IBM Watson Upgrades Cloud Marketing Service By Adding Video & Behavioral Analysis

What Happened
IBM continues to expand the marketing capabilities of its cognitive computing service Watson as it announced two new features this week. First, the new Watson Marketing Insights feature can analyze customer behaviors and offer insights on how they may affect businesses. For example, this new feature can be applied to analyze the possible correlation between shopping cart abandonment and brand loyalty, according to IBM’s press release.

Moreover, IBM will also be applying Watson’s cognitive smarts to analyze video for information such as keywords, main concepts, visual imagery, tone, and emotional context. This feature, set to launch later this year, aims to help media and entertainment companies make sense of unstructured data and extrapolate audience insights so as to deliver more relevant content to viewers.

What Brands Need To Do
These upgrades for Watson’s marketing services come at a time when early-adopting companies are beginning to experiment with AI-powered solutions in their business and marketing practices. For example, H&R Block integrated Watson into its tax filing system to helping people maximize their tax returns. As AI and machine learning technologies continue to develop at a fast pace, brands need to explore the kind of personalized user experience and product recommendations that AI-powered CRM solutions enable based on data and user input.

For more information on how brands may tap into the transformative power it will bring to marketing, please check out the Augmented Intelligence section of our Outlook 2017.


Source: PressWire & NewsFactor  


Salesforce Enlists IBM Watson’s Help And Opens “Einstein” AI Layer To All Customers

What Happened
Salesforce is opening up “Einstein,” the artificial intelligence layer of its various cloud-based CRM software products, to all customers. This allows users of Salesforce product to tap Einstein’s AI smart to analyze and manage customer data, build predictive sales models, and streamline workflows.

The company is also launching the Einstein Vision platform — a collection of APIs that will let developers integrate image recognition capabilities to CRM and apps. This will make images a possible data input for Salesforce’s CRM system, allowing companies to gather insights from photos, such as detecting inventory levels or identifying customer preferences.

In addition, the company is teaming up with IBM to plug Watson into Salesforce’s Intelligent Customer Success platform, mixing customer insights from Watson based on local weather, healthcare, financial services, and retail with Einstein’s customer data to create a powerful data-driven CRM platform.

What Brands Need To Do
These new announcements from Salesforce come at a time when more and more companies are starting to experiment with AI-powered solutions in their business and marketing practices.  In January, Toyota launched a campaign that is partially generated by IBM’s machine learning program Watson, and last month, H&R Block integrated Watson into its tax filing system to helping people maximize their tax returns. As AI and machine learning technologies continue to develop, brands need to explore the kind of personalized user experience and product recommendations that AI-powered CRM solutions enable based on data and user input.


Source: TechCrunch & MarTech Today

H&R Block Enlists IBM’s Watson To Help With Preparing Tax Returns

What Happened
IBM’s supercomputer Watson can now add “tax accountant” to its expanding resume, as the company formed a partnership with tax preparation service H&R Block to apply Watson’s cognitive computing power to helping people maximize their tax returns. The two companies created a merged Block-Watson system that uses Watson to analyze the notes that tax preparers put in based on their conversations with clients and suggest possible tax solutions in real time. H&R Blcok says the AI-powered system will serve as many as 11 million clients who visit its offices during this tax season, which the tax preparation company also created a Super Bowl ad to promote.

What Brands Need To Do
This is a new example of brands plugging AI and machine learning solutions into their services to enhance customer experience. Last month at CES 2017, we saw many brands, such as Carnival Cruise and Under Armour, that incorporate AI in one way or another. From the fast development in autonomous cars to smaller home gadgets, artificial intelligence of varying degrees is being integrated to a wide range of products to enable smart automation and personalization solutions. For brands offering services and experiences, the implementation of AI-powered solutions is set to unleash a new kind of customer experiences that they will need to adapt.


Source: MarTech Today

Toyota Taps IBM’s Watson To Generate Ad Scripts

What Happened
Toyota is the latest brand to use IBM’s machine learning program Watson to aid its marketing campaign. To promote its Rav4 Crossover SUV model, the auto brand worked with agency Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles to create an interesting digital video campaign built around the idea of encouraging people to crossover and try something new. They supplied Watson with the world’s top 1,000 activities — such as biking, dancing, and cooking — and asked Watson to pair two activities that are rarely associated. The agency then used the Watson-generated pairings to create 300 unique videos, which are being targeted at users on Facebook and Instagram based on the activities they already enjoy doing. For example, a Pilate-lover will see a video spot that suggests they try cosplaying while a kick-boxing enthusiasts may get bird-watching.

What Brands Need To Do
This is a fun, if a bit trite, application of machine learning in marketing campaigns. It provides the agency with some interesting pairings to use for their creatives and, perhaps more importantly, gives the campaign an intriguing, powered-by-A.I. hook. As we pointed out in our CES trend recap, machine learning and artificial intelligence will start to make a strong impact in marketing by powering conversational services and next-level personalizations. Brands need to start identifying the kind of unique dataset that they own and feed it into machine learning services to either learn more about their customers or deliver a more personalized customer experience.


Source: AdAge


GM Launches IBM Watson-Powered Ads In OnStar Go

What Happened
On Wednesday General Motors announced a partnership with IBM that leverages Watson’s cognitive computing capabilities to deliver personalized brand messages to drivers via its OnStar service. The program, named OnStar Go, aims to dispense real-time, location-based information covering topics such as fuel, hospitality, entertainment, and restaurants. OnStar Go is expected to roll out early next year. ExxonMobil, Glympse, iHeartRadio, and Mastercard are also among the first batch of brands to join this program.

What Brands Should Do
This Watson-powered program offers brands a new channel to reach consumers on the go in a smarter, targeted way. For example, ExxonMobil plans to use it to help drivers quickly locate nearby gas stations, and Mastercard will enable drivers and passengers to conveniently authorize payment from inside the vehicle. As connected cars continue to gain momentum in the auto market, brands should seize the opportunity to reach in-car consumers with personalized content through the dashboard and digital channels supported by the OnStar Go ecosystem.


Source: AdAge

Header image is a promotional image courtesy of General Motors

NYC AdWeek 2016: The Weather Company Gears Up For Watson-Powered Cognitive Ads

What Happened
The Weather Company, which was acquired by IBM last year, is tapping the cognitive computing power of IBM’s Watson for a cognitive ad product. The first brand to try out the new ad unit is Campbell’s, whose display ads will appear next week on The Weather Company’s website. Unlike typical display ads with personalized targeting, however, the Watson-powered cognitive ads will suggest recipes in real time based on location, what the weather is in that area, and which ingredients they want. Users will be able to tell Watson the ingredients by speaking into their microphones, thanks to integration with the “Chef Watson” API and a natural language classifier.

During its Advertising Week event in New York, The Weather Company also announced that Toyota will be the first auto brand to try out this ad product for a campaign set for the first quarter of 2017. In addition, GlaxoSmithKline is working with IBM on a flu-season campaign to promote Theraflu, in which Watson will answer frequently asked questions and analyze various flu symptoms.

What Brands Need To Do
Compared to existing display ad products, this Watson-powered cognitive ad product takes personalized ads to the next level as it adds natural-language interaction on top of contextual customization. If successfully executed, it should leverage Watson’s cognitive power to create one-to-one experiences for brands and consumers. Brands that want to get in on the next frontier of personalized targeting and contextual marketing should keep a close eye on this as it develops.


Source: AdWeek

Turner Enlists IBM’s Watson For Ad Insights

What Happened
In an industry first, Turner Broadcasting, owners of cable networks such as TBS, TNT, CNN, and HLN, has enlisted IBM’s Watson, the cognitive computing service, to help support its ad sales efforts. With Watson’s data-crunching power, Turner will offer marketers automated recommendations on optimizing TV campaigns, based on a wide range of data sources including Turner’s in-house data on its advertisers, publicly available and purchased data sets, news and analyst reports, social media posts, and more.

What Brands Need To Do
This marks the latest example in brands and media owners partnering with IBM to tap into Watson’s computing power. Previously, Under Armour used Watson to help it analyze user data to generate fitness and health suggestions, while Kia used it to find the right social influencers for its Super Bowl campaign this year. Last May, Facebook signed a similar deal with IBM to get some help from Watson to boost its ad targeting capability. As data analysis becomes an increasingly crucial part of the ad business, we expect to see more media owners and brand advertisers to enlist outside services like Watson for better market insights and ad effectiveness.


Source: Wall Street Journal

CES 2016: Under Armour Teams Up With IBM’s Watson For Smart Fitness Data

Under Armour has been developing “connected clothing” for a while now, and at CES 2016, the sportswear maker announced a new partnership with IBM, integrating the computing power of IBM’s AI platform Watson into its health and fitness app, UA Record to analyze users’ fitness data and give them actionable insights on healthcare and exercises.

Moreover, Watson will also use other data in making those fitness and health suggestions. For example, it can pull real-time weather data from The Weather Channel app, which IBM recently acquired, to figure out the optimal time and temperature to suggest a run outside. This signals an exciting new direction for the fitness wearables to tap into big data and AI to expand its functionality and offer added value to users.


For more of the Lab’s CES coverage, click here.

The North Face Teamed Up With IBM Watson To Talk With Consumers

What Happened
Outdoor clothing brand The North Face teamed up with IBM Watson, a business solution platform capable of natural language processing and machine learning, to build a customer service tool on its website that can converse with online shoppers and make appropriate product recommendations. So far, the tool has a 60% click through rate on its product recommendations.

What Brands Need To Do
Led by efforts such as Facebook’s virtual assistant M and Amazon Echo’s Alexa, more and more tech products are allowing consumers to communicate their needs and commands via text or voice with a conversation-based interface. Therefore, brands that wish to stay ahead of the digital curve should tap into this growing trend of conversional UI and start developing their own brand voice.

Source: Digiday