Shiny new toys are popping up daily in the digital world, and today, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the latest trends burning bright and captivating the world. It’s the era of AI. Between 2013 and 2015 alone, The amount of investments in Artificial Intelligence startups doubled in number — which means investors saw the potential of AI in years to come. Should you jump on board? You decide. But before shifting your existing strategy, there are three facts you need to know about AI and how these facts influence marketing departments around the world:
#1 Customers don’t care about your chatbot
Of 5,000 consumers surveyed in a LivePerson research; 33% of them had a positive perception of chatbots, compared to the 19% of participants who didn’t approve of the technology. The remaining 48% were indifferent as long as their issue was resolved. In other words, most consumers aren’t bothered whether it’s a bot or human who offers assistance; as long they’re able to solve their problem. The approval ratings rise with voice capabilities. Stanford computer scientist James Landay found that speech is three times faster than texting on a smartphone, and the margin for error decreases by 3.6%. With more and more consumers embracing voice AI, it may be worth your time to invest in the engagement strategy that talks back.
#2 AI can write not just content, but data-driven content
Consumers have lost nearly all their trust in brands these days — 42% of Americans feel that companies are less truthful than ever before, and doling out content that isn’t backed by data is further discredits your voice. Data-driven content is a pillar of smart marketing. Currently, there are several AI tools (Quill, Heliograf, etc.) that can craft powerful data-backed stories to fuel your efforts. This piece below from the Los Angeles Times was written by a machine in three minutes:
For news stories, or press releases, publications and marketers are utilizing AI’s writing capabilities, but writing more thorough, engaging content is more than pouring hard facts and figures onto a page. “For writing, immediate AI applications don’t yet translate to higher profits on an industry-wide or measurable basis, at least not in terms of creating engaging content at scale,” Michael O’Neill of leading content marketing agency, Brafton said. This doesn’t mean AI is entirely useless for content marketing. When used in supporting roles, AI can generate data that will help the writer produce persuasive content.
#3 Most AI software has female voices (and this boosts engagement)
When comparing the performance of male and female sales team members, data from over 30,000 sales calls revealed that women close more deals than men. A closer look into the calls revealed that the women’s empathetic and emotionally intelligent responses resonated more with the buyers, generating in more sales. It’s no wonder then that most popular AI technologies out there have a female voice. From Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa to Google’s Assistant, “female AI” tools reign. In fact, the Daily Mail remarked that the softness of a woman’s voice may be a contributing factor when it comes to engagement. “Other than Apple adding the option of a male voice for Siri, all of the technology on the market speaks with a softer tone.”
Explaining why they chose to program their AI with a female voice, an Amazon spokesperson told Daily Mail, “we asked a lot of customers and tested Alexa’s voice with large internal beta groups before we launched, and this (a female voice) is the voice they chose.”
Avoid using AI without actual human oversight
Artificial Intelligence is an incredible and efficient resource for marketers and sales teams, but without careful monitoring the technology can hinder your intent to better connect with your audience—a reason many brands look to AI in the first place. There are some issues that can only be resolved by humans.
Microsoft’s Twitter chatbot Tay would not have annoyed so many Twitter users if the company used the technology in tandem with their customer service reps or community managers. The bot was created with a good motive — conversational understanding (i.e. understanding how people interact with each other, especially on Twitter), but when tweeters tweeted hurtful, racially charged tweets at the bot, her response was incredibly problematic. Although in the near future, AI may be able to function with less and less human involvement, for now, the technology must work alongside human employees.