December 1, 2016

Marketing Management Congress 2016: Cognitive computing

CEO Kay Iversen gave an encore presentation to the Marketing Management Congress in Berlin, as the winner of the 2016 German Marketing Innovation of the Year Award.Readers may recall that judges voted for Market Logic because of our work revolutionizing knowledge management with cognitive technology for Unilever’s global insight engine, ‘PeopleWorld.’

Cognitive computing – the enabler

In the presentation, Kay focused on cognitive computing as the enabling technology for our marketing future. He provoked a packed audience with the challenge every marketer faces, every day – how to answer a “what do we know about …?” question from all your research.

It’s an essential, first step to ignite ideation and creativity. But simple as it sounds, Kay detailed how people waste far too much time hunting for answers to these questions.

Bench-marking studies by Market Logic clients show at least 10 hours effort to thoroughly investigate answers to questions from past primary research, secondary sources and colleagues – and no-one has the time or patience to do that.

When you add social listening and passive data collection to the mix of sources, it’s immediately clear that the human brain simply can’t even begin to synthesize all this data.

As a result, scarce resources are wasted duplicating past research projects and repeating past mistakes or worse, decisions are made without considering the consumer insights that drive success.

Cognitive computing – the game changer

Cognitive computing is the game changer that turns this situation around. Here, Kay shared the Unilever experience with the Marketing Management Congress audience: when a brand manager asks, “What hair-care problems concern middle-aged men in India?” the cognitive services in their insights engine understand what the user means, not just the search terms.

So rather than looking for mentions of the words hair-care and problems, or synonyms for the terms, the machine understands what a hair care problem is, so it can uncover problems like hair loss, or dandruff, or bad hair days.

Answers are presented in a dossier that summarizes the number of times each hair-care problem is mentioned in all of the data, while relationships within the results are visualized. A text summary answers the question automatically, while also introducing experts who have published research on the subject.

To see how all this comes together, take a look at the detailed description of knowledge graphs posted by our Chief AI Officer, Martin Rückert.

In the Marketing Management Congress session, people wanted to think about the size a marketing organization has to be for this kind of technology to make sense. Kay explained that early adopters of Market Logic technology are the largest CPG brands, perhaps because of the frustration their large research organizations experience when valuable insights aren’t used.

But there’s no reason why any marketing organization that wants to synthesize primary and secondary research, video, social media, RSS feeds, customer feedback and business intelligence shouldn’t test the waters.