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10 AI Trends Marketers Should Watch for In 2020 [+ Bonus Infographic]

Raj Balasundaram
Raj Balasundaram , SVP of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is helping us explore the universe, diagnose diseases, and program autonomous cars, among thousands of other use cases across dozens of industries, including, especially, marketing.

Even amidst its tangible applications, AI is still in its infancy – through marketers believe that it’s a significant game-changer… and many are doing something about it.

A new decade is upon us – as the AI hype begins to dissipate and the proverbial clouds start to clear, which trends do retail marketers need to watch for in 2020?

10 for 2020: AI Trends for Retail Marketing in the Next Year

Whether you’re looking to get started with AI, expand your results from it, or fine-tune existing use cases, we scoured the net, talked to experts, and did our own research to give you the top AI trends to keep in mind over the next year.

1. Manage real-time customer interactions across channels

Our 2017 research showed that 26% of marketers planned to implement RTM more than 12 months ahead – so, around now. Look for marketing to become truly real-time, enabled by AI, as we move into 2020.

2. Improve retention and loyalty with new insights

As an overarching benefit, we also found that both business decision makers and users said AI marketing enables better customer retention. Heading into 2020, look for use cases for AI to improve and span the latter stages of the customer lifecycle. First-time to active, defecting customer win-back, and other vital campaigns will all use AI.  

3. Target new audiences for acquisition

Artificial intelligence can already predict how likely individuals are to convert on certain offers (especially people already in your database). As self-learning algorithms gain experience, they will evolve to be able to proactively identify new audiences across social media and target them.

4. Use advanced and predictive analytics

Predictive analytics leverages data mining, data modeling, and statistical models to make predictions about future outcomes. Historical/behavioral data sets rules in place which algorithms can then use to determine likely user responses before they actually happen.

Coupled with AI, predictive analytics identifies trends and launches campaigns likely to inspire action. Proactive marketing depends on predictive analytics – and predictive analytics has arguably the most utility and potential among any AI-related technologies today.

5. Personalize content, recommendations, and offers

Aside from its ability to scale and automate almost everything you’re doing, the bread and butter of AI is its ability to personalize content at the right time for every individual. More than half of marketers using AI are using it for this purpose, so look for this number to spike in 2020.

6. Send marketing messages at the best time

Send Time Optimization is a dynamic technology which uses a Bayesian Bandit model in order to identify the optimal time for emails to be sent for each contact – not segments, not groups, but individuals.

Timing will become a more central pillar to customer engagement in 2020.

7. Make marketing teams more effective and efficient

Efficiency gains are the #1 “internal” benefit for marketing organizations.

Our research shows that 96% of AI “experts” (those brands which are already implementing and performing with AI) and 90% of both “opportunists” and “novices” (those ramping up with AI) say AI makes their team more efficient. AI saves time, automates menial tasks, and performs data-intensive work better than humans can, anyways.

8. Enable voice-assisted search

30% of web browsing and searches will be done without a screen by 2020 (Gartner). Auditory technologies like Amazon Echo, Siri, and others can recognize spoken language and syntax, derive meaning, and not only deliver, but personalize, results. By 2020, 7 billion devices will have voice-powered assistants. And they’re getting better. According to Gartner, the voice-first revolution will gain prominence in no time.

9. Improve sales processes

By 2020, 30% of global companies will be using AI in at least one sales process.

As an added benefit, AI algorithms are getting better at predicting revenue for the next quarter, along with CLV and a host of other sales-related metrics. This is the future of AI.

10. Revenue gains

When leveraged across the organization within an end-to-end platform, AI predicts and drive revenue. By 2020, businesses than leverage AI to power customer insights could make $1.2 trillion more than their comparatively less-well informed peers!

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Bonus Download!

Get your free infographic revealing the full 20 trends marketers need to know for AI in 2020.


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Final Thoughts

Going into 2020, AI will only continue to grow as we near  a tipping point where the majority of marketers simply won’t be able to delay any longer.

Where brands that excel at customer experience today reign supreme, those who implement AI across marketing use cases will take a major step up in the next several years.

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AI predicts buying probability, likelihood to convert & CLV. Learn more!

About the Author


Raj Balasundaram is SVP of AI at Emarsys, where he helps leading brands leverage their digital platforms and data to out-maneuver competitors and achieve superior financial results. Raj has delivered presentations and talks at a variety of global conferences and road shows including #DMWF Expo Global, evangelizing the art of data intelligence-based marketing. Prior to Emarsys, Raj worked at both Oracle and ExactTarget. 

Connect: LinkedIn@RBalasundaram

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