IBM’s annual Amplify conference for marketing, e-commerce, sales and merchandising took place this year in Tampa, Florida between May 16-18. Perhaps the most exciting reveal from the conference is how IBM Watson’s cognitive computing technology can be used to enable better decision-making from marketers to ensure that their content is reaching the right people.
In yesterday’s blog we revisited IBM Watson CTO Rob High’s talk on cognitive computing at last year’s Web Summit. In today’s piece, we’re going to take a look at last week’s Amplify convention and how Watson is being used to improve customer engagement and marketing processes.
A key point of the conference was the Real-Time Personalization upgrade, an IBM product that uses cognitive computing to guide marketers when creating and delivering messages to customers. Through use of the product’s Cognitive Rule Advisor, which understands how customer preference develops and changes over time, Real-Time Personalization learns preferences and provides suggestions as to what offer and content would suit each individual customer best. For instance, the system could analyze a customer’s social media posts to determine their interest in cycling, and that they are currently at a novice level. Real-Time Personalization will then suggest content suitable for beginners such as a cycling helmet or a beginner’s guide.
IBM announced it had embedded cognitive capabilities into its Commerce Insights product, which provides a real-time view of product and category performance on a website. Commerce Insights automatically arranges products based on available inventory and demand, adapting to sales and new stock deliveries. The product alerts users to significant drops or rises in sales, and includes factors that could have an effect on sales such as promotional events, giving retailers a comprehensive but easy-to-use interface for managing product levels.
Watching the Weather
Another interesting reveal from the conference was how the recently acquired The Weather Company would be used in conjunction with Watson to create appropriate ads based on the weather of an area. For example, a marketer could use the natural language phrase “bike commuter event” to define the attributes of the ad as consumer bikes for commuting. Watson will then create an ad for this event and fill it with text and images related to the current weather i.e. bicycle shorts for warm weather.
Watson will inform the marketer about any changes in weather that may affect targeting success, such as ads for bicycle shorts in areas with wet weather. The marketer can update the content of the ad to consider stormy weather, ensuring that consumers are seeing ads relevant to them. Watson can also include data from sales, social media platforms and third-parties to provide the marketer with additional attribute suggestions that may improve the ad’s success.
A Commonplace Technology
The above are just some of the many ways IBM Watson is benefiting marketers. From suggesting relevant ad content to automatically arranging site inventory based on product availability, cognitive computing is proving extremely useful for retailers and marketers.
As we learned in part one, an increasing number of industries are starting to integrate cognitive computing systems into their processes, improving performance, efficiency and customer experience. As a result, it’s not difficult to see Rob’s prediction of cognitive technology becoming commonplace within the next five years becoming a reality, and we can only imagine what kind of in-depth insights this technology will provide in the future.
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