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Optimize Your Multi-Channel Marketing Campaigns with an AI Platform
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By: Paul Roetzer

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January 12th, 2017

Optimize Your Multi-Channel Marketing Campaigns with an AI Platform

This post is part of our Spotlight series featuring AI-powered companies and products that marketers can use to drive performance and transform their careers.

Modern marketers face a host of tedious and time-consuming tasks while working on campaigns. However, advancements in AI are disrupting the status quo and expediting the process.

Albert (@albertaimktg) has developed an autonomous marketing platform that artificial intelligence in marketinguses artificial intelligence, deep learning and predictive analytics to offer ongoing insights into marketing and advertising campaigns, make investment decisions and reduce operational costs for more scalable results, all in a fraction of the time it would take marketing professional.

We learned more about Albert by talking to the company's CEO, Or Shani.

In a single sentence or statement, describe Albert?

Albert is the creator of the world’s first and only artificial intelligence marketing platform.

How does Albert use artificial intelligence (i.e. machine learning, natural language generation, natural language processing, deep learning, etc.)?

We’ve developed proprietary, patent-pending algorithms that leverage predictive analytics to execute on data-driven actions, and deep learning technology to act effortlessly on unpredictable situations that would traditionally require decision-making and reasoning by a human marketer. These algorithms comprise our unique machine learning capabilities. They’re combined with natural language processing and expert systems we’ve developed based on our own rules and methodologies.

All of this is what allows Albert to observe data patterns—as well as more abstract stimuli—and draw conclusions from them. These conclusions inform the execution and decisions he makes. He autonomously adjusts his behavior without the need for additional programming or decision making by the marketer.  

Albert also thrives on experimentation, just like human marketers do, and can run thousands and thousands of tests across thousands and thousands of variables in a very brief window of time.

What do you see as the limitations of artificial intelligence as it exists today?

We believe the best applications of artificial intelligence today are those that tackle the challenges introduced by big data (across industries and applications) and make sense of it all, as well as those that automate recurring, manual tasks—but on a scale that can’t be achieved by humans.

Where we see AI as having limitations are in the obvious areas: emotions, feelings, subjective thinking. Humans are unique in their ability to feel in a very complex way and translate those feelings into emotional connections.  

Limitations in artificial intelligence will also stem from the degree of precision with which technologists are able to replicate human “intelligence” and decision-making.

Get free access to the Ultimate Beginner's Guide to AI in Marketing:

What do you see as the future potential of artificial intelligence in marketing?

There are current discussions around the idea that AI in marketing is still a dream. To the people making those claims, what we’re doing now is something they think of as something that will happen in the future.

The future of AI in marketing is less about what the technology will be able to do and more about what it will mean for marketers:

  • Exponential results for marketers, rather than the incremental improvements that most have been programmed to expect from their marketing technologies.
  • Streamlined adtech and marketing tech ecosystems. Many organizations have invested in multiple technology tools and the personnel and process to run them. AI will use the same technology to execute campaigns as it does to oversee them.
  • A return to creative. Because organizations have become so data-obsessed, marketers are stepping in to babysit technologies and analyze data. These are things that holistic AI will handle for them, freeing them to focus on the things they’re good at and trained in: storytelilng and developing creative that drives emotional connections, enhances the customer experience and the brand.

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What makes Albert different than competing or traditional solutions?

Our AI solution is holistic, in that it tackles campaign or interaction-related items, in a continuous, ongoing, autonomous manner. Albert doesn’t treat individual “tasks” as standalone to-dos. Rather, he handles media buying, target and segment creation, cross-channel execution (both paid and non-paid), rapid, large-scale multi-variant testing and optimization, and analysis and insights, all as part of one cohesive campaign. All of this happens on the fly once the campaign objectives (KPIs, etc.) have been set and the creative has been loaded.  

Many of the AI systems coming onto the market are more focused on executing a single function. For instance, Salesforce’s Einstein is very focused on helping sales figure out the best leads to follow up on. IBM Watson is still more of a developer tool, though they do have a commercially viable interactive ad unit they’ve tested.

There are other smaller, niche players that are using AI to accomplish individual tasks within a holistic campaign, such as testing and generating messages, making web-based product recommendations, and so forth.

Albert does everything at once: it identifies which audiences are more and less likely to convert, prioritizes channels with high potential for conversion, applies insights from one channel to the next, handles marketing mix modeling and attribution on the fly, and makes the best investment decisions possible until it hits the target KPIs—across both paid (search, social, display, etc.) and non-paid media.  

It’s the true convergence of martech and adtech.

Who are your prototype customers in terms of company size and industries?

Our initial customers have been primarily in retail and CPG. However, we are seeing more sign-ups in the financial services, telecommunications, travel and consumer electronics sectors. Our customers today are primarily mid-to-large sized B2C organizations. We do see interest from some agencies, but our primary goal is to empower the brands directly, which will further help them streamline and save costs while gaining efficiencies.

Last month, our client Harley-Davidson announced that it credits 40% of its NYC sales to Albert, and global retailer EVISU will soon release results of its first year working with us, which has resulted in a 500% increase in digital advertising ROI.

What are the primary use cases of Albert for marketers?

In general, the main use cases are customer acquisition, upselling/cross-selling and retention. We are seeing more brands interested in ongoing brand awareness campaigns as well. Most have a specific KPI they want to hit, such as number of leads, revenue, number of impressions, etc. Albert is very KPI-focused, so really most goals a marketer wants to hit in the realm of acquisition/retention/awareness we can achieve.

For example, Harley-Davidson NYC came to us when they needed to reach and acquire new customers in a cost-effective manner. They realized that in trying to advertise to the 2% of New York City’s population that are its target base, they were also spending money to reach 98% of the population that aren’t. For them, Albert was key to isolating and targeting a niche audience in a crowded market, across channels.

EVISU similarly had acquisitions goals it needed to reach. They had tried digital advertising in the US, but found that what they were spending on media buying was exceeding the sales they were generating. Albert came in and determined which regions weren’t converting and prioritized those that were, among other things.

Any other thoughts on AI in marketing, or advice for marketers who are just starting to explore the possibilities of AI?

I think marketers need to think about where AI fits into their existing strategies and how it can help them save time and money from a personnel, program and technology investment standpoint.  

There is significant potential for saving money with AI, while delivering greater results than what can be achieved with current systems and processes.

For larger organizations that want to explore a holistic solution that solves bigger problems, rather than bolting on yet another point solution to their already complex tech stack, they can start and test small—maybe one campaign, in one region, on one channel. And then, over time, they can expand to all regions, all channels and all campaigns.  

Integrating AI into existing strategies and processes is a bit easier for smaller, more nimble organizations. They’re less likely to have the silos and approval processes characteristic of larger organizations and can move quicker as a result.  It’s a big competitive advantage and since the technology is so transformational, it could really propel a company into leader status fast. 

Get free access to the Ultimate Beginner's Guide to AI in Marketing:

About Paul Roetzer

Paul Roetzer (@paulroetzer) is founder and CEO of PR 20/20, author of The Marketing Performance Blueprint and The Marketing Agency Blueprint, and creator of The Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute and Marketing Score. Full bio.

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