e4m MarTech India Bridge1: All about AI for marketing

Industry experts Jim Sterne, Varij Saurabh, Manthan Kashyap Kompella, Prasad Iyer and Alan Pelz-Sharpe share their views

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Jun 25, 2020 8:46 AM  | 7 min read

Day 2 of e4m’s week-long virtual event MarTech India Bridge1 saw international and Indian thought leaders presenting their views on marketing technologies and Artificial Intelligence.

The virtual conference was graced by the presence of industry leaders such as Jim Sterne, Founder, Marketing Analytics Summit, and author of 'Artificial Intelligence for Marketing: Practical Applications'; Varij Saurabh, VP - Product Management & Marketing Technology; Manthan Kashyap Kompella CEO, rpa2ai; Co-author, Amazon Bestseller ‘Practical Artificial Intelligence’; Prasad Iyer, Vice President – Digital, eCommerce, Distribution & Rewards, Lemon Tree Hotels; and Alan Pelz-Sharpe, Founder, Deep Analysis & Co-author, ‘Practical Artificial 1 Intelligence - An Enterprise Playbook’. The conference was moderated by Ruhail Amin, Senior Editor, exchange4media group. 

The event commenced with Jim Sterne’s keynote address on ‘Artificial Intelligence in Marketing: A To-Do List’. While sharing his expertise on AI, Sterne made clear that AI systems will not take on human form and are not going to take over our jobs. He added, “Focus on narrow AI or functional AI. Specific task that an AI can perform is going to be very valuable.” 

Sterne also shared a to-do list for Artificial Intelligence in Marketing:
Choose Your Role: What role are you going to play
Choose Your Tools: Understanding AI tools is crucial
Know Your Data: Getting to know your data is essential because we are trusting the machine to find the rules and structure and create its own model
Be the Augmented Marketer: You can use AI tools to augment yourself and become an Augmented Marketer.
Brand as Never Before: Branding becomes even more important
Invent M2M Marketing: (Machine2Machine Marketing) 
You will always be needed: AI is not going to take your job, it’ll help you in your job. You’ll be needed for three things - to identify the problem, decide which data to consider and evaluate the output.

Sterne believes cultural and linguistic factors are enormously important in AI. He explained citing a quick example of Amazon, “The biggest problem that we have with data for AI is that there is bias in the data. For example, Amazon had the machine rank all of the resumes that came in to see who might be the most successful in the company. And success was the number of promotions, the number of raises you got, how many direct reports you have and the machine looked at the resumes and chose whitemails as being the most successful and Amazon said that it’s broken, doesn’t pass the smell test. So culture and language, these things are very important.”

Sterne’s keynote address was followed by a dialogue session between Varij Saurabh, VP - Product Management & Marketing Technology; and Manthan Kashyap Kompella CEO, rpa2ai on ‘AI in Marketing’. Kompella kickstarted the dialogue with an opening remark, “There is no specific category for AI or machine learning that’s because in most of those products, AI or machine learning capabilities are getting embedded or are already embedded and that’s how most of the marketers experience AI.”

Presenting his thoughts on the framework for Customer Journey, Saurabh shared, “Customer Journey is definitely a topic that’s gaining a lot of interest. It started off from a point of view where people were thinking about how a customer would get a result calling a call centre. But it has really moved ahead and people are looking at all kinds of journeys, right from how somebody downloads your app, consumes it for the first time and gets hooked to it or how do customers engage with your brand in general, because we deal more with a longer-term data set, where the problem that we are trying to solve is how to increase the average lifetime value of a customer. The basic arithmetic here is the more customer you have, the more money you can get each customer to spend with you.”

Saurabh further explained AI & Analytics across the customer journey in six points- Discover, Explore, Buy, Use, Ask, Engage. He added, “What’s the journey that your customer is taking when they discover you & your products, explore and make their first purchase and then start engaging with the brand after that first purchase and finally, you hope that most of them land up in your loyalty bucket, where they are very deeply engaged with you and are coming back to your business again and again. So Customer Journey for us is really this macro customer journey of how somebody moves across in the entire chain.”

Prasad Iyer, Vice President – Digital, eCommerce, Distribution & Rewards, Lemon Tree Hotels, spoke about ‘CX in Hospitality & MarTech’. Presenting his views on how hospitality industry is dealing with the tech demand, he shared, “The hospitality industry is always sort of overlooked when it comes to tech. It’s largely because if you look at tech adoption in general, hospitality and travel have always been the slowest adopter of tech. Largely because the operational expenses are very high and it is also service-based.

"The travel and hospitality industry has ben hit the worst by the pandemic. Our businesses are also largely dependent on airlines. Thankfully for us, we’ve been managing at about 20-30% occupancy now, even given the current situation. And it is largely because we work closely with the Indian government on many things, whether with the Health Ministry with regards to the asymptomatic quarantiners or because continuity plans that a lot of tech companies use for or medical staff and support services, we’ve been able to sustain this business very well.”

The event also witnessed an ‘Expert Talk’ session with Alan Pelz-Sharpe, Founder, Deep Analysis & Co-author, "Practical Artificial 1 Intelligence - An Enterprise Playbook" on the topic “Your CX Roadmap Post Pandemic”. According to Pelz-Sharpe, an unhappy customer will have a lot more impact on the business than anybody else. He highlighted the importance of customer experience management in the current scenario. He added, “If we are focused on always delighting our customers, giving the best possible experience, nurturing prospects, keep them going that’s good but you are gonna have very few loud evangelists for your products or services, even most are really happy with you and some will possibly recommend you and that’s really wonderful. But those who you really annoy would likely go out to tell that, to post a bad review, to not recommend you and to tell people to avoid you. So when we talk about customer experience management, digital marketing and enhancing customer experience, we have to remember that experiences are both good and bad or indifferent. 

Adding further on what makes the role of AI even more important in today’s time, he said, “The reason I’m brought this up now is to really express how important it is at this time with some of the political upheavals, COVID-19 and not many people are happy. Many people are looking for targets for their anger and frustration. So handling customer experience today is different, that’s for sure and moving forward you need to have some kind of strategy on how to deal with this current situation but also to become more adaptable and that’s where things like AI can play an important role,” he concluded. 

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