The coming era of ‘on-demand’ marketing (Source: Mc Kinsey)

Emerging technologies are poised to personalize the consumer experience radically—in real time and almost everywhere. It’s not too early to prepare.

Digital marketing is about to enter more challenging territory. Building on the vast increase in consumer power brought on by the digital age, marketing is headed toward being on demand—not just always “on,” but also always relevant, responsive to the consumer’s desire for marketing that cuts through the noise with pinpoint delivery.


What’s fueling on-demand marketing is the continued, symbiotic evolution of technology and consumer expectations. Already, search technologies have made product information ubiquitous; social media encourages consumers to share, compare, and rate experiences; and mobile devices add a “wherever” dimension to the digital environment. Executives encounter this empowerment daily when, for example, cable customers push for video programming on any device at any time or travelers expect a few taps on a smartphone app to deliver a full complement of airline services.

Remarkably, all this is starting to seem common and routine. Most leading marketers know how to think through customer-search needs, and optimizing search positioning has become one of the biggest media outlays. Companies have ramped up their publishing and monitoring activities on social channels, hoping to create positive media experiences customers will share. They are even “engineering” advocacy by creating easy, automatic ways for consumers to post favorable reviews or to describe their engagement with brands.

But we’re just getting started. The developments pushing marketing experiences even further include the growth of mobile connectivity, better-designed online spaces created with the powerful new HTML5 Web language, the activation of the Internet of Things in many devices through inexpensive communications tags and microtransmitters,1 and advances in handling “big data.” Consumers may soon be able to search by image, voice, and gesture; automatically participate with others by taking pictures or making transactions; and discover new opportunities with devices that augment reality in their field of vision (think Google glasses).

As these digital capabilities multiply, consumer demands will rise in four areas:

1. Now: Consumers will want to interact anywhere at any time.

2. Can I: They will want to do truly new things as disparate kinds of information (from financial accounts to data on physical activity) are deployed more effectively in ways that create value for them.

3. For me: They will expect all data stored about them to be targeted precisely to their needs or used to personalize what they experience.

4. Simply: They will expect all interactions to be easy.

This article seeks to paint a picture of this new world and its implications for leaders across the enterprise. One thing is clear: the consumer’s experiences with brands and categories are set to become even more intense and defining. That matters profoundly because such experiences drive two-thirds of the decisions customers make, according to research by our colleagues; prices often drive the rest.2

It’s also apparent that each company as a whole must mobilize to deliver high-quality experiences across sales, service, product use, and marketing. Few companies can execute at this level today.3 As interactions multiply, companies will want to use techniques such as design thinking to shape consumer experiences. They also will need to be familiar with emerging tools for gathering the right data across the consumer decision journey. Finally, the marketing organization’s structure will need to be rethought as collaboration across functions and businesses becomes ever more essential.

What to expect in 2020

Over the next several years, we’re likely to see the consumer experience radically integrated across the physical and virtual environment. Most of the technologies needed to make this scenario happen are available now. One that’s gaining particular traction is near-field communication (NFC): embedded chips in phones exchange data on contact with objects that have NFC tags. The price of such tags is already as low as 15 cents, and new research could make them even cheaper, so more companies could build them into almost any device, generating a massive expansion of new interactive experiences. To understand that near future, review the infographic below and follow a hypothetical, tech-enabled consumer, Diane, who purchases an audio headset.

On demand marketing graphic

Taken together, the scenes from Diane’s consumer journey illustrate the four emerging areas of consumer demands we touched on above.


Marketers have gotten a foretaste of the consumer’s desire for more urgency and ubiquity. Bank balances running low? Send the consumer an alert on her cell phone. A question about fees shows up on the bank’s Twitter handle? Post an immediate response. An executive of one major bank believes that the immediacy of smartphone apps has already made brick-and-mortar contact unnecessary for many young consumers, who use a range of mobile services to manage their accounts and rarely interact with the brand physically. Yet having an entire bank in your phone may be only a baseline for the experiences on the horizon. Consider one European beverage company’s beta test of beer coasters embedded with NFC technology. A club patron contemplating a new brew can tap a coaster with a cell phone and get a history of the beer, bars where it is served, upcoming promotions, and a list of friends who have given it a thumbs-up.

In this environment, a marketer’s “publishing” extends to virtualized media such as the coaster or Diane’s headphones, which become touch points for considering and evaluating products and services. Digital information technologies, operating behind the scenes to integrate data on all interactions a consumer has across the decision journey, will provide insights into the best influence pathways for companies, while also triggering new personalized experiences for consumers.

Can I

Most first-wave digital capabilities helped people access things they already did—shopping, banking, finding information. Consumers must often settle for compromises in their digital experiences. Yet robust programming, data-access, and interface possibilities now available could make every digital interaction an opportunity to deliver something exceptional.

Consider Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s new smartphone app, which changes the house-hunting experience. A prospective home buyer begins by taking a picture of a house he or she likes. Using image-recognition software and location-based technologies, the app identifies the house and provides the list price, taxes, and other information. It then connects with the buyer’s personal financial data and (with further links to lender databases) determines whether the buyer can be preapproved for a mortgage (and, if so, in what amount). This nearly instantaneous series of interactions cuts through the hassle of searching real-estate agents’ sites for houses and then connecting with the agents or with mortgage brokers for financing, which might take a week.

The mortgage app shows how the digital environment is now integrating disparate sources of information, at low cost and at scale, for many new domains. The challenge for companies is to look beyond today’s interfaces and interactions and to see that moving past compromises will require a rethinking of aspects of packaging, pricing, delivery, and products.

For me

Some online marketers already use features in devices such as cameras and touch screens to help consumers see what apparel and accessories may actually look like when worn. Web retailer Warby Parker, for example, offers hundreds of customized views of eyeglasses overlaid on a Webcam picture of the consumer.

In the future, demands for more personalized experiences will intensify. A phone tap, a click, or a stylus jot will instantly personalize offers, using information captured on “likes,” recent travel, income, what friends are doing or like, and much more. With each interaction, the consumer will be creating new data footprints and streams that complement existing digital portraits, sharpening their potential impact. Facebook will eventually be able to mine the world’s largest database of photographs, linking individual people to their activities. Smartphones have rich data on every place where you have traveled with one in your pocket. This is just a start, and the privacy, security, and general trust implications are staggering. Yet consumers consistently show a desire to provide more data when companies use captured information to provide truly helpful feedback (you’re over budget or you are doing well in your exercise program) or to offer recommendations, services, and customization tools rather than just push what might appear to be intrusive (and creepy) messaging.


The quest for simplicity led Amazon to create a subscriber model for delivering bulky repeat-buy items (such as diapers) and Starbucks to adopt a tap-and-go approach to mobile payments. Yet many interactions remain complex and fragmented: to name just a few, finding, organizing, and redeeming online coupons; turning weekly meal plans into online delivery orders; tracking your monthly cash flow; and staying on top of your health-insurance bills and reimbursements.

Evolving technologies and consumer behavior should make it easier to redesign many complex experiences. For example, companies offering inherently complicated products or services could overlay a game interface on certain Web pages, to let consumers play at trading off different options and prices. Visual-recognition technology could allow you to scan health-care bills, receipts, statements, and appointments into one integrated calendar and cash-management system. Already, start-ups in travel, expense, and sales-force management are experimenting with approaches that streamline processes and make interactions more inviting—using touch and swipe to make changes, gestures to activate large displays, and data in phones to recognize consumers and automatically customize interfaces.

Setting strategies and building capabilities

Consumers will soon make these demands of every interaction they have with companies. Although the marketing function may often be the best conduit to get customer input and to drive decisions about how to distinguish brands, coordinated efforts across the enterprise will be needed on three levels.

Designing interactions across the consumer decision journey

Today, many companies have successfully defined and addressed customer interactions across a few channels. What they need to be designing, however, is the entire story of how individuals encounter a brand and the steps they take to evaluate, purchase, and relate to it across the decision journey. Marketing or customer research can’t do this alone. At one apparel retailer, managers from multiple functions go together into the field to do deep ethnographic research— watching how customers shop, going into their homes, and uncovering the triggers and motivations that drive behavior. These managers look for the compromises that people face as they try to get things done, probing for their higher aspirations. And the managers watch how customers react as they interact with brands.

Among the findings, the managers identified seven key “use cases”—customer situations that lead to satisfaction along different decision journeys. They found a wide range of trigger points for choosing an “outfit solution” for a social occasion, learning that shoppers became frustrated, especially online, when they couldn’t see how items would look together. Customers wanted to drag and drop items on an on-screen model or to see great combinations in advance. But that required different merchants to work collectively and the stores to bring items together on sales floors.

Cross-functional teams also came together in workshops. With third parties such as fashion bloggers and thought leaders from online-media companies, they mapped out new ways to influence the decision journeys of customers with different attitudes toward the retailer’s brand or different kinds of spending behavior. One of the most valuable outcomes was clarity on how the store’s brand positioning could guide the design of new experiences. The teams knew that their story would always be “better value than the shopper expected, delivered in a friendly way.” That meant warm visuals and messaging on the company’s Web site and across various media to reinforce the story of value to the customer. And the teams explored new ways social media could help customers show off the value they received.

Out of the work came not only a shared, company-wide sense of the decision journeys of consumers but also immediate buy-in to a wide range of initiatives that could boost market share. These initiatives are on track to provide an 8 percent sales lift above what the existing plan envisioned and were implemented more quickly because of the management team’s shared sense of engagement.

Making data and discovery a nonstop cycle

To win over on-demand customers, you must know them, what they expect, and what works with them, and then have the ability to reach them with the right kind of interaction. Data lie at the heart of efforts to build that understanding—data to define and contextualize trends, data to measure the effectiveness of activities and investments at key points in the consumer decision journey, and data to understand how and why individuals move along those journeys. To realize that potential, companies need three distinct data lenses.

Telescope. A clear view of the broad trends in your market, category, and brand is essential. Digital sources that track what people are looking for (search), what people are saying (social monitoring), and what people are doing (tracking online, mobile, and in-store activities) represent rivers of input providing constant warning signs of trouble or signals of latent opportunity. Many companies are drowning in reports from vendors providing these types of information tools, yet few have much clarity on which things they need to look for and who needs to know what.

One packaged-goods company got a jump on competitors when it saw a spike in online conversations about the lack of natural ingredients in shampoos and then recognized a corresponding rise in search inquiries on the subject. A new line of natural hair care products, launched at record-breaking speed, has become a successful early mover in a growing segment. A telecommunications company has become similarly plugged in: it now has a war room to track every online comment anywhere. Besides being better able to address—in an open, friendly, and fast way—problems that could escalate, it now has a great frontline source of line-outage signals that trigger repair crews and increases in call-center capacity.

Binoculars. Against this backdrop of market activity, few companies have a complete, integrated picture of where they spend their money, which interactions actually happen, and what their outcomes are. Most direct-sales companies (retailers, banks, travel services) measure the performance of their spending through isolated last-attribution analyses that look narrowly at what consumers do after confronting a search link, an e-mail, or an advertisement. Branded-goods companies try to throw all of their media spending together into an econometric model assessing the effects of their media mix. In the world of on-demand marketing, where multiple interactions take place along multiple journeys, last-action attribution explains only part of the impact of media spending, and media-mix models fail to account for touches and costs outside of paid channels.

What’s next? Deploying tools that rapidly assemble databases of every customer contact with a brand, companies will need to push every customer-facing function to work together and form an integrated view of consumer decision journeys. With longitudinal pictures of customers’ touches and their outcomes, companies can model total costs per action, find the most effective decision-journey patterns, and spot points of leakage. As more contacts become digitized—and they will—the data will gradually get easier to create. Getting a head start can help companies build ongoing test labs where they tune the ability to create and analyze the right data and immediately learn where to add investments. One bank has already realized millions of dollars in added value from the knowledge that weak points in the customer on-boarding process were undermining major marketing programs. Only when branches, call centers, and marketing worked together could the bank find the right fixes, improve customer satisfaction, and raise marketing’s return on investment.

Microscope. Trust is essential, and personalization can show customers they matter. They expect a brand to be a good steward and user of data about them and, increasingly, have high expectations for what a brand should know. In the example described earlier, data about Diane powers the brand’s ability to make it easy for her to share photographs, to buy a headset, to set up and manage a free Spotify subscription, to receive information about a local event, to be recognized at it, and to get additional special offers. Information about Diane is the thread that keeps all of her brand interactions immediate (now), valuable (can I), relevant (for me), and easy (simply).

Yet given the laser focus on getting programs into the market to improve performance, few marketers (or even line executives) have stepped back and pulled their teams together to work through the scenarios and customer-data models they will now need to build. Even fewer have a strong sense of what the current plans of the company’s IT department will deliver in which time frame. One company that addressed these issues has identified over 20 types of consumer decision journeys as archetypes of experiences it must support over the next three years. From those decision journeys, it has derived a core set of information capabilities it will need to build and is well down a tight road map of development that has already enabled it to launch products in breakthrough ways.

Delivering with new skills and processes

To deliver these new experiences, executive teams must rethink the role and structure of the marketing organization and how it engages with other functions. The changes are likely to cut deeply, transforming the way companies manage campaigns and communities, measure performance, provide customer support, and interact with outside agencies. It’s still early days, but consider the breadth of recent efforts.

Raising a consumer-packaged-goods company’s digital game. A European CPG company started by creating a digital-analytics group with worldwide operations. Rather than sprinkle digital experts across the globe, the company developed a unified structure with common standards for roles, common training, and digital career tracks to build an arsenal of future talent. The analytics team is part of a broader digital center of excellence that provides service support to the business units and drives major upgrades in IT capabilities. Defined commitments from managers in finance, legal, and HR help the center deal with challenges that arise as it seeks to offer customers a richer digital experience.

The company also reviewed all of its e-commerce trade accounts and decided that it needed a much more granular approach to serving customers. Says one executive, “It is not just an issue of managing our relationship with pure-play e-commerce sellers versus our traditional channels; it also is an issue of managing the online versus brick-and-mortar sides of the same traditional partner.” A new e-commerce trade team with added digital-analytic support is helping both to enhance the online-merchandising mix and to improve the placement of the company’s products in the search engines of e-commerce providers.

Finally, marketing leaders established a novel customer-relationship-management (CRM) team because they realized that the growth of the company’s mobile services, coupon programs, sampling, and social communities was finally enabling it to gather huge amounts of direct data about how people interacted with its brands. (That information had previously been available only to retailers.) These structural and talent changes led the company to realize that it needed to reshuffle its agency relationships, replacing a single brand-and-ad agency with two agencies—one for brand programs, the other for digital and CRM direct marketing. The company also brought more media and digital analytics in-house.

Reorienting a bank. At one institution, a new understanding of emerging brand challenges led to a radical change in the status of the CMO. Marketing had earlier ranked low in this sales-driven organization, where the function’s leaders focused mostly on corporate communications and brand campaigns. Now, a new CMO, much closer to her peers on the executive board, has been charged with directing the full consumer experience.

Each month, the bank’s business-unit leaders gather to talk about their progress in improving different consumer decision journeys. As new products and campaigns are launched, these executives place a laminated card of such a journey at the center of a conference-room table. They discuss assumptions across the whole flow of the journey for different consumer segments and how various groups across functions should contribute to the campaign. Where should customer data be captured and reused later? How will the campaign flow from mass media to social media and to the bank’s Web site? What is the follow-up experience once a customer sets up an account?

The bank has created a corporate center of excellence for digital marketing to give the strategy a forward tilt and to plan for needed capabilities. It has also appointed a new team of full-time executives who focus on mobile and social technologies—executives who have become evangelists, helping business units to raise their digital game along a range of consumer interactions. The first wave of fixes and new programs has already generated tens of millions of dollars in the first six months, and the bank expects these efforts to add more than $100 million to its annual margins.

The forces enabling consumers to expect fulfillment on demand are unstoppable. Across the entire consumer decision journey, every touch is a brand experience, and those touches just keep multiplying in number. To mobilize for the on-demand challenges ahead, companies must:

  • bring managers together from across the business to understand consumers’ decision journeys, to speculate about where they may lead, and to design experiences that will meet the consumer’s demands (NowCan IFor me, and Simply)
  • align the executive team around an explicit end-to-end data strategy across trends, performance, and people
  • challenge the delivery processes behind every touch point—are the processes making the best use of your data and interaction opportunities and are they appropriately tailored to the speed required and to expectations about your brand?

Executive recruiters tell us that corporate boards are looking for more people who can challenge and improve a company’s approach to social media, big data, and the customer experience. Staying ahead of the design, data, and delivery requirements of on-demand customers is much more than a marketing issue—it will be a crucial basis for future competitive advantage.

About the author(s)

Peter Dahlström is a director in McKinsey’s London office, and David Edelman is a principal in the Boston office.

Joseph Jaffe will share insights from his new book ‘Built to Suck’ … Want to know him more ? Let’s discover a 2014 Ted X: “Zero Paid Media as the New Marketing Model”


BMMA – Belgian Management and Marketing Association – has the opportunity to bring to the Belgian marketing audience one of the best marketing expert and author : Joseph Jaffe.

The event will be split in 4 parts:

  • VIP Dinner on Monday 6th (SOLD OUT)
  • VIP Morning conference (limited to 70 people)
  • Noon lunch (limited to 200 people)
  • Afternoon workshop (limited to 50 people)


Joseph Jaffe is a multiple author, serial entrepreneur and one of the most sought-after consultants, speakers and thought leaders on marketing, innovation and change.

2019 B2B Content Marketing Research: It Pays to Put Audience First

You’ve come a long way, content marketers. Today, nearly all top-performing B2B content marketers – 90% – put their audience’s informational needs ahead of their company’s sales/promotional message.

Ten years ago, when CMI founder Joe Pulizzi cowrote Get Content Get Customerscontent marketing was a novel concept for many traditional marketers. That it’s a common practice now shows how much marketers have adjusted their thinking.

90% of top-performing #B2B #content marketers put audience’s informational needs first. @cmicontent. #researchCLICK TO TWEET

How content marketers reach those audiences, where they’re investing to do it, and what they’re most concerned about are a few of the new findings presented in CMI and MarketingProfs’ ninth annual B2B Content Marketing 2019: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America reportsponsored by Conductor. We present the research every fall to help content marketers plan for the coming year.

This year, we made a significant change in the methodology. We limited the survey to respondents whose organizations have used content marketing for at least one year. In addition, we qualified the respondents by asking them to confirm they are a content marketer, someone who is involved with content marketing, or someone to whom content marketing staff reports. This gave us a more experienced pool of practicing content marketers and, we feel, more robust insights.

Here are some highlights from the 2019 report.

Content marketers are successfully building trust

When you put your audience’s needs first – and create your content based on THOSE needs – what are you really trying to do? Of course, you want your content to get found, consumed, discussed, and/or shared, to generate action by your audience. You want the right people to find value in your content and subscribe to it.

But what’s happening on a deeper level when you help someone by providing valuable information? Our research indicates you’re creating a bond: 96% of the most successful content marketers agree their audience views their organization as a credible and trusted resource.

96% most successful #B2B #content marketers say audiences view their company as trusted resource. @cmicontentCLICK TO TWEET

Success in creating this bond isn’t limited to the most successful content marketers: 68% of all B2B marketers say they’ve used content marketing successfully to build credibility with their audience.

How you can use this insight

CMI Chief Strategy Advisor Robert Rose recently described the importance of earning not only our audience’s attention, but also its trust: “Every digital experience we create should not only reflect our focus on winning a moment of truth – where the customer is paying attention – but in deepening the trust gained (or regained) in every step that precedes or follows it.”

Earning that trust requires your content to have four essential traits, Robert writes. It must be:

  • Risk appropriate (avoid asking for something before proving the value)
  • Consistent (deliver reliable content regularly over time)
  • Personal (based on reliable information the visitor has willingly given)
  • Cumulative (building on what came before)

In short, if you want your brand to be well-regarded by your audience, give it something valuable. Be consistent. Be easy to find. Give your audience members content they want and need – when and where they’re looking for it. And make it about them, not you.

If you want to build trust with your audience, give them something valuable, says @LisaBeets.CLICK TO TWEET

Less than half of content marketers talk to customers

About three out of four B2B content marketers seek feedback from sales and use website analytics to research their audience, while 65% use keyword research.

That’s a pleasant surprise considering how often we hear that marketing and sales teamsneed to do a better job of communicating.

But relatively few B2B content marketers research their audience by talking to their customers. Only 42% say they have conversations with customers as part of their audience research.

This year’s research also found that 73% of those surveyed use or plan to use personas for content marketing purposes by the end of 2018.

73% of #B2B content marketers plan to use personas for #contentmarketing purposes by end of 2018. @cmicontentCLICK TO TWEET

How you can use this insight

Effective personas are based on research about real people. “Nothing beats the ability to get information directly from current customers,” Jodi Harris wrote in the Quick and Dirty Guide for Creating Actionable Content Marketing Personas. That’s because customers can tell you directly about their needs and preferences. You don’t have to infer them from analytics or glean them from third-party conversations.

Nothing beats the ability to get information directly from current customers, says @joderama.CLICK TO TWEET

If your team isn’t talking with customers, look for ways to make this happen. Some content marketers accompany sales reps on their calls. Some arrange phone calls with prospects and customers directly. Take advantage of in-person events your audience members attend to talk to them.

Email campaigns and educational content reign

Fifty-eight percent of respondents say they’ve used content marketing successfully to nurture subscribers, audience, or leads in the last 12 months. The top two methods are email (87%) and educational content (77%).

Email & educational content are top 2 ways #B2B content marketers nurture their audience via @cmicontent.CLICK TO TWEET

Only 23% of respondents indicate their organization is working to build community among their audience or inviting audiences to participate in discussions. 

How you can use this insight

Email campaigns and educational content done well are reliable ways to nurture relationships. Pay attention to your audience’s changing preferences, though, to spot new opportunities. Given the fierce competition in inboxes these days, you might consider experimenting with other channels, such as the blend of email and SMS messaging, as Ardath Albee described in a talk earlier this year.

Spending on content creation increased

Content creation is where respondents were most likely to report an increase in spending over the last 12 months (56%). Increased spending on content marketing staff came in a distant second (37%), followed closely by paid content distribution (36%).

Video rises, text-based content keeps pace

We organized content types into six “buckets” to examine broader use trends. As shown in the chart, more than 50% of respondents increased their use compared with a year ago in three content buckets:

  • Audio/visual (e.g., videos and webinars)
  • Text-based digital (e.g., articles and e-books)
  • Images (e.g., infographics, charts, and photos)

How you can use this insight

Which content types will generate the best results for your organization depends on many factors – the nature of your business, the demographics and preferences of your audience, your goals, etc. Don’t assume, for example, that content type buckets with a less than 50% increase won’t be valuable for your organization. Experimentation plays a big role in any content marketing initiative. For example, a podcast or a print magazine may be a great opportunity for your organization depending on your audience and resources.

SEO/search algorithms are top of mind

When asked about content marketing issues their organizations are concerned about, the top three answers were changes to SEO/search algorithms (61%), changes to social media algorithms (45%), and content marketing as a revenue center (41%).

#SEO/search algorithms are a top concern for 61% of B2B marketers via @CMIContent 2019 #research.CLICK TO TWEET

Relatively few cite emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (14%) and preparing content for voice search (13%) as a concern, though those topics capture a lot of buzz in marketing conversations.

How you can use this insight

Keeping up with changing social and search algorithms can feel like a never-ending battle. But resources that can help do exist. Earlier this year, Content Marketing World speakers shared their advice on coping with social algorithm changes. For a list of SEO resources (including experts, articles, blogs, and tools), take a look at the recap of this #CMWorld Twitter chatfeaturing SEO expert Stephan Spencer.

The story doesn’t end here

This year’s research uncovered many other new insights such as:

  • The top benefits marketers say they derive from their documented content marketing strategy
  • How marketers rate their organization’s proficiency level with using content marketing technologies – and the benefits they derive from using those technologies
  • The types of paid methods they use to distribute content – and why
  • Goals achieved over the last 12 months

View the report today to see all the findings and watch this blog for more analysis of the results.

Let's Discover the Marketing Hackathon ! Solvay Executive Master in Digital Marketing… More info ? Join the Info session (16th October 2018 from 6.30 pm Brussels)

“A training programme lasting 17 days, running from November 2018
to May 2019, created entirely for you or for one of your managers”


The programme is aimed at profesionals in communication and markerting who want to go deeper into their knowledge in marketing and/or digital communication.

Key admissions criteria

University degree
At least 3 to 5 years profesional experience
A perfect knowledge of English and French will be required. Courses will be given in either of these two languages.

Exhaustive approach
The Executive Master in Digital Marketing and Communication proposes an in-depth development of your skills in the various areas of marketing and communication.

Adapted to the digital
The Executive Master in Digital Marketing and Communication is a comprehensive course in marketing and communication, totally adapted to the world of digital.

Practical insights
The Executive Master in Digital Marketing and Communication gives immediate answers to your questions, as well as practical exercises and group work tasks during the sessions.


Are you interested in learning more about this 17-day program?
Register for the information session to be held on 16th October 2018 from 6.30 pm at Solvay Brussels School (42 avenue Franklin Roosevelt, 1050 Brussels) – Atrium on the ground floor. Come and listen to the free talk to be given by Hugues Rey about “Revisiting Kotler’s 4 Ps through Artificial Intelligence”. While you’re there, you can ask all of your questions about the Master’s programme. This evening is completely free of charge and includes a stand-up dinner.

Cycle du hype de Gartner: L’IA, propulsée entre les mains de tous

Dans 10 ans, l’intelligence artificielle sera partout, et plus seulement entre les mains des professionnels, d’après Gartner. La démocratisation de l’IA est en effet l’une des cinq principales prédictions technologiques identifiées par l’entreprise de recherche et de conseil dans l’édition 2018 de sa fameuse courbe du « Cycle du hype ». Cette courbe montre les technologies émergentes et identifie leur position sur le cycle du hype.

Réalisé à partir de l’analyse de 2 000 technologies réparties ensuite en 35 domaines émergents, le rapport identifie cette année en particulier cinq tendances technologiques qui vont brouiller les frontières entre les humains et les machines.

Crédit: Gartner (août 2018)

L’IA, propulsée entre les mains de tous

En ce qui concerne l’intelligence artificielle, «les technologies d’IA seront pratiquement partout au cours des 10 prochaines années», prédit Gartner. « Ces technologies, qui permettent aux ‘early adopters’ de s’adapter à de nouvelles situations et de résoudre de nouveaux problèmes, vont être mises à la disposition des masses – démocratisées. Des tendances comme le cloud computing, la communauté des ‘makers’ et l’open source vont propulser l’IA entre les mains de tout le monde».

Un futur qui sera rendu possible par les technologies suivantes: l’AI Platform-as a-Service (PaaS)l’Artificial General Intelligence, la conduite autonome, les robots mobiles autonomes, les plateformes conversationnelles basées sur l’IA, les deep neural networks, les véhicules autonomes volants, les robots intelligents et les assistants virtuels.

Les nouvelles opportunités liées aux écosystèmes numérisés

Parmi les quatre autres principales tendances qui vont brouiller les frontières entre les humains et les machines, Gartner a également identifié «les technologies des écosystèmes numérisés qui font leur chemin rapidement vers le Cycle du hype», explique Mike J. Walker, vice-président de la recherche. «Les plateformes de type blockchain et IoT ont désormais atteint leur apogée et nous pensons qu’elles arriveront à maturité dans les cinq à dix prochaines années».

Le rapport prévoit ainsi que le passage d’un modèle technique d’infrastructure compartimenté vers un écosystème de plateformes pose les bases de l’émergence de nouveaux business models qui constitueront «un pont entre l’Homme et la technologie».

Le «do-it-yourself biohacking»

«Au cours de la prochaine décennie, l’humanité commencera son ère ‘transhumaine’: la biologie pourra alors être piratée en fonction du mode de vie, des intérêts et des besoins de santé », explique Gartner. La société sera alors amenée à se demander les applications qu’elle est prête à accepter et à réfléchir aux enjeux éthiques.

Pour le cabinet, cette tendance concerne quatre secteurs d’activité : les technologies d’augmentation, la nutrigénomique, la biologie expérimentale et le « grinder biohacking », mouvement dont les membres souhaitent améliorer leurs capacités physiques grâce à des implants cybernétiques «fait maison».

Les expériences transparentes et immersives pour une vie plus intelligente

L’étude cite également la catégorie des expériences transparentes et immersives. « La technologie continuera à devenir plus centrée sur l’Homme, au point de favoriser la transparence entre les personnes, les entreprises et les choses». Pour Gartner, cela permettra notamment aux hommes de travailler et de vivre de façon plus intelligente. Cette évolution sera possible grâce aux technologies suivantes : l’impression 4D, la maison connectée, le Edge AI, la technologie auto-réparatrice, les batteries d’anodes à base de silicium, la poussière intelligente (Smart Dust), le Smart Workplace et les écrans volumétriques.

L’infrastructure omniprésente

Cinquième et dernière tendance, l’infrastructure omniprésente. Comme l’explique Gartner, «les technologies prenant en charge une infrastructure omniprésente sont en passe d’atteindre le sommet et de progresser rapidement au sein du Cycle du hype. Les circuits intégrés propres à une application (ASIC) 5G et de réseau de neurones profonds, en particulier, devraient atteindre le plateau au cours des deux à cinq prochaines années».

54 Artificial Intelligence Powered Marketing Tools

Lee Odden on Mar 21st, 2018     Digital Marketing

AI Powered Marketing Tools

The expression, “Marketers are data rich and insight poor” is more true today than ever.

Marketers all over the world are working to optimize marketing operations and effectiveness using their abundance of data. Many are turning to tools and platforms powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning. AI promises to make sense of all the dark data companies are sitting on as well as structured and unstructured data online to surface insights about customer behaviors, opportunistic content and emotional triggers to inspire conversions.

In an age of too many choices, increased competition for customer attention requires every advantage to optimize for reach, engagement and conversion. Marketers are using AI to automate and optimize their marketing because that’s what it will take to meet customer appetite for personalized experiences.

  • In a study by Smart Insights, AI and Machine Learning were rated the #3 marketing activity that will make the largest commercial impact on business in 2018.
  • Another study by Salesforce found that high-performing marketing teams are more than 2 times as likely to use AI in their campaigns than under-performers.

What are marketers doing with AI? Areas of focus include advertising automation and optimization, chat bots for service and assisting in sales, and content personalization to name a few.

Chat apps and bots are increasingly being used beyond light customer service to engage customers during the sales process. In fact, 1.82 billion people worldwide are projected to use a chat app in 2018 and by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with the enterprise without interacting with a human.

Make no mistake, the artificial intelligence platform market is growing fast: it’s estimated to be worth $9.88 billion by 2022.

As Josh Nite mentioned in his recent post, “This changes everything. AI is transforming digital marketing.” From A to Z and then some, here are 54 tools that leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to make your marketing smarter, more efficient and effective.

Acquisio Turing – A set of 30 high frequency predictive algorithms working together to ingest search marketing campaign data across platforms. Data such as seasonality, times of day, times of week, location, positioning, ad platform, campaign and others enable the platform to self-learn and make smart bid and budget decisions in real-time. @acquisio

Acrolinx – Built on an advanced linguistic analytics engine, this software platform “reads” content and guides writers to make it better. @Acrolinx

Albert – An autonomous platform that uses AI: predictive analytics, machine learning, natural language processing and other proprietary algorithms to execute seamlessly across all channels, paid and non-paid, including email, mobile, social, search and display. @albertaimktg

Atomic Reach – Delivers a deep understanding of what makes your content perform and how to perfect it. @Atomic_Reach

Automat -AI and machine-learning technology that helps brands deliver messaging experiences that are tailor made for each individual consumer and dynamically optimizes conversion for the best results. @automat_inc

Bloomreach – An open and intelligent platform for businesses to build, extend, personalize, analyze, test and optimize their digital experiences across all channels. @bloomreachinc

Boost Linquistics – AI-powered platform for your team to drive revenue by personalizing search and browse experiences at scale and AI to improve site structure, content, and landing pages, maximizing SEO at scale and driving traffic. @boost_ling

CaliberMind – Connects, unlocks, and activates data to help high-growth B2B SaaS organizations to acquire new buyers, grow revenue, and improve the customer experience. @calibermind

CONCURED – Uses AI to analyze people’s behavior towards content at scale in order to prescribe what you should create next to maximize engagement and ROI. @concured

Conversica – AI Sales Assistant helps companies find and secure customers more quickly and efficiently by automatically contacting, engaging, qualifying and following up with leads via natural, multi-channel, two-way conversations. @myconversica

CORTEX – A social media content optimization platform for marketers and agencies to continuously improve post engagement. @meetcortex

Crayon – Market and competitive intelligence tools to track, analyze, and act on everything happening outside of the four walls of your business. @Crayon

Datorama – One Platform for all marketing data, investments, KPIs, and decisions to connect data, report across channels and campaigns, and surface the right insights instantly. @Datorama

Demandbase ABM – A comprehensive set of ABM solutions driven by artificial intelligence: platform, targeting, engagement, conversion. @Demandbase

Drift – A conversational marketing and sales platform (chatbot) that connects your business with the best leads in real-time. Like a virtual assistant for your website, Drift lets you turn any conversation into a conversion. @drift

Emarsys – Understand each contact as an individual customer and execute highly personalized campaigns at scale with AI solutions. @emarsys

FindTheRipple – The AI-driven platform supporting marketers in creating content with impact, finding untapped trends and resonating digital assets for target audiences. @findtheripple

Genie – AI-powered recommendation engine from Grey Jean Technologies that provides accurate predictions of consumer purchase behavior. @getgenie

Google Cloud AI – Build chat bots, do analysis of video, images and text. @gcpcloud

HubSpot – Content Strategy Tool helps marketers discover and validate new content ideas that perform well. @hubspot

IBM Watson – Cognitive marketing platform that provides journey pattern analysis, real-time personalization, marketing insights, weather effects and cognitive tagging. @IBMforMarketing

Idio – Demand Orchestration platform that learns from each interaction to improve engagement and accelerate demand at large B2B enterprises. Automates 1:1 engagement with target accounts, at scale & across all digital channels. @idioplatform

Intellyo – The Creator Engine leverages machine learning and data-driven analytics to automatically tell you which actions to take to build quality into your content. Features include topic research, workflow management, content quality analyzer and customizable service integrations. @intellyo

Invoca – Enables granular campaign attribution to understand why customers are calling, gain real-time intelligence about who’s calling and analyze what’s being said in conversations. @invoca

Jetlore – Artificial intelligence-powered “learning to rank” technology that helps retailers build stronger customer loyalty, higher conversions and increased revenues. @Jetlore

KYNDI – Explainable Artificial Intelligence platform for government, financial services, and healthcare with AI products that analyze massive amounts of data, making organizations and people 100X smarter, 100X faster. @kynditech

Lexalytics – Text Analytics & Survey Analysis with customizable Sentiment Analysis, Categorization & Named Entity Extraction. Platform leverages machine learning, artificial intelligence and natural language processing to allow enterprises to create custom analytics solutions to address their unique data problems. @lexalytics

LiftIgniter – Machine learning personalization recommendation and discovery engine enables every website and app to have a 1:1 “conversation” with users. @liftigniter

Lucy – Solution from Equals 3 powered by Watson. Lucy delivers insightful conclusions, refined segmentation analysis, killer marketing plans, and world-conquering media strategies. @equals3ai

Market Brew – Artificial Intelligence Platform for SEO Teams. @mktbrew

MarketMuse – AI-powered research assistant that accelerates content creation and optimization so you can win in organic search. @MarketMuseCo

Motiva AI – Learns to adapt your messaging to customers automatically and delivers better engagement, at any scale. @MotivaHQ

Nudge – Access new accounts, analyze deal risk, and measure account health – powered by relationship intelligence. @nudgeai

Onespot – Technology platform for personalizing content marketing across digital channels. @onespot

Oribi – Simplifies analytics to enable marketing and product teams to get valuable data without any help from developers. @getoribi

PaveAI – Turns Google Analytics data in actionable insights + reports with our data science AI algorithm. @paveai

Path – An intelligent messaging platform that helps businesses generate more leads, close sales faster, and improve client service. @chat_path – Automatically capture all sales activity to drive intelligent sales management and marketing insights. @ppl_ai

Persado – AI generated language that resonates the most with any audience, segment or individual. @persado

Phrasee – Enterprise marketing solution that uses artificial intelligence to generate brand compliant marketing language on a client-to-client basis. @phrasee

Quill by Narrative Science – Powered by Advanced Natural Language Generation, Quill is an intent-driven system that automatically transforms data into Intelligent Narratives at scale, in conversational language anyone can understand. @narrativesci

Rocco – AI powered social media marketing agent that will suggest fresh content that your followers are likely to engage with. @Rocco_Ai

Salesforce Einstein – A layer of artificial intelligence that delivers predictions and recommendations based on your unique business processes and customer data. @salesforce

Sentient Ascend – A patented AI Conversion Optimization solution that mimics biological evolution, enabling it to quickly learn, adapt and react to determine the best performing design from the building blocks you provide. @sentientdai

Smartly – Facebook and Instagram advertising automation and optimization platform with machine learning. @smartlyio

SmartKai – AI-powered assistant that manages your social media marketing. @thesmartkai

Stackla – AI-powered enterprise platform to discover, manage and display the most engaging user generated visual content across all marketing touchpoints. @stackla

The Grid – Molly, a AI-powered web design platform uses machine learning combined with constraint-based design and flow-based programming to make form dynamically adapt to content. @thegrid

Unmetric – Xia provides AI powered social media marketing insights to create compelling content. @unmetric

Vestorly – Vestorly uses artificial intelligence to build personalized touch points with news, blogs, or your own content. @vestorly

Wordsmith – Solution from Automated Insights that uses natural language generation to convert data into content. @ainsights – An artificial intelligence personal assistant who schedules meetings for users. @xdotai

Yseop – Artificial intelligence software writes and explains data in six languages using natural language generation. @YseopAI

ZetaHub – Marketing Automation powered by AI. @zetaglobal

There you have it. 50 plus tools that leverage artificial intelligence for marketing. For your convenience, I’ve made a list of all Twitter accounts on this AI Marketing Tools list here, in case you want to follow the category easily.

Whether you’re trying to get more out of existing marketing software like analytics or automate content generation or boost your ability to understand customer behavior for better personalization, there’s a tool or platform for you.

At the same time, very few of these AI powered marketing solutions are “set it and forget it”.  They still need humans for optimal performance. That’s why I like the expression “Augmented Intelligence” as a reflection of how people and technology can work together for more optimized marketing. And when it comes to marketing people, I don’t know any better than the team I get work with at TopRank Marketing.

Is Artificial Intelligence In Marketing Overhyped? (Source: Rupa Ganatra / Forbes)


A recent survey of more than 300 marketers by Resulticks found that almost half thought artificial intelligence was an overhyped industry buzzword and 40% felt skeptical when they saw or heard the term. The survey also found that 47% of marketers believed AI was more fantasy than reality.


Artificial intelligence has certainly become the buzzword of 2018 as brands and retailers increasingly explore how it will impact their business this year and beyond. Speaking at an event recently hosted by StoryStream on the hype behind AI in marketing, it became apparent that whilst AI is in its infancy today, many brands and retailers are already actively using AI for the likes of content creation, content management, customer insights, personalization and customer acquisition.

Brands including Aston MartinShiseido and Mars are already actively embracing AI experimentation in marketing and some have been at it for some time. Food producer Stonewall Kitchen re-platformed it’s entire ecommerce site with Salesforce Commerce Cloud in 2016, creating an entirely AI-driven on-site experience for their shoppers and have already been reaping the results in areas like cart abandonment and average order values. Stonewall’s Director of Marketing and Direct-to-Consumer Sales, Janine Somers estimates that AI technology has been responsible for about 10% of their year-to-date product revenue.

Berlin-based footwear retailer Shoepassion has seen results from utilizing the personalization technology stack Dynamic Yield in the areas of customer segmentation, optimization, messaging, recommendations and connecting the online and offline data to provide a seamless, personalized and connected customer experience at scale. Whilst beauty Start-up Wunder2 has also been experimenting at speed and recently became the first major cosmetics brand to launch an Amazon Alexa Skill. “As a business, we are fascinated with the rapid integration of AI into peoples’ lives. We think the level of adoption will exceed many peoples’ expectation, and create fluid recommendation experiences using AI technology found in Google Home, Alexa, and the recently launched Apple HomePod – it is something we are absolutely developing already,” says Co-Founder and CEO Michael Malinksy.

The expectation and demands of today’s customer are increasing exponentially, whilst the overflow of content and the rising number of content sources makes it more challenging for marketers to manage their content and publish relevant content across multiple channels. CEO and Co-founder of StoryStream Alex Vaidya says, “today’s customers are ultra-connected, looking for instant gratification and searching for high-quality personalized purchasing experiences from brands.” The UK’s fifth largest retailer Co-op recently used StoryStream’s new AI platform Aura for their #nowcookit campaign across content analytics, digital asset management and multichannel publishing which saw dwell times on their website increase by up to 5x, an 11% conversion rate and an 8x improvement in content curation time for the retailer’s marketing team.

Cosmetics company Shiseido use Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud and Equals 3’s cognitive companion Lucy. Their Chief Digital Officer Alessio Rossi says, “with these platforms, we are building a more complete view of who our customers are by aggregating and analyzing all the data fragments to build customer profiles that are more meaningful and actionable for us.” Whilst the digitally native cosmetics brand Wunder2, famous for having produced the Internet’s most viral brow product, has been utilizing technology from IBM Watson to do analysis on 500,000 Customer FB posts and comments to identify sentiment, allowing them to categorize posts and comments. This has given them large scale data to help understand typical concerns, questions, sources and instances of negativity and build strategies to address and pre-empt them where possible.

With so many choices out there, choosing the best AI platforms for obtaining customer insights and delivering personalization at true scale is key for retailers. As Anoop Vasisht, GM Europe at AI technology platform Dynamic Yield points out, “building online experiences had traditionally been accomplished through a disjointed series of solutions. Retailers would turn to one vendor to serve pop-up messages, another for email personalization and another to provide product recommendations. This not only resulted in data silos but became increasingly difficult to manage so many technologies in the marketing stack and ultimately customer experience took a hit.”

Working with retailers including Sephora Digital SEAOcado and Shoepassion, the Dynamic Yield AI technology stack permits marketers to consistently scale personalization across multiple channels within a single solution. Berlin-based retailer Shoepassion is now able to identify the context of their consumers at scale online via an automated segmentation platform. “If you know that a customer likes to buy a certain type of leather shoe every Winter, you want to be in a position to deliver that content to that customer in their shoe size every time they interact with your brand, across all channels,” says Vasisht. Personalized messaging and product recommendations across web and email are other areas where Shoepassionhas used the Dynamic Yield stack. “If for example it’s a repeat buyer, you may want to show similar products to previous purchases whilst for others, you may want to show the most popular products. Dynamic Yield allows you to personalize for different audiences and optimize the different strategies at scale.”

Stonewall Kitchen has also found success in personalizing their customer relationships through the areas of customer segmentation, email personalization, predictive recommendations and optimizing cart abandonment. Emails shared with their customers and prospects who hadn’t opened one in more than six months had a 9.7% click rate and a 4% conversion rate. Additionally, predictive recommendations resulted in $182,000 in attributable revenue. Somers says, “Salesforce’s AI capabilities have helped solve for many challenges including ’empty cart syndrome,’ providing our shoppers with personalized product recommendations if their cart remains empty for a certain amount of time. Overall, we’ve seen 83% of these suggested products added to a shopper’s cart.”

For many, an AI approach to customer segmentation has also increased the number of segments that they look at. For example, AI has helped Magic Day’s owner Maksym Podsolonko connect the dots between requests, their proposals and customer feedback. It has also led to increasing the customer segments from 7 to 61, whilst only focusing on targeting 4 of them. This level of segmentation and precise targeting has helped them increase revenue with minimal resources making his business ultimately more efficient.

In addition to segmenting existing customers, AI technology is also being used to identify new potential customers in new markets by both Aston Martin and Mars. Aston Martin recently used AI technology KanKan to identify potential customers in China. They wanted to understand the difference between a Tesla buyer and other luxury car brands and were able to do this by aggregating data from both social and retail behavior.

Mars Wrigley Confectionary has been using a reply-based social advertising tool on Twitter called Respondology for their goodnessKNOWS brand to offer product incentives to new audiences outside their existing fan base. Through the platform, they’ve been able to find and vet target-right consumers and offer them a discount off their online purchases. Whilst they are still in the infancy of leveraging the platform to its fullest capability, they have already seen an increase in online ecommerce sales and consumer engagement from it. “One of the biggest benefits so far for goodnessKNOWS has been that we can accelerate a process that we’ve typically done manually, to ultimately reach more brand-right consumers who are looking for a product like ours. Our Respondology campaign has enabled us to reach target-right consumers with relevant product messaging based on conversations they are already having online. We’ve seen a more engaged social community and a ripple effect of consumers sharing their love for our brand and product,” says Eric Epstein, Marketing Director of Snacks for Mars Wrigley Confectionary.

The potential for turning endless amounts of consumer data into actionable marketing campaigns, provide personalization at scale across multiple channels and drive increasing efficiency within marketing teams are key for brands and retailers competing in today’s hyper-commoditized landscape. As AI experimentation continues in these areas, it will be important for brands and retailers to select the right technology partners, be willing to try out new strategies and ultimately, figure out what does and does not have an impact on their bottom-line, at speed.