Interview: The Marketing Disruption Brought About by Machine Learning: Making Marketers the Heroes

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Olly_DownsI recently caught up with Dr. Olly Downs, Chief Scientist and CTO at Amplero, a self-learning personalization platform built by Globys, a big data analytics company with expertise in delivering out-of-the-box solutions that transform massive amounts of customer data into valuable insights and action. The interview touches on the excitement surrounding his company’s launch of Amplero as well as some thoughts on the future of machine learning coupled with marketing.

Daniel – Managing Editor, insideBIGDATA

insideBIGDATA: You recently launched Amplero. What inspired the team?

Dr. Olly Downs: A number of us come from backgrounds in display advertising where behavioral targeting was at the crux of successful marketing. What we saw is that machine learning had transformed acquisition marketing in the last decade, playing a major part in how online marketers were able to target and optimize marketing messages, and in how they measured the performance of interactions. But as we looked at companies focused on marketing to their base, to maximize loyalty and retention for example, we observed that the same revolution hadn’t happened. We saw that the marketing technology platforms were quite unsophisticated in comparison. So we set out to enable a smarter means of engagement marketing by developing a big data platform specifically designed for the application of machine learning.

insideBIGDATA: An analyst recently referred to Amplero as “disruptive.” Why?

Dr. Olly Downs: The term is fitting because Amplero transforms how in base marketing works today. Essentially it turns the marketer’s entire workflow upside-down. With Amplero marketers no longer have to manually develop targeting rules, and rely on business intelligence teams to create white lists to run campaigns and then measure the performance. Instead machine learning tests all the thousands of variants of marketing messages, and then automatically determines what works and what doesn’t to drive continuous optimization. This allows marketing teams to focus on what they really love which is the creative part of developing strategy, message, incentive, etc. versus the operational tasks of pulling targeting lists and determining what works.

insideBIGDATA: What gets the data scientists working on Amplero really excited?

Dr. Olly Downs: What’s remarkable is actually changing customers’ behavior through more granular targeting and more timely and relevant marketing. What’s even more exciting is showing that you can change behavior across a customer base that’s in the many millions, and doing it in a new way. It’s common for marketers to run so many promotions that customers won’t do anything unless they’re provided a heavy incentive. What we’ve shown is that you can change behavior by determining the most effective marketing messages, which may be educational, for example. Seeing personalization drive business impacting results that change a company’s entire competitive position is super fun to see.

insideBIGDATA: What’s next for machine learning + marketing?

Dr. Olly Downs: What’s next is managing the entire customer journey, and this is where we’re really pushing the Amplero product. A lot of marketers are focused on this area but they’re not able to execute. If you think about it, it’s a perfect cry for the application of machine learning to marketing given the complexity.

Marketers want to be able to understand customers and how they behave over time so that as specific phases are detected, they can be acted upon, uniquely for each customer. With advanced modelling and machine learning, customer profiling can incorporate the temporal nature of data – purchases, usage, activity, etc. – providing greater insight into customers’ behavioral patterns and triggering at the right time highly personalized marketing messages aimed at onboarding, cross-sell, upsell, loyalty, churn prevention, etc.

insideBIGDATA: How would you describe a world where every marketer used Amplero?

Dr. Olly Downs: In such a world, customers would receive a few marketing messages here and there, each of which is perfectly timed, completely relevant, and most of all, greatly appreciated. People that hear this may be surprised because when it comes to marketing technology, most people relate it to spam or unwanted marketing interactions.

In an Amplero-only world, it’s the exact opposite. The number of marketing interactions would be dramatically reduced. Marketers would increase the effectiveness of each communication. Messages would arrive on an as-needed basis and be very personal. And customers would be better educated, see better value in the products they buy, and be more loyal.

As for marketers, they would be considered the heroes – the masterminds behind delighting customers and delivering performance results.


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