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Artificial Intelligence in action: 4 ways marketers can use AI

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Content provided by IBM with Insider Studios.

Marketers' jobs have never been more complex. They have to juggle vendors, evaluate complicated technology and draw insights from reams of data, all while meeting skyrocketing customer expectations.

But artificial intelligence is changing the equation, helping marketers make sense of a deluge of information and effortlessly execute more effective campaigns.

Watson Marketing's suite of AI-powered solutions is designed to give marketers the tools to make smarter, data-driven decisions and design the perfect experience for every customer, without the need to hire a team of data scientists. Following are four fictional scenarios that show how Watson Marketing can help companies across industries reshape work, campaigns and results—use cases that any marketer can apply to their business.

Making sense of huge amounts of customer data dispersed across the organization is a major challenge for one national bank. Its large campaign for a new millennial-targeted travel credit card is trailing behind its goal, mostly because it's lacking a cohesive data strategy.

To reignite the campaign, the marketing team turns to the multichannel-marketing automation module of Watson Marketing: Its AI-powered solutions can compile customer data from several applications and vendors, then generate thousands of relevant micro segments based on lifestyle, interests, purchase behavior, social behavior, life stage, location and more. Armed with these segments, the team can deliver vastly more personalized offers through email, push notifications and SMS.

For example, the AI identifies a micro segment of millennial customers who have recently taken a Caribbean cruise from Miami, then drills down by credit score, household income and those in the market for a new card. The team can then create a personalized campaign using this segment to tout the card's partnership with a Caribbean cruise line.

The AI also uncovers flaws in the customer data that the team used for the initial campaign—like a customer they thought was a male millennial travel enthusiast based on search history, but who turns out to be a 55-year-old mother researching trips for her son. Instead of targeting her with offers for the travel credit card, the AI suggests the bank's platinum rewards card, more suited to her lifestyle, interests and income. It's these kind of insights that inspire a whole new level of customer loyalty and power a campaign that starts stealing market share from the competition.

A rapidly growing home goods and design store has found a niche providing affordable furniture along with white-glove delivery and assembly service. The company is seeing great success targeting segmented audiences with tailored email campaigns. But this level of personalization is a major time commitment: The team is spending more than 40 hours a week on tasks such as content selection, proofing and testing. It's impossible to scale.

Once the store implements AI-powered Watson Marketing solutions, it can automate the vast majority of the manual tasks sucking time from more creative work and roll out large campaigns based on unique data like customer location, time of day and even local weather conditions. The team is even able to scale beyond email to use their mobile app, social ads and SMS together, helping to save hours of work for more strategic projects.

So when an unexpected spring heat wave hits, the store can run a successful promotion for garden furniture that targets consumers by locations that are unusually hot. Watson identifies customers known to have a garden, based on purchase history and browsing habits, and personalizes the offer to match individual style preferences. It's delivered to their mobile devices on the first evening of warm weather—and even reaches customers based on their preferred channel of communication, such as email, text or push notification.

At an athletic-wear brand, the launch of the summer line requires all hands on deck. But while marketing efforts are successfully driving website traffic, online sales are sluggish. The team is working all hours trying to piece together their customers' journeys and keep them engaged on the site.

Looking for a better way, they start using Watson Marketing customer-experience analytics to get granular insight into their customers' interaction patterns across all touchpoints and channels, and see where and why they are bouncing from the site. For example, Watson sends a proactive alert when it sees a significant number of customers struggling on the same page. The team replays these sessions, finds that a broken promotion code was the source of the problem, and quickly sends the customers an apology along with a new offer code to entice them back to the online store.

But Watson's powers go far beyond abandoned shopping carts. With Watson Real-Time Personalization, and AI-powered content-management system, the team can serve up unique web experiences for customers, helping them on their path to purchase, like the 20-year-old yoga enthusiast who lands on the site after clicking on an Instagram ad while sitting in her dorm room. She's served content about yoga routines featuring the leggings from the ad, along with a free shipping offer for college students when they spend more than $100. Personalized content—including complementary product suggestions—follows her all the way through to checkout, all automated by Watson, no coding required. The result? She spends $200. (After the discount.)

A regional hotel chain has to slash marketing budgets following a soft quarter. The marketing team is under pressure to make sure every dollar spent has maximum impact. But digging through endless spreadsheets to measure results and reconcile data from across the organization is a major drain on resources and isn't helping them hit their goals.

After implementing the planning and budgeting capabilities of Watson Marketing, the team finally gets a transparent picture of how each marketing dollar is being spent on creative, email, media plans, events and more. The tools give them access to real-time data as revenue comes in, without having to wait for quarterly reviews (when it's too late to change strategy). Now they can easily shift their budgets and pivot priorities on the fly.

And it's not just reporting that becomes less onerous. With Watson's automation, the team also reduces campaign spend and time to market—like slashing the cost of designing and implementing a campaign for a family summer-travel promotion by 80 percent. Using the money they save, and the additional time in their day, they focus on improving their mobile-app experience, implementing an AI-powered chatbot, and adding a "call me" button that increases reservation rates by 150 percent.

With Watson Marketing AI-powered solutions, marketers can finally cut through the clutter and connect with their customers in a meaningful way—and it's only the beginning. As the AI continues to learn from new information, it becomes more powerful over time, making each campaign more effective than the last. Now marketers can work smarter, secure in the knowledge that their campaigns are powered by truly intelligent insights and a holistic view of their customers.

Learn more about how Watson Marketing can take your marketing to the next level in this guide. FIND OUT HOW.

Content Provided by IBM with Insider Studios. Insider Studios is the branded content studio for Insider Inc., the parent company of INSIDER and Business Insider.

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IBM Watson Marketing provides cognitive recommendations designed to help marketers understand and anticipate customer behaviors. Uncover actionable insights and deliver personalized experiences that customers want and value. Build relationships that drive engagement seamlessly across all channels. Make every touchpoint an opportunity to engage customers as individuals.