Ride-Sharing, Marketing, and AI

Retaining control while letting go of the steering wheel with artificial intelligence marketing (AIM)

I recently hailed a Lyft in downtown Seattle. The ferry terminal, ten blocks away, was my destination. I was planning to board the westbound ferry. As the driver picked me up, the app changed the navigation route, trying to send us on a three-hour, 120-mile drive around the Puget Sound, and back to Seattle on the eastbound ferry.

It was immediately obvious both to the driver and me that the correct route was 10 blocks long, not 120 miles! But we couldn’t get the app to see it our way. So we ignored the directions from the Lyft app, and the driver dropped me off a few minutes later, in time for me to catch the ferry. I gave the driver 5 stars and a nice tip for agreeing with me to ignore the machine.

Uber, Lyft, and others are aggressively pursuing truly autonomous vehicles. But I’m not ready. This is only the latest of a few incidents where I was glad that I had a human driver rather than a ride from a fully autonomous car. And I’m not an outlier: Popular Mechanics says that three quarters of Americans are afraid to ride in a self-driving car. This is understandable, and it’s also a tragedy, since thousands of Americans die each year from drunk or distracted driving by humans, while autonomous vehicles have demonstrated that they are already safer than human drivers in many ways.

More and more of us are comfortable to turn over certain aspects of driving to technology. We trust apps for navigation advice, we appreciate adaptive cruise control, auto-parallel parking, and proximity sensors for lane changes. We’re just not ready to let go of the controls.

Other disciplines show a similar acceptance of the AI future, with a hesitancy to fully embrace it. In a recent survey, 77% of marketers agreed that AI is the “next big thing” in marketing technology, but only 10% were currently using AI, and only 35% had any plans to use AI by the end of 2017. While marketers are excited about using machine learning to improve key metrics like retention and churn, they are hesitant to “let go of the steering wheel” and relinquish control of their brand to a machine.

And yet, marketing “automation” remains a frustratingly manual process, as humans manipulate data in csv files, manually create audience segments, and design a/b tests and nurture workflows by hand.

Platforms like Amplero make it easier to embrace the marketing future. Amplero lets the AI focus on the parts that it’s best at, like experimentation, optimization and dynamic segmentation, while marketers keep creative control over the experience, and set the boundaries for the AI experiments. For companies ready to collaborate with AI, the gains can be remarkable, like this mobile operator that realized 650% gains on their campaign effectiveness.

Humans get to retain control, but the machine mind does what it’s best at. For the near future, this seems like the ideal approach for ride sharing, and for marketing.

About Amplero

Headquartered in Seattle, Amplero is an Artificial Intelligence Marketing (AIM) company that enables business-to-consumer (B2C) marketers at global brands to optimize customer lifetime value at a scale that is not humanly possible.

Unlike traditional rules-based marketing automation systems, Amplero's Artificial Intelligence Marketing Platform leverages machine learning and multi-armed bandit experimentation to dynamically test thousands of permutations to adaptively optimize every customer interaction and maximize customer lifetime value and loyalty.

With Amplero, marketers in competitive, customer-obsessed industries like telecom, banking, gaming and consumer tech are currently seeing measurable lift across key performance indicators—including 1-3% incremental growth in customer topline revenue and 3-5x lift in retention rates.

For more information, contact us today or follow us on Twitter.