IIeX 2016 Machine Learning + AI = Data Driven Creative

Yesterday I had the privilege to speak at the Insight Innovation eXchange or IIeX North America 2016 discussing our approach to getting data driven creative via Machine Learning and artificial intelligence.

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This presentation was a joint effort between my Epsilon team and one of our strategic partners Oculus360. I work closely with Raju Kattumenu, the founder of Oculus360 and we have engaged on numerous initiatives over the past year.

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This has allowed us to leverage the power and reach across public domains leveraging their technology combined with our proprietary data assets to validate consumer truths or find new connections based on occasions, attributes, perception & demand signals.

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The technology is a combination of natural language processing, an artificial intelligence neural network and machine learning systems that combine to unlock various themes & trends associated with demand signals created by consumers.

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The key to this approach is that instead of starting macro across all facets of the web or social conversation, this approach looks at specific domains and can go incredibly deep down to the product sku level.

We then take the results from this approach and combine it with our connection planning process and data assets to unlock consumer truths that will define our approach to creative and strategic territories. It truly is an approach where data fuels creativity.

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This approach of combining machine learning + AI with Epsilon’s data assets allows us to truly identify contextual moments to create personalized experiences.

Context is key as this informs whether we should use storytelling vs. storymaking moments. We then align moments with personalized elements of the story based on our data findings and use cross device identity to create personalized story delivery at scale.

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I also discussed how we have realigned our approach to planning with data science to inform creative territories & strategic themes as well as how this approach supports innovation initiatives by informing and validating consumer readiness when it comes to emerging storytelling mediums.

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We then showed an example based on the mini-van category. Traditionally mini-van advertising has stayed very close to the “family” approach to connecting.

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We wanted to either validate the approach or find new consumer truths based on all the factors outlined above. What we found was very interesting as key attributes and occasions began to surface that outlined new demand signals that could be used to shift perception.

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This also allows us to take a look across brands and see which brands align with specific occasions which can lead to differentiation among competitors.

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We can also look at specific features associated with each of the brands to identify new territories or areas to focus on driving awareness, engagement or advocacy.

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In order to maximize contextual connections with consumers it is important to not only have qualitative data tied to consumer insights. It is also critical to leverage the power of machine learning and artificial intelligence combined with strong data assets to unlock demand signals that can fuel the creative process.

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Why Microsoft Bought Linkedin

News broke this morning outlining Microsoft’s intention to purchase Linkedin for $26.2 billion dollars. Many outlets are reporting the purchase, but not many are discussing the advantages and benefits that Microsoft may gain by the acquisition.

Here are 6 territories that may be bolstered by Microsoft’s acquisition:

Professional Data – The acquisition of Linkedin offers almost immediate access to professional profile data that Microsoft could leverage and integrate into Microsoft Office products, specifically Office 365.

By merging the 433 million members with 1.2 billion office users, Microsoft can quickly build integrations between professional profile data and their product set.

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B2B Marketing Reach – With 433 million members (128 million in the US) Microsoft just picked up one of the premier B2B advertising players that instantly gives them global reach to further extend advertising solutions as well as Microsoft products and services.

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Search – Microsoft has dabbled with social search with social integrations into Bing over the past few years. Also their failed launch of So.cl in 2012 was designed to research the potential integration of social and search. By picking up Linkedin they also gain the growing content engine that is highly optimized for organic discovery within traditional search channels.

Here is an example of my latest Linkedin Post that is also the #1 result for Data fueling Creative.

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Extending Social Capabilities – Microsoft has also been a minority player previously investing $256 million dollars in Facebook. They  recently launched a joint underwater cable initiative to further boost cloud service capabilities for both organizations.

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With a strategic partnership with one of the largest B2C marketing entities and now picking up the premier B2B platform, Microsoft is positioning itself to remain relevant through diversifying their assets, strategic partnerships and leveraging the content created from Linkedin as well as it’s global reach and subscription based member model to further deliver products, services and create new streams of revenue.

Extending Productivity Solutions – Microsoft has been laser focused on building subscription based productivity solutions over the past 5 years. This includes unified communications solutions yammer and lync as well as products like Office 365, OneDrive and OneNote.

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By acquiring Linkedin they will have direct access to various users across company type and could potentially box out competitive products and solutions and focus on exclusively positioning their products and services to the 433 million global users.

Cortana – There is speculation that Cortana is being positioned as one of the first virtual assistant/artificial intelligence systems being built specifically for the enterprise. The acquisition of Linkedin could be a viable platform to educate, identify and sell through the service in addition to leveraging professional profile data, content and conversations happening within Linkedin Groups to further refine offerings.

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Tom Edwards BlackFin360