RedBalloon restructures, unveils AI-powered digital marketing division

Experiences businesses restructures under holding entity, Big Red Group, and strikes reseller agreement with artificial intelligence digital marketing tech player, Albert

David Anderson with Naomi Simson
David Anderson with Naomi Simson

The team behind RedBalloon have launched a fifth business focused on delivering AI-powered digital marketing services to Australian marketers after striking an exclusive reseller agreement with AI digital marketing platform, Albert.

The latest business venture comes as part of a restructure of RedBalloon and its associated businesses under a new masthead, Big Red Group, focused on an ever-increasing range of management, marketing, HR and corporate services to fellow Australian small businesses.

The Big Red Group (BRG) is jointly owned by RedBalloon founder, Naomi Simson, and fellow entrepreneur, David Anderson, who initially joined as CEO of subsidiary business, Redii, in 2014. As previously reported in CMO, Anderson and Simson extended their partnership in April, creating BRG, a newly formed holding company and management entity to oversee RedBalloon, Redii, plus two other businesses, Wrapped and the Huddle. As a result, Anderson acquired 50 per cent of the business in June and become group CEO.

In a gala launch event in Sydney last night, Simson said RedBalloon’s 15-year history has been about making Australian businesses successful. The new-look BRG is an extension of this ambition, and would help inspire leadership, great workplaces and commercial results for other business owners, she said.

“David and I have built many businesses during our careers, and we know the challenges business owners face, and how difficult it can be to grow and scale a business consistently,” she said.

The exclusive reseller agreement with Albert, a US-based, Israel developed digital marketing services platform, is part of this growing objective to offer next-generation marketing capabilities to other Australian businesses. According to Simson, one of the key things RedBalloon has provided its experience providers and suppliers for the last 15 years is marketing to a wider customer audience.

To emphasise the point, a number of RedBalloon took to the stage, sharing their stories of how the experience online marketplace has been a cornerstone of customer growth and marketshare. In several instances, suppliers said RedBalloon provided the majority of their new customers and been vital to their growth.

RedBalloon’s reseller agreement with Albert comes after the business applied the technology to its own marketing efforts at RedBalloon and Wrapped to reduce cost per acquisition of customers. Since 1 June, and within 24 hours of deploying Albert, the technology was able to identify and execute more than 6400 keywords to improve marketing performance.

Simson said Albert had also reduced the cost of acquiring a customer to RedBalloon by more than 25 per cent in less than 30 days and was on track to reduce this down by at least 40 per cent long-term, or from $28 to $17 per customer.

“That makes it so much more affordable to deliver customers to our 2500 businesses,” she said.

Over coming weeks, several BRG staff will head over to Tel Aviv to train up in the Albert platform in order to onsell and support the platform’s use in other organisations. The new subsidiary business will be known as Big Albert AI. It will distribute Albert to third-party media companies as well as direct to consumer. 

Albert’s chief revenue officer, Geoff Farris, explained Albert as an autonomous AI-based tool that can wade through massive amounts of data, converting it into insights and then autonomously acting on those insights across channels, devices and formats in real-time.

Albert is the flagship platform and also the corporate name for the technology vendor formerly known as Adgorithms, a company created in 2010. The platform is now used globally by a number of high-profile brands including Cosabella, Harley-Davidson and Dole Asia.

“We developed Albert for one purpose only: To help marketers with artificial intelligence,” Farris said. “Our CEO worked as a media planner, and struggled as people worked in silos, trying to optimise their part of the business. Knowledge sharing is a challenge, and staff aren’t sharing budgets or knowledge fast enough. He realised there had to be a better way to use technology to deal with this.”

As an example of the power of Albert, Farris pointed to the work done to date with Cosabella around improving its digital marketing ROI. Since doing so, the boutique lingerie retailer has seen a 365 per cent revenue increase, 120 per cent drop in marketing spend, and been able to identify new product lines to diversity into with success.

Another one of Albert’s clients, a CPG player in Brazil, pitted the AI platform against its media agency and was able to turn Saturday trade from its worst day of the week to its best as a result, Farris said.

By automating so many of the manual tasks of marketing, teams can now focus on the strategic and creative sides of their profession, Farris said.

“This eliminates the manual and time-consuming tasks that currently limit the effectiveness and results of modern digital advertising and marketing,” he said. “But more importantly, it lets businesses execute and scale their efforts at a pace that simply hasn’t been possibly by human teams.”

Simson said she was keen to share with the wider business community the upside that comes with more efficient marketing spend.

“We’re not reducing our marketing budgets in any way, we’re simply ensuring that our dollars – and the dollars our partners pay us to do what we do – are working harder and harder, day after day,” she said.

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