Aired August 2, 2017
This week on Marketing Matters, Executive Director Catharine Hays was joined by marketers leading the way in creative uses of artificial intelligence, more commonly known as AI. Or Shani (CEO and Founder, Adgorithms), Winston Binch (Chief Digital Officer, Deutsch North America), Jordan Bitterman (CMO, IBM Watson Content and IoT Platform), and Aaron Dauphinee (Head of Marketing/CMO, Rubikloud) discussed how they have been integrating AI into their companies and how the intersection of AI and branding is likely to provoke a new wave of innovation in the marketing industry, most notably in data analysis, ad planning, brand persona and resource allocation.
- Artificial intelligence usage is on the verge of becoming mainstream in advertising, with over three-quarters of marketers believing that consumers are ready for its implementation.
- AI-integrated operations expedite the rate at which tedious tasks can be completed, thereby freeing other resources for more creative content.
- AI and voice technology are new tools for creating more holistic “Brand Personalities” for companies.
- As industry out-innovates policy, regulation of AI will be a necessity to ensure ethical and moral practices.
This week’s first interview was with Or Shani, the CEO and founder of Albert, the first AI marketing platform. Shani first entered the industry on a traditional executive track, which is where he noticed the limiting effect of calculative work on creative content. To remedy this inefficiency, Shani developed his AI software, Albert, which operates by autonomously tackling execution and back-end calculations for marketing teams.
Shani proposes that by improving the speed at which remedial calculations can be done, marketing teams can refocus greater resources on the creative operations of a campaign. Furthermore, Albert is able to collect long-term consumer metrics that can be used to evaluate the success of past and current projects. The technology also incorporates predictive analytic application programming interfaces (APIs), that make experimentation more accessible—another powerful tool for creative teams. In closing, Shani noted that almost all of their clientele have been forward thinkers who have been able to look past antiquated ideas of how marketing teams should operate, pushing boundaries and redefining a rapidly changing industry landscape.
Winston Binch, Deutsch North America’s Chief Digital Officer, also spoke with Catharine about his work with Great Machine and his thoughts on the presence of AI technology in the marketing world. Binch emphasized that there needs to be a paradigm shift in the way executives imagine companies. He believes that a company’s identity can no longer rest on just the brand alone, but also on what he defined as a cultivated “Brand Personality.” Binch cited TacoBell’s Tacobot as a great first example of technology that pushed the boundary of consumer interfacing and simultaneously expanded a corporate identity. Companies have to be useful and memorable; he posited that the new way to achieve this is through AI technology that serves as both an instrument for consumer engagement and a tool for commerce that drives sales.
Next to join Catharine was Jordan Bitterman, the CMO of IBM Watson Content and the Internet of Things (IoT) Platform, to discuss his work with The Weather Company, an entity recently acquired by IBM. According to Bitterman, weather is often a driver of business outcomes. Using AI and the IoT platform, sensors around the world are able to collect and receive weather data in order to work with airlines as well as other industries to make informed business decisions. The next step for IBM is to integrate these two technologies together.
Currently, IBM is working on Watson’s ability to learn and reason, and Watson Ads has been created to engage this ability for marketing purposes. IBM is interested in not only presenting the consumer with an advertisement, but also in allowing the consumer to interact with the ad. Through these interactions, Watson is able to gather much more consumer information and product insights based on what consumers are asking. Bitterman also expounded on the term “augmented intelligence” to combat the perception that AI is displacing jobs—he sees it as actually expanding the role of creativity in marketing. Bitterman explains that within IBM they like to use the term “augmented intelligence” because AI technology isn’t used as a tool to replace human intelligence, but to supplement it instead. In response to the question of who is using Watson Ads, Mr. Bitterman explained, similar to Or Shani, that it is the innovative brands, the ones that are open to experimentation. He stated that now is the time for marketers to begin using this technology. Catharine remarked, “It’s almost riskier not to jump into the game.”
AI certainly presents a moral dilemma, but Bitterman emphasized that IBM has a high ethical standard by which it innovates. In terms of regulation, he believes that because the government is slow in creating policy, it will come down to the industry to be proactive in self-regulating these technologies. While AI is able to solve problems in the marketing industry, it is crucial to not create new quandaries in the process.
In the last segment, Catharine welcomed Aaron Dauphinee from Rubikloud to discuss how his firm has been using AI to transform the playing field for traditional retailers. Rubikloud is a start-up based in Toronto that uses machine learning to gather data from online and offline consumer behavior for retailers to help automate merchandizing and marketing. Dauphinee explained that machine learning is a subset of AI that is applied to optimize a particular activity, with ultimate control given to the human being. This allows for the reallocation of team resources, giving them the freedom to think, plan, and innovate to create the best marketing campaigns possible and optimize the process—a concept also highlighted by other show guests.
Dauphinee revealed that machine learning can help brick-and-mortar stores be more competitive in a retail environment being dominated by behemoths like Amazon and Walmart, and stated that it could be a savior for some retail sectors. He said that his unit has automated “turnkey” solutions that can be implemented in 12-18 months, instead of the years-long timeframe that more traditional turnaround projects could involve on the same scale. He also shared how Rubikloud’s technology has provided significantly more accurate sales forecasts and resulted in less resource-intensive marketing campaign management for clients. He believes that the time is now for retailers to take the “leap of faith” and implement automated analytic solutions.
You can listen to this show and past shows on our radio show page: http://wfoa.wharton.upenn.edu/research-initiatives/radio-show/
By Hyungtae Kim
College of Arts and Sciences ’20