News & Analysis

Unlocking AI’s Potential in the New Normal

By: Sudeshna Datta

The economic fallout of the black swan event has disrupted all sectors. As the world awaits a vaccine, companies are also looking for an antidote to mitigate the impact of the slowdown on their businesses. They are actively searching for tools to lend them actionable insights into the minds of the buyers – so that they send out appropriate messages at the appropriate time. The task has become even more grueling as the historical data won’t render relevant analysis anymore.

As per the Bureau of Economic Analysis, annualized GDP rates dropped by 4.8% in the first quarter and are estimated to further decline by 30-40% in the second. How will the market demand unfold? Will the renewed cases and unemployability further deteriorate the economic conditions? These are some mysteries that AI can help resolve.

An AI-powered Assistant Can Answer Your Queries

During the pre-COVID period, analytical models were a reliable source of a customer’s journey. However, due to the changing preferences, this historical data holds no relevance today, which adds another challenge of lack of data access amongst the existing ones.

A significant part of the workforce is still embracing WFH and don’t have the access to requisite company information and other data resources at present. This is an additional bottleneck for businesses with their respective solution lying in data-backed AI-enabled conversations. But how can such solutions help? Well, there are cognitive AI platforms with a search engine-like interface that can extract relevant data from internal and external sources. This data can then be used to solve the business problems which they have been deployed for.

An Intelligent Virtual Business Assistant, for instance, can help you get answers about building new customer profiles, understanding people’s concerns, and ascertaining their intent to buy. The best part is that marketers don’t need specialized training to use this smart technology. The query can be entered either through text or voice as in the case of Google and the response will be pulled from the applicable business data sources.

How AI Helps You Choose Choicest Signals

Having innumerable sources of information poses its own difficulties. Companies publish articles, whitepapers, analyses, studies, etc. which are relevant to the market we serve. But, the huge volume of information also makes identifying actionable data quite challenging.

Artificial Intelligence can assist by consuming voluminous datasets, locating apropos information, summarizing information valuable to a business, and providing marketers with choicest insights. Via this approach, marketers can navigate through irrelevant information and zero in on signs to help them target customers and gain a better perspective on demands in the new normal.

For instance, the current economic crisis including job losses has made consumers sensitive to price. However, AI analysis detects an increased inclination towards the offering and the service quality. Though their purchasing frequency has decreased, an urge to buy upscale products has eventually seen a surge. This has and will cause multiple implications for many sectors including food & beverages, home goods, and fashion going forward. Businesses that adopted AI early are better equipped to cater to such renewed demand patterns.

AI’s Role from Triage to Transformation

Several businesses and marketers changed the way they interacted with customers during the lockdown. They prioritized customer engagements to keep offerings available, digitizing customer interfaces, facilitating online ordering, and contactless solutions to address customer apprehensions.

No one knows for sure how these methods of interacting will pan out once the global situation eases. But the companies will have to consider the shifting customer sentiments on enhanced safety measures and re-strategize accordingly in the future. AI can help source such data from social media platforms, public health statements, geospatial data, etc. to aid you in decoding the realities and the upcoming trends so you can get ready.

Besides, companies will also need to be prepared for both the potential scenarios (i.e. vaccine development and a second wave of outbreaks). AI can help endow businesses with backup plans as warranted by the situation. For marketers, this implies assessing the current mindset of the customer and deploying the right messaging whenever they are most receptive. Unlocking new and the most appropriate path in the time of distress is the true function of AI, isn’t it?

(The author is Co-Founder & Executive Vice President, Absolutdata and the views expressed in the article are her own)

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