tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/personalisation Latest Personalisation content from Econsultancy 2018-04-20T15:12:19+01:00 tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69962 2018-04-20T15:12:19+01:00 2018-04-20T15:12:19+01:00 The best digital marketing stats we’ve seen this week Nikki Gilliland <p>As always, be sure to check out the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/internet-statistics-compendium" target="_blank">Internet Statistics Compendium</a> for further facts and figures.</p> <h3>Just 2.6% of consumers list personalisation as important</h3> <p>When it comes to digital experiences, personalisation is way down on the list of things consumers care about. This is <a href="https://www.acquia.com/gb/resources/collateral/beyond-hype-new-research-what-separates-digital-dreamers-digital-doers" target="_blank">according to Acquia</a>, who undertook a survey of 1,000 consumers from UK and France this March.</p> <p>Just 2.6% of the survey respondents cited personalisation as an important part of a brand’s digital offering. Instead, the majority (65%) cited a website that’s easy to navigate. </p> <p>Alongside this, 13% said a good-looking website is more important, while 11% said engaging content, and 4% said a brand’s social media presence.</p> <p>However, despite the fact consumers seem to care less about personalisation, it could indicate that marketers are failing to deliver this with any real relevance or value (and the same goes for content and social media). In the long run - on top of basic features like an easy-to-use website - personalisation could still be a key differentiator. </p> <p><strong>More on personalisation:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69951-how-ai-is-redefining-personalisation-the-job-of-the-email-marketer/">How AI is redefining personalisation &amp; the job of the email marketer</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69360-how-to-build-a-personalisation-strategy-for-your-content-website" target="_blank">How to build a personalisation strategy for your content website</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69207-how-six-travel-hospitality-brands-use-personalisation-to-enhance-the-customer-experience" target="_blank">How six travel &amp; hospitality brands use personalisation to enhance the customer experience</a></li> </ul> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69360-how-to-build-a-personalisation-strategy-for-your-content-website" target="_blank"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3734/Personalisation_Graphic_Blog___Twitter.png" alt="2.6% of consumers see personalisation as important part of brand activity" width="615"></a></p> <h3>59% of marketers are hesitant to surrender digital data analysis to AI</h3> <p>Artificial intelligence (AI) platforms are gaining a toehold among brands and marketing agencies, however, a <a href="https://albert.ai/ai-adoption-marketing-brand-agency-survey/" target="_blank">new report by Albert</a> has revealed that some are still hesitant to adopt the technology. </p> <p>According to a blind survey of 52 brand and agency marketers, 59% of brand respondents said they’re hesitant to surrender digital campaign data analysis to an AI, while 33% of agencies expressed reservations about giving up manual audience segmentation.</p> <p>Meanwhile, 63% of agency respondents cited an ‘inability to communicate with AI’ as a perceived drawback, and 32% of brand respondents cited the same concern.</p> <p>That being said, not all marketers are so resistant. The survey also uncovered optimistic feeling about the tech, with agencies ranking AI’s ‘ability to lift sales’ and ‘exceed campaign benchmarks’ as important performance benefits. Similarly, brands ranked ‘increased return on ad spend’ and ‘reduced costs’ as positive attributes.</p> <h3><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3732/Albert.JPG" alt="" width="615"></h3> <p><strong>More on AI:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69951-how-ai-is-redefining-personalisation-the-job-of-the-email-marketer" target="_blank">How AI is redefining personalisation &amp; the job of the email marketer</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69769-how-ai-marketing-can-help-brands-right-now" target="_blank">How AI marketing can help brands right now</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69820-google-unveils-ai-driven-ad-placement-with-launch-of-adsense-auto-ads" target="_blank">Google unveils AI-driven ad placement with launch of AdSense Auto ads</a></li> </ul> <h3>UK consumers positive about data privacy ahead of GDPR</h3> <p>Despite a number of data breach and privacy-related stories hitting the headlines recently, <a href="https://dma.org.uk/uploads/misc/5a857c4fdf846-data-privacy---what-the-consumer-really-thinks-final_5a857c4fdf799.pdf">research from the DMA and Acxiom</a> suggests that consumer sentiment remains unaffected. </p> <p>According to a survey of 1,047 UK respondents, 61% of consumers say that (as businesses prepare for GDPR) they are already happy with the amount of personal information they share. </p> <p>Sentiment has also changed since the DMA commissioned a similar survey six years ago. 51% of the respondents now view data as essential to the smooth running of the modern economy - up from 38% in 2012. </p> <p>Interestingly, a change in attitudes has been greatest among 55 to 64 year-olds, with 63% saying they are happy with the amount of data they share today – this is compared to 47% in 2012. Critically, 88% cite transparency as one of the keys to further increasing trust in how their data is collected and used. Younger respondents are even more relaxed about privacy, with 38% falling into the ‘data unconcerned’ group.</p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr-online"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3749/Online_GDPR_course.png" alt="gdpr online training course" width="614" height="214"></a></p> <h3>Marketplaces predicted to account for 40% of the global online retail market by 2020</h3> <p>A <a href="http://info.mirakl.com/a-marketplace-mindset-report" target="_blank">new report</a> from Mirakl has highlighted how a growing number of retailers are adopting the marketplace model, so much so that it’s predicted marketplaces will account for 40% of the global online retail market by 2020.</p> <p>In a study of the opinions of 50 leading UK retailers, it was found that an increasing number of retailers believe the marketplace model is the key to winning customers. 68% of retailers say that operating their own marketplace gives existing customers more reasons to shop with them. Meanwhile, 70% agree that a wider product offering helps to win new customers. </p> <p>As a result of this, 44% of retailers are already selling their product through a marketplace model or plan to in the near future. 48% of retailers are also operating or plan to operate the ‘dropship model’ to sell third-party products.</p> <h3><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3731/Mirakl.JPG" alt="" width="300"></h3> <h3>Brits abandon online baskets worth almost £30 every month</h3> <p><a href="https://www.home.barclaycard/media-centre/press-releases/Retailers-losing-18bn-per-year-through-surf-n-turf-shopping.html" target="_blank">New research</a> by Barclaycard has revealed that UK shoppers abandon an online basket worth an average of £29.37 each month. This could amount to more than £18 billion of lost sales per year for retailers.</p> <p>The research also says that women’s clothing is the most abandoned category, followed by men’s clothing, and then entertainment items. More specifically, women’s knitwear is the number one most abandoned item, leather goods (such as wallets) is the second, while women’s lingerie and hosiery is the third.</p> <p>Meanwhile, 6pm to 8pm and 8pm to 10pm are said to be the peak times for online shopper drop-out, and 17% of shoppers who abandon items do so because they like to ‘window shop’ with no intention to buy.</p> <p><strong>More on basket abandonment:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69561-why-online-shoppers-abandon-their-baskets-and-how-to-stop-them">Why online shoppers abandon their baskets and how to stop them</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69694-how-to-deal-with-cart-abandonment-inside-the-mind-of-a-customer" target="_blank">How to deal with cart abandonment: Inside the mind of a customer</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69663-don-t-patronise-me-with-personalised-cart-abandonment-emails-a-case-study" target="_blank">Don't patronise me with 'personalised' cart abandonment emails (a case study)</a></li> </ul> <h3>ePrivacy law could see brands lose more than 40% of web traffic</h3> <p>A <a href="https://www.mailjet.com/blog/news/research-report-eprivacy/" target="_blank">Mailjet report</a> (based on opinion from 400 marketers in the UK and France) suggests that the new ePrivacy law could see brands lose more than 40% of web traffic. As a result, 30% of respondents plan to reduce the amount of cookie-based display, paid search, and retargeting they carry out in the immediate aftermath of the new regulation.</p> <p>Under ePrivacy, internet users will have the option to set browser-level cookie permissions which could mean the withdrawal of millions of consumer datasets from brand view. </p> <p>While 85% of marketers are confident they know the difference between ePrivacy and GDPR, 93% of companies are currently still using cookie-based advertising to reach their customers. </p> <p>Despite the potential loss in traffic, marketers do feel ePrivacy will be a good thing for their company in the long term. 57% of marketers agreed they will rely less on tactics like retargeting ads and build more qualitative data insights to improve the customer experience.</p> <p><strong>More on ePrivacy:</strong></p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69342-focus-on-gdpr-but-ignore-e-privacy-at-your-peril" target="_blank">Focus on GDPR, but ignore e-Privacy at your peril</a></p> <p><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/training/courses/gdpr-data-driven-marketing"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3748/London_F2F_GDPR_course.png" alt="gdpr london training course" width="613" height="214"></a></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69951 2018-04-18T11:00:00+01:00 2018-04-18T11:00:00+01:00 How AI is redefining personalisation & the job of the email marketer Ben Davis <p>However, martech integration and the application of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/search/?only=BlogPost&amp;locale=uk&amp;q=machine%20learning">machine learning</a> is now enabling more sophisticated personalisation that truly deserves the name. As this AI tech becomes easier and cheaper for marketers to adopt, marketing roles are slowly being redefined.</p> <p>All this is easy to observe in the transformation of email service providers into ‘marketing platforms’, ‘personalisation platforms’ and other soubriquets. Though vendor hype may run a pace ahead of what’s happening in the market, the future does seem close.</p> <p>The idea and reality of personalisation is what I wanted to discuss with Raj Balasundaram, VP Solutions and Strategic Services at Emarsys, a B2C marketing automation platform.</p> <h3>Every marketer has to answer four questions</h3> <p>I began by asking ‘What is personalisation?’</p> <p>“Every marketer has to answer these four questions,” Balasundaram replied, “Who? What? When? How?"</p> <p>“That’s fundamentally what personalisation does. Who is the customer? What am I going to say to them? When, or in what context? And how am I going to deliver that message?</p> <p>“The four questions,” he continued, “need to be answered at an individual level, and they need to be answered every time we contact the person and without thinking about what channel we’re going to send to.”</p> <p>It’s this concept of lots of individual decisions being made, each considering some aspect of content, time and channel that makes this personalisation different.</p> <p>Balasundaram simplifies it for me: “The machines don’t segment, they don’t personalise, all they think of is an event. So, ‘here’s Ben, what do I need to do with him?’ It’s a singular transaction, rather than putting a list together or using smart content blocks for example.”</p> <p>Essentially, this is <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/marketing-automation">marketing automation</a> but with many more variables. Rather than designing a handful of pathways which a consumer might be funnelled down (e.g. welcome campaigns, loyalty campaigns etc.), the technology uses statistical analysis of the information that the marketer has about the individual to decide what the best action or option is in any instance.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3672/question.jpg" alt="question mark" width="500"></p> <h3>“It’s not the channel that surprises [customers], it’s the content..."</h3> <p>Balasundaram remarks that this tech is effectively bringing an end to siloed marketers. He says that “Whereas currently [marketers] have already decided what they’re going to do – ‘I want to send an email, I’ve already decided Ben is in this particular group, and I’ve already decided what the content will be’ – this is not what personalisation is about.”</p> <p>What Balasundaram is referring to is channel agnosticism. And while some marketers may think this ignores the fundamental difference between media channels and content formats, Balasundaram is also advocating for a return to a more strategic way of thinking.</p> <p>“It’s not the channel that surprises [customers], it’s the content that surprises them,” he says. Though he does point out that millennials are more likely to be delighted by personalised direct mail simply because they may never have received it before.</p> <p>“The content [or message] should be created well before we decide to go down an email route,” he continues, “and this takes away the need to do segmentation – I already know what to say to Ben, and I’m finding the right moment to say what I want to say, and that is vastly different to the way marketers work. It’s a different way of thinking.”</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3671/channels.jpg" alt="channels" width="500"></p> <h3>"If you start segmenting people, you’re really not personalising..."</h3> <p>Balasundaram can sound quite dogmatic – “[Email marketers] have been doing the same thing over and over again, and it clearly doesn’t work, people know it’s a mass email. Even the common consumer knows it’s mass emailing,” he says. But he is also realistic and recognises that common practices in marketing are influenced by the technology available. Take this soundbite for example:</p> <p>“If you start segmenting people, you’re really not personalising. But I don’t think there’s a difference between personalisation and segmentation, they are one and the same – the reason we did each is purely down to the level of tech we have or the limitations we have. Now the tech is taken care of, should we really go back to segmentation?”</p> <p>This was the part of our discussion where we got to the crux of the matter and Balasundaram’s most illuminating point.</p> <p>“So far,” he says “marketers have been concentrating on the operational part because to get a campaign out the door, it will take them two or three weeks to arrange the data, all the coding, segmentation – which is internally focused, operationally focused. And they actually end up not concentrating on the most important thing, the creative part.</p> <p>“[This] was not the marketers fault, the tech didn’t help them out, but now the whole work paradigm will change simply because of the fact all we expect marketers to do is write content for their end consumers. The tech forces marketers to think about consumer perspective every step of the way. When an email goes out and the marketer looks at it and says ‘yeah, I know it’s not perfect, but this is the best I can do’ – that will change, because marketers have fewer excuses now. The tech has caught up to a point where you can go individual to individual.</p> <p>As an addendum, Balasundaram says “You can even generate the content using AI”, referring to tech such as subject line optimisation which is rapidly being adopted by big brands that send do a lot of marketing messaging.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3670/pepper.jpg" alt="pepper" width="500"></p> <h3>"A pure email marketer probably won’t exist in the next five years."</h3> <p>The shift of mindset to customer-centric campaigns, away from operational-centric campaigns is what Balasundaram describes as “taking the [channel] silo away, putting everything into a common pool and finding patterns in it.” From a tactical point of view, this could entail using push notifications for users that don’t open emails, or search retargeting for those that unsubscribed from email, perhaps with an incentive to return (such as free delivery).</p> <p>Typically, Balasundaram tells me, Emarsys will work with an inactive part of a client’s customer database when that client first trials their machine learning tech. He says they may look at “churning customers, or customers about to leave or not responding...then apply AI personalisation techniquesand…it usually takes about 6-8 weeks for the algorithms to learn a bit more about the customers but then they’ll eventually see the results.”</p> <p>When I ask what this means for the marketer in the long run, Balasundaram is punchy. He says “A pure email marketer probably won’t exist in the next five years. They need to think about email marketing in terms of a bigger business strategy. If they’re going to be pure email marketers, it will be difficult – if you don’t see the customer as part of the bigger picture, it’s never going to work.”</p> <p>He continues, “Marketers will have more time to think about business strategy and tactics, and the components required in creating the content. They can spend more time… creating rather than deploying. Instead of thinking about improving clickthrough rate, they can be reporting on revenue. [It’s about] revenue over operations.”</p> <p>This is a familiar yarn, but marketers do seem to be getting there.</p> <p>I can’t help but wonder if the best preparation marketers can do is get right back to basics and try to forget about the technology altogether.</p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/email-marketing-best-practice-guide"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3237/Email_Marketing_Best_Practice_Widget.png" alt="email report banner" width="615" height="243"></a></p> <p><em><strong>Thanks for reading. N.B. Econsultancy runs a variety of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/email-ecrm/">email marketing and CRM training courses</a>. Get in touch for more detail.</strong></em></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69949 2018-04-17T11:29:00+01:00 2018-04-17T11:29:00+01:00 How Intelistyle plans to become the 'Spotify of fashion' with its AI stylist app Nikki Gilliland <p>Intelistyle is a new company built around this premise. An AI fashion stylist and retail aggregator - it offers personalised styling advice via its mobile app.</p> <p>I recently spoke with Kostas Koukoravas, Intelistyle’s founder and CEO, to gain a better understanding of the company, and more specifically, how it is aiming to change the retail experience for everyday shoppers.</p> <p><em>(Note, if you're interested in AI, ecommerce and marketing, why not attend our <a href="http://conferences.marketingweek.com/">Supercharged event on May 1st in London</a>)</em></p> <h3>Supercharged clothes-styling and discovery</h3> <p>Most fashion brands claim to offer a ‘personalised’ service nowadays. But this usually amounts to recommendations based on past online purchases, or perhaps a chat with a style advisor in-store. </p> <p>This is obviously due to the personal and often subjective nature of clothing in general, with brands typically using purchase or browsing data for marketing or re-targeting purposes.</p> <p><a href="https://www.intelistyle.co.uk/" target="_blank">Intelistyle</a> strives to put personalisation at the forefront of the shopping experience. There are two ways people can use the mobile app – either to look for new clothes or to find out how to style their existing wardrobe. Users can browse from online retail stores or upload photos of their existing clothes. From this, the AI then provides them with instant outfit suggestions. </p> <p>Kostas explains that the goal is to personalise the entire ecommerce experience, “tailoring recommendations to the user’s style, body type, skin tone and the latest fashion trends”. </p> <p>The app is designed to solve a tangible need, with the idea stemming from Kostas’ own frustrations as a shopper – and someone who simply struggles knowing what to wear. </p> <p>“Whenever I go shopping online or in store I end up browsing through hundreds of irrelevant clothes, so I started thinking that there must be a better way to do this.” With research showing that one in two adults in the UK are looking for inspiration on how to use or renew their wardrobe, “the idea of getting free personalised style advice at the press of a button is bound to appeal.”</p> <p>Kostas also cites the success of brands like Spotify and YouTube as inspiration, and with previous experience working on AI products at Microsoft, he spotted a clear opportunity to use the technology to “supercharge clothes-styling and discovery” within fashion.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Get personalised styling recommendations in a tap. Try out our app here: <a href="https://t.co/8pmPtM8wxh">https://t.co/8pmPtM8wxh</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/app?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#app</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ai?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ai</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ootd?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ootd</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/fashion?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#fashion</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/outfitinspiration?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#outfitinspiration</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/outfit?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#outfit</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/style?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#style</a> <a href="https://t.co/FU2ikfeFpX">pic.twitter.com/FU2ikfeFpX</a></p> — Intelistyle (@intelistyle) <a href="https://twitter.com/intelistyle/status/978601308923064320?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 27, 2018</a> </blockquote> <h3>How does Intelistyle work with fashion retailers?</h3> <p>There are two ways that retailers can work with Intelistyle. First, as an affiliate company, Intelistyle directly integrates with retail websites (and takes a cut of every sale).</p> <p>According to Kostas, the ability to check out directly on the app is key, as it “allows customers to have an uninterrupted user experience.” </p> <p>There are further benefits for brands too. “We’ve made this process really easy for smaller or independent retailers who might have different needs - our plugins allow them to sell their existing website stock on our platform without any additional risk or effort on their end.”</p> <p>Alongside this, retailers also have the option of using Intelistyle’s AI styling services on their own website. This allows them to offer ‘complete the look’ recommendations for their entire product catalogue. Kostas says that this is where the real value lies, as retailers are able to personalise the entire customer experience:</p> <p>“Their homepage and search results can show recommendations that are right for the user’s body type, skin tone, hair, and eye colour as well as personal sense of style.”</p> <p>What’s more, email promotions or ad retargeting can become much more personal. For example, instead of delivering blanket offers, Intelistyle can tailor offers to the user’s specific needs.</p> <p>Kostas explains, “Instead of just saying ‘here’s 20% off shoes’, you can say ‘here’s 20% off shoes to match that dress you own’ or ‘discover dresses to flatter your natural skin tone’. It immediately becomes much more powerful.”</p> <h3>An AI for your own wardrobe</h3> <p>There are a number of other brands using artificial intelligence for styling purposes. There’s Amazon’s ‘Style Check’ skill, for example, as well as styling chatbot Epytom.</p> <p>So, how does Intelistyle differentiate itself?</p> <p>Kostas says that it is down to the innovative nature of the AI, as while competitors offer consumers generic ideas for clothing that’s <em>similar</em> to ones they own, “Intelistyle gives specific recommendations for the actual clothes they have in their wardrobe.”</p> <p>The AI has been trained by analysing millions of fashion photography images, and now uses 512 style parameters to give specific recommendations for clothes. This means Intelistyle doesn’t “box in” users with predefined styles, and the more someone uses the app, the more the AI learns and is able to create a style that is entirely unique and personal to them.</p> <p>Alongside this, Kostas says that there’s also additional value in Intelistyle’s varied functionality, with users having the ability to use the app while out shopping.</p> <p>“People can instantly see if the new clothes they’re buying match what they already own, or get styling advice for new combinations on the spot”. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Outfit of the day!<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ootd?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ootd</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/outfit?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#outfit</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/fashion?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#fashion</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/fashionista?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#fashionista</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/streetstyle?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#streetstyle</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/instafashion?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#instafashion</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/stylish?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#stylish</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/instastyle?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#instastyle</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/lookbook?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#lookbook</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/sunday?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#sunday</a> <a href="https://t.co/gfGsXXBV0T">pic.twitter.com/gfGsXXBV0T</a></p> — Intelistyle (@intelistyle) <a href="https://twitter.com/intelistyle/status/965282298009702400?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 18, 2018</a> </blockquote> <h3>AI stylists</h3> <p>While there’s no real ‘chat’ involved with Intelistyle, the AI-stylist is still personified to a certain extent. Kostas explains how ‘Jamie’, as she’s known, is designed to have a personality – one that is supportive and friendly. </p> <p>“We’re creating an experience that is like going shopping with your best friend, but who also happens to be a stylist.”</p> <p>This is reflected in the app’s user experience, with Intelistyle creating one that feels as natural as possible. </p> <p>“A good user interface allows for natural interactions that humans are used to. For example, it is a lot more instinctive to tap on a smartphone screen than use a mouse to translate your intent. In the same way, AI allows for exciting opportunities to create these human-like interactions.”</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fintelistyle%2Fposts%2F123489168268556%3A0&amp;width=500" width="500" height="377"></iframe></p> <h3>Obstacles and inspiration</h3> <p>Intelistyle started just one year ago, and the technology needed to power its efforts was in its infancy at that time. Unsurprisingly, with huge progress being made on a daily basis in the field of AI, Intelistyle has come a long way since. The company was also given a massive boost in the form of a grant from Innovate UK - the government’s innovation agency. </p> <p>I asked Kostas whether there is a fashion brand or retailer using AI (or technology in general) that has been a particular inspiration. He cited 3D body scanning as “an area to watch”, largely to its “potential to bring a virtual fitting room into people’s homes.”</p> <p>Likeaglove.me is a good example of this - a company that uses 3D scanning to measure a person’s body and recommend perfectly-fitting clothes.</p> <p>Bodylabs, which is a recent acquisition from Amazon, is another. It can predict and measure the 3D shape of a body from just a single image, using traditional gaming technology to allow users to see a rendered avatar of themselves.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Things to know about LikeAGlove: <br>1. We analyzed hundreds of jean styles and brands and created an algorithm that takes your measurements and recommends jeans that look like they're custom made specifically for your body. <a href="https://t.co/R6xuw85DEH">https://t.co/R6xuw85DEH</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/fashiontech?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#fashiontech</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/wearabletech?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#wearabletech</a> <a href="https://t.co/ohwaUg2Kf3">pic.twitter.com/ohwaUg2Kf3</a></p> — LikeAGlove.me (@LikeAGlove_ltd) <a href="https://twitter.com/LikeAGlove_ltd/status/962063618392014848?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 9, 2018</a> </blockquote> <p>According to Kostas, there are huge benefits for both retailers and customers here, “potentially reducing the cost of returns and simultaneously driving conversions.”</p> <h3>How will Intelistyle evolve?</h3> <p>Alongside the possibilities presented by 3D scanning and other technology, Kostas believes the future of Intelistyle could lie beyond its own app walls. </p> <p>He refers to the customer’s “fashion profile” (i.e. data their own unique style preferences, body type, skin tone, hair colour etc.) – which “customers will be able to take with them online or in-store to different retailers in order to instantly receive a personalised experience on the shop floor or in the fitting room.”</p> <p>On top of this, augmented reality could be another key component, naturally helping retailers to reduce friction for customers buying online. This is because “being able to visualise how an entire outfit looks on you is not only an exciting way to explore styles, but to encourage shoppers to be more daring.”</p> <p>While these features might be a way off for Intelistyle, the start-up’s bold intent to become the “Spotify of fashion” is clearly an immediate priority. Watch this space.</p> <p><strong>More on artificial intelligence:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69716-why-fashion-and-beauty-brands-are-still-betting-on-chatbots" target="_blank">Why fashion and beauty brands are still betting on chatbots</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69769-how-ai-marketing-can-help-brands-right-now" target="_blank">How AI marketing can help brands right now</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69714-the-five-ps-of-ai-strategy-for-marketers" target="_blank">The five Ps of AI strategy for marketers</a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:Report/4757 2018-04-05T09:00:00+01:00 2018-04-05T09:00:00+01:00 A Guide to Customer Experience Management (CXM) <p><strong>A Guide to Customer Experience Management</strong> covers the practical steps organisations can take to make themselves more customer-centric. It also highlights how to implement data-led strategies that will help businesses understand their customers, and ultimately, enable them to create better experiences. Additionally, it covers how to overcome the challenges associated with a data-led business strategy. </p> <p>A section on what customer experience management is shows marketers the opportunities that having a data-led strategy affords in a world where customer expectations climb ever higher. </p> <p>The report also features information on how to get to know your customer through different approaches and where the responsibility for customer experience management lies. </p> <p>This guide features insights from a team of industry experts including:</p> <ul> <li> <p><strong>Alex Barker</strong>, Head of User Experience, Edo</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Paul Boag</strong>, User Experience Consultant and expert in digital transformation</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Claire Cardosi</strong>, Head of Customer Experience Management at Virgin Trains East Coast</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Jon Davie</strong>, Chief Client Officer, Zone, a Cognizant Digital Business</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Jacob de Lichtenberg</strong>, Consumer Product Manager, Trustpilot</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Avis Easteal</strong>, Regional Head – Consumer, Luxasia</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Matt Lacey</strong>, Performance Director, Code Computerlove</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Marc McNeill</strong>, Customer Experience and Operations Director, Auto Trader</p> </li> <li> <p> <strong>Rebecca Mears</strong>, Community Lead, Cookpad</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Dr Nicola Millard</strong>, Customer Insights and Futures, BT</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Vittoria O’Connor</strong>, APAC Customer Loyalty and Digital Director, The Body Shop</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Philip Pantelides</strong>, Head of Product, Community and Communication, Cookpad</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Azlan Raj</strong>, VP, Customer Experience – EMEA, Merkle</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Jon Warden</strong>, Head of Product and User Experience, Haymarket</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Lisa Wood</strong>, Chief Marketing Officer, Atom Bank</p> </li> <li> <p>A<strong> marketing manager </strong>in financial services</p> </li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3526 2018-03-08T16:09:10+00:00 2018-03-08T16:09:10+00:00 Usability and UX in Successful Web Design <p>UX (User Experience) improvements can radically increase your users’ engagement, conversions and loyalty.</p> <p>Our world-famous 1-day course will support you in creating a great User Experience across all your digital platforms. </p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3445 2018-03-08T12:46:58+00:00 2018-03-08T12:46:58+00:00 Creative Thinking for Digital Marketers <p>“Creativity is intelligence having fun” – Albert Einstein.</p> <p>Our highly interactive 1-day course introduces practical tools to help you think more creatively about your digital marketing challenges.  Your day will be filled with hands-on exercises and examples from many areas, but with a special focus on digital.  </p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3442 2018-03-08T12:43:29+00:00 2018-03-08T12:43:29+00:00 Creating Superior Customer Experience (CX) <p>When the competition are a click away differentiation can be hard. Competing on price is a fools game and erodes margins. If you want to stand out from the crowd the experience you provide customers is everything.</p> <p>This course will show you how to create an outstanding customer experience whatever type of site you run. Customers who are more engaged and more loyal. Customers who will take action and convert.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69730 2018-01-25T14:27:00+00:00 2018-01-25T14:27:00+00:00 Ask the experts: Email marketing optimisation Ben Davis <p>Here are their pearls of wisdom. Note you can skip between questions using the links below.</p> <p>(Additional note: Econsultancy provides <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/email-marketing/">face-to-face and online training</a> in email marketing, and subscribers can download our <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/reports/email-marketing-best-practice-guide">Email Best Practice Guide</a>).</p> <ol> <li><a href="#There%20are%20lots%20of%20things%20to%20optimise.%20Where%20should%20marketers%20look%20first?">There are lots of things to optimise. Where should marketers look first?</a></li> <li><a href="#Is%20there%20a%20particular%20metric%20marketers%20should%20be%20optimising%20for?">Is there a particular metric marketers should be optimising for?</a></li> <li><a href="#What%20new%20technologies%20or%20consumer%20behaviors%20are%20having%20most%20impact%20on%20email%20optimization?">What new technologies or consumer behaviors are having most impact on email optimization?</a></li> <li><a href="#What%20types%20of%20emails%20can%20be%20optimized%20most%20effectively?">What types of emails can be optimized most effectively?</a></li> <li><a href="#How%20far%20will%20AI%20take%20us?%20How%20important%20is%20the%20creative%20person%20and%20their%20instinct?">How far will AI take us? How important is the creative person and their instinct?</a></li> </ol> <h3>1. <a name="There%20are%20lots%20of%20things%20to%20optimise.%20Where%20should%20marketers%20look%20first?"></a>There are lots of things to optimise. Where should marketers look first?</h3> <p><strong>Kath Pay, founder and senior consultant, Holistic Email Marketing:</strong></p> <p>I would focus firstly on the subject line, as if they don’t open/read the email, then it’s hard to test everything else. But over and above that I recommend testing motivations as the more you know about your customers, the better you can speak to them.</p> <p>So, ask them what they like best; via testing in the channel that is one of the key drivers of traffic to your website – email marketing. Your email database contains your target market, so use email’s unique push ability and treat every email as a survey by asking your customers what they like via a scientific A/B testing program.</p> <p>By using a hypothesis and testing to determine a motivation, you are not limited to just testing one factor (i.e. subject line, CTA, landing page, copy, imagery). As long as they all support the hypothesis, for example “benefit-led copy will increase conversions over loss aversion-led copy” – you will be able to test the subject line, CTA, headlines, copy, imagery and landing page as you are testing a motivation rather than a factor or element of the email.</p> <p>This is what we call Holistic Testing.</p> <p>By seeking these long-term valuable insights through email marketing, you not only increase results within email marketing but you can share them across other channels to drive the business objectives that are common to all channels. Apply what you've learned to your website copy and organisation, to your search keywords, PPC campaigns and related landing pages, and in ads and banners you run on third-party sites in remarketing or network campaigns.</p> <p>Email gives you a good basic testing structure that you can build on to sharpen your insights and improve your marketing efforts bit by bit across all channels. It's another one of email's superpowers that marketers so often overlook or ignore. </p> <p>Ultimately, it's another reason why investing both time and money in email pays off across your entire marketing program.</p> <p><strong>Parry Malm, CEO, Phrasee:</strong></p> <p>Well, here’s the thing. I run Phrasee, a company that uses AI to create better subject lines than humans. So what am I gonna say here?</p> <p>Still, jokes aside: your subject line is the crux of your email marketing programme. If it sucks, then your snazzy content won’t get seen, no matter what time you send it. So yeah, logic and statistics indicate the subject line is where to start. Sure, I’m biased. BUT - that doesn’t make me wrong.</p> <p><strong>Dale Langley, head of deliverability, Emarsys:</strong></p> <p>Searching the Internet for ways to optimise your email program can often lead marketers into a crazed frenzy of making changes with little understanding of whether it’s sensible to make those changes and what the long term consequences may be. My advice is to remember one thing; no-one knows better what your customers want than you. You just need to read the signals and have a plan in place for measuring results. Different optimisations can work better for different stages of the customer lifecycle and some are better suited to short-term gains at the expense of long-term results.</p> <p>For example, using tempting offers in your email subject line such as 50% off will surprise (some of) your customers and lead to an increase in clicks, but where do you go from there? Some brands are now so perpetually stuck in the discount game that they’re unable to get out. Instead, use different offers for different segments (such as lapsing high-value customers) and use other channels, such as social media, to encourage one-time purchasers to re-engage.</p> <p>You also have to recognise that a customer’s profile will change over time. This includes when they prefer to read email, the frequency that they want to receive it at and the topics that interest them, a common mistake of marketers is to build a marvellous customer journey but to forget that customers can switch personas at any point. Our advice is to build out your personas and understand the motivation for each persona to engage with your brand, model the customer journey for each persona and built-in the ability for personas to change over time. This requires effort but it’ll pay dividends in the long-run.</p> <p>And if you’re interested in testing things like subject line, send time, content etc. make sure that you’re using a proper control group. This means that for a particular campaign, you will exclude a group of customers (the control group) who are similar to customers in the rest of your database and are only excluded for this one campaign. When you make your change (to subject line, send-time etc), measure the revenue generated by the control group vs. the campaign and you can determine whether the tactic you’ve employed yielded any results.</p> <h3>2. <a name="Is%20there%20a%20particular%20metric%20marketers%20should%20be%20optimising%20for?"></a>Is there a particular metric marketers should be optimising for?</h3> <p><strong>Parry Malm, Phrasee:</strong></p> <p>Many will say to focus on end conversions, and, in related news, many also don’t have a strong grasp on statistics. </p> <p>Think about it like this. Say you’ve got a list of 1m subscribers, and 20% open. That’s 200,000 events you can learn from. But then let’s assume a 10% click-to-open rate. You’re down to just 10,000 events - and you run the risk of making decisions on insignificant numbers. Let’s say you get a 10% conversion rate of clicks - that’s just 1,000 events. You’re unlikely to get a statistically significant result, and thus will be making decisions based upon random variance. (Pro tip: anyone who doesn’t understand this should not be in your analytics department)</p> <p>Here’s another fact: the data shows that, in the long run, open rates correlate very strongly with click rates. And guess what? Click rates correlate very strongly with conversion rates. Therefore, the dominant strategy is to use opens as a proxy metric for email marketing success.</p> <p>There are, of course, caveats to this. For example, you shouldn’t resort to spammer techniques just to get a few more opens in the short-run. Never forget that email marketing is, in essence, a form of advertising. You wouldn't put an ad on TV that was off-brand, so why would you send out emails that are?</p> <p>The sweet spot is when you’re maximising open rates whilst remaining on brand. That’s when you’re winning at life. Well, winning at email, but still, you gotta take the wins you can get.  </p> <p><strong>Dale Langley, Emarsys:</strong></p> <p>I’m tempted to say revenue since that’s the ultimate goal of most email programs. However, I’m going to say inbox placement rate since if your email isn’t in the inbox, it’s not generating revenue!</p> <p>If you’re having difficulties due to inbox placement then you need to figure out which levers you can pull to persuade the spam filters that your email should be delivered. Spam filtering mostly occurs these days when you’re sending email to people who aren’t engaging with your brand - so improve the acquisition tactics, introduce a re-engagement program and be prepared to suppress subscribers to your email program (or target through other channels) when they’re ignoring your efforts.</p> <h3>3. <a name="What%20new%20technologies%20or%20consumer%20behaviors%20are%20having%20most%20impact%20on%20email%20optimization?"></a>What new technologies or consumer behaviors are having most impact on email optimization?</h3> <p><strong>Dale Langley, Emarsys:</strong></p> <p>Consumers now have a relationship with the brands they engage with, right from the first interaction you’re influencing whether a consumer will turn into a loyal advocate or a one-hit wonder</p> <p>The days of your IT team triggering an email from the website upon signup and purchase, before the marketer takes over with batch and blast are gone. Every interaction a consumer has with your brand should be influenced by the marketer and through smart, AI-driven marketing automation platforms (like Emarsys), on which you have the ability to craft programs that adapt to the changing needs of the consumer.</p> <h3>4. <a name="What%20types%20of%20emails%20can%20be%20optimized%20most%20effectively?"></a>What types of emails can be optimized most effectively?</h3> <p><strong>Parry Malm, Phrasee:</strong></p> <p>To exist as a concept, “optimisation” inherently requires measurement. Therefore, the key feasibility driver is universe size. If you’ve got a list of 1000 people on your list, well, you can “optimise” to your heart’s content… but you’ll just be doing it for the lols, as any significance measures will be unattainable.</p> <p>It’s pretty simple, really. Focus on your campaigns with the biggest audience, which will in turn have the biggest impact on your bottom line. You’ll have way more data to experiment on and learn from. Then, apply what you learned to your smaller campaigns, and boom goes the dynamite. You’ll get that promotion you’ve been haranguing your boss about for the last six months. Congrats, big timer!</p> <p><strong>Kath Pay, Holistic Email Marketing:</strong></p> <p>All types can be – whether they’re campaign-based or automated. For either of these, processes and planning are key to success. With automated programmes, the hypothesis is being tested over time, which reduces the chances of time-sensitive anomalies, world events etc. affecting the results. However, with campaign-based tests, ideally, the hypothesis should be tested multiple times to ensure that the results are valid. A statistical confidence calculator should be used in all cases.</p> <h3>5. <a name="How%20far%20will%20AI%20take%20us?%20How%20important%20is%20the%20creative%20person%20and%20their%20instinct?"></a>How far will AI take us? How important is the creative person and their instinct?</h3> <p><strong>Parry Malm, Phrasee:</strong></p> <p>AI can do a lot less than what you probably think it can. For every <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/oct/18/its-able-to-create-knowledge-itself-google-unveils-ai-learns-all-on-its-own">AlphaGo</a>, there’s a <a href="https://gizmodo.com/here-are-the-microsoft-twitter-bot-s-craziest-racist-ra-1766820160">Tay, the racist chatbot</a>. Everyone seems to think we’re approaching an AI apocalypse, where the machines take over. When that happens, I, for one, will welcome our new robot overlords.</p> <p>Here’s the reality. There are limited - and powerful - use cases for AI currently, and also for the foreseeable future. Here’s one powerful use case as a (totally unexpected amirite?) example: using AI to generate optimal subject lines. It is a known business requirement - to increase eyeshare on your marketing messages - that we solve by combining two forms of AI (NLG &amp; deep learning). It's a niche problem, for sure, and that's by design.</p> <p>The fact that we use AI is super dope. But – and it’s a Sir-Mixalot-sized BUT – that in itself doesn’t solve your problems.</p> <p>Instead, here’s my advice: if you have 60 minutes to solve a problem, spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem, and 5 minutes on the solution. If the solution uses AI, awesome, and if not, that’s OK too.  The important thing is that your problem is solved.</p> <p><strong>Dale Langley, Emarsys:</strong></p> <p>In simple terms, human-driven personalization can’t scale. It just can’t deliver on true 1:1 experience that consumers want and brands strive for. AI can, which provides an opportunity for brands that understand how to introduce hype-free, tangible AI solutions effectively. AI allows us to analyze vast amounts of data, understand consumer patterns and channel preference and to craft incredibly personalized consumer journeys. Furthermore, AI allows us to do this in real-time rather than spending hours creating huge (or many micro) segments. It’s taking us much closer to the 1:1 consumer-brand relationship that we’re all striving for….the promise of marketing.</p> <p>However, AI isn’t human. It can’t (yet) build something from scratch without basing it on what it knows from the past and it can’t cater well for emotion and a true personal connection. This is why the combination of AI and human ingenuity is the key to successful marketing. We believe that AI can take on the burden of marketing execution, leaving the marketer more time to focus on strategy, content and what we believe will be a new creative renaissance.</p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/email-marketing-best-practice-guide"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3237/Email_Marketing_Best_Practice_Widget.png" alt="email report banner" width="615" height="243"></a></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69732 2018-01-17T14:39:32+00:00 2018-01-17T14:39:32+00:00 TD Bank's acquisition of an AI firm highlights the growing importance of AI in banking Patricio Robles <p>While Layer 6's AI tech is used by clients in a number of industries, TD Bank ultimately decided that the company's technology was critical enough to its business that it made sense to buy its vendor out.</p> <p><a href="https://td.mediaroom.com/2018-01-09-TD-Bank-Group-acquires-artificial-intelligence-innovator-Layer-6">According to</a> TD Bank Group CEO Bharat Masrani, “Anticipating and meeting customer needs are at the heart of our promise, and we are excited to further accelerate our innovation agenda to deliver well into the future.”</p> <p>Masrani's comment refers to TD Bank's use of Layer 6's AI tech to create “predictive and personalized” customer experiences, which it says are at the heart of its digital transformation strategy. Layer 6's platform can be used to generate product recommendations, deliver personalized pricing, predict customer complaints and attrition and identify next best actions.</p> <p>All of those can be integral to creating user experiences that keep customers happy and strengthen TD Bank's relationship with them. Increasingly, some of these user experiences are taking place in a variety of new channels, such as <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68934-how-chatbots-and-ai-might-impact-the-b2c-financial-services-industry">chatbots</a> and voice assistants, that will realistically require good AI to function well.</p> <p>Case in point: TD Bank was the first bank in Canada to launch a Twitter chatbot and it recently launched an Alexa skill that allows customers to bank by voice using one of Amazon's Echo speaker devices.</p> <p>While TD Bank is trying to position itself as an innovator and is clearly ahead of many banks, the reality for the industry is that AI is likely to be a necessity, not a differentiator, in the very near future. </p> <p>Accenture's Banking Technology Vision 2017 report found that four in five bankers believe that AI will “revolutionize” the way they gather customer data and interact with customers, and Accenture believes that AI-based applications <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/28/ai-to-become-main-way-banks-interact-with-customers.html">will become</a> the primary channels through which they interact with them within a few years.</p> <p>The reason: according to Accenture's banking practice chief, Alan McIntyre, AI-powered applications “will give people the impression that the bank knows them a lot better, and in many ways it will take banking back to the feeling that people had when there were more human interactions.”</p> <p>He added, “The big paradox here is that people think technology will lead to banking becoming more and more automated and less and less personalized, but what we've seen coming through here is the view that technology will actually help banking become a lot more personalized.”</p> <h3>Banks need an AI strategy, and soon</h3> <p>If AI is key to the customer experiences that banks need to deliver to win, 2018 will be a critical year for banks to incorporate AI into their digital strategies. This not only involves determining where and how to adopt AI but who should develop or provide it.</p> <p>There are numerous challenges, including the widespread use of legacy systems within banks and the more stringent compliance requirements they must adhere to.</p> <p>Additionally, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69151-a-day-in-the-life-of-senior-data-scientist-at-asos">AI talent</a> has never been more in demand, creating a challenge for banks hoping to build in-house AI capabilities. And while the number of companies offering AI platforms is growing, not all AI platforms are created equal. </p> <p>TD Bank's acquisition also highlights the risk that large players in financial services or other industries that are embracing AI could acquire a platform outright, making outsourcing AI capabilities to a third-party somewhat risky. After all, the wisdom of relying on an AI platform owned by a competitor is questionable.</p> <p>Given just how critical AI could be to banks' ability to deliver the kinds of experiences their customers will demand, each bank's AI decisions could determine whether it thrives or falters in the coming years.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69673 2018-01-15T10:15:32+00:00 2018-01-15T10:15:32+00:00 A day in the life of... an account manager at Certona Ben Davis <p><em>And remember, if you're looking for a new role, check out the <a style="font-style: normal;" href="https://jobs.econsultancy.com/?cmpid=EconBlog">Econsultancy jobs board</a> yourself.</em></p> <h4> <em>Econsultancy:</em> Please describe your job: What do you do?</h4> <p><em><strong>David Hall:</strong></em> I’m a Senior Account Manager at Certona, a company that provides real-time <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69690-what-is-cross-channel-marketing-and-why-do-you-need-it/">omnichannel</a> personalisation solutions to B2C and B2B ecommerce organisations. In a nutshell, we work with the world’s largest brands and retailers, helping them to create individually tailored and engaging shopping experiences for their customers across all touchpoints – in-store, web, mobile, email and contact centre. In doing so, these retailers and brands can achieve a 1:1 personalised shopping experience, increasing engagement and customer lifetime value.</p> <p>My role is to support clients in getting as much from our platform as possible. I am the first point of contact for my client portfolio, so my job is to first understand my client’s business goals and the customer experience they are looking to achieve. With that knowledge, I assess a client’s performance and make optimisation recommendations. I am there to advise clients on how to use our AI-powered capabilities to best utilise their own data.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?</h4> <p><em><strong>DH:</strong></em> I actually work remotely from home in South East London. I’m part of Certona’s European Account Management Team and I report into the Director of Account Management.</p> <p>I also work closely with our European General Manager, Client Support Specialists, Support Engineering and Experience Optimisation teams to ensure the best support and growth paths for my clients. I continuously work with product managers to showcase new software releases, and our marketing team on client case studies and event activities. I occasionally participate in new business pitches; usually when a prospect wants a better understanding of what their support may look like! At Certona, we’re a pretty integrated group.  </p> <h4> <em>E:</em> What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?</h4> <p><strong><em>DH:</em></strong> In my role, I find you need to be a ‘people person’ and good at managing and nurturing relationships, both with clients and colleagues. My clients can often have complex organisational structures to navigate; one minute I am dealing with a director, the next, a graduate.</p> <p>It’s important to be responsive and organised as there’s a fine line when juggling multiple accounts with differing support plans. Being strategic is also important as it helps me prioritise and have more impact, and being focused helps with productivity.  </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1667/david_hall.jpg" alt="david hall" width="309" height="309"></p> <h4> <em>E:</em> Tell us about a typical working day… </h4> <p><strong><em>DH: </em></strong>First things first, I log on, check my emails and calendar, and then I crack on with my list of priorities which I work around client calls.  </p> <p>I like to work on my most challenging items in the morning after some bullet proof coffee. It’s typical to have a couple of client calls before lunchtime, and on these we would normally go through a client’s priorities, before confirming next steps. </p> <p>For any internal projects, I’ll create engineering tickets with instructions for our engineers or analysts, and I may have a custom reporting request for Certona’s reporting team. </p> <p>The majority of my colleagues are in the US so internal team meetings are mostly held later on in the afternoon via Skype. I find there is certainly a lot more internal communication later on in my day, and normally between 4pm and 6pm there are meetings which involve my colleagues and clients based stateside. These calls could be anything from a weekly account management meeting, a client experience optimisation call with a Certona Analyst, an internal educational presentation, or a product or marketing update. </p> <h4> <em>E:</em> What do you love about your job? What sucks?</h4> <p><strong><em>DH: </em></strong>I love being an expert in the personalisation space. AI, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69112-what-s-the-difference-between-ai-powered-personalisation-and-more-basic-segmentation">machine learning and personalisation</a> are hot topics right now and I don’t see this changing any time soon. Being prescriptive, tactical and consultative brings a sense of fulfilment to my role, and I definitely get a kick out of knowing that my work drives value for our clients, which I can see in the test results.</p> <p>The job role itself is a great fit for what I’m good at, and it’s been a challenge to develop all the necessary skills needed to do this very well. </p> <p>Despite Certona being a US headquarter company, I’m employed to service our European clients, so I need to be in Europe and need to be within commutable distance to get to central London every week for face-to-face meetings as the majority of my clients are based here.</p> <p>Therefore, I find the only real challenge is not working in the same office as an engineer or analyst, which would enable me to discuss things face-to-face. However, this has allowed me to focus and improve on other communication to compensate, which I’m grateful for. I also enjoy working from home and the challenge of being a self-starter who’s organised and productive, and the freedom of being location independent.</p> <p>I’ve been doing this role for over five years, and if anything really sucked which I couldn’t make work or use as a challenge to improve myself, I wouldn’t still be doing this.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success? </h4> <p><strong><em>DH: </em></strong>For Certona, as with many companies, our goals are based on clients’ success, client retention and business growth in terms of annual account revenue. We don’t have any individual targets as our work is a collaborative effort here at Certona. We do have project-based revenue outside of licence fees but not targets, as it is more important to Certona to nurture long-term partnerships. </p> <h4> <em>E:</em> What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?</h4> <p><strong><em>DH: </em></strong>The Certona Experience Manager (CEM) is my favourite of Certona’s tools as it is powerful, configurable and transparent. The platform enables us and our clients to look analytically at their digital offering to see how it is performing in terms of consumer interaction. We are then able to make suggestions based on our findings, and advise on a marketing strategy befitting the client. CEM gives marketing teams absolute control and visibility, enabling improvements to be made on a granular level to optimise performance. </p> <p>Personally, I also use Evernote for taking notes and organising projects, and Skype is a fantastic communications utility. LinkedIn helps our understanding of client roles and organisational structures. Jira is powerful for project management, and I also use a host of other tools and services.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> How did you get into ecommerce/AI, and where might you go from here?</h4> <p><strong><em>DH: </em></strong>I came from a media sales background; I sold exhibition space and sponsorship on Internet World and learnt about internet marketing and all the supporting areas.</p> <p>I then worked for an online advertising agency in New York, and then a creative agency in London called We Are VI, which is sadly no more. I was part of their 2009 team short-listed for an Econsultancy Innovation Award.</p> <p>Later, I worked for Venda, an ecommerce platform, before joining Certona. I like being an expert in ecommerce personalisation and AI, as opposed to a ‘Jack of all trades’.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> Which AI-powered ecommerce websites do you admire?</h4> <p><strong><em>DH: </em></strong>I admire Farfetch as I particularly like the execution of its category listing pages. Farfetch’s combined cart and wish list page makes total sense from a modelling perspective, as items added to cart and to a wish list would be scored similarly in terms of importance to the user. </p> <p>Outside of my clients I keep an eye on what Thread.com is doing as I’m big into fashion and home improvements and most of my clients are in these verticals. I like the ‘frequently bought together’ bundle deals offered on sites like Victoria Plum and Axminster, which are contextually based on items already added to the cart. </p> <h4> <em>E:</em> Do you have any advice for people who want to use AI technology in ecommerce?</h4> <p><strong><em>DH: </em></strong>Firstly, before you implement an AI solution, you need to ask yourself <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69714-the-five-ps-of-ai-strategy-for-marketers/">what is the business goal you’re trying to achieve</a>. AI is a powerful solution for comprehending large amounts of data and can be a key enabler for predicting and delivering the best 1:1 customer experience. </p> <p>AI in retail helps to create sophisticated shopper profiles, in real time, to predict and present the next best action in their journey. An AI personalisation platform, like Certona, ingests big data and uses AI and its subsets to continuously learn about individual shoppers and their preferences to re-rank and re-score the catalogue within milliseconds to capitalise on their in-the-moment intent.</p> <p>I believe AI in e-commerce is not going away, so look to find the right partners that can support you on this journey.</p> <p><em><strong>If you're new to ecommerce and need to skill up quickly, try our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/fast-track-ecommerce-online-retailing/">Fast Track Ecommerce training course</a>.</strong></em></p>