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Radically Better Results

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Avatar of Collette Easton

You’ll not be surprised to read that our latest newsletter focuses on AI. Shock, horror readers – but please don’t click away yet, hear me out. 

The Yard team have been harnessing AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (machine learning) for a considerable time. As a business grounded in data and insights, our raison d’etre has always been to improve efficiency and enable ever better marketing decisions with data. Yard has been around for 19 years, our business is rooted in data, analytics and insights – we have been playing in prediction, productivity, machine learning and AI for many years. 

Unless you have been hiding under a rock over the last few months, it’s been almost impossible to avoid the hyperbole around AI. But it is really important for us all to remember AI is not (yet) the intelligent machines represented in the entertainment industry – I don’t think I’m plugged into the matrix. So lets set aside any natural fear we likely all hold. 

As its stands today, AI is still a series of deep learning, statistical techniques and not something that actually thinks for itself. AI is ever and rapidly improving, providing us with the opportunity to use it for predictive and productivity purposes. Algorithms are computational problem solving and decision-making techniques. In essence, deep learning machine prediction is - and has been for a long time now - far more accurate and faster than human assessment. The machines can run millions of pieces of data, experiment, strategise and arrive at logical* solutions, all at lightning speed.  

To simplify and summarise, there are 3 ways that AI/ML can be used:  

Improve existing procedures 

Our consultants at Yard have been working with these type of point solutions for many years. It provides the ability to stop spending many hours on manual tasks, to create automated solutions which support, or replace, existing procedures as well as have the ability to be adopted independently.  

A most recent example is the creation of python scripts to pull sentiment analysis for the brands we are working with using Twitter data. This helps understand customer opinions at scale, the topics they are interested in and often the stage in the user journey that is problematic – in customers own words. This can be done manually over many, many hours – but by being able to pull all this information and cluster it in just a few minutes means a much more efficient process to making decisions guided by insight on the data found, in amongst a wider view of user behaviour. 

Create new procedures 

Again, our consultants work closely with clients on innovative solutions, creating new procedures that can be adopted independently without having to change infrastructure. 

One of our global finance clients wanted to reduce average call times to their customer support centre. Our consultants used Adobe Target to test web forms as a proxy for the CMS. By layering regulatory functionality, we reduced the demand on call centres. The new online procedures saved tens of thousands of calls to the call centre as customers were able to resolve their problems online. This efficiency provided significant and ongoing cost savings. This solution continues to be adopted across a suite of products. 

Create new infrastructure 

For 7+ years we have been investing in, and working on our own technology to provide a one-stop full funnel solution for modern marketers. We continue to pioneer the digital marketing world using our AI and data science foundations, which drives better performance and efficiency for our clients. This technology now sits at the heart of all our client work and decision making and has transitioned the working nature of our business. We have historically operated as separate business units under one business roof, with the traditional silos seen by most businesses. But our mission today is to understand each of our client's business objectives and use data, driven by our teams of skilled and experienced consultants to map out, implement and achieve those digital business objectives.  

When it comes to AI, set any fear aside and promote yourself to be the overlord of the machine. Identify areas where AI solutions can help solve bottlenecks and remove time intensive processes. Help cluster information, attribute and manage data faster and better. Use these tools to increase knowledge and productivity. Perhaps our roles can become more interesting through the removal of the mundanity. 

This opinion piece was written entirely by the author, with the assistance of a keyboard on her laptop, with spell and grammar checker…. 


*for the purposes of this piece I am discussing machine generated data sets – this is not a piece on the human nuance of our individual brains and independent thought, which is a monster and emotive topic all in itself! 

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