Looker eyes benefits of machine learning to connect with customers

CMO says key part of marketing strategy is about determining how to marry deep machine learning with brand representation

Looker CMO, Jennifer Grant, is eager to test machine learning on its website and investigate new martech tools to see how the company can continue to optimise and grow the business.

Looker is a business intelligence software and big data analytics platform that helps users explore, analyse and share real-time business analytics. The company's mission is to empower people through smarter use of data.

Grant told CMO there are a number of martech projects the company is focusing on this year. One of which is to focus on the website and determine how to marry deep machine learning with brand representation.

“How does the website, using the latest machine learning tools, represent the brand?” she asked. "Does it feel more sophisticated? Does it feel more professional?’  

“There’s a really interesting balance of how do you represent your brand, from a very emotional and human perspective, and how do you balance it with machine learning. We have the machinery now to constantly learn from what people are clicking, what they are doing, to be able to puzzle piece together a website to make sure people are clicking on the things we want them to click on.

“That will be a big and interesting challenge for us to work through to be able to find that right balance. That will be a big project this year.”

The next area of focus is on sharing the company story and vision, detailing where the product is going, and how the company sees businesses interacting with data in the future. At the same time, Grant said there’s a number of hot button trends affecting marketing over the last few years.

“Clearly, over the last five years, we have had the ability to optimise websites, emails, all of the marketing that we’re doing, so that we’re not spamming users, we’re not giving users a message that’s not relevant to them. And, as much as possible, what we do is use data to connect to what they care about.”

Yet ironically, given the growing intensity of technology and tools to communicate, Grant saw a re-emergence of face-to-face marketing as a key executional activity. For Looker, this includes events and small dinners where it can connect person-to-person.

“If you get a group of 15 or 20 people in a room from different companies but have similar roles, just getting the opportunity to get them to talk about what’s going on with their world, what are they worried about, what are they trying to fix, what do they wish would be easier," she said.

“In the age of wonderful access to data and machine learning and artificial intelligence and all of this really interesting stuff that’s going on, on the flip side one of the most promising marketing campaigns we’re doing is in face-to-face interactions with the right people.”

Dispelling outdated marketing myths

Another of Grant’s main challenges this year at Looker is dispelling outdated myths about marketing.

“From an executive position, it’s about really helping the rest of the organisation - especially in a technical company - understand the value of marketing, because sometimes there are misconceptions from a heavily engineering-driven company that marketing is advertising,” she said.  

For many, the belief is marketing is simply the people who put something on a website and then push a product, Grant argued. “It’s important to be able to share what we do, which is so much more than just an ad on a page.”

As an example of how powerful marketing can be, she flagged Looker’s customer support service, which enables users to chat immediately with the technical people right from the product.

“We know this is an exceptionally powerful experience for any customers to feel like someone is sitting right next to them, right when they have a problem. So marketing to deeply understand that experience, and how we can take that to help other prospective customers, is powerful," she said.

“Marketing is much more about that emotional experience with the product. This crosses everything that we do and how we represent ourselves and talk to customers, and even how we behave culturally among ourselves. All of these things are what marketing does: We’re stewards of the emotional connection a prospect or a customer is having with the brand.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu

 

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