Five Minutes With: Derek Edwards, CEO of Amplero

What are your biggest opportunities & challenges for the next 12-24 months?

The race is really on for marketers to deliver on the promise of 1:1 personalization to achieve superior customer experience and improve performance lift.  Today’s marketers are already using a multitude of marketing technologies.  However, to get to true 1:1 personalization, they know that their marketing optimization capabilities, and the technologies enabling them must evolve.  When we look at the opportunity for Amplero to address these challenges by using a machine learning approach, we see that our market potential is huge.  

This tremendous growth opportunity also presents challenges.  As we rapidly expand, hiring the right talent, finding the right partners, and making sure we are laser focused in how we go to market will become even more critical.  We also have to face the fact that gaining the mind share of digital marketers is getting more difficult with the vendor landscape being so crowded. Getting marketers to think differently about how they market and understand the tremendous value that machine learning offers will be key to cutting through the noise.

What are some unmet needs in the marketing technology landscape?

One of the biggest gaps is in the marketing tech stack as it relates to campaign execution that leverages behavioral insights for targeting and optimization of personalized experiences.  With ad tech we’re familiar with seeing behavioral targeting at the crux of successful marketing. and the application of machine learning to evolve how online marketers target, optimize and measure the performance of marketing messages. 

But when you look at companies focused on marketing to their base you don’t see that same revolution. You see marketing technology platforms that have been in place for 10 plus years that are quite unsophisticated in comparison. You see a campaign process that is still highly manual, which makes the cycle time for learning and actually influencing marketing very slow.

We see a lot of value in machine learning technology that can help marketers achieve a massive increase in targeting granularity to enable smarter and more effective engagement marketing. 

What keeps your clients up at night?

We work with large enterprise marketing organizations who worry about the intense competition they face and performance challenges.  These are marketers who are tasked with extracting more and more value from their customers.  Yet, they don’t know how to drive performance lift because at any given time they don’t know what’s working, what’s not and why and especially as dynamics change. These marketers want to become more scientific in how they engage and market to their customers to gain competitive advantage.  Their biggest worry is whether they can move fast enough to develop this type of capability that drives real business impact.  

What is the hardest thing to educate your clients about?  

What’s really challenging is getting our clients to think differently about how they run and measure campaigns so that they can be successful. When it comes to audience and offer selection most marketers are used to manually developing targeting rules and running A/B tests.  Convincing them that with Amplero they can let the machine run thousands of tests and determine via algorithmic learning the optimal targeting for each customer and context is not always easy.  They are usually in the mindset that experiments have to be manually created and that rules have to be manually developed and maintained.  What we aim to do is change that mindset so that our clients understand that with machine learning marketing, experiments can be automatically learned across a wide range of targeting conditions, such as behaviors, offers, contexts, etc. and continue to evolve as new data is available, without any marketer intervention. 

There’s also measurement and the fact that most marketers tend to focus on short term metrics such as response rate.  Part of the education process is getting marketers to look at the efficacy of marketing treatments in terms of their impact on long term KPIs.  Often we’ll show clients marketing treatments that have gotten huge response rates but that have a negative impact on 60 day revenue, for example.  These insights get them thinking differently about how to measure success.

What will 2016 be all about?

The past few years have been all about big data infrastructure. 2016 will be focused on deploying application layers that offer marketers the tremendous value they’ve been seeking.  For marketers in particular I think we’ll see insights assume a relevancy and value that otherwise has not been possible.  We’ll see more marketers deploying advanced personalization capabilities that make use of machine learned optimization.   As a result, they will have the capability to fundamentally change customer engagement to improve business outcomes.

–Derek Edwards is CEO of Amplero

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