20171205 - How recommendations help you stay relevant in content overload

How Recommendations Help You Stay Relevant in the Era of Content Overload

One thing we can guarantee about the future: we’re never going to run out of content.

Take TV for example. Where once we had a handful of channels broadcasting one program at a time, we now have multiple streaming platforms, countless cable channels, on demand, and DVRs.

Or music: You’re not limited by your carefully curated CD collection anymore. You can choose from almost any song ever recorded on Spotify.

For the content consumer, it’s an embarrassment of riches. For businesses that rely on advertising or subscription revenue, it’s a challenge.

Attention spans are shrinking. With endless options, consumers will move on in matters of seconds if what they see or hear doesn’t capture their interest.

To stay relevant in the media industry — bringing targeted audiences, charging top dollar for your ads and maintaining a healthy growing subscriber base — your content needs to be relevant.

And, of course, every consumer’s tastes are different. The key to relevance is personalization recommendations.

For example, after revamping its mobile website to deliver a personalized, Facebook-like experience, USA Today saw a 75-percent increase in time spent per article.

Recommendation Models Used By Successful Advertising and Subscription Businesses

As content executive Paul Lentz points out, publishers have been using data to target specific content at specific audiences since the print era.

In today’s digital era, a few successful media companies have developed recommendation techniques to engage and retain users with almost supernatural precision.

  • After experimenting with content-based and collaborative filtering, the New York Times settled on a best-of-both-worlds approach that models the content and adjusts it according to viewing signals from readers, models reader preferences, and uses the resulting data to make recommendations.
  • Netflix’s recommendation engine divides users up into “a couple thousand” taste groups. Netflix claims the engine is worth $1 billion a year and is responsible for more than 80 percent of the shows users choose.
  • Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlists have become a favorite feature among users for introducing them to new songs and reminding them of old favorites. The “magic” of the algorithm, the man behind the playlist says, comes from comparing your listening habits to those with similar taste and “filling in the blanks.”

What does each of these approaches have in common? Each media company leveraged a massive database of user data to make comparisons among users, identify trends in their preferences, and anticipate their behavior.

You can do the same with Blueshift’s AI-powered marketing platform. Blueshift can help you

Learn how to configure recommendations in a single click or bring your own algorithms to BlueShift Personalization Studio.

20171205 - How Data AI and Automation Can Drive On-Demand Growth

How Data, AI, and Automation Can Drive On-Demand Growth

In the previous post, we outlined 5 tips for success in the on-demand economy. What each of these five tips comes down to is understanding what your users and service providers need, when they need it, and responding quickly and fluidly. In other words, anticipating what they want when they want it, and being there when they’re ready. This is how you build a community of enthusiastic, passionate users and service providers, eager to tell others about your brand.

How can you do all this? With the power of data.

We like to say that on-demand marketplaces are data-driven businesses. Every on-demand platform uses data in some way, and the successful companies are data-intensive operations.

But it’s not enough just to have the data about your customers and service providers. You need to derive useful insights from the data to provide immediate results and delight customers in real time. But with so much data coming in so quickly, our human brains can’t keep up. Artificial intelligence (AI) can.

Here are few ways successful on-demand service companies can use data and artificial intelligence to drive growth.

    1. Personalized onboarding. In the delivery business, once users sign onto a platform, 80 percent never leave. Artificial intelligence can pour through your customer data to personalize the onboarding process, ensuring customers feel cared-for even before they use your service.
    2. Personalized triggers and notifications. What users love about on-demand services is that they can find and track service providers effortlessly. AI platforms can automatically update customers and suppliers on delivery times, offer personalized choices based on where they are in their user journeys.
    3. Repeat transactions. Users who use the service again and again are the holy grail for on-demand businesses. With artificial intelligence, you can automatically target upsell and cross-sell opportunities for both buyers and service providers based on data. You can also segment them based on who is likely to re-engage or likely to churn, so you can target them with a tailored strategy.
    4. Curated content and offerings. Consumers demand relevant content, tailored to their interests and delivered to their device of choice. AI helps you personalize newsletters, web and in-app content, and recommendations based on user interests and affinities calculated from historic and up-to-the moment behavior
  1. Location-based personalization. As we said, most on-demand businesses start locally. With AI, you can segment your users based on where they are — but even more importantly, the context of why they’re there. You can provide location-specific offerings and recommendations across any channel, including the web, your mobile app, and SMS.

Explore How AI Can Transform Your On-Demand Service

On-demand businesses grow when they use data to understand the needs of their customers and service providers and connect them seamlessly. With a 360-degree view of your users and real-time insights powered by artificial intelligence, Blueshift can take the data crunching off of your hands so you can focus on strategy, growth, and retention.

To learn more about how Blueshift helps on-demand businesses grow, click here.

5 Tips for Success in the On-Demand Economy

How many times this year did you hear a business described as, “It’s like Uber, but for…”?

From groceries, to lodging, to — yes — transportation, a new crop of businesses has sprung up in recent years, providing their customers convenience at the push of a button.

And as the on-demand economy has risen, so have customer expectations that you should be able to get what you want, when you want it, with a minimum of fuss (and maybe even a bit of fun). Learn how data-driven marketing can help drive growth and sustainability in the long run.

The rise of the on-demand economy is intertwined with the sharing economy. Most on-demand service businesses aim to disrupt an existing industry by capitalizing on a ready-made workforce with a ready-made infrastructure. Uber and Lyft connect independent drivers with their own cars to passengers waiting for pickup. Postmates bridges the gap between hungry customers and the restaurants that surround them. Etsy helps artisans reach a nationwide marketplace.

The on-demand industry represents one of the best opportunities for business growth.

But some observers, such as Quartz, warn of an impending bubble collapse due to:

     Fickle customers.

     Expensive, sporadic services.

     A reliance on venture capital subsidies.

Despite these challenges, on-demand services can and have succeeded and gone on to become household names. How can you drive growth at your business?

5 Tips for Growth in the On-Demand Economy

Whether you’re starting out or trying to build momentum, here are a few tips to help your on-demand service business grow:

  1. Focus on passionate users first. One of the keys to getting an on-demand business off the ground is building up a critical mass of highly-engaged early adopters. The early adopters can be your first evangelists. If you can delight them with a seamless experience and a high-quality service, they’ll spread the word to new groups of users.
  2. Personalize customer experience. People are busy. Customers of on-demand services choose convenience over price. They expect you to know them, inform them and send them relevant information wherever they are in the lifecycle. Knowing and engaging your customers in real-time is essential to driving loyalty.
  3. Engage service providers/sellers. As an on-demand business in the sharing economy, you have to keep two very different groups of stakeholders engaged: users and service providers. Don’t neglect the service provider side of the equation. Ultimately, they’re the ones who will represent you to your customers. And whether or not they’re empowered to deliver a pleasing service can make or break your company
  4. Build a community. Etsy is the perfect example of turning a service into a community— by nurturing a two-sided marketplace. Forbes writes: “With tools to curate sellers and products, and opportunities to connect with other buyers and sellers, Etsy has turned into one of the strongest communities out there and is creating passionate users every day.”
  5. Practice location-based marketing. Most on-demand services are local. Location-based marketing strategies such as geo-fencing, running hyper-localized campaigns are key to on-demand success.

See how data, AI and automation can drive on-demand success.

Friday Five AI in Marketing: AIMythBusters, StitchFixIPO, GetAIReady, AIForMarketers, AI&ML

Welcome to our Friday Five. Each week, our goal is to give you a run-down on 5 of the top stories on the topic of AI in Marketing. Think of this as that TL;DR of those stories you meant to read or might have missed.


Marketing AI: A win-win

AI, machine learning and algorithms sound intimidating? How does “knowing which customers to target? Or which customer is likely to convert?” That is exactly what AI and machine learning can help marketers know.

“Predicting the possibility of a given prospect to convert

Predicting at what price a prospect is likely to convert

Identifying customers that are most likely to become repeat buyer”

Learn more on how AI can help marketers win:win

 


AI Myth Busters: AI Will Usher In An Era Of Extreme Personalization

Sticking to our theme of myth busting AI for you every week. Here are they are again. AI is too complex? Are you afraid AI will take away your job?

“In reality, AI isn’t as complex, scary or confusing as James Cameron and “The Terminator” would have you believe. Many of today’s AI-powered platforms are designed to plug and play into existing martech stacks, eliminating the need to rip and replace incumbent technology systems”

Read on to bust your myths about AI

 


Are You Ready to Make The Shift to A.I.?

Now that your myths are busted? Are you ready to shift to AI? IDC forecasts a 54% growth in Marketing spend on AI software over the next four years to more than $2 billion in 2020. Why? Because AI and machine learning (ML) can help marketers identify patterns to guide better marketing decisions.

“Data is unquestionably the domain of A.I.”

Collecting data and fixing data silos are the first steps to get started with AI. Read more on how to get started with AI

 


4 Ways You Could Be Incorporating Artificial Intelligence Into Your Marketing Strategy

Have you ordered coffee from Alexa? It is fun at first, and soon a habit that saves time in our busy lives

“As customers become accustomed to AI-powered solutions like Starbucks’ Alexa offering, they’ll expect the same from their local businesses.” That means it’s more important than ever to start considering how artificial intelligence can positively impact your business model.

Processing data, personalization, customization and pricing – read more on how you could be incorporating AI into your marketing strategy

 


From Blueshift: 3 Lessons from StitchFix IPO on AI and personalization

And finally, from Blueshift. And we say, Human+AI = Magic!” Why? See StichFix.

The StitchFix IPO emerged from the realization that personalization for each and every customer can be scalable — thanks to data science, algorithms, and artificial intelligence

The guiding philosophy is that every customer is different and every experience should be different. At StitchFix, no two shipments are the same and the algorithm learns more about you. Read more about how StichFix leveraged AI and data science to deliver personalization to every user.

 

 

AI+Human is magic: 3 Lessons from the Stitch Fix IPO About Personalization

Do you remember when was the last time you had fun shopping for new clothes? Me neither.

Over the past several years, the cycle of searching for, trying on, buying, and returning clothes has lost whatever joy it used to bring. In retail shops, you spend more time trying to find parking or standing in the checkout lines, than actually looking for what you like. Online, the sheer amount of selection is dizzying; you’re caught in a maze of price comparisons and unreliable customer reviews. And when you finally make a purchase, it’s inevitably the wrong size, triggering an arduous return process.

So, when I started using Stitch Fix recently, it was like stumbling upon an oasis of personalization, usability, and — yes! — fun in the otherwise lifeless fashion-buying desert. If you have read some of my earlier posts, you know by now that I am a fan. And I’m not alone. Founded by entrepreneur Katrina Lake in 2011, Stitch Fix filed for its IPO last Thursday. According to its filing, the startup has grown to serve more than 2 million customers, the vast majority of which are repeat buyers. In fiscal 2017, Stitch Fix reached nearly $1 billion in sales.

With so many other clothing retailers struggling, and in the face of intense competition from giants like Amazon, how is Stitch Fix succeeding?

In a word: personalization. On the road to its IPO, Stitch Fix has demonstrated three crucial lessons about the power of 1:1 marketing, made scalable by technology.

1. Every Customer Is Different; Every Experience Should Be Different

Here’s how StitchFix works:

You fill out a fashion profile on their website and pay a $20 styling fee. Using its proprietary data science/AI fashion-matching technology, plus the expertise of a personal stylist, Stitch Fix selects a mix of five clothing items and accessories and ships them to you. You can try on the clothes, purchase what you want, and send back the rest. Shipping is free both ways. Customers like me appreciate Stitch Fix for its seamless buying experience. But we love it for its personalization.

  • No two shipments are the same. Each is tailored to the fashion taste of an individual customer, yet dialed into modern trends.
  • As you continue to use Stitch Fix, it “learns” more about you. The fashion matching technology hits home more often than not, and your returns become less frequent.
2. Data Can Make Your Customers Feel Human

One of the worst aspects of digitization is being treated as faceless. The genius of Stitch Fix is that it uses numbers to re-humanize people. Their personalization technology starts by gathering 85 data points on each of its customers. The Stitch Fix IPO filing proclaims: “Our data science capabilities fuel our business.” Stitch Fix Chief Analytics Officer Eric Colson heads up the algorithm team that matches customers to clothing. He previously did a similar job at Netflix, another company that struck gold after realizing its role wasn’t to push products, but to engage with customers on an individual level — and smart use of data science is the way to scale the whole thing.

3. AI + Humans = Magic

The proprietary Stitch Fix algorithms are powerful tools. And they work best in the hands of experts who know how to deploy them to solve real-world fashion dilemmas. When I ordered from Stitch Fix, a computer program may have done the heavy analytics, but one of the company’s 600 stylists applied the finishing touches. As YEC points out, “In this way, the recommendation technology enables humans to do their jobs better, not the other way around.”

The Stitch Fix IPO emerged from the realization that personalization for each and every customer can be scalable — thanks to data science, algorithms, and artificial intelligence.

Using Real-Time Customer Data for 1:1 Marketing

With the right technology, you can apply the same approach to your marketing. Whether you’re reaching out through email, push notifications, SMS, or any other channel, you can tailor your message to each customer, drawing on real-time data for 1:1 marketing.

To learn more, download “The Path to Predictive 1-to-1 Marketing”.

3 Re-engagement Campaigns You Can Run In FB That Will Grow Your Revenues

With more than 2B monthly active users in Facebook, Facebook is a great channel for customer acquisition. But with the power of your first party customer behavior data, you have a big opportunity to run re-engagement campaigns using Facebook Custom Audiences that drive your revenues.

You have access to powerful first party data around user engagement, browsing and purchase behavior that you can add on top of Facebook user data such as user age, gender and interests. Create segments based on real time customer behavior such as ‘opened email’, ‘clicked on sms message’ etc. and automatically sync them with Facebook, so you can run high performing and targeted re-engagement campaigns.

Convert users that opened emails

Customers who opened emails are more likely to convert after seeing an ad. Real-time audience sync based on your first party behavioral data helps you maximize conversion by sending targeted re-engagement campaigns to these users on Facebook.

Bring back users that are inactive or at risk of churn

On average people spend more than 20 minutes a day on Facebook and for those in US that is up to 40 minutes a day. That screams opportunity. Reach out to users where they spend time. Target inactive users where they are most actively engaged and bring them back with reactivation campaigns.

Nurture users with automated campaigns across their life-cycle

Users interact across different channels. By adding Facebook as a re-engagement channel, you can create seamless cross channel experiences that nurture your users. Automate life-cycle specific campaigns based on where users are on their customer journey such as,

  • Welcome campaigns to new users
  • Re-sell/re-engage campaigns to one-time customers
  • Loyalty campaigns to repeat customers

In essence, by importing and syncing your behavior data with Facebook custom audiences in real-time, you can re-target users based on their upto-the-moment behavior. Automate campaigns based on real time behavior for the best engagement.

To learn how you can improve the ROI of your Facebook retargeting campaigns, see “Big target is the wrong target: Improve the effectiveness of Facebook retargeting“.


Interested in learning more? Check this out for more information how Blueshift can automatically sync your segments with Facebook in realtime.


Friday Five: #Human+Machine #FinTech #AIFirst #12_Ways_to_Boost_CX #UK

Welcome to our Friday Five. Each week, our goal is to give you a run-down on 5 of the top stories on the topic of AI in Marketing. Think of this as that TL;DR of those stories you meant to read or might have missed.


Human+Machine and CX+AI: Insights from Forrester CXSF

“All of you in this room are slowly and inexorably going out of business.” – George Colony, Founder & CEO, Forrester

No, it is not the robots-coming-for-your-job kind of going out of business. But,

“Customer is becoming an empowered force in a changing economy. Two factors that will determine success in this new era: 1) Customer experience and 2) Artificial intelligence”

Insights from Forrester’s day 1 of CXSF event. One more thought provoking quote from the event, “Personalization, generally, sucks. I don’t understand why. I’ve been in this business for 20 years and I’m seeing little more than recommendations. There’s no longer an excuse.” – RJ Pittman, eBay Chief Product Officer

What is your excuse? For more insights on AI, the future with Human+Machine and how customer experience and AI  will determine your success, tune in to Forrester CXSF event.

 


12 ways AI could boost your customer relations

AI based marketing, personalized website experiences, personalized emails, personalized upsells and cross-sells, predictive analyses – just a few ways AI can boost customer experience. Isn’t customer experience the one thing that matters to win today?

“As more companies start sending emails to their customers, forward-thinking marketers are going to want to stand out through further personalization. If you only send the content that the customer is interested in, they are more likely to click and read the emails.”Jared Atchison, WPForms

AI enables you to do personalized marketing across all channels. See 12 ways AI could boost your customer relations

 


AI for financial planning

Consumer finance is characterized reams of data. Processing this from multiple sources can take months.

“If the internet is the superhighway for the rapid transit of information, then artificial intelligence is the E-ZPass that helps you become even faster and more efficient.”

AI helps to know so much about a client — what they want and what they need — you can be exponentially more effective in creating the experience that will move them forward in their financial life and drive your firm’s success. See more on the new opportunities AI brings for financial planning. Watch how a forward thinking consumer finance company, #LendingTree uses AI to give individualized value to every user.

 


UK perspective on Artificial intelligence: Hype, hope and fear

A Welsh company is using AI to detect North Korean bio-weapons. Governments are taking deep interest in the possibilities with Artificial Intelligence.

“We are accustomed now to technology developing fast, but that pace will increase and AI will drive much of that acceleration.”

Among all the hype, hope and fear, a UK commissioned report estimated that #AI could add an $814bn to the UK economy in the next 20 years and an earlier study by McKinsey estimates an addition of $126B to US economy in next 10 (not 20) years. Read more from this report on how UK sees potential in AI.

 


Blueshift in the news: AI-first marketing could help brands perfect the customer experience

And finally, Blueshift in the news. Curious why so much hype about AI now when it seems to exist forever.  Today’s AI moved from edges to the core.  What does that mean? Hasn’t it moved from simple driver-assist to the center of self-driving cars?

“According to Gartner, customer experience is the new battlefield for competitive advantage. In the AI-first world, the only survivors on this battlefield will be the ones who embrace AI at the core of their marketing and customer experience strategies.”Vijay Chittoor, Blueshift co-founder & CEO

See how AI-first marketing could help brands perfect the customer experience.

 


A Big Target is the Wrong Target: How to Increase Effectiveness of Facebook Retargeting

Targeting everybody is targeting nobody. 

With average CPC rates ranging from $2 up to $5, broad targeting on Facebook can soon get expensive and highly ineffective. But by bringing your first party customer and behavioral data to Facebook, you can create precise audience segments that improve the ROI of your ad spend.

Create segments based on user behavior and sync with Facebook

Segment users based on a unified view of their cross channel behavior in real time (opened email, clicked on SMS message etc) and sync these segments in real-time with Facebook Custom Audiences to drive high performing campaigns.

Send the right campaign to the right audience

Targeting is not effective without relevant campaign messaging. Tailor segment specific campaigns such as send welcome campaigns to new users, re-engagement campaigns to inactive users and loyalty messages to regular users for lift in engagement.

With automated audience sync in “real-time” and precise retargeting, you can be sure your ad dollars pay off.

Are you using Facebook for re-engaging your users? See “3 re-engagement campaigns you can run in FB that will grow your revenues“.

 


Learn more on how Blueshift can automatically sync your segments with Facebook in realtime.


 

Friday Five: AImyths, Putin_And_Obama_About_AI, AIQuotes, MITStudy, IconicFirms, Blueshit_AI_Patent

Welcome to our Friday Five. Each week, our goal is to give you a run-down on 5 of the top stories on the topic of AI in Marketing. Think of this as that TL;DR of those stories you meant to read or might have missed.


12 AI Quotes Everyone Should Read

Do you believe Alan Turing was true in his prediction below? Imitation Game, a story about his life is one of my all time favorite movies and has several quote-worthy quotes that I would recommend you to check out about machines, AI and life.

“I believe that at the end of the century the use of words and general educated opinion will have altered so much that one will be able to speak of machines thinking without expecting to be contradicted.” (1950)” – Alan Turing, 1950

AI as a key to unlock power” – Vladimir Putin

Wonder what Putin means by that. Interested in what other leaders have to say about AI? Read what Obama, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page and Sergey Brin said about AI.


MIT Study Reveals How ‘Iconic’ Firms Use AI

Guess what’s holding companies that invested in AI from fully deploying it. The answer is, not sharing customer insights across the organization. If companies want to put customer experience at the forefront, sharing customer data should be a high priority.

The first benefit is in “a step-change increase in efficiency: by gathering customer data (a time-consuming process” – Felix Liu, Alibaba

See more on how iconic firms embrace technology to improve CX from the MIT report: Getting to Iconic: How world-leading brands balance talent and technology for CX excellence.


Mythbusting the future of AI in financial services

Third week in a row we are feature AI myth busters. It is a no wonder with all the hyper around it. It is a wait-and-watch to see how partnerships and AI will transform financial services. Meanwhile, what caught my eye in this article is,

AI is about solving specific problems using data and fancy maths, and isn’t even close to abilities like self-awareness, common sense and creativity

Read more on how AI can influence the financial industry and check if your AI myths are answered in this post


How to become savvier with your marketing by implementing AI techniques

Like the article points out, Netflix, Amazon and Google have nailed customer experience and predictive recommendations with AI. From chatbots and customer engagement to content curation, AI can help marketers improve ROI

Artificial Intelligence powered tools can gather data, build a predictive model, test and validate real customers. When these techniques are combined, customers will become more engaged and loyal leading to higher lifetime value and increased company profits.

Read more on how to become savvier with artificial intelligence


Blueshift in the news: Blueshift Receives Patent for AI-Powered Marketing

And finally, we are very excited to share that Blueshift has been awarded a patent for innovation in AI powered marketing to deliver real-time 1:1 customer experiences at scale

Brands continue to generate more and more customer data in the form of behavioral ‘events’, that represent customer interactions on digital, mobile and social channels. AI is the key to activating this fast moving stream of event data and delivering segment-of-one personalization on every channel” – Manyam Mallela, Blueshift co-founder & Chief AI Officer

Read more on how Blueshift is innovating to translate customer data into 1:1 experiences.


Blueshift’s Patent Brings Industry-Changing Innovation to AI-Powered Marketing

We are very excited to share that Blueshift has been awarded a patent for innovation in AI powered marketing to deliver real-time 1:1 customer experiences at scale: Patent No. 9779443 from the United States Patent and Trademark Office for “EVENT-BASED PERSONALIZED MERCHANDISING SCHEMES AND APPLICATIONS IN MESSAGING”

The patent aligns with our vision to be the leader in helping companies deliver unique experiences to their customers with cutting edge technology built for forward thinking marketers.

“Customer Experience is the new battlefield for competitive advantage. In an AI-first world, the only survivors will be the ones who embrace AI at the core of their marketing and customer experience strategies.”Vijay Chittoor, CEO Blueshift

Blueshift’s patented method builds an “Interaction Graph” from the event data along with historical customer data and the brand’s catalog of products or content, and uses the graph for continuously computing various forms of AI-Based predictions and recommendations (“personalized merchandising schemes”) continuously. The patented technology also integrates these predictions into customer experiences on channels like email, direct mail, SMS, websites or mobile app notifications, enabling brands to seamlessly use the power of artificial intelligence to deliver 1:1 personalized experiences.

In order to meet today’s marketing and customer challenges, AI must be at the core. With customer data exploding across all channels, customers demanding personalization, and organizations stretched for resources – there is no doubt that brands need AI to organize and execute on the mountains of data to deliver a rich customer experience.

Blueshift’s patented technology was built from the ground up with flexible data models, modern architecture to handle real-time and historic events, continuous learning, and seamless integration with cross-channel automation to deliver the flexibility, adaptability, and control that modern marketers need today to stay competitive.

See more on how Blueshift activates customer data with innovative Interaction Graph technology that continuously learns with customer behavior, and why built-in AI is a must-have for marketers.


Contact Us to put the power of patented AI-powered marketing to work for you.