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AI Ascends and Generates 15X Return for Online Retailer

Artificial Intelligence (AI) might bring to mind futuristic sci-fi stories, but its reality is much more accessible – and actually infiltrating our industry to transform marketing as we know it. The adoption of AI in marketing continues to rise as businesses enjoy the benefits of real-time segmentation of customers, personalized messaging, predictable customer value, and optimized media buys. AI has ceased to be a technology of the future and is something that marketers need to be prepared to equip themselves with now.

AI liberates marketers by eliminating the tedious manual tasks of tweaking business rules each time new customer information is captured. With tasks that previously had to be done by hand out of the way, AI allows you to focus on more strategic and creative activities like campaign planning. In the case of RedBalloon, an online experiential gift retailer, AI allowed them to break away from outdated advertising mediums, reach past their then-audience of Australia and New Zealand, and connect with their customers on a more personal level. You can read more about how RedBalloon took their advertising campaign to new heights in my article in HBR. 

AI also simplifies the compilation process of bringing together the huge amounts of data coming from multiple sources like website visits, mobile app interactions, purchase transactions, and product reviews into an accessible, digestible format. For RedBalloon, this meant analyzing customer data to form more personalized “micro-segments” that let them narrow in on highly-specific audiences with targeted content.

Because AI cuts out the physical demand of compiling data in ways that take time, power, and money, it makes it possible to react and adjust to data in real time instead of waiting for data analyses to be completed. Those who are slow to adopt AI will find themselves at a competitive disadvantage because they can’t make timely, accurate, and profitable predictions about their customers. In the current market, customers want relevant information as soon as they can get it. They want transparency and they want data. And if they can’t find it from one company, there’s nothing stopping them from moving onto the next.

Accelerated communication, data collection, and automatic marketing evolution are all part of the reason AI has become such an irreplaceable fixture in modern marketing. Each company’s needs, goals, and Story are different, but the most advantageous part of AI is that it can adapt to almost any role. AI’s function places it at the forefront of technological advancement, breaking through work silos and helping organizations decrease the gap between themselves and their customers.

For a more in-depth look at AI success stories like Red Balloons, check out my new book, Marketing, Interrupted.



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