The use of influence artificial intelligence (AI) can help automate digital experiences by guiding user choices.

This allows digital marketing leaders to gain a competitive advantage by using influence AI to enhance digital experiences and choice architecture to nudge customer decisions.

What Is Influence AI?

Influence AI is the production and deployment of algorithms designed to automate digital experience elements to guide user choices at scale by learning and applying behavioral science techniques.

In this context, it can accelerate digital experience product delivery (websites, apps and software) and improves operational efficiency.

It can also be used to enhance navigation architecture to nudge customer choice by deliberately presenting highly relevant content and experiences to guide decisions.

Technologies involved in influence AI include generative AI, which creates media assets like text, images and video through user-based text prompts, and emotion AI, which analyzes users’ emotional states via computer vision, voice input and other sensors.

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Influence AI Blends Art, Science and Emotion

Nicole Greene, senior director and analyst in the Gartner Marketing practice, said influence AI holds the keys to a new art and science of “scalable influence,” which allows for the framing and accelerating of consumer choices.

“It’s already transforming the ways we interact in the digital world, serving differentiated content and experiences based on customer intent,” she explained. “As the technology continues to rapidly mature, influence AI can impact customer decisions and shape markets.”

She added the ways in which marketers choose to use this technology will fuse ethics, governmental policy and how brands contribute to society.

Greene advised businesses to explore industry-specific applications of influence AI today as they meet the organization's primary use cases for digital experience enhancement.

This could include new digital products or tailoring journeys across existing experiences and channels, simultaneously giving marketing teams more flexibility to respond to customer behaviors, as experience optimization will be less dependent on IT and UX development teams.

“Once proven, look to expand to specific areas where AI can support the entire workflow from creative development to assembly and deployment,” she said. “Most applications still require people to set parameters, guide learning or provide governance and will require these skilled resources for success.”

Michelle Tilton, vice president of marketing, developer of a business intelligence and AI platform, added the growing volume of data analytics and intelligence stems directly from the rising capabilities of AI and ML technologies.

As data becomes more intertwined, increased expertise concerning scalable influence offers CMOs increased business insight and with it clues about where to add "effective nudges" that subtly "encourage" the choice of one thing over another.

"It’s becoming clear that more companies will leverage these tools for marketing and consumer retention purposes," she said.

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Learning Opportunities

Using Empathy to Personalize and Influence 

Tilton said organizations can best leverage influence AI through real-time decisions to personalize customer interactions while also reinforcing the significant role empathy and human connection play in customer experiences.

“Customers using chatbots expect there to also be a human face behind it all, and it’s becoming clear that they want empathetic business practices over fast, impersonal resolutions,” she explained.

With real-time guided insights removing the manual tasks that reps typically need to perform, such as locating answers to questions, remembering follow-up activities that need to occur, or even flagging key moments in conversations, reps can provide significantly more personalized value to their prospects and improve the likelihood of closing more deals.

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Influence AI Strategy Must Include Ethics Considerations 

Greene explained an influence AI strategy should come from the top and requires perspectives from across the organization to ensure ethical use.

“Marketing is uniquely positioned to understand the customer and experience design perspective and has a key role to play in managing an organization’s trust and reputation,” she noted, adding IT often sets policies and procedures for governance.

Additional key stakeholders often include customer experience, legal HR and in many organizations, a chief ethics officer.

“This cross-functional team will help to focus on commercial outcomes, while ensuring that efforts avoid manipulation and bias, address DEI goals and address disclosure policies, among other concerns,” Greene said. 

Tilton added implementing AI-based technologies in customer experience usually falls to the responsibility of customer experience directors, contact center leaders, chief digital officers and other stakeholders — but the responsibility of AI implementation goes beyond the key decision-maker.

She said AI engineers and DevOps employees working on the technology must manage the data to ensure ease of use and implement security measures.

“Meanwhile, marketing and customer experience reps must be able to gain knowledge and results from the AI-powered tool in a way," she said, "that improves customer experience."