the greater return on investment you can expect to see.
AI As An Enhancement To SEO And Website Traffic
Just because I’m becoming a believer in AI (or at least less of a skeptic), doesn’t mean that I’m ready to abandon my digital marketing plans for SEO and increasing website traffic. What it does mean is that I plan to be more open-minded about testing AI strategies in 2018 and evaluating the results.
2018 is the year to challenge yourself to be increasingly innovative in your marketing strategy. Look for ways to align content marketing plans with AI tools such as chatbots, augmented reality, image optimization and social media outreach. For example, my customers may enjoy chatting online with a simulated customer service representative. Prospects may respond faster to augmented reality techniques where customers can get acquainted with our professional in-home caregivers before they schedule our service.
Images will take center stage in 2018. Already, the internet shares billions of photos and images per day. As part of your 2018 digital marketing strategy, use AI to mine data and combine it with images to create customized content campaigns for each and every customer. This will allow you to deliver faster response times and increased revenue.
In 2017, AI took us partially out of our comfort zones by showing us that it’s not totally artificial. It’s possible to incorporate just enough personalization and humor in AI to make it believable. Progressive companies that took the plunge and got their feet wet with AI in 2017 reaped the rewards for any perceived risks. 2018 will give us plenty of new opportunities to experiment with big data, the Internet of Things and machine learning as they relate to digital marketing. It will take us and our customers some additional time to develop a stronger comfort level, but the new year is ahead of us and we have 12 months to work on it.