Why don't people buy my product

Marketing of the future: people buy experiences, not products

The Adobe Summit 2018 in London is over and has given attendees a glimpse into the AI-based future of marketing. While the focus on Thursday was on products, on Friday the focus was on Experience Makers and Sneaks - technologies that are under development and presented to the audience at the conference. It was pointed out that marketing in the future will be based on a high level of personalization and that the customer must be the focus again.

The future of advertising is smart

It is well known that the focus should be on the user experience again. For a long time, the focus of marketers was on the product, but not on the consumer, who should actually be addressed. Now the tide has turned, because even the last marketer should have realized that generically placed advertising has not worked for a long time. Consumers today have the choice of whether they want to see an advertisement, otherwise there are ad blockers at their disposal, the popularity of which is unbroken. However, intelligent advertising that succeeds in standing out from the crowd, putting the user at the center and presenting not just a generic product, but a product tailored to the individual, has gained in importance. This is not a new finding, retargeting, for example, has of course been around for a long time. The challenge, however, is to create customized messages and make them relevant across the entire user journey. Adobe presented its promising technologies at the Summit in London. The focus of the entire event was Adobe's KI Sensei, which is constantly being developed and is already able to work intelligently and efficiently today.

With AI for a perfect customer experience

AI is already relieving marketers of a lot of work: it runs individualized campaigns, performs non-stop split tests in the background for optimization and can adapt assets to each user in a split second. If advertising becomes more relevant for consumers in the future, both sides will benefit from it. With the help of AI, for example, customers can be prevented from being shown a product weeks later that they have already purchased. At Adobe, this achievement is called Experience Business. The tech group means a sophisticated technology that enables companies to generate personalization based on intelligent data. If companies manage to shift there by personalizing services, they generate better customer experiences. In the end, this increases the satisfaction of everyone involved, as the results of a recently carried out and shortly published report in collaboration with Forrester suggest.

Of course, the collected user data does not analyze itself by itself, because companies need extremely powerful software for this. And how all of this can ultimately be implemented was shown by some use cases at the summit: The airline Virgin Atlantic, for example, offers its customers centralized data collection with the help of a fingerprint, so that the sometimes stressful search for and having passports and tickets ready is a thing of the past and The trip is stress-free - at least at the airport. The other question is whether you want to give the airline your fingerprint. Here it depends on the benefit. Shell also has this to offer, because those who regularly use the app can expect free car washes, coffee, discounts and much more. With AI, it is even possible to predict which rewards each individual customer is likely to prefer based on user behavior. All of this only works on the basis of data and thus personalization. And this, in turn, can only be achieved if the consumer is ready to give his data to companies. This requires an experience business that knows its customers. AI can provide support, relieve a lot of work, but probably not make your own (meaningful) decisions for a long time. In 2016, Microsoft's Tay showed us where it leads to simply letting an AI loose on the environment and do it. Without human guidance, the Twitter bot mutated into a racist within a few hours.

AI is impressive, but should be used with caution

In addition to talks with prominent guests such as the Klitschko conqueror Anthony Joshua or Victoria Beckham, Adobe let the audience take a look at the probably not too distant and largely automated marketing future on the second day of the summit. The star guest who was shown through the sneakers was the English comedian and actor Rob Brydon.

In any case, it was very exciting for the audience to see what AI can already do today and what it will be able to do within a few years. Erase objects from pictures without lending a hand? Makes sensei. Create and individualize film posters from front to back within minutes? Make sensei. Connect with the global team via VR? Make sensei. And all in a matter of seconds. We feel a little like Bob Brydon, who said after every presentation:

Wow, that's impressive. And frightening at the same time.

Artificial intelligence does not come without its pitfalls. It can indeed simplify our daily work, enable us to make better decisions faster and thus optimize the user experience, and even grow into an experience business ourselves. But one should not succumb to the temptation to let her do all of the work for you. AI can make better use of data, but it cannot replace the mind. Better, because more relevant, advertising is an asset for anyone who allows it, but here too, as everywhere, an acceptable middle ground has to be found. Adobe provides a technology that optimizes the customer experience.

Studied social science with a penchant for online and marketing. Was editor and content manager at OnlineMarketing.de from 2014 to 2019.