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FOCUS – MAR K E TING: A NE W BR AVE WOR LD

AI is getting more human INFO asks Olivier Njamfa, President and CEO of customer interaction experts Eptica how artificial intelligence is changing the way brands interact with customers

Why is it so vital that brands interact with customers on a

and analyse human language, is a form of AI that can already

personal basis when marketing?

help brands to gather insight about their customers.

Customers expect and demand meaningful conversations with

Today, this cognitive technology is able to understand

brands today, and it is vital for companies to do so if they want

any conversation that happens between an individual and a

to win and retain new business – it’s the key to engaging them

brand, and use that to extract what the brand needs to serve

with your brand. People now expect brands to know what they

the customer. And the more it happens, the more ‘intelligent’

like and want in advance.

the technology becomes. For example, while there are around

Yet, right now, most brands do not truly know their customers. There is a big shift occurring, which will continue

240,000 words in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, our own AI software has a ‘vocabulary’ of one million words.

throughout 2017 and beyond, in companies’ ability to increase their knowledge of their customers: what is their

What is the one thing marketers need to do in 2017?

behaviour, what are they expecting, what are they looking for?

Brands need to transform themselves to focus on their customers – both on gaining new ones and retaining existing

What role does artificial intelligence (AI) play in this?

ones. This means investing in the necessary technology that can

AI is a huge part of it. Natural language processing, where

help your business to put customers at its heart. It’s a big move

software and technology use algorithms to translate, understand

to make, but it will make a big difference. I

Are we heading into a virtual future?

W

hile virtual reality (VR) technology

report by VR experts ShiftVR.

is still in its infancy, it could

Not everyone is convinced, however.

be used by brands to grow customer

'VR has had all the hype this year, but we

engagement – the Holy Grail of marketing.

are starting 2017 with a lot of questions

After all: no one can deny the power of

still unanswered, despite the media

being fully immersed in an alternative,

hype,' says Jonathan Chippindale, CEO of

virtual world. But will it stick, or is it just a

Holition.

fad that will eventually die out?

'Brands are getting good PR exposure from playing around with VR at the

What are the potential uses of VR specifically in marketing?

moment, but let’s see if this continues into next year – my guess is that it might

• The ability to recreate the settings that physical products will be used in

die back, like 3D did, and VR will retreat Building these 360-degree virtual

into areas when “getting away from it all”

• Telling powerful, immersive stories

experiences still requires considerable

– such as gaming or pornography – will

using 360-degree video

investment in both time and money,

play to it’s obvious strengths.'

• Giving customers a taste of products

but as the technology refines and

Marketers would therefore do well to

by giving them a glimpse into how the

democratises itself, it has the potential

brush up on their knowledge, but hold

products are used in real life.

to deliver strong returns, according to a

off on investing for now. I JH

32 - info - january / february 2017

INFO Magazine | Marketing: A Brave New World  
INFO Magazine | Marketing: A Brave New World  
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