Artificial Intelligence: helping us reach new customers

I’m often asked how I got RedBalloon to grow but thinking back, in the context of time, what we did in 2001 has almost no relevance today. It is now ancient history — an era before smartphones, digital photography, social media and digital marketing… the world has transformed.

It is a whole new world – and whilst brand story, brand essence and customer centricity stay the same — the way we deliver messages and engage with audiences has shifted. I was asked by Harvard Business Review to talk about this journey; to put Albert AI (an artificial intelligence marketing software) and the digital marketing landscape in context for those beyond Australia.

Here is the Harvard Business Review article in full: How AI Helped One Retailer Reach New Customers. 

The problem is summarised in an excerpt of the article below:

“Fast forward to 2016, and almost all of RedBalloon’s brand advertising was invested in traditional media outlets like radio, print, billboards, and pop-up retail stores. The company’s cost of new customer acquisition had ballooned from 5 cents to $50. Despite the fact that the company enjoyed massive brand awareness, escalating acquisition costs were destroying margins. Furthermore, the traditional audience for experiential gifts was no longer connecting emotionally with the RedBalloon brand. The marketing team was getting lost in attribution, pulling the same search engine marketing levers, talking to the same audiences, and creating the same campaigns with diminishing returns. The situation was untenable. Simson knew that the company had to transform marketing to find previously unexplored audiences and to make media buying decisions more autonomous and efficient.”

What I must say is that our journey with AI is just that, a journey. Albert AI is the first of a number of initiatives to transform our ability to connect with audiences. Watch this space as the next iterations of machine learning begin to take effect throughout the Big Red Group.


Albert AI

My BRG co-founder David Anderson, along with Geoff Farris and Oren Langberg of Albert.

Also published on Medium.

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