Written by Don Peppers, Author, Speaker and CX Expert 

In just the last couple of years I’ve encountered an increasing number of vendors offering marketers an array of innovative tools based on artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Of course, the discipline of marketing is inherently based on human creativity, and none of these tools by themselves can generate authentically new, creative marketing ideas. They can, however, relieve marketers of the often tedious tasks of compiling data, looking for patterns, or sorting through a blizzard of mostly irrelevant or uninteresting options. And this enables a user to be a more creative and effective marketer, by making better use of the otherwise overwhelming volume of input available.

In effect, AI and ML are now augmenting marketers’ creativity. Consider just these few examples, for instance:

  • Evergage, a company that I advise, empowers marketing managers to do true one-to-one marketing by selecting different actions, offerings, and messages for different customers in their digital interactions. Evergage clients mix filters, boosters, and variations to tailor their digital messages and offers, one individual customer at a time. The problem for digital marketers is that there are literally thousands of possible combinations that could be appropriate for each customer, and while Evergage’s tools are a great convenience, it would be easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of creative opportunities available. So this is where Evergage’s recommendations functionality comes into play, using AI and machine learning to comb through real-time, contextually relevant data about a customer’s characteristics and interactions to suggest a smaller, more manageable set of “likely” options.
  • Alterna CX, a European company founded and run by some ex-Peppers & Rogers Group colleagues of mine, takes machine learning and artificial intelligence to a company’s frontline workers, enabling managers and employees at retail stores, bank branches, and other customer-facing venues to access insights on the attitudes and needs of the particular customers they are dealing with – real-time insights based not just on the latest customer survey responses (such as NPS and CSAT), but on real-time, AI-screened relevant data, such as a customer’s recent texts and social media comments.
  • Decibel empowers marketing automation professionals and IT staff to diagnose customer sentiments being expressed in mouse track patterns, scroll times, and clicks – observational customer online behavior that can reveal, through machine learning and AI, the existence of specific website problems or customer service issues, even before any customer feedback survey. The technology is often used to help dissect the reason behind particular feedback.
  • Solvvy lets customer service agents spend more time dealing with the exceptional customer interactions that they encounter – interactions in which creativity, empathy, compromise, or even friendly banter will play a role. Agents can do this because the more routine issues that have prescribed solutions can be dealt with by Solvvy’s AI-powered, conversational chatbot.

All this is to say that the first wave of technology offerings based on machine learning and artificial intelligence are already having a big impact on the marketing function. Unlike simple automation, however, AI’s impact won’t be to “dumb down” the marketing function, but to augment it.

This article was originally published by Don Peppers on LinkedIn.