AI marketing

As the use of personal digital assistants such as Alexa or Siri transform the lives of consumers by helping with various tasks, automated, machine-to-machine transactions are on the horizon.

Amazon’s Alexa, for example, will soon be able to order products automatically — without consumers hitting the “buy” button. And Raj Balasundaram, global head of solution consultants at Emarsys, said in a research note that this will fundamentally change how companies and brands conduct marketing. He noted that machine-to-machine transactions “have been around for a number of years, and mainstream industries such as fin-tech and supply chain management have greatly benefited from the evolution of these transactions.”

But now consumer marketing is poised to adopt artificial intelligence marketing, “which will play a role in marketing to machines and machine-to-machine transactions going forward,” Balasundaram said.

Balasundaram explained that shoppers are overwhelmed with too many choices, and are turning to PDAs to help “sift through the ocean of brands and products.” He expects PDAs to eventually be the “gatekeepers” of consumer data and information.

But that doesn’t mean traditional marketing will disappear. As AI marketing evolves, consumers will still be making their own purchases — but it will skew toward emotional purchases. For “essential buying” of common household necessities, Balasundaram said consumers “will happily let the machines make the decisions for us, as long as they comply with our parameters regarding price, delivery time, or other special requirements.”

But with “emotional buying,” which Balasundaram describes as “highly personal purchases that require an emotional investment, such as holidays, special items of clothing, home appliances, or tactile items,” shoppers will want more control — especially of the final buying decision.

“For example, buying a holiday requires legwork, scanning tons of web sites comparing flights and hotels, all of which can now be taken care of by the PDA,” he explained. “Based on their emotional reaction as they review the PDA’s shortlist, consumers will choose their preferred destination. In this context, the machines complete 50 percent of the transaction; a human does the final 50 percent. This is where good old marketing messaging plays its part.”