How AI Helps Brand Marketers Sharpen Sales Strategies During the Festive Season Artificial-intelligence connects consumers with information and products that they'll exactly need and love

By Suhale Kapoor

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The festive season is just around the corner, so this is the perfect time for marketers to ramp up their efforts and put plans in place to amplify brand outreach and sales. In order to maximize sales, convert opportunities and achieve revenue goals, an increasing tribe of marketers are using Artificial Intelligence across the marketing and sales chain. Short attention spans of consumers and a fast-changing market landscape make it all the more necessary for marketers to focus on those drivers of sales that will result in the best chance to win over customers.

The festive season is the most frantic time of the year for retailers and marketers, and it is vital for them to make use of this time to convert marketing efforts into results. AI is helping businesses across the value chain: automating tasks and handling returns, running personalized campaigns and targeted ads, profiling customers to configure the right offer and from directing sales efforts to planning product promotions. Implementation of AI solutions has proven to significantly boost revenues and cut costs. There are many areas where AI can help become more productive than ever and ensure that the festive season is the most rewarding time for the business.

Let's explore how AI can help brands strategize their sales and marketing efforts during the most keenly awaited time of the retail calendar!

Mediating between product and customer

Companies typically have access to a stream of data spanning two key areas: customers and products. Artificial Intelligence applications allow us to bring these two streams together and generate customer level insights which drive sales. Companies need to have relevant information about their customers, product attributes, historical buying behavior and purchase context which can be used to generate personalized and targeted offers to consumers. Statistical analysis, self-learning algorithms and predictive modelling are used to analyze past trends to forecast a customer's likelihood of responding to a particular promotion or message positively. In that sense, AI helps a brand connect with consumers, offering products that they are most likely to desire and buy.

Sales teams are also effectively using AI-based sales planning tools which help them identify best practices across the firm, recommend which products to push to which customers based on their own past data and data from other sales members and clients across the firm, in real time.

Apart from automation and AI analytics algorithms, even consumer-facing AI tools such as chatbots for e-commerce sites, automatic email or support responses effectively use Natural Language Processing and smart algorithms to interact with consumers and help an immediate sale, without waiting for a human being to establish contact.

Developing strategies by leveraging historical data

While creating a festive strategy, you need to consider past activities and campaigns. Historic data about past campaigns - which ads drew the most attention from audiences, which sales promotion tactics saw larger conversions – need to be benchmarked and compared. AI applications help identify aspects which performed well so you can plan activities going forward.

Marrying past sales and marketing data along with customer data is a very powerful way of understanding the unique characteristics of consumers, your brand, product or channel. There is typically going to be a different strategy for all of these elements of the portfolio - you will need to judge to see which strategy works for the specific consumer segment/product/channel combination.

AI solutions have the capability to work with very large amounts of data, streaming in real time and throw up real-time decision recommendations, as well. AI-powered systems are self-learning, which means they are continuously improving as more data is accessed over time. They are also more reliable than traditional analytical techniques when working with sparse data sets.

Optimizing campaigns on-the-go

Refining and optimizing campaigns and offers are an important part of any marketing plan. AI solutions can be used to run multiple tests at any given time while harvesting real-time data to continually enhance the testing cycle – refining marketing efforts as the campaigns and promotions run. Marketers can generate an optimized campaign at a segment, micro-segment or even consumer level. Such targeted campaigns were not possible with traditional analytics techniques and technology platforms. With the availability of affordable, often cloud based storage, processing and AI tools, companies are now able to actually mine the big data that has often been hyped in the past but underutilized.

Timing is everything

The Indian festive season offers many micro-moments of interactions and connections between brands and consumers. A growing number of consumers have already started their shopping spree hunting for deals, looking for styling tutorials or searching for decor ideas. Simultaneously brands are fighting it out for consumers' attention amidst all this excitement to make the most passionate appeal with a flurry of creative ads, targeted campaigns and promotions. The game will belong to those who plan their moves in time, leveraging the power of analytics and AI to sharpen and boost their sales and marketing activities.

Suhale Kapoor

EVP & Co-founder, Absolutdata Analytics

Suhale helped build Absolutdata from a startup to its current status as a robust delivery centre for analytics and research. In addition to growing our business in the US and other developed markets, currently, he is deeply involved in developing business with clients across APAC and the Middle East where we are witnessing consumer and business landscapes develop in very interesting ways, and the adoption of analytics across both MNCs and regional/local players. He is also closely involved with the firm’s Finance and Technology functions.

Suhale has over 20 years of experience in operations, marketing, logistics, and information management systems. Before co-founding Absolutdata, he spent 5 years with Mitsubishi Corporation in international trade, investments, and reengineering. Suhale is an alumnus of the Mitsubishi President’s Global Leadership Program.

He holds an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management at Ahmedabad and an undergraduate degree in Economics from Delhi University.

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