AI’s acceleration of hyper-personalisation in marketing
By Dermot Latimer, Group CEO, Point Group. AI has the potential to accelerate true hyper-personalisation, but only when that human element remains in the equation.
By Dermot Latimer, Group CEO, Point Group. AI has the potential to accelerate true hyper-personalisation, but only when that human element remains in the equation. With consumers wanting to form relationships with brands that understand them more intimately, those brands with higher emotional intelligence (EQ) are outpacing competitors.
Increasing brand EQ to give it an authentic and relatable personality that resonates also goes hand-in-hand with humanising your brand. Yet, those brands that are still heavily reliant on segmenting consumers into large groups of broad variables will only have marginal success in their humanisation (and personalisation) efforts.
Hyper-personalise for segments of one
Traditional personalisation strategies are limited in attempts at connecting with today’s complex, über-empowered consumer. Given that they fall short of truly understanding and anticipating consumers’ individual needs and expectations, brands need to step up, work on their emotional intelligence, and tailor their marketing to the personality and preferences of each consumer in their brand family.
Consumers now demand that human touch and deeper level of personalisation. Not surprisingly, 60% of long-term customers use the same type of emotional terms when referring to their favourite brands as they would for family and friends – such as ‘love’ and ‘adore’.
Hyper-personalisation allows brands to communicate with customers on their terms, and through providing the right message, in the right channel, at the right time – in the process, establishing more profound, future-proof connections.
AI drives hyper-personalisation
When harnessing hyper-personalised marketing strategies powered by AI and its associate technologies, brands can now potentially create individualised customer experiences unlike ever before. The analysis of huge amounts of data is a time-consuming and labour-intensive exercise for humans. The ascendance of new frontier AI is expediting the process, and by equipping brands with the ability to capture and analyse highly personalised customer data at scale.
AI further has the ability to respond to this data and to generate timely, intimate, micro-moments of consumer interaction. The emergence of generative AI (GenAI) in particular, is making it possible to connect with consumers on a deeper level, and through leveraging bespoke messaging, relevant real-time imagery, and predictive recommendations.
AI’s new poster child
Generative AI (such as ChatGPT and DALL-E) is a subset of AI in which deep learning machines employ artificial neural networks to identify patterns and structures within data to generate new and original content in the form of text, images, videos, voice, code, and processes.
GenAI has the ability to analyse vast amounts of data, and to customise and personalise content to individual users, as based on their current and previous actions and behaviours. This is excellent news for any brand that takes hyper-personalisation seriously.
GenAI is bringing the dynamic of open-source platforms to the forefront of sales, and quickly becoming an indispensable marketing tool. Ultimately, it has the potential to totally transform how consumers engage with brands and experience them.
Augmenting generative AI data with conversational data analytics gives businesses even more traction when identifying complex patterns, trends, and processes. Conversational analytics allows one to break down every conversation into component blocks by using Natural Language Processing (NLP) to analyse customer conversations – such as chat, voice, or video transcripts – to understand their sentiment, intent, and interests, thereby identifying trends, opportunities, and even potential customer behaviours a brand might not be aware of. Such hidden insights into customer intent cannot be accessed through traditional business intelligence tactics, which are not meant to ingest and analyse unstructured conversational data.
More critically, the next big step for brands wanting to further refine their hyper-personalisation strategies is complementing GenAI with Customer AI – which is a relatively new term under the Intelligent Services umbrella.
One of the main drivers behind customer AI is understanding those factors most likely to influence customer behaviour. Customer AI has the potential to provide marketers with the power to generate individual customer predictions by assessing which specific individual to target, what to say to that individual, when to say it, and which marketing channel is best for this comms.
GenAI working alongside conversational data analytics and customer AI is currently the most powerful hyper-personalisation tactic available to marketers. And although these AI disciplines are still in their infancy, they do present brands with renewed hope toward creating more intimate connections. There is one big challenge, though.
The missing link
Humanising a brand to optimise hyper-personalisation will always require that human touch. There are certain things within the realm of AI’s ability that are outside that of humans; likewise, some things can only be achieved by humans. Our distinct life experiences, cultural upbringing, beliefs, and values drive and motivate us, and elevate us above any artificial reality.
The emotional depth and authenticity peculiar to human creativity can only be imitated to a certain degree and will always be missing from AI generated material. As such, brands that employ AI technologies cannot sidestep human-centric characteristics – such as joy, desire, compassion, and self-awareness.
AI thrives on using content that was generated by humans. And although it can simulate human creativity, it can never replace it. Human creativity will remain an invaluable asset in attempts at humanising brands and developing authentic, hyper-personalised marketing strategies that connect on an intimate level.
Receive the Retailing Africa newsletter every week • Subscribe here