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How IBM uses A.I. for marketing

A new content marketing platform is tapping artificial intelligence to match brands with content creators—but it doesn’t consider itself to be in the influencer business.

Built on technology from IBM Watson, the startup Props announced on Thursday that it’s raised $5 million for an official rollout with investors including tech development firm Axis point and Jump Ventures CEO and founder Hari Ravichandran. According to IBM Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Michelle Peluso.

“Technology can help to make sure there’s not bias in promotions and the like and so (there is) this grounded belief at IBM that inclusion is part of our ‘brand state’,” she told CNBC’s “Marketing Media Money.”

There are several ways marketers can best use AI, Peluso said. The first is in getting to know customers. “It allows us to understand more about our customers. We can analyze tone. We can listen in on chat bots, we can analyze personality and social (media), so we have the ability to develop a richer understanding of our customers,” she said.

AI is also being used in how businesses interact with their customers, allowing chat bots to answer customer service queries, for example. The nature of advertising — where traditionally messages are broadcast to people one-way — could also become more of an interaction. “We can say in a digital ad (for example) what’s in your refrigerator … And (it will) give you a great recipe, or (AI can) tell us why you’re interested in a certain car. And we’ll tailor the content live to make sure you’re getting the answer, so it will change (so the advertising is) actually interacting … with customers,” Peluso said.

Perello believes the lack of creative control from the marketing side will be compensated by the granularity with which the AI matches creator personas with the needs of a particular brand. IBM’s technology maps creator personalities around traits like “agreeableness,” “emotional range” and “extraversion” as well as subject matter covered in their work, then syncs that with what it perceives about a brand’s online presence.

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