My colleague, Subodh Wasnik, Product Manager, and myself, receiving the award from Dr. Uday Salunkhe, Group Director, Welingkar Institute of Management Studies and Research.
The Computer Society of India, or CSI, is the country’s largest known body of computer professionals – with nearly 100,000 members, and as such commands great respect among computer science professionals, academics, and businesses alike. Its Mumbai chapter is one of the leading ones among the 72 across India. CSI is committed to the advancement of theory and practice of computer engineering and technology systems, science and engineering, information processing and related arts & sciences.
So, back in September this year, when the opportunity came to contest for the honour of being recognised by CSI as ‘The Best Cognitive Technology Provider’ at their highly prestigious IT Innovation & Excellence Awards 2018, we welcomed it with great excitement. Earlier this month, we came to know that we had managed to finally bring it home: We’d won.
Cognitive Technologies are a part of Natural Language Processing / Understanding / Generation, Data mining, and AI. As such, these refer to enabling tasks that could only be performed by humans. Marketing technology is increasingly adopting this side of technology to make marketing more impactful and efficient. In this light, the award assumes even greater significance for us.
Held at the Welingkar Auditorium in Matunga, Mumbai, on the night of December 7 last week, the Awards ceremony was presided over by a mix of dignitaries and computer science professionals & businessmen.
About Smart Campaign Assistant – Our winning project
We decided as a team to make our AI/ML technology the focus of the project. It was going to be interesting because as an industry leader in marketing automation & technology, Netcore has been enabling marketers to grow their businesses better, and our project bridges the gap between technologists and marketers.
In this era of digital marketing, marketers deal with loads of data coming in through the various customer touch-points, which they need to process in order to understand their customer. Today’s customer is extremely active on the www, be it research or discovery of products & services or buying it. It was the job of our Smart Campaign Assistant to assist the marketer in doing a better job of understanding the customer and engaging with them the right way.
One of the factors that went our way was that as a marketing technology provider with more than 3000 client enterprises, we are updated on the specific challenges faced by the modern marketer. We integrated the following features in our Smart Campaign Assistant:
Send Time Optimisation (STO): Simply put, as a customer, we all have uniquely individual patterns of using technology. This feature identifies those patterns on its own. Supposing you are used to checking your mail inbox around 10:00 am daily, STO will figure this out and recommend the system to send you emails containing your brand communication around this time. This increases the likelihood for your customer to respond to your communication.
After all, a lot of marketing success is about great timing.
Subject Line Optimisation (SLO): This feature is a content optimiser. How does a marketer decide which email subject line will catch the attention of the customer enough to open the email? SLO helps choose the most effective subject line by:
- Predicting estimated open rate
- Showing top 5 best and worst performing similar subject lines
- Inboxing Propensity
- Sentiment Scoring
- Historically performing word and metatag suggestions
In a digital world, you only have a second or two to capture attention.
Preferred Channel: How does a marketer decide on which channel to use in order to target a particular user? These days, with our attention being divided between emails, SMS, voice calls, App messages, web and app push notifications, web messages, etc, this decision has to be an informed one. This feature analyses the user’s pattern of use of these varied channels, and helps the marketer zero in on the right channel for a particular message to be sent to a particular user.
We all have our preferences as a customer which we like to be respected by brands.
Email Tagging & Reporting: This feature helps marketers tag their emails into different categories such as promotions, discount, brand communication, etc. as well as Lines of Business-wise like assets, liabilities, regulatory, etc. for banks… This helps the marketer have access to an enriched post-facto analysis of the performance of their marketing campaigns. It also helps them better assess their users’ affinities to various categories.
Precision builds perfection.
Now let’s give you some special insights we received from running this project:
People are interested in extremes: We studied open rates for emails mapped alongside the sentiment portrayed by the subject lines (on a scale of -1 to 1) and we ended up with a very U-shaped curve. It means that people are very much intrigued and much more inclined to respond when they see extreme sentiments. Extravagant discounts, exclusive discounts, FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) all combined with a heavy degree of personalisation will work.
Subject Line Optimisation and metafeatures: We have identified 15 metafeatures such as exclamation marks, emoticons, smileys, location name, etc. which generally have some impact on the open rate of emails based on the subject line. Our study shows that from the available 15 metafeatures, only about up to five have a positive impact on the open rate.
79% campaigns showed improved performance: Smart Campaign Assistant showed that when all four of the above features were used together, 79% of campaigns showed improvement in performance and outcomes. That’s a pretty significant figure right there.
Time is everything: Smart Campaign Assistant helped save nearly 10 hours per person per week of time that customer success managers needed to spend tracking data, collating it, trying to analyse it, and draw insights from it. It freed up their time to focus on core areas where they deliver quality service to their customers.
How has this award helped us: We’re supremely motivated to carry on this work towards enabling and empowering marketers – we started with Smart Campaign Assistant today but we want to take this project to the level of Smart Marketing Assistant one day! Thank you CSI Mumbai!