Getting AI into the Driver’s Seat of Marketing

While AI is receiving a lot of hype these days, applications of AI and machine learning have been around for a long time. What has changed however, is that AI finally has the potential to stop being a mildly helpful and sometimes annoying backseat driver, and finally operate in the driver’s seat.

This is happening, quite literally, in the world of automobiles, with the advent of self-driving cars. What does it take to make the same transformation happen in other domains?

I shared my thoughts on this subject with TheNextWeb in a feature titled “Why artificial intelligence is stuck in the backseat“. I talked about how “A.I. in marketing technology is the same as A.I. anywhere else. Self driving cars are finally becoming a reality because of a massive amount of map and street view data that helps the A.I. anticipate every possible scenario. Professionals in any industry must prioritize higher quality data input to get A.I. out of the backseat.”

At Blueshift, we focus on putting AI in the driver’s seat of marketing. Compared to Marketing Automation 1.0, which was simply pushing buttons, putting AI in the driver’s seat of marketing helps brands deliver 1:1 Customer Journeys at scale.

Read the full article at TheNextWeb: “Why artificial intelligence is stuck in the backseat

Welcoming Chandar, former CMO of Marketo, to the Blueshift Board

I am thrilled to welcome Chandar Pattabhiram as the first independent board member at Blueshift. Chandar is currently the CMO at Coupa Software. Previously, as the CMO at Marketo, he helped shape the marketing automation industry. Chandar has recently been named by LinkedIn as one of the top 5 CMOs to follow for thought leadership in digital marketing.

At Blueshift, we pride ourselves on the fact that we are “built for marketers, by marketers”. As a widely recognized marketing leader, Chandar’s advice will be invaluable as we continue to help marketing organization across the world connect with a Segment-of-One at scale.

In the world of automobiles, AI is moving from “driver-assist” to “self-driving cars”. Similarly, in the world of marketing, AI is poised to help marketers orchestrate entire customer journeys. In Chandar’s own words, “The time is now for AI technologies in marketing to move from the backseat into the driver’s seat”.  Read more here.

 

 

 

Growth Marketing Defined – What It Is and What It Isn’t

Ever since Facebook staffed a whole “growth team”, the idea of Growth Marketing has captured the imagination of marketers. However, it’s a topic on which there’s very little informative material for aspiring practitioners. That is why we are excited to announce the first ever comprehensive Growth Maketers’ Guide to Customer Engagement.

What is Growth Marketing?

But first, what is growth marketing? A consensus definition is hard to find, but we prefer the following definition:

“Growth marketing drives increased user engagement, by extending the boundaries of the product into marketing channels.”

There are 2 key elements of this definition:

What do growth marketers do? Growth marketers drive higher user engagement with the product that they are marketing.

How do they do it? They achieve this by taking the product into channels that are traditionally considered marketing channels, e.g., email marketing or mobile push notifications.

Others have defined growth marketing in similar terms:

  • Wealthfront’s VP of Growth Andy Johns said[1]: “Finance owns the flow of cash in and out of a company, growth owns the flow of customers in and out of a product.”
  • Growth marketing is removing the boundaries of marketing to enable every aspect of the customer experience to focus on attracting more engaged customers.” – Mike Volpe, former CMO of Hubspot

 

The intersection of Product and Marketing…

If you were to think of product & marketing as 2 different functions, growth marketing is the area where the two meet:

growth marketing defined

 

This might mean different things for different industries. For instance, in retail & e-commerce industries, the notion of “product” is closer to merchandising, and you might see growth marketing at the intersection of merchandising and marketing:

growth marketing for retail and ecommerce

 

Let’s look at some examples of some growth marketing delivered in the form of email notifications. In all these examples, we will see how email, traditionally a marketing channel, is being used to extend the boundaries of the core product by delivering recommendations from within the product

1. Twitter’s email notifications with recommendations on who to follow

twitter_follow

2. Amazon’s abandoned browse emails that showcase relevant merchandise

amazon_abandoned_browse

3. Foursquare’s “tips” push notifications featuring info about restaurants and other places

 Foursquare-reco

 

What Growth Marketing Isn’t

Growth marketing is also not the same as “growth hacking”

While we are on the subject of defining growth marketing, we should make it clear what it’s not. As you can see from the examples above, growth marketing is not simply digital marketing, or in other words all digital marketing is not growth marketing. Growth marketers certainly use digital marketing channels, what makes them different is that they do it in a way that features relevant content from the product.

Growth marketing is also not the same as “growth hacking”, a practice of customer acquisition through unconventional means. The most commonly mentioned examples of growth hacks include Airbnb’s user acquisition using Craigslist postings or Dropbox’s viral user acquisition using incentives for sharing an account. Unlike these growth hacks that are truly one off and not replicable, growth marketing consists of systematic techniques and principles that you can apply across multiple situations and products. Also, unlike the customer acquisition focused techniques of growth hacking, growth marketing consists of driving customer engagement with the product.

 


Watch out for more posts about growth marketing, and check out our comprehensive guide here for everything you need to know about the subject.

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Market to Verbs, not Nouns

Marketers have always believed in targeted marketing. In the past, targeting has meant building a database of customers and their attributes, especially demographic attributes like first & last name, gender, location, and more. In this notion of database marketing, the databases describe nouns, like customers and products, and attributes of these nouns.

I wrote an article today in CMS Wire on how marketers should market to verbs, not nouns. Today’s leading edge marketers are finding that targeting based on nouns is outdated in the world of “Perpetually Connected Customers”, who are accessing information every second on web & mobile. The Perpetually Connected Customer’s actions & behavior are an indicator of their needs and wants desires, and marketers are confirming something that we have always suspected: that customers are multi-dimensional, and behave differently at different times.

2016-13-september-constant-motion

Why are verbs more important than nouns in targeted & personalized marketing? And why is their importance increasing over time? The two primary drivers are related to how customers have changed over the recent years, and how media has changed:

  • Perpetuals are not the same consumer from moment to moment: Perpetuals’ willingness to consume, changes depending on what they are doing. When describing people or customers, you could choose to describe them using static attributes like location or gender, that don’t change over time. However, people are multi-dimensional, and their interests and desires shift over time. Understanding the customer’s stream of actions is the only way to react to the changing desires of the perpetually connected customer.
  • The death of mass-media and the drive towards 1:1 personalization: Customer attention spans are shifting away from mass-targeted media (like broadcast TV) towards truly personal mediums where people consume content on their own terms. Correspondingly, marketers and advertisers need to shift their framework away from describing people in ways that are hangovers from the mass-media world –using attributes like gender, location, education etc. Instead, marketers need to concentrate on understanding the set of actions that truly set every individual apart, as no two customers rarely ever follow the same sequence of interactions with the same items.

To read more, head over to CMS Wire.

 

 

 

Programmatic Relationship Marketing

Innovations in programmatic advertising have transformed online media buying, making the process more automated, targeted and measurable. Now programmatic is poised to revolutionize customer relationship marketing.

I wrote an article on this subject today at Adexchanger, titled “When Will The Programmatic Revolution Reach Customer Relationship Marketing?

In my mind, programmatic relationship marketing consists of the following elements:

  • Dynamic Audiences — No more lists. Audiences would be updated in real time, and inclusion won’t necessarily be all-or-nothing. Instead recipients can form an “engagement cloud” where some consumers receive more frequent communications than others based on their interests and previous interactions with a brand.
  • Real-time Triggers – Receiving an email “blast” feels exactly like it sounds. No one likes to be caught in a blast radius. With real-time decision systems, you can now trigger the right message to the right customer at a time that’s based on the customer’s engagement.
  • Dynamic Creative — Personalized template-based communication will help prevent consumers from feeling like they’re being talked at rather than to. This goes beyond acknowledging global variables like time of day, weather and location, and populating creative templates with truly 1:1 elements based on a customer’s interactions with your brand.
  • User-centric, not channel-centric — Channel-centric communication is out. Messaging consumers via their preferred channels — and intelligently across channels — is in.
  • Automatic Measurement and Optimization — Like human beings, marketing campaigns should sense whether or not they’re connecting with their audience. Campaigns that can self-optimize, reacting to what works and what doesn’t, what will deliver more relevant messages and what will do so when recipients are most likely to engage with them.

To read more about about the topic, head over to Adexchanger, or contact us at hello@getblueshift.com

Announcing The Launch of Personalization Studio

In today’s perpetually connected world, consumers are leaving behind richer and richer cues about their wants and needs, and are increasingly expecting marketing to be highly personalized. Marketers have always realized the importance of personalization, but find it highly challenging to deliver a hyper-personalized experience across every digital touchpoint. In fact, a study by eConsultancy found that only 5% of marketers are personalizing extensively.

Previous attempts at solving this challenge have been extremely limited: these solutions don’t adapt to the unique nature of each business, don’t customize easily to different audiences, and are hard to integrate with cross-channel campaign execution.

We are changing that today with the launch of Blueshift’s Personalization Studio. Built using  patent-pending technology, Personalization Studio now enables marketers to directly configure and deliver various forms of Hyper-Personalized Predictive Content, based on real-time streams of user interaction events. Read the full announcement here.

If you are ready to start on your hyper-personalization journey, give us a shout at hello@getblueshift.com!

 

 

Why Marketer-Defined Customer Journeys are No Longer Adequate

I shared my thoughts on PerformanceIN last week on why marketer-defined customer journeys are no longer adequate in the new world of perpetually connected customers.

“..with the rise of the perpetually connected customer, consumer brands are quickly finding that marketer-defined customer journeys are no longer adequate to describe the different ways that customers interact with content or search for products. In this increasingly complex environment, marketers must change the way they conceptualize a consumer’s path to purchase, and adopt a new paradigm — real-time context is king.”

Read more at PerformanceIN’s website.

Welcoming Pete Cowing to Blueshift

I am delighted to announce that Pete Cowing has joined Blueshift as our VP of Sales. Pete brings a wealth of experience from the marketing technology domain, with previous sales leadership positions at Marketo & IBM. With his deep knowledge of the space, Pete has become a trusted advisor to marketers looking for next generation solutions that drive delightful customer experiences and strong RoI.

So why did Pete join Blueshift? In his own words, “Blueshift has set itself apart by focusing deeply on the needs of B2C marketers, and the personalized experience that today’s consumer demands. I’m excited to be joining a company that is setting the standard for personalization and automation in marketing.”

Read more here.

Blueshift Wins Stevie® Awards in Marketing & Big Data Categories

 

We are excited to share that Blueshift has won awards in 3 categories at the 2016 Stevie Awards. We have long been believed that the next generation of marketing will be powered by big data and machine learning. That’s why we are especially honored to receive the Stevie Awards in new product categories for both marketing as well as big data:

  • Silver Winner: New Product or Service of the Year – Software – Marketing/Public Relations Solution
  • Bronze Winner: New Product or Service of the Year – Software – Big Data Solution
  • Bronze Winner: Tech Startup of the Year

Read more here.