Why Italian Lingerie Makes Me Nervous

I see what you did with that subject line.

A while back, my wife wanted to replace some underwear she liked that she bought out of town. So I found it on the web and placed the order. Good news? Problem solved. Odd news? Now, everyday, a new email from Cosabella arrives in my inbox.

There are certainly worse kinds of spam, but none that make me quite as uneasy.

Because I’m not really getting these emails from Cosabella, I’m getting them from Albert.

Albert is Adgorithm’s AI engine; the service Cosabella hired last year to replace their ad agency when their sales slowed after years of double-digit growth. The Albert artificial intelligence platform applies machine learning to all aspects of marketing and media buying: email, social, mobile, display, and search. It links to Google Adwords and Facebook, then makes every last decision on targets, keywords, media bidding and buying, even setting budgets and KPI’s. It targets micro-segments then makes suggestions on the type of creative that works best (Apparently, ads with people in them perform 50% better than simply product shots. Of course, the product is underwear, so duh.).

Albert also really, really works.

In three months, Cosabella’s ROI on ad spend jumped 336%, Facebook conversions skyrocketed 2000%, and costs dropped 12% while returns increased by 50%.

Cosabella’s ten person in-house marketing department handles all creative production, but they don’t layout the actual ads. Instead, they feed Albert images and copy which he serves dynamically, mixing and matching and recombining on the fly to optimize the layouts against the incoming data. The team claims to spend less than an hour producing the graphics and copy for a campaign.

Albert doesn’t eat,  sleep, or disappear to Cannes. Instead, 24/7, it analyzes tiny, subtle buying patterns and makes decisions on the fly. It integrates measurement, attribution and reporting, linking diverse channels like email, Facebook, and search to actual purchases and defining whether they caused assists or actual sales. Most of all, Albert gives a mid-sized marketer access to extremely sophisticated data analysis.

It is, by any measure, one hell of a tool. And more Alberts will be coming on line every day as AI continues to revolutionize the business.

Admittedly, this workmanlike creative wouldn’t earn much notice if it didn’t feature foundation garments. It only sells attributes; it doesn’t build the brand or establish any emotional platform idea. This technology is way too rudimentary for that.

But since Moore’s Law has proven true over and over again, we should all be paying attention.


Leave a Reply