How AI-driven customer personas can transform marketing

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Three impactful ways to use AI and unified customer profiles to tailor experiences in real-time

The world is cautiously optimistic about using artificial intelligence (AI) from customer data due to privacy and AI-bias concerns. At the same time, AI is proven to boost sales for businesses. It saves the time it would get to get customer insights manually, can be used to tailor better customer experiences, and can work faster than any human could at finding anomalies in online behavior data.

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Particularly exciting is how advanced automation around data crunching unlocks customer personas and recommendation engines with intelligence from customer behavior regardless of the channel. You get better customer experiences and buyer journeys that ease the pains and inefficiencies around purchasing your products.

Businesses expect AI to impact their businesses. Esteemed industry analysts Gartner reports that AI is growing exponentially, with spending on Artificial Intelligence in eCommerce set to reach $7.3 billion per year by 2022- that’s up by over 20%. That’s a lot of investment.

What are AI-driven customer personas looking to solve?

Unifying your customer data for analysis lets, you understand your customers in a more meaningful way. You have real-time insights on valuable customer segments like your biggest spenders and most loyal.

When you lack the understanding you get from customer-centric insights, you can’t tailor customers to find the products they want because you lack the understanding you get from customer-centric insights.

Without personalization, customers buy products that don’t fit their needs as closely as they should and go for the ‘next best thing.’ Or worse for the business, customers end up not buying at all. Retailers leave money on the table by not showing relevant products – even when they have them. So none knows to buy the product.

Technology like marketing automation and customer data platform (CDP) fix problems that impede delivering a seamless buyer experience. This article shares three impactful ways to use AI and unified customer profiles to tailor experiences in real-time.

1. Continuously optimize Search
2. Customer personas from data
3. Real-time Recommendations

Search Optimization

An eCommerce store needs a site search that uses AI and natural language processing (NLP) to constantly learn from user behavior — because a users’ behavior constantly changes. That is, people and influencers like using trendy terms. These can trick some systems. For example, “fly” could refer to retraining a tent down or mean zippers.
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The business world is changing in ways that have surprised models, yet technology will still give you the best gains as things become more normalized. Reading this means you will not be left behind when it comes to marketing transformation. You don’t need to become a fully AI-enhanced company overnight, but adopting key technologies can turbocharge your initiative. Computers can quickly crunch data and develop new personalized products for every customer with machine learning.

Consumers generate a lot of data. Customers engage with media brands across mobile, desktop, and connected devices throughout their day, with average screen times for some customer segments up to 12 hours per day. The advanced data processing with AI leverages the collected information from all of the shopping trips and analyzes to understand which behaviors mean a specific kind of purchase.

Search optimization in 2022 means you can understand your customers’ changing needs with learning technologies like AI-enabled customer data platforms (CDP).

Customer Personas from data

Focusing on customer behavior analytics, we often talk about the contextual segments driven by timing rules (think customer less than 30 days old) and category assumptions (yoga mats vs. sweat pants). We want to know how many profiles make up each segment depending on whether it is a factor in your business, including channel and device.

This is great information but misses when it comes to an understanding your customers. Questions you need to communicate with customers include properly. What are your different customer segments? What personas are they? These two terms are often interchanged or used synonymously by marketers, but personas are another way to categorize customers. Customer personas can include more than one customer segment and often points to an attitude or proclivity.

Personas bring your customer segmentation to life and enable you to look at customers as individuals and not just statistics. Personas also help you focus on which customers are the most valuable, where your loyalty and retention efforts should be focused. What program benefits, experiences, and rewards would better serve your most valuable customers?

If you don’t have personas developed, use the data you already have — historical survey response data and customer satisfaction scores are great places to start. Creating personas doesn’t have to be a hard or a month-long process either. Just start with the 2–3 main types of customers you know you have. If you sell nutritional supplements, for instance, you could have a homeopathic/healthy eating customer, a fitness-minded/heavy exerciser customer, and a customer who wants the basics covered — a good vitamin, a probiotic, and maybe a few other products to round out their regime. Think about what each customer needs from you, then look hard at your online and offline communication strategy, your digital ads, how you showcase products from the customers’ perspective and make sure you’ve got the basics nailed.

Real-time Recommendations

This article has shown how AI and unified customer profiles can tailor experiences in real-time with a CDP. Similar to how search AI learns from customer behaviors and provides more relevant search results. eCommerce retailers can boost sales with real-time recommendations– truly transforming marketing into a digital and data-driven team.

We all know the feeling of being offered something and immediately forgetting about it because we have so many other things on our minds. That’s why marketers are starting to use real-time recommendations more often: they want customers who can be reached at any time, not just when you remember that a website exists or need help deciding between two items in your cart. To achieve the real-time recommendation, you aggregate streamed events (e.g., click, like, purchase) and generate new recommendations on-demand, based on user interactions.

With the power of AI and a unified customer profile, marketers can deliver personalized experiences that continuously optimize search. When you implement marketing automation and use a CDP to collect and analyze your customers’ data in real-time, you will be able to find out what they want before they even know themselves! Finally, as we mentioned earlier, all this hard work is only worth it if there are measurable results. We hope these three tips have given you an idea of how AI and CDPs can help drive those results for you by optimizing every point during the buyer experience process. To learn more about our approach or discuss ways we might improve yours with a completely customized strategy made just for you, contact us.

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