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Chuck McLeester's blog explores issues about marketing and marketing measurement. He is a marketing strategist and analyst with experience in healthcare, pharmaceuticals, financial services, pet products, travel/hospitality, publishing and other categories. He spent several years as a client-side direct marketer and 25 years on the agency side developing expertise in direct, digital, and relationship marketing. Now he consults with marketers and advertising agencies to create measurable marketing programs.
Mike Ferranti is the founder and CEO at Endai Worldwide in New York City. In this blog, he plans to offer ideas and perspective that energize, stimulate and motivate performance through the lens of his nearly 20 years of data, technology and marketing experience. Mike draws upon the logical, cultural and subject matter expertise in digital and data-driven marketing—with an occasional parallel between business performance and athletic performance.

If you weren’t a marketing professional, you’d probably find it hard to believe that there is a debate of sorts in rather large organizations about personalization in marketing. In many cases, it’s less of a debate than an absence of one — or serious consideration, or a plan to get there.

Music is a powerful marketing vehicle that fits neatly into the social media space. Big brands have aligned with celebrity artists to reach Millennials in their native social media milieu. Taylor Swift is the face of Keds and Diet Coke. Impresario JayZ has a multi-million dollar deal with Samsung, and Katie Perry is on board with H&M to name just a few. Music festivals have become mega-marketing events with a complex web of social sharing opportunities.

The North Face is taking an unusual approach to boosting its e-commerce sales: it built a digital personal shopper fueled by IBM's Watson platform. The North Face's new app, currently designed as an internal proof-of-concept tool, lets hypothetical customers find particular articles of clothing by asking Watson questions about their shopping needs and travel plans. It's one of the first attempts to use Watson for retail purposes, part of a concerted effort by IBM to seed America's malls, hospitals and corporate offices with Watson-licensed software. 

A visit to TheNorthFace.com isn't unlike other e-commerce treks: outdoors clothing and gear is organized into categories for men, women and youth. But the active wear brand has solicited one of the best known data explorers around to turn its site into a shopping expedition that thinks the way humans do. The North Face was an early partner of IBM's initiative aimed at applying the tech giant's Watson cognitive computing system to craft a new approach to shopping.

Last month, I asked you to imagine the future of SEO with a focus on "Entity Optimization" as I interviewed veteran semantic strategist Barbara Starr. We discussed an “answer engine” that uses relevant, machine-recognizable "entities" on Web pages to answer specific, well-refined queries. On Sept. 26, Google took another step toward becoming that answer engine with its Hummingbird update. In Danny Sullivan‘s live blog about the Hummingbird algorithm, he explains how Google is rapidly adopting semantic Web technology while still retaining parts of its old algorithm. This is Google’s solution for evolving from text links to answers

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