The digital age we live in is full of wonder. From instantaneous communication to a shared network of information that nearly everyone on the planet can access. We create petabytes of new content and information every second. Some just sit and wait to be discovered, whilst others fight for our attention in a whirlwind of entertainment, social media, and search engines. Automation, AI, and digitization should have started the second renaissance giving people more time to spend on the things that are important to them, such as spending time with family and friends, exploring a hobby, or striving to make a difference, not just a living.
Letters became emails, emails became automated, a new digital spam pandemic began, and email soon became a necessary evil that fell far from the humble letter. TV became less about coming together as a family to watch the scheduled show, but something to pass the time on the train to work. Adverts went from being in designated places to following us around. Playing out became playing online and socializing became social networks. For a period it was fun, but as time went on, we were left with an emptiness. It is now clear that people need people, and a personal experience has more impact than a digital one. With this in mind, the future is definitely personalization and I wanted to take a look at a few fantastic examples of personalization that are already in the market.
Digital Marketing – Knowing More About You Than You
Advances in technology, data, and analytics are already helping marketers create much more personal and “human” experiences across moments, channels, and buying stages. Recent reports suggest personalization can increase revenue by 5 to 15 percent as well as 10 to 30 percent increases in marketing-spend efficiency. Personalized recommendations and upsells powered by smarter and smarter AI are making the shopping experience more personal and tailored to each visitor. Not only is this happening at the online store level but in the advertisements that drive them there. Google, Bing, and all the social media channels all use machine learning to create a profile of each person, in order to target highly relevant ads when they are online. If you are in the market for a new car, the algorithms know and will ensure you see more information about your chosen interest.
The Human Touch – But By Machines
Emails, e-shots, and newsletters get the information across, but they are having less and less impact. Many don’t even reach their intended target through the layers of firewalls, spam filters, and folder automation. The company Handwrytten has brought together automation and personalization and found a new ‘old’ way to differentiate communications for their clients. By creating handwritten notes and letters ‘at scale’, businesses can send direct mail that is written by hand in pen and ink. Sure, the hand is robotic, but the impact of a personal welcome letter or thank you letter far outweighs that of a quick generic email. They used to say everyone likes getting mail until automated bills became the norm. Handwrytten aims to bring back the pleasure of getting a personal letter and helping you improve relationships at the same time.
I Just Want to Talk To Someone – Even a Bot?
With so many call centers in the world, you would think you could connect with someone quickly and easily. However, long wait times, transferring to different departments and people with little knowledge of the product or service seem to be forever in our path. Until the Chatbot was born. Natural Language processing Chatbots have made huge progress in terms of understanding the emotions of the user. Many can even rectify spelling and grammatical errors and allow the chatbot to interpret the message intended by the user despite any mistakes. With more and more websites employing Chatbots, visitors can talk to someone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As more questions that are asked, the bigger the knowledge set becomes until a Chatbot should become more experienced than any minimum wage call center employee.
Face-to-Face Conversations – Without Leaving The House
The unsettling feeling of speaking to Alexa, Siri, or Google has almost passed and many can be heard arguing with their digital assistants or telling them to shut up. We have welcomed AI into our homes but so far, they have never had a face. However, the future of personalization includes lots more Facetime, and I don’t mean a video call to your parents. Companies such as Synthesia are pioneering this area with their AI video generation platform. Companies across the world are turning to Synthesia to re-invent their boring documents, stale PowerPoints or wordy PDFs into engaging training videos, marketing or how-to videos, and even as a face to their customer service department. The fact that you can create a video in multiple languages and change it quickly and easily (if you find a mistake or the information changed) is a gamechanger and could save companies thousands of dollars.
So whilst the wonders of the digital age may have transformed our daily lives, it has also helped us understand what is important. In doing so, it has driven us to discover new exciting innovations that will help humanize and personalize both our digital and real-world experiences. Automation, AI, and digitization might have stripped up of our humanity initially, but eventually, they will help us get it back.