Acoustic: Lifting the burden of tech in marketing with AI

Acoustic product management senior VP explains how artificial intelligence could pave the way to remove the long-term tech burden on marketing teams

Today’s marketing teams are filled with specialists in fields such as data analytics or the use of specific tools, and the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) is threatening to increase the need for dedicated professionals.

For marketing leaders this has created the requirement to develop capabilities in areas that might be far removed from why they got into marketing in the first place. But perhaps AI might also be the tool that finally lets marketers get back to doing marketing?

This is the promise of recently born company, Acoustic, which brings together many of the cloud-based marketing products and technologies formerly housed within IBM. According to Acoustic’s senior vice-president of product management, Jay Henderson, Acoustic is taking advantage of IBM’s heritage as one of the early adopters of AI within marketing.

“Being a part of IBM gave us a great perspective on how to apply AI to the discipline of marketing,” Henderson tells CMO. “The way we are approaching AI is by allowing for a lot more efficiency in the way marketers operate, as well as making marketers more effective.”

When applied effectively, Henderson says AI can deliver on the promise of creating great brand experiences without the technology becoming a burden.

“The real growth opportunity is being able to take the very sophisticated algorithms and just surface them in a way that the marketer can take advantage of that capability without needing a whole team of data scientists,” Henderson claims.

One simple example is the use of machine learning to automatically identify different elements within content assets and then tagging them accordingly. Another is in anomaly detection, where AI is used to identify changes in metrics such as website traffic, opt out rates or bounce rates and raise alerts.

“So it’s really simple things, that are out-of-the-box in the products and don’t require the marketer to be really smart about how the math works, but their output is intuitive and fits within the other things marketers are doing as part of their daily lives,” Henderson says.

One of the key implementations of this thinking is personalisation.

“We found the number one reason people would purchase personalisation was because they were excited to use machine learning, but it was one of the least adopted features,” Henderson continues. “The basic answer was it was kind of scary and it if it didn’t work, they’d get fired. So we held a design thinking session where we reimagined what we were doing.

“Using the same technology, instead of turning over all the decisions to the machine, it translates them into human-understandable rules presented in a marketer’s workflow that enables them to feel much more comfortable about it.”

Henderson says the goal for Acoustic is to use AI to influence complicated processes in the marketing workflow.

 “This is going to be the disruptive trend within the marketing platform space for the next five years,” Henderson says. “It is going to be hugely transformative in terms of the marketer’s ability to deliver on that promise of creating great experiences and better matching the vision they have for what they are trying to do and the reality.

“It is a really exciting time, and there is a huge void in the market that Acoustic can fill.”

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