We’ve seen tech innovations at blinding speed in the past year. We’re splitting photons with silicon for nanotechnology and storage in quantum computing. Artificial Intelligence (AI), Natural Language Processing (NLP), and Machine Learning (ML) have made significant leaps as they are being incorporated in a multitude of apps and devices. 96% of organizations now use some form of cloud computing.
These innovations are changing the way businesses operate.
Our 2020 Predictions
As we head into 2020, here are some of the things we see on the immediate horizon and how we can prepare for these advancements.
Computers Will Get Smarter
AI is increasingly capable of analyzing data and spotting trends that humans may overlook. Data mining and data modeling are providing breakthroughs in predictive analytics, meaning, our computers aren’t just analyzing what’s already occurred, but using that data to predict future behavior.
When you add in Machine Learning, it’s like dumping gasoline on the fire. As more data is accumulated, computers learn and find alternate pathways. In marketing, this allows for powerful ways to target potential customers by examining historical and behavioral data to forecast behavior. It further allows us to hyper-target our prospects, leading us to warmer leads, and shortening closing timelines.
Chatbots and Intelligent Assistants are becoming more prominent. These machines learn over time and optimize the way they interact with consumers. The more interactions they have, the more intuitive they become.
Moving beyond conventional AI, we see the emergence of what’s known as Cognitive AI. Think of it like AI 2.0.
NASA’s Mars Rover used Cognitive AI in amazing ways. 150 million miles from earth, it was able to adapt to its environment on its own. When a dust storm occurred, it taught itself to rotate its panels to dislodge particles that blocked its solar array. This was not something it had been programmed to do.
Cognitive AI analyzes problems and unforeseen correlations to develop solutions. When something isn’t working, it finds another pathway to prevent bottlenecks.
In sales and marketing, this can lead to new revelations in previously unforeseen ways. AI is constantly analyzing data and improving its efficiency. It gets smarter over time. This can save money because it can visualize where systems fail and fix them. It can analyze data and predict the impact of actions.
Humanized, Personalized Content Will Expand in New Ways
AI can create content at scale. It can also personalize content to individual customers and deliver the right content at the right moment in their customer journey.
AI and ML algorithms will transform engagement and behavior to suggest product enhancements, upgrades, or upsells and deliver recommendations automatically.
This personalized content will go far beyond recommending products based on past purchases. AI can predict and serve up the offers most likely to convert and customize each offer to individuals. Rather than sending out a blanket discount, it can deliver variable discounts based on other buying signals. This is an effective way to optimize your sales and avoid discounting products and services to your potential customers.
The algorithms pick up on subtle clues in the same way your best sales agents or customer service agents would. However, they can do it at scale and continually optimize the experience.
An Evolving Role for Marketers
The reliance on AI will expand greatly as marketers become more comfortable with trusting the AI to do its job. Instead of chasing leads, leads can be engaged, qualified, and scheduled for follow-ups.
Sales and marketing teams will begin to embrace AI as an essential tool. This means learning new skill sets and approaches. The job will become much more data-centric as AI optimizes campaigns and offers in ways humans would not be able to scale.
In Sci-Fi novels, robots often replaced humans. That’s not the case here. AI and Bots will work together as digital assistants for marketers. The business intelligence it creates is used to augment the work marketers are doing.
Chatbots Will Be Everywhere
As consumers have become more comfortable interacting with machines, Chatbots usage is growing exponentially. In 2020, 80% of organizations will be using Chatbots to interact with customers.
Chatbots have evolved from answering basic questions in a human-like fashion to handling payments and developing leads. Chatbots can automatically deliver leads into CRM software and marketing automation to follow-up with relevant offers.
Friends, Advisors, and Assistants
Voice assistants and smart speakers are changing the way people interact and communicate. 97% of mobile users are already using AI-powered voice assistants. Smart speakers represent the fastest growing technology segment.
Users are asking for recommendations and advice on B2C and B2B products and services and they’re increasingly using voice search. 65% of adults aged 25-49 now report using voice-enabled devices at least once a day. This means a new type of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. Marketers will need to harness the power of voice search to optimize opportunities when potential customers are searching using voice.
Don’t leave room for hindsight in 2020
Are you taking advantage of Artificial Intelligence in your sales and marketing? If not, here are three statistics that might change your mind going into the new year:
- 30% of companies will be using AI as part of their sales process by 2020, according to Gartner. That number is expected to grow as the year progresses.
- Forrester predicts that businesses taking advantage of data insights are growing 8 times faster than global GDP and take more than $1.2 trillion a year from peers.
- Current AI technology is already boosting business productivity by 40%, according to Accenture.