No matter how prepped companies were when COVID-19 took the world by storm, business insights lost most, if not all, of their accuracy. Anil Kaul, CEO of Absolutdata, discusses how marketing teams
can now navigate COVID-19 more clearly with proactive insights from AI.
The economic impact of COVID-19 has touched every industry. As the world tries to return to normal while awaiting a vaccine, marketers are looking to technology to help them navigate the COVID-19 economy and prepare for a post-pandemic world. Specifically, they need to know where customers are in the buyer journey so they can send appropriate messages at each stop along the way. Analysis based on historical data won’t help since the current situation is unprecedented.
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, annualized GDP rates dropped by 4.8% in the first quarter and are estimated to decline 30-40% in the second. Will the economy rebound in a V-shaped recovery due to pent-up demand as lockdowns ease? Will high unemployment, uncertainty, and renewed outbreaks drag the economy down? No one knows for sure, but AI can help us prepare for what’s next.
Learn More: How AI Will Lead the COVID-19 Recovery
An AI Business Assistant Can Answer Your Questions
In the “before times,” you could count on models based on historical data to provide clues about where customers are on the purchasing path. The pandemic changed all of this. Now, as marketers put together new customer profiles and search for trends to make sense of an upended marketplace and scrambled demand patterns, they’re hampered by another challenge: lack of data access.
Millions are still working from home and/or are dependent on information from colleagues who don’t have ready access to internal company information and other sources of data at home. It makes it more difficult to find a path forward, but an AI-enabled conversation with data can help. There are intuitive AI applications with a search engine-like interface that can pull data from internal and external sources.
An AI business assistant can help you get the answers you need for tasks like building new customer profiles to better reflect people’s concerns about the pandemic and gauge intent to buy. Marketers don’t need any specialized training to use an AI business assistant – you can just type or speak your question as you would with Google and receive answers drawn from relevant business data sources.
How AI Helps You Look Past the Noise to Pick Up Signals
The proliferation of information in the modern world is a double-edged sword. We have access to more expertise than ever before. People are publishing articles, whitepapers, studies, analyses, webinars, etc., which are directly relevant to the specific market segments we serve, but the sheer volume of information make it difficult to locate the data we need.
AI can help by ingesting huge datasets, locating relevant information, summarizing the material that is meaningful to a specific sector, and providing marketers with a curated selection of insights. In this way, AI can help marketers sift through the noise and pick up signals to help them appeal to customers and gain better perspective on the new drivers of consumer behavior.
To cite just one example, the economic fallout from COVID-19, including job losses, has made consumers more sensitive to price, but AI analyses detected a new focus on product and service quality. People are buying less frequently but purchasing more upscale products, causing significant implications for many sectors, including restaurants, fashion, and home goods. Marketers who used AI to gain this insight early were better positioned to respond to this change in demand patterns.
Learn More: How Data + AI Help B2B Marketers Navigate Their New Reality
How AI Helps You Move from Triage to Transformation
Businesses – and their marketing teams – adjusted to lockdowns in various ways, depending on how they interact with customers. Most triaged customer interactions to keep products and services available, digitizing customer interfaces, and offering online ordering, delivery, curbside pickup, and other contactless alternatives to address customer safety concerns.
It’s not clear yet how sticky these new methods of interacting will be once a vaccine is developed. But for the foreseeable future, businesses will need to take customer sentiment on safety into account and create strategies to address shifting priorities. AI can help by monitoring data sources like social media, geospatial data, public health statements, etc., to help you understand what’s happening on the ground now and what trends are emerging so you can prepare.
To successfully navigate an uncertain business environment, companies have to be able to create scenarios based on possible outcomes (a vaccine, renewed outbreaks, etc.). AI can help businesses develop contingency plans for whatever comes next. For marketing professionals, this means mapping where customers are on the buying journey and providing the right message when consumers are most receptive. That’s how AI can help marketers navigate the COVID-19 economy.