AI should free up marketers to think big and solve business problems

Samsung Europe CMO Benjamin Braun explains how artificial intelligence is key to unleashing marketing potential and unlocking innovation.

Free to thinkTesting the impact of online campaigns on consumers has historically been a two-horse race. It was often impossible for marketers to tell whether they were choosing between ads that were, in fact, only somewhat relevant or wholly irrelevant to a customer segment, as they could only depend on inherently limited A/B testing. In short: do you like this, or that?

But those days are quickly vanishing, just as more consumers than ever are shopping online due to the pandemic. Enter automated machine learning and artificial decision making.

Marketers are the key drivers of ecommerce sales

During my university years I learned about statistical hypothesis testing and regression models. It was hard to understand in an academic setting, but once it is used as a marketing tool the value is immediately recognisable.

Unlocking personalisation – automatically

Multivariate testing (MVT) is transforming the marketer’s ability to target consumers online based on their individual tastes, habits and needs.

This technology tests multiple avenues to see which content gets the most conversion from a customer and, based on this data, learns to predict which content will best suit the same customer in future. Be it via emails during daytime for morning larks or under the cover of darkness for nighttime owls, it knows when best to reach out to customers, with what message and with what ad design.

Based on recent purchases and online interactions with your brand, machine learning knows where in the consumer lifecycle each customer is – allowing it to use triggers, with ‘nudge’ wording, for those on the cusp of a purchase, or softer tones for those simply browsing your products. In short: it’s pretty clever and way smarter than the traditional A/B model.

Buying back time

Taking the sceptic’s view of this technology is easy at first. With discussions regarding the impact of digitisation on the global human workforce continuing to feature in the media, artificial intelligence could seem to pose an existential threat to the purpose and role of the humble marketer.

And yet what we are seeing at Samsung Europe is, in fact, the opposite.

With more consumers shopping online during lockdowns, we have been redoubling our efforts to push ahead with digital change. Bringing together stakeholders from across the business, we are making progress towards digital channel integration – generating multiple machine learning models and digital tools in the process.

With time won back through AI-backed decision making, brands have an opportunity to free up marketers to crack on with solving new business challenges.

We are already seeing the impact on customers, with better integration ensuring that the consumer experience is carefully personalised across each touchpoint in the buying journey.

But we are also seeing exciting changes and benefits for our marketers, too. Our efforts to digitise and automate have handed back our marketing teams two key and precious commodities: more time and more autonomy.

Better collaboration, better marketing

Through AI, marketers can become more empowered by the day to better target their audiences. Manual and repetitive tasks are taken off their hands. We have developed our own automated ‘AdBuilder’, for example. Our teams across Europe can choose from a bank of templates to create a thousand tailored assets within just two minutes, rather than taking up valuable time adapting content for different formats and ad platforms.

Automated decision making powered by machine learning enables better optimisation and thus campaign success. We have removed decisions backed solely by subjectivity so that they are now data-driven, based on consumer behaviours. Throughout a recent three-week product launch phase, for example, our creative automation approach led to a 160% increase in click-through rates from our tailored ads to our website.

Whenever ideas must be justified across the business, this AI-led capability naturally gives marketers confidence and company-wide clout. The insights are shared across departments, having a direct impact on wider business strategy.

We are seeing roles and responsibilities gradually evolving within our teams due to increased automation – a trend we predict will continue across the industry. More channel integration will inevitably blur the lines across CRM, digital, media, PR and social teams, creating a cross-functional marketing department that is more evidence-led. Our own integration is rapidly building a new dynamic and agile culture among our employees.

With time won back through AI-backed decision making, brands have an opportunity to free up marketers to crack on with solving new business challenges.

Marketers underestimate the role of creativity in effectiveness

Taking the plunge to think big

This is why automation offers a powerful paradox to the modern marketer. While optimisation is a growing priority within the marketing industry, there has been less debate about unlocking true innovative thinking.

By giving way to more automation, there is now a chance to focus on new creativity – which is what should truly lie at the heart of every customer campaign. We are at the start of our automation journey, but our marketers are already seeing the benefits of this approach. This marks a step forward towards spending more precious time on creativity to unlock new opportunities for customers.

There is no doubt about it – increased automation will ultimately usher in a new era of faster, more personalised marketing. Correctly leveraging automation gives marketers time to think, create, be bold, delve deeper into the creative process and disrupt, helping brands find their true unique points of differentiation.

Benjamin Braun is CMO of Samsung Europe.



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