Artificial Intelligence remains an omnipresent buzzword within marketing circles but few companies are really utilising the potential of this technology. With consumers increasingly expecting more intuitive and personalised online shopping experiences, we look at how AI enables marketers to fully embrace highly segmented and targeted marketing strategies.

The use of AI for Precision Marketing is prolific amongst global names in the FMCG sector. From beauty brands such as L’Oreal to automotive giants like BMW, Precision Marketing is a key part of many companies’ digital transformations. The Covid pandemic has helped drive acceleration for some brands, such as Diageo, who see it as a forward-looking strategy, moving “beyond the short-termism of ‘performance’ marketing.” Within travel, companies such as easyJet Holidays, HolidayCheck, Europcar and Hotelplan are leading the way in using AI to enhance their customer experience.

What is Precision Marketing?

As a marketer, you will be constantly seeking the most effective ways to manage your time, resources and budget to drive continuous communications that yield high value results. On the other side, consumers want less overwhelming information and spam – but more relevant, personalised offers and messages. Precision Marketing aligns the desires of marketers and consumers, resulting in highly targeted marketing programmes that enable a shift from mass marketing and broadcasting generic messages.

In their 2004 book ‘Precision Marketing: The New Rules for Attracting, Retaining and Leveraging Profitable Customers’, Brebach and Zabin state the discipline provides benefits to both the company and customer.

Just as Google prioritises relevance in content marketing, Precision Marketing prioritises relevance – for both the product and customer. Whilst the term itself has been discussed since the 1950s, building on the idea of market segmentation, it is 21st century technology which has brought Precision Marketing to the fore. Being able to collect, process and analyse extensive visitor data (including behavioural and transactional data) in real-time is key to digital companies achieving true personalisation, engaging with each customer as an individual.

Harnessing the power of AI to provide tailored online experiences for customers, marketers are able to utilise Precision Marketing to grow ROI and enhance customer acquisition, retention and reactivation. Done well, Precision Marketing will leave your customer feeling like their chosen product was easy to find and a perfect fit for them.

The power of AI

Whilst most marketers will be able to speak confidently about their audience, it is those who can really drill into the nitty-gritty details to speak directly to them. Crunching thousands of data points is a hugely time consuming task for a human. Crunching millions of data points in a timely manner is impossible without the intervention of technology. This is where the power of AI is clear.

Assisted by AI, companies who sell online are able to move beyond traditional rule-based methods where they treat customers as averages to true one-to-one conversations in real-time. From understanding user intent to tapping into the reasons the online travel booking journey is a different digital experience, AI can pick up on user-generated direct and indirect signals recognising patterns to wrap the digital experience around every user. This ensures your company provides relevant and timely messages to your users. AI-driven methods provide the intelligence needed to serve the individual with the most relevant product and messaging to move them through their buying journey, scaled across your whole digital audience.

How AI helps marketers take informed actions

Boosting the use of AI in marketing does not ring the death bell for marketers. The technology in fact passes more control to the marketer, whose institutional knowledge is essential in applying AI in a meaningful way. Marketers can test and experiment more comprehensively to identify high-performing patterns of behaviour and engagement. This is done through outlining one or more starting hypotheses, defining eligibility criteria and other measures, reflecting overall business goals and working with AI to refine its target and further improve results.

The AI then does the ‘heavy lifting’ – applying knowledge at scale and using data to feed continuous learning and generate improvements. AI removes the risks of ‘spray and pray’ marketing techniques, where customers feel bombarded with irrelevant information. It takes the guesswork out of what is the best fit message and can target individuals at scale with relevant, hyper-personalised content and products.

Precision Marketing is breeding results and a new culture amongst marketing professionals. The ability to use smart AI to organise data and react in real-time to online users gives marketers the ability to strategize on a granular level, building transparency in their actions and producing better results.

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