Artificial Intelligence Isn’t Just for Google
The term ‘artificial intelligence’ or AI has been the new buzzword in business over the last couple of years. Most business owners have heard of it but many don’t know what it really means or whether it’s even relevant to them. For many it conjures up images of ‘Rosie’ the robot from the Jetsons. I hear things like; ‘We’re not a technology company’, ‘we’re not big enough for that stuff’ or ‘I can’t afford it’.
First, let define what we mean by artificial intelligence.
“Artificial intelligence: the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behaviour”
A ‘machine’ can be a physical device like a phone or a piece of manufacturing equipment perhaps. It can also mean a bit of software on your computer or in the cloud. The important bit it that we’re talking about anything we use to effectively imitate intelligent human behaviour. This about the best staff member you’ve ever worked with. They got to know your customers, they managed to anticipate their needs before your customers knew what hit them. They hardly ever dropped the ball and were worth every cent. Wouldn’t you want more of them?
You’re already using AI
Whether you like it or not, you’re already using or experiencing AI in various forms in your business right now. If you use Google Maps, you’re being given the quickest way to get from A to B based on what’s happening with traffic on every road around you. Your email automatically filters mail that looks like spam and puts it in a folder on its own. These are just a couple of simple examples of machines imitating intelligent human behaviour. They help to make us more efficient, save time, save money and focus on other things. So what else can you do to capitalise on the rise of AI? Here’s a couple of ideas
If you have products or services to sell then you should be looking at Facebook advertising. You can select your audience based on characteristics like age, location, relationship status, education or even job titles. You can even target based on interests, hobbies or certain behaviour online. If you sell financial services, target people that have ‘look like’ your other customers. If you sell products to young women, automatically serve ads to women under the age of 40 who live in your local area.
You are probably already using some form of online email and SMS platform to deliver messages to customers and prospects but some of these platforms are taking this to a whole new level. Australian company Impact Data with their ‘TalkBox’ product is just one example. TalkBox takes your customer database information, sales history and prospecting and creates automated interactions with these people. It looks for trends in your data to predict when your customers will buy next and send them an offer to buy earlier.
It automatically sends offers to customers that are ‘overdue’ for making a purchase based on their individual history. It’s can automatically send an email to a customer who is having a milestone birthday soon and offer your services to help them celebrate. I think you get the idea. Tools like this are now affordable and in reach for even small businesses. We all know how important it is to collect data, but if that’s where you stop, it’s pointless. Get your data to work for you and interact with your customers in a meaningful way.
Artificial intelligence is not something to be feared. It should be embraced and architected into all areas of your business. You’re not too late to the AI party and it’s only going to get better!
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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