The Monday Stack: An Election Win for Algorithms?

This is not the place for a detailed analysis of the many factors which doubtless underpinned Emmanuel Macron’s success in yesterday’s French Presidential election. The youngest leader of France since Napoleon, head of a brand-new, independent party, and a first-time elected office holder, Macron defeated a lot of assumptions on his way to victory.

One assumption his win tends to support, though, is that technology — and the same kind of technology increasingly central to marketing, sales, and service — now plays a crucial role in electioneering. Macron’s En Marche party turned the customer experience into the voter experience, using data and algorithms to target campaign effort at granular neighborhoods (not yet individuals) — a strategy we described back in January. 

Of course, there’s the negative side of technology too, from hacking to fake news stories about a secret bank account in the Bahamas. But anyone watching the data/machine learning space could be forgiven for reflecting this morning that technology-driven election results are here to stay.

We’ve written extensively about the risk to brands arising from association with inappropriate publishing environments. In fact, it’s been one of the major marketing stories of the last year, with advertisers fleeing high profile outlets like, and recently “The O’Reilly Factor.” One of the most startling developments was reputable brands finding themselves aligned with extremist videos on YouTube. 

Are boycotts by brands just short-term solutions to PR nightmares, or do they amount to something more. Media Radar, the cloud-based sales intelligence platform, took a closer look. Top line findings: April was the first month of 2017 to see a decline in brands buying on Google Preferred YouTube channels (5% down). Some major brands —Starbucks, Dish, AT&T, and Pepsi — stopped buying abruptly in April. GM restricted YouTube advertising to the safer haven of the home page. Although Wal-Mart, Verizon, and Johnson & Johnson were described in the press as fleeing the channel, they seemed to continue advertising as usual on the preferred channels — admittedly suggesting what Media Radar called “a flight to quality.”

More news out of Oracle about its CX cloud suite. With last year’s acquisition of NetSuite, Oracle has clearly gained traction in the SaaS market. Figures announced yesterday show Oracle delivering cloud apps to more than 25,000 customers in more than 195 companies. In Q3, 2017 alone Oracle added 480 new CX cloud customers.

The day is soon coming when everyone will forget Larry Ellison called the cloud “gibberish” (it’s not quite here yet).

By the way, we can’t promise you The Singularity just yet, but we can promise you DMN’s AI Week, starting Monday May 15.  Keep watching the skies.

Monday Stack logo by Hilary Allison

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