Lucidworks CMO: Tackling intelligent search

Chief marketing officer of search technology company talks through the impact of search on personalisation

Each year, organisations spend billions of dollars on attracting would-be customers to their sites using search engines. But the experience many visitors have after they click a result and land on a site is an often-overlooked element of their buyers’ journey.

With the exception of Amazon, most organisations don’t have the budgets to invest in large search technology teams, despite appreciation of the importance of search for attracting customers in the first place. But then what is the point of bringing a would-be customer o your site if they can’t find what they want once they get there?

The problem of onsite search is one San Francisco-based Lucidworks has been tackling since its inception as Lucid Imagination back in 2007. The company creates intelligent search solutions using the Apache Lucene/Solr open source search platform, augmented with artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities based on the Apache Spark computing framework.

“Search engines are good at understanding user intent, unlike a database or data warehouse, and they are very good at delivering results that are relevant and contextual, which underpin all kinds of personalisation,” says Lucidworks CMO, Vivek Sriram. “The trick is how do you deal with this stuff at very large volumes.

“The thing we have done at LucidWorks is a build a bunch of scaffolding around a search engine that allows it to be operated across tens of billions of documents and thousands if not millions of simultaneous queries.

It is a highly technical proposition, and once that suits Sriram’s background. Into his second stint at Lucidworks, he spent four years in between building search technology for Amazon, and is now seeking to bring some of that capability to other organisations.

“Getting search to work at scale is hard,” Sriram says. “Amazon is able to get search to work well because there are about 600 people who just work on search. They also have access to the world’s biggest supercomputer, and they have access to all your data. If you don’t have the traffic, if you don’t have access to the computing power, and you can’t hire the talent, then pulling off search is pretty difficult. What are trying to do on the talent and computing side is to make that available for normal people.”

Lucidworks represents Sriram’s first time in the CMO role, having begun his career as an engineer. He says, however, the complicated nature of the company’s technology stack makes his background highly valuable.

“The only way to make the marketing function for a company like this to work well is to have marketing people who come from an engineering background,” Sriram says.

Hence he spends a great deal of this time talking to marketers about how intelligent search can drive conversion, both through providing more intelligent results, but also by fuelling other influencer tools such as recommendation engines.

“For most online merchants, something like 30 to 40 per cent of all transactions will be influenced by that,” Sriram says. “It’s huge, because people don’t necessarily know what they are looking for, and most people in the world aren’t able to describe what it is that they want.”

Much of Lucidwork’s value comes through analysing signals beyond just what the visitor types into the search box.

“They may have clicked on a category,” Sriram says. “That kind of thing gives us a huge amount of inference about the kind of things they are looking for. We don’t think about the search box as being the only way to interact with things. The mirror image of that is discovery and recommendations.

The goal is to drive a personalised experience down to the individual level, with search technology able to deliver a personalised outcome that goes far beyond just the search result itself.

 “The entire page layout and page taxonomy can oftentimes be driven by the search engine itself,” Sriram adds.

Read more on brands and search strategies:

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, follow our regular updates via CMO Australia's Linkedin company page, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia.

 

 

 

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

Conversations over a cuppa with CMO: Craig Davis

​Leadership resilience, startups scaling up, marketing best practices, customer insights - these are just a few of the topics we manage to explore in the latest episode of Conversations over a Cuppa with CMO featuring Craig Davis.

More Videos

Was really informative. Customer retention is very important for companies as retaining customers are simpler compared to making new ones...

Bhooshan Shetty

How chatbot marketing brought a supernatural exhibition to digital life

Read more

JP54,D2, D6, JetA1 EN590Dear Buyer/ Buyer mandateWe currently have Available FOB Rotterdam/Houston for JP54,D2, D6, JetA1 with good and w...

BARYBKIN ALEXANDER ALEXANDROVI

3-pronged marketing approach for property disruptor Brickx

Read more

Was really informative. Customer retention is very important for companies as retaining customers are simpler compared to making new ones...

Bhooshan Shetty

What lies ahead for the future of marketing post-AI

Read more

Good day sir / madamWe CLOSED JOINT-STOCK COMPANY AO KAYUM NEFT OIL COMPANY is one of theleading Oil & Gas trading companies in Russi...

BARYBKIN ALEXANDER ALEXANDROVI

3-pronged marketing approach for property disruptor Brickx

Read more

Good day sir / madamWe CLOSED JOINT-STOCK COMPANY AO KAYUM NEFT OIL COMPANY is one of theleading Oil & Gas trading companies in Russi...

BARYBKIN ALEXANDER ALEXANDROVI

Oath to fully acquire Yahoo7 from Seven West Media

Read more

Blog Posts

Life beyond the cookie: 5 steps to mapping the future of marketing measurement

​There’s no denying there’s been a whirlwind of response to the imminent demise of the third-party cookie from all parts of the industry. But as we’ve collectively come to better understand the implications, it’s clear this change is giving the digital advertising industry the opportunity to re-think digital marketing to support core industry use cases, while balancing consumer privacy.

Natalie Stanbury

Director of research, IAB Australia

Ensuring post-crisis success

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed brands’ CX shortcomings and a lack of customer understanding. Given ongoing disruption, customer needs, wants and expectations are continually changing, also causing customers to behave in different ways. Just look at hoarding toilet paper, staple and canned food, medicinal and cleaning products.

Riccardo Pasto

senior analyst, Forrester

A few behavioural economics lesson to get your brand on top of the travel list

Understanding the core principles of Behavioural Economics will give players in the travel industry a major competitive advantage when restrictions lift and travellers begin to book again. And there are a few insights in here for the rest of the marketing community, too.

Dan Monheit

Co-founder, Hardhat

Sign in