Automation + AI: The Chocolate & Peanut Butter of Ad Tech

Artificial intelligence (AI) is sometimes confused with automation, and the terms are often used interchangeably. When talking to vendors, it’s critical for digital marketers to decipher exactly what’s being offered so you know it will truly address your needs. Today, let’s demystify these terms and discover what happens when the two are combined.

Differences Between Automation and AI:

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software is great for simple activities and repetitive tasks that follow instructions or workflows set by individuals. It is best suited for highly repetitive and predictable tasks. Automated tools require manual configuration and human supervision to effectively execute campaigns. The trick with RPA is for humans to anticipate every permutation so the machine is programmed to behave the right way every time. This is why constant vigilance is required. If the environment changes, marketers must manually step in and make the necessary adjustments.

AI refers to how computer systems can use huge amounts of data to imitate human intelligence and reasoning, allowing the system to learn, predict and recommend what to do next. An AI capable of understanding marketing KPIs can use various algorithms that act in concert to find signal in the noise of data and find paths to solutions that no human would be capable of. Most AI today works in an assistive fashion, providing next best action recommendations to humans who then decide whether to trust them or not and then manually make adjustments.

Combining AI & Automation: Sweet Treat!

When robotic process automation is combined with elements of AI such as machine learning, the result is known as intelligent process automation (IPA). An IPA tool is powerful because it allows us to reap both the benefits of automation – increased speed, efficiency, time-savings, and ability to scale – with the insights, flexibility, and processing power of AI.

Marketers who use IPA are able to augment their capabilities, while off-loading repetitive campaign management tasks to the machine. It’s different from pure robotic automation in that the AI can start, stop or even alter what it is doing based on the environment in which it operates. What’s more, because the best AI systems allow marketers to set guardrails, there’s no chance of unforeseen events taking outcomes too far astray. For marketers, this means faster, more personalized execution and processes, greater use and accuracy in data, and improvements in overall customer experience. Marketers shift from fussing over bid adjustments and budget allocations to higher value add, human-centric contributions like, “how do we evolve our value proposition to drive more business?” Because of these clear benefits, Forrester predicts that by 2020, 25% of Fortune 500 companies will report hundreds of examples of IPA use cases.

Benefits of AI + Automation for Marketers

IPA technologies not only surface insights for marketers but actually turn insights into action. For example, Albert can synthesize historical digital campaign data across channels, craft strategies for execution, and explore different combinations of messages, creatives, and frequency across audiences. Evolving relentlessly over time, the intelligent machine’s autonomous capabilities allow it to actually shift budgets, adjust bids, audiences and optimize campaigns 24×7 in relentless pursuit of KPIs that a marketer has set.

This is especially important as customers continue to demand more from brands; Salesforce’s Fifth Annual State of Marketing Report revealed that 53% of customers now expect personalized offers, and 62% expect businesses to anticipate their needs. IPA technologies are becoming the only way to deliver personalized touchpoints for an optimal customer experience across paid digital channels.

Key Takeaways

Implementing intelligent process automation can help marketers achieve better paid digital campaign results while surfacing customer, media and market insights that inform not just marketers, but the overarching business strategy. In the face of potential economic slowdowns or other unforeseen external market conditions, marketers are finding that new technologies like IPAs can help them innovate, scale and increase efficiencies to stay competitive.

To learn more about how Albert plans, executes and optimizes paid digital marketing campaigns, contact us.

How Can You Engage Customers Through Powerful Digital Experiences?

Each of your customers is unique, and each has different expectations and needs when it comes to experiencing your brand. Here’s how you can offer every one of them a unique digital experience.

“Customer experience” is a term that practically everyone in the business world is using, but is frustratingly difficult to define. Some might think of a seamless smartphone interface when asked to explain what a positive customer experience is, for instance — others might focus on the customer service side of a brick and mortar retail space.

But the fact of the matter is that defining customer experience by a singular interface ignores a fundamental truth about today’s omnichannel market. A customer’s experience isn’t just defined by how much they like your store, or how easily they can access your website. Rather, it’s a grand total of all their interactions with your brand, whether they’re visiting you in person, on your website, or via social media, or reviewing their invoice, or chatting with a customer service representative. As HBR contributor Adam Richardson points out, customer experience isn’t just a snapshot in time: it describes the entire arc of that customer’s engagement.

That being said, digital media is constantly giving us new ways of understanding and engaging with customers, raising their standards for experiences of your brand every day. Even if you already have the in-person experience down to a science, without the proper digital tools, customers will come away feeling that they haven’t received the best possible service. Here are a few suggestions from Lithium Technologies VP Dayle Hall that can help your company deliver the kind of high-quality digital experience your customers are looking for:

1) Be An Active Listener

One of the first things Hall notes in his article is that simply listening to what your customers say isn’t enough — it’s only by engaging in social listening that brands can set themselves apart from the competition. When customers take to social media to voice their feelings or ask a question, writing back goes a long way towards making customers feel like they’re really being heard, even if it’s just to say “thanks!”

2) Create a Conversation

If you’re really looking to curate an impactful online experience, it’s critical that you do the proactive work of creating a conversation with your consumers rather than passively waiting for them to interact with you.

Remember, though, that a monologue is not a conversation. Just posting articles or writing tweets won’t do you any good if there’s no one on the other end who wants to respond to them. This is where the listening can help you: if you’ve been paying attention to the kinds of content your customers want to see, it’ll be much easier for you to encourage debate, prompt questions, and provide them with valuable, personalized insights.

3) Keep Customers on Their Toes

In a seemingly-endless digital sphere, consumers are constantly deluged with new content. That means they’re much harder to surprise and delight, as Hall puts it. In order to create a positive experience, you’ll first have to create a memorable one. Before engaging in any digital action with consumers, Hall recommends asking yourself “will this digital moment make a customer smile?” The key, as with most marketing, is generally to stick to your guns: curate a unique voice and perspective for your brand, and if it’s original and endearing, everything else should follow.

4) Always Have a Plan B

In a perfect world, you’d never have to turn the tide of consumer opinion — in the real world, it’s critical to have a backup plan in case your PR strategy goes awry. The amazing thing about the internet is that you can respond in real-time to consumers, so the minute things get hairy, your first line of defense will always be the digital sphere. Always be ready to turn a not-so-great news story into a positive customer experience.

Powerful Platforms for Powerful Digital Experiences

Of course, when you’re looking to conquer the digital space, it’s helpful to have a high-tech digital solution in place. For the best results, AI-powered marketing platforms like Albert create powerful digital experiences by hyper-targeting user segments and catering content based on their specific needs and behavior. By leveraging the use of autonomous digital tools with the ability to detect trends and insights that are all but invisible to the human eye, you can much more efficiently and seamlessly create a positive customer experience, even in today’s crowded media landscape.