Digital Marketing Trends 4/5 – VR, AI & Machine Learning

Digital Marketing Trends 4 - VR, AI & Machine Learning

Digital Marketing Trends 4/5

Trend 4. VR, AI & Machine Learning 

Trend number 4 is VR (Virtual reality), AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Machine Learning.

Cute robot or scary machine? We’ve all seen the sci-fi films of the past decade predicting a future on earth with an artificial being. Well, now more than ever, the films of past are slowly becoming reality in more ways than we may notice.

Lets first clear up the difference between machine learning and artificial intelligence because there is confusion that is starting to surface within the industry.

Machine learning is:

‘A brand of artificial intelligence in which a computer generates rules underlying or based on raw data that has been fed into it.’
Collins English Dictionary.

Think Netflix movie recommendations, internet ads based on deep learning of browsing habits, or even stock trades — these are all ways machine learning is helping us to navigate our world in powerful new ways automatically.

Artificial Intelligence is:

‘The theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.’
Oxford Dictionary

Think predictive customer services, when you know when and a why a customer is contacting your business and for email marketing it’s the ability to automatically customise email content based on the individual recipients behaviour.

Whilst many will think these introductions in technology are fairly new and shiny, it’s not necessarily the case.

Machine learning trends from Collins Dictionary
Source: Collins Dictionary

Machine Learning was first talked about in 1954, albeit quietly. This graph above demonstrates that machine learning has been around for quite some time. The difference now is that as marketers, we’re able to put what the machine has learnt into reality by using artificial intelligence.

Artificial intelligence, has also been around a long time, with even Greek myths featuring stories of ‘mechanical bronze men’ designed to mimic our own behaviour.


Enhancing customer experiences...

Enhancing experiences
Add virtual reality (VR) into the mix and it becomes an incredibly exciting time for marketers. The ability to personalise a customers experience based on their individual behaviour and bring that to life virtually.

How are brands utilising AI, VR & Machine Learning in marketing?
We’ll lets take a look at the following examples.

Under Armour
Under Armour (American apparel brand) has worked with IBM Watson to use AI to enhance the value their products provide their customers.
As the video below explains, the data captured in their fitness products provide their customers with an individual fitness plan, tailored to their performance and goals.

This isn’t only the wrist brand, this includes the scales and every Armour product that is synced with that persons profile. IBM Watson’s intelligence then comes into play to predict the customers fitness levels, the food to eat to increase the performance, the days best for exercise and the amount of sleep that individual person requires to be at their best.

A very different example to Under Armour, where Volvo wanted to bring the showroom to their prospects and customers home.
VR was used to take the experience of viewing a new car in the showroom, selecting the interior and taking that car then for a test drive all from your armchair in your living room.

Again another example of how marketers now have the opportunity to enhance every customers experience and bring it to life in any setting.

Always learning…

Not all AI has been introduced successfully and Microsoft’s twitter bot Tay was a prime example when it can all go wrong – coming with a bucket load of bad press in the process.

Tay was a twitter chatbot built to mimic and converse with users in real time - learning popular language and phrases from tweets like a child would from being around his or her parents. What Microsoft didn’t plan was for Tay to pick up learnings from offensive content to become a blabbing racist within a matter of hours.

Microsoft Tay's tweets

However, while some of these responses were unprompted, many came as the result of Tay’s “repeat after me” feature, which allows users to have full control over what comes out of Tay’s mouth. That detail points to Microsoft’s baffling underestimation of the internet more than anything else, but considering Microsoft is one of the largest technology companies in the world, it’s not great, Bob!

Robots are in control?

Imagine a machine that can order and pay for your shopping online and arrange for that order to be delivered to your door. Well that day is already here today. Google Home which has recently launched and Amazon Echo are the new house bots. But these again have some flaws to overcome.

Stories of family members naming products in general conversation in the presence a bot set automatically order mentioned products (if automatic payments are activated, it will also pay for you without you entering any details.) The perfect offering of convenience and automation perhaps?! Well almost! There were several instances where kids have been introduced to the concept – discussing their favourite products in conversations and of course – you guessed it - the bot has heard and automatically placed the order. Next day delivery of the latest PlayStation games and gadgets land on the doorstep billed through Mums credit card.

Although flaws to iron out, this is the next real development in machine learning and AI. It’s an interesting space to keep an eye on to see how these two products develop and become more sophisticated over time.

Whilst these are brilliant tools and intelligence that’s at a marketer’s finger tips. We’re not quite in a place where you can leave all decision making up to a machine, but maybe one day we will be…

If you need marketing consultancy with your next digital marketing campaign get in touch with us and let’s talk.

About the author 

Jenna Tiffany is Founder & Strategy Director at Let'sTalk Strategy providing consultancy services across the digital marketing mix. Jenna has over ten years' marketing experience within B2B and B2C and both client and agency side.

Communications Ambassador for CIM Greater London Region, an advisory board member the DMA North and a member of the DMA's Email Marketing Council. Jenna's expertise ranges in working with both small and large brands to analyse and develop their key journeys & wider digital marketing activities, developing best in class digital marketing strategies & campaigns to deliver ROI. As a proven thought-leader, competent public speaker and publisher, Jenna can be regularly seen sharing her latest trends and key industry topics.