One to one marketing is an often cited but seldom realized goal. Even basic strategic pricing models show small improvements to customer engagement can deliver significant and sustained revenue growth. However, achieving this elusive level of personalized and contextual engagement at scale requires more data, intelligence and automation than has been available to most marketers.
Blueshift is an innovative company that has created a marketing platform using artificial intelligence (AI) as a core construct; not something that sits at the periphery and extracts or integrates with the marketing application on occasions.
The company’s AI collects digital footprints to parse and decipher consumer behaviors into a segment-of-one. The application then applies this individualized data to calculate predictive scores, initiate event-based triggers, recommend next-best-actions or otherwise orchestrate highly relevant multi-channel customer journeys.
The company’s solution is further unique in the way it creates a Customer Data Index. Essentially, the marketing software consumes customer data from CRM, ERP, POS (point of sale), other transactional systems and digital click streams to normalize and aggregate the data so it can be applied to marketing campaigns, sales driven initiatives or AI modeling.
Possibly because the company was unencumbered with a legacy marketing application it created a unique platform-based work stream that consumes, indexes and makes data available for algorithms or downstream consumption. It’s a process that resembles the Google search approach more so than other marketing software applications.
This Blueshift data aggregation method takes marketing automation software to the next levels of machine learning, intelligent algorithms and AI. Most marketing software vendors offer simple rules-based segmentation constructs but are without predictive analytics.
There are several CRM vendors that offer integrated marketing software and machine learning. However, while these CRM solutions are built on sophisticated and extensible analytics platforms, they appear to be designed more for programmers or data scientists than marketers. The Blueshift software leverages consumer technologies and a user experience that puts sophisticated queries, identity personalization, campaign creation and predictive analytics in the hands of marketers.
And one more thing that jumps out at me. As a guy that’s been implementing marketing automation systems for 15 years, I find the Blueshift implementation cycle unique. The company has been able to get midmarket customers into production systems in a few weeks, not months or quarters. This is an order or magnitude change compared to most marketing automation applications. Getting live faster accelerates time to value and decreases project risk.
The Sweet Spot
The company's target market includes midmarket to enterprise consumer (B2C) organizations. It will have the greatest appeal to companies with a high number of products, large volumes of content and a high volume of consumer activities and transactions.
The Blueshift software may also appeal to B2C organizations that operate without CRM software as the application is largely capable of managing the consumer journey closed loop process. For companies with CRM software, Blueshift will consume the CRM customer data, but some planning will be needed to understand which system is the customer system of record and will be the source for customer reporting and analytics.
Marketing software buyers considering standalone marketing systems such as Adobe may be wise to also consider Blueshift. Marketing software buyers already using CRM systems will need to decide whether the CRM software’s integrated marketing module is good enough, or they desire to consider the additional capabilities of a best of breed solution like Blueshift.
The company's customer base shows some concentration in the finance, retail, travel, and media and publishing industries.
The solution is not going to be a fit for most B2B companies or companies seeking an on-premise marketing software system.
The Take-away is This
Most marketing automation software systems capture digital footprints, acquire leads, score intent and use nurture campaigns to push email. It's an improvement over the batch and blast era but lacks true identity personalization and predictive intelligence.
For consumer organizations that must manage high volumes of consumer traffic, broad product categories with many SKUs, fluid visitor browsing behaviors and countless non-linear consumer journeys, the traditional rules-based approach to customer segmentation and campaign management becomes ineffective. And without some form of predictive analytics it's near impossible to deliver relevant, personalized and contextual engagement.
Blueshift brings innovation to marketing automation software in the forms of micro customer segmentation (segments-of-one), cross channel customer journey mapping, and machine learning and AI tools to put much needed predictive analytics in the hands of marketers. Collectively, these capabilities empower marketers to better leverage consumer behaviors and deliver more intelligent messaging, offers and recommendations – which in turn earn increased engagement, higher conversions and bigger baskets. The payback is big, but so is the effort, which is why many times these programs can be outsourced to marketing as a service providers.