In preparation for the new year, PerformanceIN continues its annual tradition of connecting with performance marketing experts to get their single biggest prediction for the industry in 2017. 

In this piece, Steven Ledgerwood, MD at Emarsys, sees artificial intelligence being a big hit among marketers, starting from next year.

Today’s customer has a massive amount of choice when shopping. However, they are increasingly busy and constantly on the move, which makes it difficult for brands to stand out in an ocean of available products and offers.

How can marketers create personalised offers for their customers in 2017, especially when considering the current explosion of shopping channels and enormous amounts of customer data?

In 2017 I foresee progressive marketers using artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to translate data science into powerful campaigns. When AI combines with machine learning and automation, data collection is enhanced and deeper analysis enables marketers to create and execute campaigns that automatically optimise timings, content, and channels.

Furthermore, as the technology evolves, personal digital assistants (PDAs) such as Siri, Cortana or Alexa will become critical when it comes to capitalising on ‘essential buys’ – common everyday products, such as cleaning items or groceries. For these items, consumers will be happy to let machines make their purchase decisions as long as they comply with specific parameters regarding price, delivery time or other special requirements. In this context the purchase will be directly influenced by machines and the strongest AI algorithms will win.  

Even for emotional buys – highly personal purchases that require an emotional investment, such as holidays, special items of clothing, home appliances, or products that require touch and feel – strong AI capabilities will prove crucial in winning customers. The more personalised the offer is, the better the chance of getting to the top of a customer’s list and influencing their purchase decision. 

With AI, businesses will be able to shift the operational and executional tasks to machines and focus on creating truly significant and relevant messages for each of their customers on an impressively large scale. 

We are witnessing a shopping revolution, and every marketer and business needs to understand the benefits they can harness with AI and invest if they want to stay ahead of the competition.