As an AI platform, Watson may have the highest public profile in the industry. That's mostly thanks to the widespread attention and fame it garnered from its successful appearance on the popular game show Jeopardy all the way back in 2011. In the years since, however, the technology that powers the platform has grown and evolved to include an impressively versatile toolset. The Watson API has been put to use in a variety of novel ways of late to power everything from revolutionary virtual customer service agents to a personal chef that creates recipes that include innovative flavor combinations never imagined by its' human counterparts.
There are, of course, industries where Watson is making inroads that go well beyond novel use cases and is driving new efficiency and value. Digital marketing is one such field that is reaping the benefits of Watson's repertoire, through some revolutionary applications that help marketing professionals reach consumers where they are with messaging that connects. Beginning with creating new ways for marketers to explore available market data to sharpen campaigns and flowing all the way through identifying influencers who can best deliver brand messages, there's no part of the process that Watson isn't affecting. Here's a look at some of the most notable ways that Watson AI is now changing the face of digital marketing as we know it.
Marketing Insight, On Demand
One of the most important ways that Watson is helping today's digital marketers is by making it easier to derive insights from the wealth of structured and unstructured data about their market that now flows in through digital channels. Although Watson doesn't have the market cornered in the world of data analytics, it is enabling a feature that's unique in the space and helps marketers improve not only the quality of their data operations but also the access to its benefits. That's exactly the promise of Lucy, an AI marketing analytics platform from Equals3.
Lucy, using Watson's cognitive capabilities, provides marketers with a single interface that encompasses the whole of their enterprise and marketing data. It has the ability to automate the creation of customer personas based upon available data and run marketing research against those subgroups to create a marketing plan. Those features are just the beginning, though. Where Lucy really shines is in its use of Watson's natural language processing abilities, which make it possible to query the system in plain English and get accurate results delivered from vast and disparate data sets in moments. It's a function that brings the power of the data to every organizational level, no analytics experience required.
Personalizing the Message
IBM itself is also putting Watson to work on the digital marketing sphere, by creating groundbreaking cognitive advertisements through its digital advertising arm, Watson Ads Omni. The idea behind the approach is to increase the level of personalization and interaction in digital advertising so as to provide real value to consumers. Once again, it's Watson's natural language processing and cognitive abilities that steal the show, by allowing brands and marketers to deploy the equivalent of a digital product expert that can converse with potential consumers and act as a guide and brand representative.
The technology saw wide release at the close of 2018 and powered the holiday marketing push of toy giant Lego System A/S. The ads consisted of a conversational interface that allowed viewers to speak to the Watson backend, which had been trained in the specifics of 35 different Lego product lines. By discussing their needs, the ad itself could respond to the consumer with precise product recommendations, allowing for an unprecedented level of message targeting. That, in turn, also made the ads unique in their immediacy and relevance to any individual that interacted with them.
Reaching the Right Audience
To digital marketers, results are everything, and no effort is ever spared in optimizing digital platforms to drive conversions. Right now, the most difficult part of that process is getting the attention of the market segment that's most likely to respond to a brand or product. To get that attention, marketers have turned to social media platforms and their vast quantities of user data to create sophisticated models of consumer tastes and interests. The problem, however, is figuring out who can deliver a brand message in an authentic voice that won't be shunned by the audience – but Watson is helping with that, too.
The Influential social intelligence platform uses Watson AI to comb through data about social media users on multiple platforms to identify individual influencers that can best evangelize a particular brand's message. The system finds matches by analyzing users' last 22,000 words posted on social media, using the Watson natural language understanding, personality insights, and tone analyzer functions to identify personality traits and interests that intersect with the target brand. In that way, marketers can select influencers that target demographics will identify with, and whose opinions will resonate to generate the desired result. The system can even identify influencers that brands should avoid if they've been linked to rival products or negative opinions in the past.
The Ultimate Brand Ambassador
In ways both large and small, Watson is helping marketers in all phases of their campaigns and powering a whole new ecosystem of sophisticated tools that elevate digital marketing to an entirely new level. Judging by the current applications, it's easy to foresee a day when Watson can be at the helm of an end-to-end marketing effort, making automated, data-driven decisions to deliver quantifiable results with little in the way of human intervention. That would free up marketers to focus on strategy and the creative aspects of their work, which would be a force multiplier for the whole industry – and usher in the next generation of digital marketing excellence.