September 30, 2016

Read time: 2min

Cognitive computing helps marketing departments of all sizes drive competitive advantage

Market Logic Team

A recent Harvard Business Review article, “Building an Insights Engine”, finds what increasingly separates the winners from the losers in today’s business environment is the ability to transform data into insights about consumer motivations and to turn those insights into strategy.

Harvard Business Review highlights Unilever’s PeopleWorld platform as a world class insights engine. A primary Unilever challenge addressed by PeopleWorld is “If only Unilever knew what Unilever knows.” In other words, often the answer to a marketing question already exists in the firm’s historical research or consumer knowledge asset. Finding the answers is the challenge.

A True Marketing Insights Platform

PeopleWorld is a marketing insights platform powered by Market Logic Software. It uses cognitive computing and natural language processing to enable anyone within Unilever to easily mine its trove of over 70,000 consumer research documents and mountains of social media data to quickly get answers to specific business questions.

For example, a Unilever brand manager might ask, “What haircare problems concern middle-aged men in India?” PeopleWorld’s cognitive services intuit what’s needed for the brand manager, search the vast repository of information on hair loss, dandruff, and similar topics, and instantly deliver a high-level overview.

Through a set of related queries, the manager can quickly get a clear picture of the distinct and overlapping haircare concerns of younger or older men and those in different countries — information that can yield insights about consumer needs in various markets and innovative opportunities to meet those needs.

Leveling the Playing Field

According to research conducted by Insights2020, 67% of the executives at overperforming firms (those that outpaced competitors in revenue growth) said their company was skilled at linking disparate data sources, whereas only 34% of the executives at underperforming firms made the same claim. The good news is that artificial intelligence and cognitive computing are leveling the playing field. As Harvard Review points out, until recently, large firms had an advantage over smaller rivals simply because of the scale of their market research capability. However, research that once took months and cost millions can now be done for a fraction of that price and in mere days.

The ability of cognitive computing to synthesize data is the cornerstone of the insights engine at Unilever. This capability can be leveraged by research, insight and marketing teams of all sizes to connect the dots and extract value from their information and consumer knowledge assets.