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Rise Of Personal AI Assistants: What Does This Mean For Marketers?

There’s no doubt that personal AI assistants are gradually being incorporated into our daily lives. PwC’s annual Global Consumer Insights Survey 2018 reported that 10% of consumers around the world own an AI device such as a robot or an automated personal assistant, and one in three (32%) say they plan to buy an AI device. 

The hunger for this technology represents a large opportunity for brands to engage with customers in new ways. Here are some ways marketers can incorporate AI assistants into their marketing strategies:

Increased personalization will drive new opportunities: Internet of Things (IoT) devices  like Amazon Dash will likely continue to play an increasingly larger role in consumers’ lives. These IoT solutions will make it easier for consumers to repeatedly order the same products, such as basic necessities, from the same retailer. 

However, if consumers are making a more deliberate, bigger purchase (like a new couch), personalized marketing content will play a major role in their purchasing decision. Highly personal purchases — clothing, vacations, and home appliances — require an “emotional investment” from the consumer. 

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IoT devices will be able to create a short list based on each person’s requirements, but the final decision will sit with the individual and will be influenced by relevant, creative marketing. Having a device powered by AI and good data will ensure non-personalized content is automatically filtered out, benefiting both the consumer and the brand.

New types of product discovery to explore: In order for a personal assistant to buy something, the consumer first has to tell it to make the purchase. AI assistants can then be used to help personalize future purchases via voice or AI. 

While these devices can drive product discovery, it is still on the marketer to ensure customers are not only discovering new content, but are compelled to purchase product. At this point it comes back to surfacing and using good data to deliver quality, relevant content — the channel ultimately won’t matter if you are not getting this component right. 

The new norm of machine-to-machine communication: As AI assistants become increasingly popular to help consumers with everyday tasks, brands are shifting their marketing efforts to consider AI assistants among their target audiences. 

Think of it this way: The next new customer may not be human. There is a marketer on one side of the transaction and the consumer at the other, but in the middle there are two technology systems communicating with each another. 

If everything is going through a personal assistant, there must be a push toward APIs for personalization to get past that “gatekeeper.” Gartner predicts the rise of a new marketing discipline: “thing marketing.” The firm argues that IoT devices that can make purchases on behalf of humans will become the next customer segment that businesses will need to learn how to listen to, engage with and serve.

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