Whether it's by managing email correspondence, helping provide customer service, or finding the ideal job candidate, AI is becoming integral to the way companies do business. On Wednesday, Signpost, the Google-backed startup, announced that it will join the fray by unveiling its own AI business tool—a marketing platform called Mia.
According to Stuart Wall, founder and CEO of Signpost, Mia will "use AI to drive better results." The software, which draws on a data set of 15 million transactions, aims to change how businesses will interact with consumers by tailoring efforts to specific customers.
Mia, Wall said, will be able to help businesses without a sales team—which is the majority of businesses. "A lot of businesses have to upload all their own customer information, which is a lot of manual work," said Wall. "Mia automates that process, keeps track of every customer, prospective customer, and taps into email and transaction data, so there's a perfect customer record that's cross-referenced and always up to date."
There are services like this that exist—HubSpot and Salesforce, to name two—but Wall sees Mia as standing apart. "There's a category of software-as-service tool that provide critical functionality for businesses by tracking customers and providing targeted marketing," said Wall. "But they're hard to use."
Instead, he said, "Mia has the potential to automate these software-as-service platforms that's more effective than the theoretical perfect human user and removes a significant amount of friction."
The way Mia does this, he said, is by being "subtle." Businesses will go through a 20-minute setup process, but after that, they don't need to interact with Mia. "The best AI gets technology out of the way," said Wall. "Mia is in the background, maintaining a perfect customer record and using data to drive marketing results."
In traditional marketing, creating a customer list and marketing campaign that includes objectives, manually-written emails, etcetera can be time-consuming; Signpost's Mia does that automatically.
"Ninety-two percent of US consumers look at online reviews when they make decisions about businesses," said Wall. "One of the best ways to capitalize on this is by asking existing clients to share feedback. Once we identify this objective, Mia will reach out to customers of the business at the right time to get them to write a review."
As for the big questions: will Mia replace marketers? Or supplement existing marketing teams?
"They're going to be disrupted," said Wall. "Mia automates a lot of manual effort in a way that's more effective and requires fewer marketers."
- 7 trends for artificial intelligence in 2016: 'Like 2015 on steroids' (TechRepublic)
- The original robot "butler": What Zuckerberg can learn from Carnegie Mellon's HERB (TechRepublic)
- Why robots still need us: David A. Mindell debunks theory of complete autonomy (TechRepublic)
- How AI and automation could hollow out the US job market (TechRepublic)
- Q&A: A powerful look at the future of AI, from its epicenter at Carnegie Mellon (TechRepublic)
- Smart machines are about to run the world: Here's how to prepare (TechRepublic)
Hope Reese has nothing to disclose. She doesn't hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Hope Reese is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers the intersection of technology and society, examining the people and ideas that transform how we live today.