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Automation is now seen as essential among marketers to bolster the outreach of campaigns, in part because of its ability to better target customer communications. According to a recent HubSpot survey, email automation campaigns are among the top three tactics used by marketers to improve performance. And in 2017, Salesforce reported that 67% of sales leaders used a marketing automation platform.

To meet the growing demand, performance marketing company What If Media Group today launched out of beta Automated Response Intelligence Algorithm, or ARIA , a product that leverages AI systems and techniques to drive response to sales campaigns. The company says that it analyzes consumer behavior to send relevant offers to people at the right time to improve trust and results, in the medium in which they interact the most.

“We have custom-built our platform to leverage the latest in AI and machine learning to improve the effectiveness of pay-for-performance marketing campaigns and drive the highest levels of return on investment for our blue-chip customers,” Josh Gillon, cofounder and chief executive officer of What If Media Group, said in a statement.

According to Gillon, ARIA, which has been in the works for two years, uses AI methodologies including lookalike modeling, content clustering, modeling, collaborative filtering, and a recommendation engine to encourage consumers to sign up for email newsletters or text messages, submit job or loan applications, drive online or offline sales, and more. Lookalike modeling identifies people who look and act just like a target audience, while content clustering automatically identifies the relationships between groups of related content. As for collaborative filtering, it filters for items that a user might like on the basis of reactions by similar users, helping to highlight items likely to appeal to the user.

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“ARIA is a hivemind of models that attempt to predict the right ad to send to the right person at the right time and via the right channel,” Seth Gottlieb, president of What If Media Group, told VentureBeat via email. “To use a sports analogy, you don’t build an NBA team with a homogeneous skill set. Rather, you build a team that complements one another’s skills to maximize the team’s effectiveness and efficiency. We’re doing the same thing with ARIA — each model has a pocket where it wins compared to other models and internal decision-making, and it is up to the data science team and the algorithms to make it happen efficiently.”

In particular, ARIA employs an AI model that enables it to create a universal user profile, generating a rich understanding of consumers across channels. “Combined with our massive repository of first-party data and consumer insights, as well as our owned and operated media channels that extend well beyond the web, [tools like ARIA can further] our mission to become the preeminent platform for marketers seeking to profitably acquire valuable new customers at a massive scale,” Gottlieb continuec.

Forrester predicts that spend for marketing automation tools will grow “vigorously” over the next few years, reaching $25.1 billion annually by 2023 from $11.4 billion in 2017. It’s estimated that 55% of marketing decision-makers plan to increase their spending on marketing technology including AI and machine learning, with one-fifth of the respondents expecting to increase by 10% or more.

Competitors in the market segment abound. There’s Pyze, which raised $4.6 million in July 2019 for its AI-driven analytics and marketing campaign orchestration tool, and Clari, which recently nabbed $60 million to further develop its AI sales pipeline toolset. That’s not to mention TapClicks, which raised $10 million in August 2019; BoomtrainAlbert Technologies6SenseAppierHighspot; and Panoramic. More recently, SendinBlue raised $160 million for its AI-powered product to automate repetitive marketing tasks.

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