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No doubt, you have noticed that the usage of the terms Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) has skyrocketed in the last decade.
Today, every industry is strategizing about how to leverage AI and ML to improve business. The automotive industry is no exception. Dealers might think that these concepts mainly impact them at an OEM level, shaping technology within vehicles themselves. How many days has it been since you last heard about self-driving cars? However, dealers need to know that AI and ML also can impact their business as marketers use it to parse Big Data and deliver more targeted messages. I have spent my career in technology and am passionate about helping you, the dealer understand how it is changing the industry and can be leveraged to keep your business growing.
What’s the difference?
But first, let’s define the two. AI and ML are different, but related. I like to think of AI as an umbrella, the broad concept of machines being able to carry out tasks in a way that we would consider “smart.” Experts agree there are certain capabilities a machine or computer must have to be considered AI. It should mimic human thought processes and behavior and should act in a human-like way. An example is Siri or Alexa, the virtual personal assistants. These “assistants” can recognize speech, analyze information, and provide an answer or solution.
ML is a branch or application of AI that gives machines access to data allowing them to learn for themselves as they process more and more inputs. Instead of hard-coding software with specific instructions to complete a task, ML is a way of “training” an algorithm so that it can learn from the data, improve, and adjust, all without human intervention. Amazon is a great example. The company uses a proprietary ML application to offer shoppers personalized recommendations based on previous purchases and activity.
Why should you care?
Uses of AI and ML are everywhere and embracing these concepts can help your dealership grow. It’s happening all around you in your industry – don’t be left behind. Here’s what you can do today.
1) Accept that AI and ML are here to stay
There are thousands of examples in use today, including smart-home devices like Google’s NEST, multiple OEM’s self-driving cars, and Gmail spam filters. That number is only set to increase. According to a study by Adobe, the share of jobs requiring AI has increased by 450 percent since 2013. In addition, Juniper Research discovered that in retail, global spending on AI will grow to $7.3 billion a year by 2022, up from $2 billion today. AI is shaping our industry, including automotive manufacturing, transportation trends, and how cars are sold.
2) Adapt to new shopping habits
Global spending on AI in retail is set to increase so dramatically because companies will invest heavily in AI tools to help them differentiate and improve the services they offer customers. This includes marketing. For example, BrightEdge, a leader in organic search and content performance, recently announced that 85 percent of its customers, including more than half of the Fortune 100, have adopted its AI marketing solution to deliver better results from organic search and content marketing.
Anyone selling cars knows how to learn a customer’s motivations, shopping preferences, and buying intensity through interpersonal interactions. But we all know shopping habits have changed. Today shoppers go online. And, in an online environment, insight into the individual shopper’s activity and shopping behavior is hidden behind devices. That’s where AI and ML come in. Client Command delivers technology solutions that leverage both to recognize online shopping and research behaviors indicative of a person with intention to buy a car and teaching it to learn a person’s purchase intensity based on their online behavior. AI and ML can empower dealers by accessing online shopping data to attract shoppers, influence their decisions, and turn them into customers… leading down the funnel to a sale.
3) Invest in AI-powered marketing tools
Very few businesses have the resources in-house to build these kind of applications, or mine them for insights. Even if you do, the world is moving so fast it’s smart to work with technology partners who innovate and invest in their products to make them as robust as possible. Look for partners who continually improve their technology and can demonstrate proven ROI.
If you’re like most dealers, your biggest priority by far is increasing lead volume and conversions so as to sell more cars. As more shoppers hide intent and intensity behind devices, now is the time to invest in AI and ML marketing solutions that can help you parse data, uncover intent and intensity, and market through the right channel at the right time.
Wrapping it up
The pay-off for you is saving money and growing market share. Don’t believe me? In my next blog, I’ll dig in to some real-life examples of how dealers are leveraging AI and ML to gain a new transparency into a shopper’s journey and then adjust their marketing messages and media channels based on AI insights. Meanwhile, you owe it to your business in this economy of connected devices and Big Data to know what the buzzwords mean and how your vendors are leveraging AI and ML to grow your business.