Channel technologies, Enterprise, Sales and marketing

Enhanced IBM Watson Marketing Platform Analyzes Customer Interactions

IBM has added new cognitive abilities to Watson Marketing Insights, the cloud platform that helps marketers understand and anticipate customer behaviors.

Formerly known as IBM Predictive Customer Analytics, the platform’s new audience insights feature predicts customer responses to campaigns based on previous behavior and interactions with the brand across all channels, IBM said in a statement.

Data from email, digital, social media and in-store interactions is continuously updated, revealing new audience profiles and customer segments as the importance of behavior predictors change. The platform recommends prioritized target audiences based on these key predictors, or it allows marketers to explore their own.

“While every customer is different, they all have one thing in common - they are interacting with brands across multiple channels,” Maria Winans, chief marketing officer for IBM Watson Customer Engagement, said in a statement. “With these new cognitive capabilities, we give marketers the audience insights they need to strengthen customer engagement and deliver better performing campaigns.”

Better Insights for Targeted Campaigns

Here’s how the new cognitive abilities work, according to IBM:

Let’s say, for example, the platform shows that customers who consistently do not open email campaigns are at a greater risk of defecting than those who return products regularly. That insight would be delivered to marketers via a visual dashboard, along with details about the reason behind the findings.

Using this information, marketers could proactively create a targeted campaign to engage customers in this group and retain their loyalty.

The improvements mean marketers no longer have to rely on static customer segments that don’t take into account variables such as how customers have interacted with the brand over time, IBM said. And they don’t have to wait for a data scientist to analyze customer behavior because Watson does that work, constantly learning more about customer behavior over time and automatically updating customer segments.

Banking on Watson

Watson, which gained widespread fame in 2011 when it defeated two Jeopardy champions, represents a bright spot for IBM amid declining revenues and profits. The computer giant is banking on the artificial intelligence (AI) platform to boost its business.

IBM’s first-quarter profit fell 13 percent from last year, and revenues declined for the 20th straight quarter, according to results released today. Despite growth in the IBM Cloud and Watson artificial intelligence lines of business, the company’s legacy hardware and software business is shrinking as more customers move to the cloud.

Still, Watson’s cognitive computing power is already being used in more than 20 industries. The applications are broad, from marketing and customer service to tax preparation, weather forecasting and medical research.

Billed as a technology that can think like a human, Watson is used to analyze and interpret data at a volume and speed not possible by humans.