If you’ve heard the buzzword NLP and wondered about it, this post will educate you on all things related to natural language processing, as well as help you leverage it as a marketer.
NLP, or natural language processing, is the next level of data analysis. Machines are rapidly learning to process natural language (how we speak naturally) and recognize speech patterns. The result is a major shift to how people search for things online and how marketers adapt to reach consumers.
The NLP market is slated to be worth $13.4 billion by 2020, so clearly it’s nothing to sneeze at. Let’s look at some ways that you as a marketer can leverage NLP to better understand — and market to — your customers.
You Can Understand What Consumers Really Think About Your Brand
A few years ago, “social media monitoring” simply meant finding all instances of someone mentioning your brand or product type on social channels. That method is now clunky and awkward, thanks to advances that natural language processing brings to the table.
With the addition of the concept of sentiment, marketers can now filter through all those thousands of mentions to find ones that are positive...or negative online. Take these two examples:
@hungrygirll Finally lunch time! @friend_ra wanna go to @peetssandwiches with me?
@hungrygirll OMG found a hair in my @peetssandwiches. Disgusting!!
The first one, while it mentions the (made up) sandwich brand, is pretty irrelevant. The second tweet, however, is one that the brand certainly doesn’t want to miss. This one social share can create a firestorm of negative activity if the brand doesn’t swoop in and rectify the situation immediately.
NLP learns patterns and keywords that are used to express emotion so that it shows you the types of social mentions you care about, whether those are good or bad. Being able to quickly parse through thousands of mentions online to find the most pressing ones is key to managing your brand reputation.
You Can Better Segment
NLP is also valuable in that it can help you go deeper with your segmentation. Let’s say you sell clothing online, and while you have certain html tags that identify each product as fitting into categories like “women’s blouse” or “men’s work jeans,” NLP can help you segment these products even further based on shoppers’ searches. A woman’s blouse, for example, might also be identified as “summer blouse” or “flowery,” which, once attached to that product, can help more people quickly find what they’re looking for on your site.
With that deeper segmentation, you can boost your site’s SEO.
You can also segment your email marketing campaigns using natural language processing. NLP can analyze each email campaign to determine which features subscribers responded to — things like subject line, offer, images, etc. Then you can use that data to better personalize future campaigns.
The same segmentation can be applied to your CRM. You can use natural language processing to gauge how ready a prospect is to buy based on the language she uses, as well as segment her based on shopping behavior.
You Can Improve the Mobile Experience
We’re seeing more and more search bars with a microphone icon on them in mobile apps, and for good reason: 42% of all mobile brand experiences involve search. Whether a consumer is speaking the name of a business she wants directions to in her Map app, asking Siri a question, or adding a product to her Alexa shopping list, she’s using spoken natural language to get results.
Consumers have become accustomed to searching with voice in a different manner than they would by typing in a search. Rather than typing “movie times Fantastic Beasts,” a mobile user might ask her personal assistant, “when is Fantastic Beasts playing near me?”
Understanding this subtle but impactful shift in search, particularly on mobile devices, is imperative for marketers, who need to adapt to the shift by changing their SEO keywords and strategy to focus on local.
Natural language processing is simply the next evolution of tools that marketers use to align themselves with what consumers want. Are you leveraging it for your brand?