IBM Amplify Day 1: Crafting Relevant Messages for Customer-to-Business

SAN DIEGO,  Calif. — "[The world is] no longer B2C, B2B, B2B2C—it's none of that," Deepak Advani, general manager of IBM Commerce told the audience yesterday in his opening keynote at day one of IBM Amplify (formerly called Smarter Commerce Summit). "We are moving [towards] a C2B world: customer-to-business." To adjust to such a shift, Advani says, it is necessary that companies craft more personalized and relevant conversations that speak to customers at the appropriate times. Central to achieving this objective are tools that combine data and analytics, and which users can access through a clean and intuitive interface, he suggested.

With the aim of making it easier for marketing professionals to craft relevant messages, IBM demonstrated tools available through its Marketing Cloud. Customer Experience Analytics will integrate the company's Journey Designer and Journey Analytics tools on one platform to enable collaboration among different divisions of an organization. The goal is to create a "more holistic understanding of what’s going on with customers," said Ken Bisconti, customer analytics business leader at IBM Commerce, during the Customer Analytics keynote.

With these tools, companies can glean pointed insights from the data that is collected from user history and interactions. Customer behavior can be tracked and laid out visually to give users a clear view of the types of actions that led customer to make a purchase or to abandon it. With this information they can make notes within the user interface that combines various functions which are typically accessible only through separate programs. The program can perform such tasks as mapping the top five paths that led to conversions on a specific product or service, which can in turn give marketers a better understanding of how to craft campaigns. If, for instance, customers are having trouble entering a promotion code on a website because the Facebook post that advertised it contains an error, users of the program can identify the issue.

Also highlighted during day one was the recent partnership with Facebook. Following collaborations with the Weather Channel, Twitter, and Apple over the past year, the Facebook partnership is part of IBM's effort to guide correspondences that are more beneficial to customers. Blake Chandlee, global vice president of GMS partnership team at Facebook, reported that 2 million businesses advertise on the social media platform, with mixed results. But both companies aim to improve those results—the goal for Facebook is to ensure that users listen to brands with the same seriousness as they do their friends, Chandlee said.  "[We want to make] sure we understand our consumers so we can deliver the right message, the right time, in the right place," he said. "The relationship we have with IBM is a huge step in the right direction."

Maria Winans, chief marketing officer and vice president of mobile and social at IBM, said that the company will incorporate Watson’s "cognitive commerce" analytics tool into future iterations of the marketing package. Ultimately, the company would like to use such tools to get to know the customer and predict the decisions they'll likely make next so that customer support can better assist them. 

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