The use of marketing automation is essential for contemporary sales promotion, but at the same time it creates a dilemma of its own. This dilemma can only be solved by using additional methods. The method of choice: Artificial Intelligence. How the two power tools are connected and why one cannot be used effectively without the other, you can find out here.
Marketing Automation: Big Data in daily use
Marketing automation means: to analyse immense amounts of data intensively by means of automated processes and to gain targeted insights from this. It goes without saying that this cannot be carried out economically, effectively and error-free using manual procedures. Only automated processes that do not require individual, human intervention can do justice to this mammoth task.
The problem here is that the complexity of the task and the huge amounts of data create opposing requirement profiles: Big Data requires automation. The analysis and utilization of the data requires intelligent procedures. For a long time, automation and intelligent processes were incompatible paradigms - until artificial intelligence took the stage. It allows even the largest data volumes to be evaluated from an intelligent perspective.
Artificial Intelligence - what is it actually?
Put simply: AI is a process that enables machines to learn and to develop solutions automatically. Applied to marketing automation, this means that machine learning enables data processing systems to observe, analyze and evaluate customer behavior in order to derive patterns. Pattern recognition is the first step towards individualized and, if necessary, proactive processes in order to avoid undesired processes in advance or to optimize running processes.
A typical example is the often observed and feared activity kink: customers who have made regular purchases over longer periods of time suddenly and without any current reason lapse into leaden inactivity. What has happened? How can customers in a Sleeping Beauty sleep be brought back to life?
Reviving inactive customers is a strategically fundamental process: even in inactive status, they are high-quality leads that have already proven their worth. Winning them back is one of the central tasks in marketing. However, given the large volume of data generated, this would not be economically feasible by manual means. This is where artificial intelligence comes into play.
The constant observation of the consumer behaviour of each individual customer allows deviations from normal behaviour to become apparent at an early stage. In many cases, the danger of a migration to other providers can already be recognized at a point in time when the customer himself is not yet fully aware of this impulse.
The company now has enough time to identify possible disruptive factors, errors or shortcomings and to win the customer back by addressing him or her specifically or by making offers tailored to his or her needs. Even customers who have already migrated can be addressed in this way.
AI relieves the marketing department
Minimizing fluctuation is just as important for effective marketing as winning new customers. The smaller the hole in the bucket, the easier it is to fill. Marketing Automation - and dialogue marketing in particular - supports both tasks, even when processing large amounts and depth of data. The most important element here is artificial intelligence. It relieves the marketer of the burden of routine monitoring and creates scope for creative work on concepts, strategies and campaigns.
The great advantage of using AI in marketing automation is its real-time analysis capability. It makes it possible to provide insights from the observation of customer behavior without wasting time, in order to apply them in campaigns. This allows for response times of previously unknown timeliness.
The intelligent analysis of large amounts of data not only makes it possible to optimize existing processes. It also enables new types of campaigns and functionalities in marketing automation that would not be possible without machine learning. This opens up completely new perspectives in customer communication, customer loyalty and sales promotion.
Artificial intelligence: New quality in addressing customers
Advertisers initially perceive the use of AI in marketing automation as a noticeable simplification of their work. This experience is based on the fact that in this environment, marketers only have much less or no contact at all with the complex elements of marketing automation. However, the task is as complex as before - it is only performed by a new protagonist - AI.
And this is not the only progress. The automated system can not only free the marketer from time-consuming work steps - it usually handles them better than humans can. It is not just a matter of AI being able to handle even the largest amounts of data. The fact that AI acts free of emotions and prejudices also plays an important role. The knowledge gained is based exclusively on objective facts, not on emotional hunches or the often quoted gut feeling.
The question of which channels the customer dialogue should take place, which means and which content should be used, whether incentives make sense, and if so, which ones - all this can only be answered competently by a human user if he knows the entire customer history, and this individually for each customer. The AI system provides this information in its entirety at any given moment - and the decision to use the right tools is correspondingly competent and goal-oriented.
Artificial intelligence makes an old dream of marketing come true: a personal advisor for each individual customer - at least this is how the customer's perception can be controlled when using the right means. This evolutionary step has a direct impact on results - from lead generation and conversions to sales and customer loyalty.
Artificial Intelligence - no substitute for common sense
AI allows for shorter time-to-value rates and the quick setup of campaigns and actions, and thus a timely reaction to external and internal influencing factors. However, all this also carries a danger: blind trust in a system that acts automatically. No matter how progressive the system, you should face it with a healthy basic mistrust. In other words: trust is good, control is better.
Marketing automation supported by AI should be subject to constant plausibility checks. Are the insights gained plausible? Do they correspond to information from other sources?
Checks of this kind are appropriate because of the special systematics according to which AI systems conduct marketing. The company merely sets the rules that the system follows. However, the actual behaviour and procedures are determined by the customer without being aware of them. It is the customer's behavior that determines which initiatives the AI system selects and applies. Whether they are consistent and lead to the desired goal must be checked regularly.
Fields of application of AI in marketing automation
Basically, artificial intelligence shows its strengths in three areas:
Strategy development: The system makes recommendations on suitable content, target groups and channels.
Assistance functions: The system offers procedures that support the marketer in his work.
Post-processing: The system provides analyses of customer behaviour in order to derive patterns or identify promising customer groups.
AI in Marketing Automation works like an assistant that collects and prepares data and presents the insights gained. However, unlike a human assistant, AI observes the entire big-data inventory and delivers the results in real time. The goal is the same: to free the marketer from routine tasks in order to give him room for creative work.
Artificial intelligence in marketing automation resolves the contradiction between automation in the evaluation of large data sets and the intelligent handling of the knowledge gained.
The essential factors here are the individualization of even the largest customer bases and the evaluation in real time. On the one hand, this allows individual response to the behaviour of individual customers and, on the other hand, the prompt setting up of campaigns in order to be able to react quickly to current developments.
The main areas of application of Artificial Intelligence in marketing automation are the continuous observation of customer behavior, the development of adapted strategies and the selection of suitable channels, means and procedures.