Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a powerful force in many industries, but it’s a real game-changer for marketers. Natural Language Interaction (NLI), or conversation-based user interface, is a particular form of AI that has the power to significantly impact the face of marketing for companies of all shapes and sizes, across industries.
Innovative marketers already foresee the time when customers no longer engage with a screen, but instead, expect to speak to their devices and have their devices understand and respond.
Natural language AI interactions, and the data that they yield means that conversations can be tracked and monitored, and marketing can be highly personalised, engaging, timely and on demand. Below are three ways marketers will benefit from this technology transformation:
A two-way conversation
For too long, customers have had to think like technology rather than having the luxury of technology that thinks like them. AI changes that, and NLI, in particular, encourages a natural, free flow of communication that meets the user in the language and cultural vernacular with which they are most comfortable.
In addition, the advent of social media has encouraged a relationship where consumers feel empowered to speak directly to the brands they engage with and they expect, in return, to be heard and answered. No longer are sales and marketing a one-size-fits-all offering. Your customers are talking and you are not only expected to listen, but to respond quickly. Today’s consumers are willing to be brand loyal, but they have high expectations from the brands they choose and they consider personalisation a driving factor.
Targeted, timely engagement
One of the most interesting developments in conversational AI for marketers is that it is moving away from simple Q&A interactions. In the last few years, chatbots were most known for automating customer service functions and helping consumers navigate very simple tasks.
But recent advances have demonstrated that customers are ready and eager for more. Imagine a world where you engage with your customer in real-time, in a way that meets their immediate needs, and is tailor-made to their unique situation. For the forward-thinking marketers among us, this level of engagement is becoming reality.
What if, for example, a customer’s car could tell them of a sale as they were driving by a particular shopping district? Or a food brand could walk a user through recipe options in the grocery store and then give step-by-step directions at home on how to prepare it?
For marketers, these kinds of interaction are near limitless. Conversational AI opens up doors that a decade ago could hardly have been imagined.
A treasure trove of data
Natural language interaction is rich with valuable data and insight. Spoken conversations yield reactions that are hard to decipher over text or type. For example, is the customer excited or angry? Are they satisfied with their interaction or are they confused? NLI allows organisations to better understand the feedback coming from customers.
When users are able to carry on natural conversations, it is much easier for companies to understand their need and, when appropriate, offer alternatives. Organisations can track trends and react accordingly. It’s the equivalent of having a focus group at your fingertips, 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
Companies will find a myriad of ways to use the data collected from voice interactions, but they need the ability to control that data and track it on their own terms. As AI becomes more commonplace, it is imperative that enterprises maintain their brand individuality, rather than allowing it to be filtered through Alexa, Siri or Google Now.
Savvy marketers are used to having to pivot with ever transitioning technology evolutions. The AI revolution is here to stay, and with it a push to join the ranks of the Tech Giants and create natural language experiences on existing platforms. But companies who own their brand and maintain access to their own proprietary data have the power to turn conversational interactions into loyal customer engagement - thereby gaining ground in today’s digital economy.
By Andy Peart, chief marketing & strategy officer at Artificial Solutions
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