According to the German Economic Institute, there are to date 164 AI startups in Germany, most of which are based in Berlin, which is expected, considering it’s known as the Silicon Valley of Europe. I had the opportunity to learn about some of them in person at Asia-Pacific Week 2019 Berlin. AI startups cover a variety of industries, but of course, I am most interested in AI application in the marketing industry and the different uses and opportunities it presents. Even within the marketing industry, AI applications can cover a wide variety of purposes. For example, who recalls the Big Data buzz a few years ago? Well, having access to large sets of data is useless without the ability to accurately draw insights from it… That’s where machine learning, a subset application of AI, comes in. Without going into too many technical details, AI-based machine learning algorithms process Big Data, performing Data Labeling/Segmentation, Data Analytics, and Scenario Simulation, to create a big picture with insights and patterns that are sorted out, categorized, and packaged into a digestible form.
Apart from the wealth of knowledge and contacts that I got from attending APW2019, I got my hands on The Hundert Startups of Germany 2018, which, as the title implies, introduces a 100 of the most promising startups in Germany as of 2018. So without further ado, and in no particular order, here are 5 German startups from 2 use cases of AI in the marketing industry that I believe are worth checking out and learning about:
Perhaps one of the most mainstream and familiar use case of AI in Marketing are Chatbots. Chatbots aren’t new; they’ve existed since perhaps E.L.I.Z.A in 1966, or if you were like me, you’d recall from your teen years, messing around with A.L.I.C.E from 1995. But of course, the most modern depiction of intelligent chatbots would be Siri, followed by Google Now, Alexa and the army of FB Messenger Bots. The popularity of chatbos in modern business was catapaulted with the use of AI and machine learning, which made them not only an exciting way to engage with customers but an effective method to streamline some customer service processes, and ultimately increase sales. Capitalizing on the rising success of bots of customer service are these German startups:
Solvemate is a quick to setup and easy to use SaaS platform that uses machine learning to automate 24/7 customer service. What makes Solvemate special? Their virtual agents use only multiple-choice questions to dynamically generate decision trees. With this unique approach, Solvemate clients can reach an average self-service rate of 83% in less than three months, and offer the right solutions in just 12 seconds and in multiple languages.
Twyla positions itself as the world's first professional conversation design software for chatbots. It doesn’t simply give businesses access to an AI-equipped chatbot, but the ability to train it by designing conversational patterns with their own terminology and vocabulary. This gives marketers the chance to personalize a brand’s chatbot to be an accurate extension of the brand’s voice and personality.
Mesaic is a platform for high mobile engagement through messaging, that leverages the power of automation and AI to transform customer interactions into personalized experiences and continuous relationships across all touchpoints. Beyond chatbots, it specializes in omnichannel and e-commerce solutions that integrates all customer service needs such as browsing products, concluding transactions with payment, and rating.
This may be a lesser mainstream use case of AI in marketing, but certainly a very important one. Unsurprisingly, advanced data analysis is the #1 AI-tech expected to make an impact on the industry, with 63% of market researchers saying AI will take over data analysis within 10 years, according to a report by Qualtrics. Although 75% of market researchers believe that data produced by AI will be more accurate than it is today, only 40% expect it to explain survey findings as well as humans within 10 years. This sentiment was shared by Dr. Feiyu Xu, Vice President of Lenovo Group and Head of AI lab of Lenovo Research, in her presentation in APW2019. That’s exactly what makes this a good niche market to invest in now, and why these German startups deserve a shout-out:
This startup, while also revolving around customer service, focuses real-time conversation analytics and coaching. It aims to improve the communication skills of sales and customer support agents, rather than replace them with chatbots. It empowers them by recording customer calls for playbacks, and analyzing them with a clever combination of machine learning algorithms, big data and communication know-how to improve crucial KPIs (conversion rate and C-Sat score). It also gives feedback to the agents right after each call to level up their communication skills with features such as blacklisting keywords from annoying speech habits, and advising on talk-to-listen ratio, speech rate and volume.
Tawny is a pioneer in the field of multimodal AI-powered emotion analytics as it specializes in Emotion AI to “make the world’s products, services and experiences more empathetic”. It enables the analysis of human data from different sensors (e.g. physiological, video, text) to detect emotions and affective states using recognition algorithms powered by affective computing. Among other applications such as the development of tailor-made algorithms for the Automotive industry and detection of athletes’ states to predict future performance, emotion detection allows the assessment of user behavior that can aid User Experience designers and market researchers.
Beyond the marketing industry, AI has a major impact on the business models of German startups, especially considering 31.6% of them are in the information and communication technology. While 83% of startups sales are made in Germany, 95.4% of these startups plan to target the European market in the future, with other markets being a much lower priority., according to the Deutscher Startup Monitor 2018. So while AI German Startups may not be up to compete on a global scale, they can still serve as interesting case studies for the application of AI in marketing.
What startups from your country do you find most inspiring? Tag them in the comments!
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