6 Artificial Intelligence Hacks for Marketers, Starring Siri and Alexa

January 27, 2017

Artificial Intelligence

Right now, if you asked most people how they heard about your brand or services, the most honest answer might be “A robot told me.”

Think about how much of a buyer’s journey is controlled by robots. They type a question into Google: A robot determines whether your content is the best answer. They ask a smartphone where to eat tonight: A robot helps explore the options.

The arrival of digital assistants like Siri and Amazon’s Alexa add another layer of complexity. “How did you hear about our brand?” “I asked my robot and it asked another robot, then interpreted that robot’s reply based on my personal preferences.”

It’s enough to make you dizzy, isn’t it? What’s a marketer to do in the face of a full-fledged artificial intelligence takeover?

The answer, naturally, is to get some robots on our side. AI holds great promise for the future of marketing, everything from segmenting to (gulp) content creation. That technology is just over the horizon. For now, though, here’s how to put consumer-grade digital assistants to work for you. 

1. Continue Your Marketing Education

Alexa and Siri can both control playback of audiobooks from the Audible app. They can both skip ahead and backward. When you’re finished with a session, they can both remember your place and continue reading next time.

Use this feature to fill your idle hours—your commute, cooking dinner, a long relaxing bath—with marketing wisdom. I’d suggest starting with Welcome to the Funnel, of course. But there are hundreds of options out there, like Joe Pulizzi’s Content Inc and Ann Handley’s Everybody Writes.

In addition, Alexa and Siri can both brief you on the day’s news, and Alexa can even read Wikipedia articles. Do your research for tomorrow’s blog while you wait for the pasta to boil.

2. Set Smart Reminders

Organisation is key to getting the most out of your workday. With robots on your side, you can leave the post-it notes behind for good. Alexa can set reminders and schedule appointments, and send notifications through the Echo app when they come due.

Siri goes even farther; it can set reminders based on time and location. In other words, tell it to call your big client as soon as you get to work, and (provided you already told Siri where you work), you will get a timely notification.

3. Make Reservations

AI can make it easier to wine and dine clients—or to book a dinner after a long day at the office. Alexa and Siri can both find restaurants based on your preferences, then launch the OpenTable app to reserve a table. You can even order an Uber to take you there.

4. Search Your Email

Let’s face it: Email is a pretty lousy way of organising communication. We have all wasted countless hours hunting down an important message: a client’s latest requirements, a new lead’s phone number, the coupon from the fish and chips shop near the office.

Siri makes it easy to run queries on your email. Just ask it to search your email, provide the search string, and it will surface relevant results. It’s far faster than combing through the inbox by hand.

5. Get Your Blood Pumping

We all know the dangers of the three o’clock doldrums. You’re sitting at the desk; you’ve been sitting all day; you’ve had a big lunch; and the eyelids start to droop. At that point, a little bit of exercise is just what you need to stay sharp and finish the day off strong.

Alexa can help there. Ask it for a workout, and it will guide you through a brief set of jumping jacks, running in place, and the like. It’s not crossfit, but it’s enough to wake up your body and brain a bit.

6. Make (Trivial) Decisions

A good marketer leaves very little to chance. We prefer to make deliberate decisions based on strong data than to flip a coin or roll the dice.

Sometimes, though, trivial decisions can put an entire day on pause. Your co-workers can’t agree on a lunch location, say, or you can’t decide which CTA text to go with out of two nearly identical contenders. At that point, both Siri and Alexa have your back. Ask either of them to flip a coin or roll the dice, and they will oblige with the random outcome you need.

If you need a more advance random number generator, Siri can give you a number within a range you specify (like from one to 1,000), and Alexa can roll more than a standard six-sided die (ask it to roll a 10, 20, or even 100-sided die and it will oblige).

In just a few years, artificial intelligence will play a major role in our day-to-day marketing. For now, we can get acquainted with consumer-grade AI like Siri and Alexa. These digital assistants can help increase productivity and keep us more organised. Perhaps more importantly, using Siri, Alexa, and even Google Home will help us understand how consumers use them to make purchasing decisions.

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