Marketing technology is undergoing a dramatic transformation as companies seek greater personalization to engage buyers across the customer lifecycle. This episode examines how AI is changing marketing. Our guest are Sameer Patel, CEO, and Andrew Eichenbaum, Lead Data Scientist, at Kahuna software.
Sameer joined Kahuna in August, 2016 as CEO and board member. Prior to Kahuna, Sameer was GM/SVP at SAP/SuccessFactors where he led the team that was responsible for making SAP a leading provider of Collaboration and Customer Engagement solutions with 35 million subscribers. Prior to SAP, Sameer worked consulting and systems integrator business. Sameer has a BS in Finance and Economics from Babson College and a Masters in MIS from Boston University.
Dr. Andrew Eichenbaum is a leading Data Scientist specializing in artificial intelligence and machine learning. Andrew has been analyzing large scale data sets for over 15 years and leading data-centric projects and teams for more than 8 years.
In industry, Andrew has worked with a range of large organization including Orange, Intel, and Intuit. He has also worked in early to mid-stage start-ups including Shopping.com, MyBuys (now Magnetic), and was on the founding team of Yummly. He has particular expertise in creating, leading, and scaling high-performing Data Science and Advanced Analytics teams. He is a sought-after speaker around the topics of Data Science, team dynamics, and performance management.
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So, Kahuna software is enterprise software, a B2C marketing automation provider. We have built a real-time, digital business, analytics platform that allows brands to be able to understand what the interests and preferences of their consumers literally within seconds, be able to make sense of it, add it to the profile, and put meaningful offers in front of them, be that for a commerce vendor or if you’re a media company and you need to engage your prospects, this is the new way of using artificial intelligence to engage with your consumers on the right device at the right time.
It’s in California, we’re a four year old company, we’re privileged to be funded by Sequoia Capital, and SoftTech Ventures, and Tenaya is our lead investor, and a whole bunch of other amazing people supporting us. And, we’re about 60 people, mostly in California, some in New York and the others in Vancouver. Andrew?
Michael Krigsman: Hey Andrew, you’re Lead Data Scientist, so what is it that you actually do? What does a Lead Data Scientist do?
Andrew Eichenbaum: So, that actually is an interesting question, because when I was looking around at places, I joined at the Kahuna just about a quarter ago. I actually had not looked at marketing places. I had actually done consulting work with large companies; Intel, Intuit; with their marketing groups, and suggested things like recommendations, personalization, and they said, “This is great,” well, everybody had sort of left it at that point. When I was contacted, this was the first company that really thought of marketing as data, and then what can we do with this data? How can it better help us understand people and better mail to them; better send to them; know “when,” “where,” “how,” and pretty much not spam them? So, the data scientist sort of stuck in the middle of making sure the data’s all good, and then being able to figure out all of these things.
Michael Krigsman: Fantastic! So, why don’t we kick this off with a discussion of B2B, B2C marketing; your business to consumer marketing? But you’re selling to … Your end customers are consumers, but you’re selling to businesses. \
Sameer Patel: Yeah, I mean our end-customers are consumer brands who engage with you and me as consumers who buy stuff, right? So one of the great things about taking over this business is that it’s very easy to keep yourself honest and know if you’re getting useful stuff, because all of us are consumers often, or any of the recipients of what Kahuna does, right? So, you know and in the B2C of the consumer space, I think in the last four or five years, we’ve seen probably the most tectonic shifts in terms of how you and me as consumers want to engage, and be engaged by brands, right?
And, you know, the specific area where Kahuna plays is the area of retention, right? So you might use ad technology and other ways to drive new customer acquisition. Where Kahuna comes in place is how do you get existing customers to engage more to make that first purchase go from first, to second, to third, and really drive loyalty for [...]? So, that is a very specific place where we end up, where the majority of our folks and all of our folks as a company.