Retail CMOs to Invest Record Sum in AI This Year

Artificial intelligence is hot and getting hotter. And nowhere is this interest more apparent today than in retail. That’s according to WBR Digital and Persado, which just shared with MMW the results of their study “Building Lasting Consumer Relationships in Retail.”

The report, a survey of more than 100 marketing leaders including CMOs from prominent retail brands headquartered in the U.S. and U.K., explores plans and priorities for marketing investment this year.

The findings indicate that 86% of retail marketing leadership have planned to invest in AI/machine learning solutions in 2017.

The majority of respondents (47%) are looking to spend up to $50 million on AI, but a quarter are budgeting as much as $100 million. For marketing leaders surveyed, effective customer engagement is expected to be the primary benefit of implementing AI, where “engagement” is considered foremost as a driver of revenue (37%) and to a much lesser extent, brand awareness (13%).

Retail marketers look to improve engagement by providing more relevant experiences but continue to struggle with personalization. On a scale of 0 to 4, with 0 as least effective and 4 as most effective, marketers find that they could do a better job with personalization techniques: tailoring product recommendations (2.85); segmentation (2.53); offer personalization (2.49); and personalizing content (2.13).

“Most major retailers have more data than they know what to do with or have the capacity to process. AI and machine learning allow marketers to generate insights for sure, but the key is to leverage the machine towards a particular purpose, and to one that actually drives results,” said Ryan Deutsch, SVP of Global Customer Success at Persado.