deep dive
IBM Watson digs deeper into customer insights in the latest update to the IBM Watson Marketing Insights platform PHOTO: Nacho Bilbao

IBM today added new cognitive capabilities to IBM Watson Marketing Insights cloud platform to improve marketer's insights into audience behavior.

The new audience insights uncover key predictors in customer behaviors based on data gathered from customer interactions with the brand across business channels.

Sources of the data include email, social media and other digital channels, as well as data from in-store visits. The solution provide marketers with a list of customer attributes to help hone campaign delivery and predict potential responses.

This is just the latest in Armonk, NY-based Big Blue's continued push to weave Watson technology into its offerings. 

Predicting Campaign Impact

IBM Watson Marketing Insights, formerly known as IBM Predictive Customer Analytics, already offered recommendations designed to help marketers understand customer behaviors.

According to a statement from IBM, the new cognitive abilities offer deeper predictive powers and help marketers design highly targeted campaigns.

Watson’s computing capabilities make it possible to continuously update this information and provide insights into how audience profiles and customer segments change as their behavior predictors and attributes change.

The company stated the combination of the new abilities and the existing ones will give marketers insights into customers’ likely response to marketing campaigns — before they have even been launched.

A visual dashboard displays the insights, as well as details into how the system reached the conclusions, as well as context of the findings.

In theory this means marketers should be able to tweak campaigns before they launch, helping them proactively manage potential trouble spots and/or redesign campaigns to target specific groups or segments.

Betting Big on Watson

IBM is pushing Watson's cognitive capabilities hard, steadily adding them to all of its apps and platforms. Last month at its Amplify conference, it spent three days marketing Watson to the ecommerce, sales and marketing space in particular.

Harriet Green, general manager of Watson Customer Engagement, noted in her keynote speech that Watson would be able to deliver the one-to-one customer experiences that IBM hopes will turn its fortunes around.

The company will report its first quarter fiscal results for 2017 after the closing bell today. It has been 17 quarters now since it reported a gain in revenues and is unlikely to report any dramatic improvements today.

IBM is in the process of transforming itself from a legacy software and platform company into a services company focused on the cloud, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things.

The transformation has seen it sell businesses it didn’t consider core — including the x86 chip sale to Lenovo — as well as a reduction and redistribution of its workforce.

Watson’s capabilities and the Watson business continues to grow. The question remains whether Watson can pull Big Blue out of the doldrums.