The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

The recent growth of artificial intelligence (AI) has changed the way marketers go about their business. It has added a whole new dimension to the task of remaining relevant.

In addition to addressing redundant tasks and customer communication needs, AI platforms can understand customers, analyze consumer data, and provide a contextual marketing experience. Since the introduction of customer-relationship management software—the now-critical CRM—companies have improved their relationships with those who purchase their goods and services. But now we are seeing a major shift. Nearly 30 years after Siebel CRM Systems, Inc. unleashed the first true CRM, solutions powered by AI are giving marketers and content creators new methods of personalization—virtual assistants, chatbots, and product recommendations—to tempt customers to buy more.

Currently, while only 7 percent of businesses are correctly using AI to optimize marketing and ad campaigns, 42 percent are in the testing phase. AI has moved past simply collating and analyzing user data, and can now predict consumer behavior. But should brands dive into this?

Today’s consumers have more choices than ever. What to buy? When? How? These questions are more complex than before: the process more difficult for the buyer, and it is harder for brands to cut through the noise.

In 2019, you must be one step ahead of consumers to remain relevant. Consumers have high expectations: if they don’t feel that you are speaking to them about their particular needs, you won’t succeed.

According to research conducted by creative software developer Adobe Inc. between August 21 and September 12, the vast majority of marketers believe personalization is important to customer experience and business. However, there is a large gap between expectation and reality in many industries.

Demographic segmentation has assisted the pursuit of successful marketing by targeting the right audience at the right time. And while segmentation offers better insight into marketing, it tells us little about a consumer’s interests and future behavior.

The use of AI, however, allows brands to dig deeper and pre­dict what a consumer might do. Often, connections emerge that weren’t seen before. Using this data, we can create experiences tailored to each consumer, with AI delivering a better user experience and increasing our chances of making a sale.

Businesses have long used data collection to shape marketing strategies, but having too little or too much data can prevent a company from reaching its target audience.

According to Adobe, 60 percent of companies believe the biggest barrier to drawing quality insight from customer data is that too much data is collected from too many sources.

And while they fight to surface from this flood of data, 51 percent also say they struggle to meaningfully combine, structure, and integrate data. If making sense of consumer data is draining your resources, then you aren’t delivering a satisfactory customer experience. AI may be the answer.

Having recognized the need for increased personalization and customer experience, a majority of industries are investing in AI to advance their operations. Some 48 percent say they are working to implement AI for improved personalization in 2019, and another 22 percent are targeting the end of 2020.

It is expected that the coming 12–18 months will be sig­nificant for the AI community. Keeping up with this technological requires investment and resources, but the benefits outweigh the initial burden. AI is changing the world of content mar­keting. Are you taking full advantage of it?

Robert Heldt is president of Custom Media, publisher of
The ACCJ Journal.