Everyone knows that AI is the future. It will drive us around in our cars, predict the next natural disaster and find the cure for cancer. But what can AI do right now to make our lives easier?
AI is one of those big ideas that can get lost in terminology. The term was coined in 1956 by computer scientist John McCarthy. Simply stated, Artificial Intelligence is the concept of enabling computers to “think.” This can be general intelligence, like C3PO, or specialized intelligence, like determining when someone is going to purchase a vehicle. For dealerships, and business in general, results will always be more important than concepts or technology. Yet when trying to evaluate partners that can put AI to use for you, a basic knowledge of the concept can help demystify it and allow you to ask better questions.
Machine Learning — This is a specific way of using AI, where the machine can learn and achieve desired results without being programmed to do so. Instead of human-coded algorithms, the computer trains itself to sort data, then adapts and improves over time. Machine Learning allows computers to get results that would be impossible for humans to accomplish.
Predictive Modeling/Analytics — Predictive modeling is where machine learning becomes useful. How likely is this person going to buy? What are they likely to buy? How much will they spend? These are the types of questions that can be addressed by predictive modeling.
By taking the information about consumers’ behavior — their shopping patterns, their browsing habits, their past purchases, etc. — marketers using this technology can interact with customers, providing them with information they desire at the time that they most need it, rather than firing irrelevant messages at them randomly. These predictions can be used in an even more targeted way. People don’t always give you the courtesy of informing you they are shopping for a vehicle, so you often lose customers without even having a chance to change their minds. Having these predictions allows you to prioritize your resources and make meaningful outreach to your consumers when it is going to be most impactful.
As with every next big thing, many people will use the buzzwords without actually executing them and that can lead to the words losing their meaning. Don’t let this discourage you; the technology is helping businesses in every industry increase productivity, profits and customer satisfaction.
AI-enabled marketing will not lose focus or forget to follow-up. It will always be on, listening to consumers, modifying messaging and recommendations based on observed behavior. Leverage technology wherever you can so you can focus your people-resources on tasks that computers can’t do, such as having a personal conversation with someone.
The availability and quality of this technology will only get better, so plan on how you are going to make it part of your business processes.
AI is the future, but it is also the present… Matt Kristo