How AI Can Create Inclusivity and Boost ROI

The inaugural ANA Futures UNLOCKED Summit showcased how AI has transformed the marketing function, particularly along the customer journey. In addition to driving efficiencies that save businesses millions, AI is helping brands understand customers better than ever before and delivering hyper-relevant content and offers that increase sales and ultimately business growth.

Experts in AI recently spoke at an ANA event about the importance of understanding and utilizing facial recognition, emotional AI, predictive personalization, and AI enabled analytics as a way to create a human-first world, which can benefit advertising and how we collectively live.

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How Facial Recognition AI will Shape the Customer Journey

Like many aspects of AI, facial recognition software is already part of everyone’s lives, from security cameras to smartphones. fielddrive, a company that provides global onsite services for registration data integration, live badging, and visitor tracing, shared insight into how facial recognition technology is growing due to the fact that it provides convenience, security, and speed.

In a time in which transparency and trust is paramount and top of mind with consumers, consent is, however, the key enabler; the emotional connection and engagement driven by consent is what drives its wider adoption and global use. fielddrive laid out concrete examples of how the technology actually delivers value efficiently and cost effectively.

The company debunked a few myths regarding the technology:

  • Collecting photos is hard. (It’s actually easy.)
  • It’s expensive. (It’s not, and speed ultimately saves time and money.)
  • People think it’s creepy. (They don’t if it makes tasks easier.)
  • It involves a high “IT” requirement. (It doesn’t post-set up.)
  • It doesn’t work well enough (especially for people of color), which isn’t true for uses where information like photos are already provided for events.
  • It’s not GDPR compliant.

Biometrics are used within specific requirements within a consensual relationship; in the fielddrive’s case, this technology is used for specific places and events where people provide a photo of themselves. The data is then deleted afterward to protect information and identities.

Providing a faster and easier way for people to enter events, for instance, helps people feel at ease and satisfied. This can both impress guests and add another layer of security.

Programming Emotional AI for a Better Human Experience

Nearly 50 percent of sales are attributable to campaign creative, yet few creative assets are pre-tested for their ability to perform in market. The problem is getting worse as advertisers dial up the volume and diversity of creative to meet the demands of digital platforms and personalization.

RealEyes, a company that focuses on computer vision and emotionally sensitive AI and helps empower companies to create remarkable customer experiences, believes facial coding can hold the key to what is many marketers’ challenge: understanding what consumers want.

All the world's advanced audience targeting, viewability optimization, and fraud prevention are worthless if advertising creative fails to earn attention and drive emotional response. Targeting has peaked, and now it is time for advertisers to turn their attention and investment to managing their most important performance lever like a financial portfolio.

Can a brand save $20 million on a $100 million video budget? The answer is yes. Creative is the biggest contributor to sales performance. Effective targeting, viewability, and fraud prevention have no bearing on impact if creative fails to capture the audience’s attention.

According to a 2017 Nielsen survey, creative makes up 47 percent of what captures a consumer’s attention. Attention, emotion, and impact are the three elements for creating optimal ad effectiveness, as together those factors enable the brand to enter a consumer’s consciousness, help adjust behavior, and promote awareness and consideration.

Facial coding is a natural, frictionless way to measure attention and emotional response, and create a more honest and human approach. In addition, it helps deliver lower advertising costs and sustained ROI.

Facial coding, moreover, has an 85 percent accurate predictive analysis; this leads to better in-market performance. With a combination of capturing, retaining, and analyzing strategies, greater engagement can be sustained.

Part of this is using the uninterrupted first seconds earned along with audience attentiveness and emotional response to get a cost per thousand quality impression. Facial coding also eliminates waste by allowing advertisers to manage video that converts attentive audiences.

Debiasing Data and Using AI to Boost ROI

Did you know that women account for over 80 percent of high-ticket item purchases in their households like cars (a $9 trillion market by 2030), electronics (over $1.5 trillion by 2026), and financial products ($2.7 trillion by 2022)? Or that African-Americans account for $1.4 trillion of consumer spending in the U.S. while Hispanic consumers spend $1.7 trillion? And what about the $3.6 trillion global buying power of the LGBTQ+ communities?

Yet marketers and advertisers are not yet serving consumers accurately because of legacy data and algorithmic biases that are failing to offer a coherent picture of consumers. Scientist Twain Liu offered insight and tips for how to design and workflow data and AI across your organization to debias the AI and boost marketing ROI.

It’s no secret that women need to be served better. They account for $6.4 trillion in consumer spending in the U.S. and globally account for $31.8 million. Women make up 30 percent of household spending, including financial products — and Boston Consulting Group estimates women will account for $9 trillion by 2030 globally, and $35 trillion in the U.S. Yet 90 percent of women feel most marketers don’t communicate to them effectively.

These facts alone clearly point toward an unsettling truth: A majority of people, and people with tremendous influence and spending power, aren’t being seen or heard in the ways they should. Traditional marketing is missing the point, and thus, an opportunity is lost.

This missed opportunity and lack of inclusivity pertains to other demographics as well, such as African-American, Asian, and Latinx consumers who are ignored. These demographics collectively are responsible for $4.3 trillion of consumer spending in the U.S.

Due to the protests that happened in the wake of George Floyd’s death, many banks began to rethink marketing strategies and invest more in the Black community. JP Morgan Chase, for example, is allocating 30 billion to advance racial equality, with $2 billion for small business for Black and Latinx founders.

In addition, the LGBT+ community makes up $3.7 trillion in consumer spending globally, with $1 trillion in the U.S. alone. Censuses and surveys are often conducted in binaries, as opposed to realizing that people’s gender identities are fluid — which detrimentally affects how people in this community are served. This binary thinking, and data analysis, presents a flat picture of consumers and obscures cultural experiences, perspectives, and other factors.

A solution to this is AI. AI can test cognitive and behavioral behaviors; however, AI is only as good as it is programmed to be. AI is often programmed with a bias, which can lead to erroneous assumptions especially when we rely on outdated information or mix contexts when various identities are missing. However, knowing this, this pattern can be challenged and changed.

Liu asked a key question, “Why are consumers engaging with content and purchase?” This is a question all marketers need to constantly ask and understand as needs change.

Search engines, social media engines, and social chatbots such as Alexa, are all ways people find products they need — which should be top of mind when advertising.

How can AI be decolonized and rendered less biased? The filed needs to become clearer: Statistical bias is scalable, where social bias is directional, so it’s a vector. Engineers need to think about how bias is being measured.

When something is clustered, the AI can struggle with changing data needs. Just because someone buys a TV once, doesn’t mean someone wants TV ads. AI often can only crawl for words and language if it’s been included in the database to begin with. Liu offered several suggestions:

  • Create more inclusive teams.
  • Go through existing databases with fine-tooth combs for key words for any new campaigns. If there isn’t enough data, redesign your data surveys to collect data in strategic ways for better language processing. This allows you to know what biases you’re mitigating against.
  • In addition, compare groups and benchmark to different and diverse groups, not just wealthy white “tech bros.”

The Importance of Effective Predictive Personalization

Predictive personalization, also referred to as machine-learning personalization, is the effort and ability to predict the actions of users, based on their previous behaviors online. Users are identified at a granular level, and a more personalized website experience is created for them. It puts more focus on displaying content and messages to users based on their intent, rather than just on the readily available information about their interests and previous behavior.

According to a recent survey by Automat, a conversational marketing platform powered by artificial intelligence, 75 percent of customers polled said they were more likely to buy based on personalized recommendations. Moreover, 49 percent of consumers said that, after receiving a personalized recommendation, they purchased a product that they did not initially intend to buy.

Everyone knows personalization is critical to e-commerce success, but consumers often feel that personalization is an underwhelming, or even invisible experience and as a result delivers only mediocre sales results. Andy Mauro, co-founder and CEO of Automat, believes finding success is about asking the right questions to learn about customers’ needs and helping them find the products they want to buy now and in the future.

Customers want a personalized experience, not just a personalized website. Besides seeing different products, what is the actual experience? It can be difficult to navigate the ethical boundaries when harnessing data, especially as there is a growing awareness of surveillance capitalism.

However, Mauro stated that the “power of listening is deceptively simple and powerful: Talking devices can listen.” It’s key for consumers to be able to opt in, with the exchange that they receive value in return.

AI-Enabled Analytics

With trillions of points of data being generated every few hours, AI presents a much-needed solution for marketers looking to identify, validate, analyze, and act on data in a fraction of a second.

Concured, an AI-powered content intelligence platform, pointed out that it’s not about aggregating data so much as aggregating the right data to provide the right insights. Never before has it been easier to put your message in front of an audience, but it's never been harder to make it resonate. An important part of the future of marketing is less about interrupting potential customers during their day with traditional advertising.

Instead, it's about being a useful resource for customers that helps to solve their challenges by really understanding them and providing great thought leadership and marketing content that truly helps, inspires, and delivers value. Tom Salvat, Concured’s founder and CEO, stressed that “lack of effective tools” and too much competitive can mean that companies invest in the wrong tools and waste budget.

In a complicated political era, it can be especially difficult to understand what consumers mean. Technology has the solution, however, Salvat explained, in that a live content audit can place all content in one place for a holistic view in which assets are tagged and scored and easily searchable. This can end siloes and can increase revenue and relevancy.

Having an “always on content strategy” can help increase consumer engagement through content. To have automated one-to-one content personalization, Concured created an engine that recommends content and relevant products based on the interest of individual visitors. According to the company, brands that have partnered with Concured saved their teams 70 percent of the time spent on manual tasks.

Ultimately, this illustrates that having a strategic data plan is key — and part of this is knowing when to partner and collaborate with outside agencies and/or consultants.

Possibility-Based Marketing

Dr. Joseph Riggio, an expert in cognitive and neuroscience, broke down why "FOMO" (fear of missing out) might be every marketer's favorite buzzword, but is a terrible basis for a long-term strategy. Instead, Riggio recommended "Possibility-Based Marketing," which leverages joyful emotions and consumer aspirations to influence purchase decisions.

According to Riggio, people need to be invested in a narrative and story that a brand creates, which he compared to brands having a “Hero’s Journey.” The narrative structure should bring up pain points a consumer may feel and use universal themes and tropes to promote relatability. For instance, if an ad depicts someone who lives in a city and wants to buy a car for the first time because the car will help him see family, this is creating a relatable, intimate, and heartfelt story that can drive meaningful, lasting brand loyalty.

Riggio also explained how the way we think is the way we communicate, and similarly, we are influenced by how the people around us engage and think. As we think well, we communicate well, and vice versa. We can improve our quality of thinking by improving the way we communicate. In this way, we can improve and program machines better.


"How AI Can Create Inclusivity and Boost ROI." Pascal Lagadec, VP of Sales and Business Development at fielddrive; Max Kalehoff, VP of Marketing and Growth at RealEyes; Dr. Twain Liu, Scientist and heARTIST; Andy Mauro, Co-founder of and CEO at Automat; Tom Salvat, Founder of and CEO at Concured; Dr. Joseph Riggio, Founder of and President at ABIT. ANA 1-Day Conference: ANA Futures UNLOCKED Summit: AI and the Customer Journey, 12/3/20.

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