Adgorithms LLC’s artificial intelligence marketing platform Albert enables lingerie brand Cosabella to make fast decisions, says CEO Guido Campello.
That’s particularly useful for a fashion retailer that needs to swiftly move to avoid missing out on trends and to capitalize on opportunities that it might otherwise miss. For instance, it recently found that certain keywords such as “pajamas” and “lingerie” drove particularly strong returns in the middle of the of the night or that consumers are looking for, but fail to find or buy, certain products with a category such as maternity lingerie.
“Artificial intelligence enables us to better understand how we can drive sales of our brand collection,” Campello says. “An agency doesn’t enable you to run to dig as deep as quickly as AI.”
After years of working with a marketing agency, the retailer last October turned to Albert to help it manage its marketing and media buying. The retailer made the change because its sales suddenly slowed after years of double-digit growth. After Cosabella input the key performance indicators it was looking for, the channels it sought to compete in, budget parameters and creative materials, the system drew on the retailer’s customer data to quickly identify user behavior patterns across paid search and social media. Those insights enabled the vendor offer the retailer suggestions for how it optimize and scale its campaigns, he says.
At the same time, the retailer enabled Albert to take what Campello calls “substantiated, pragmatic risks.” “It’s like we have someone on staff who can process data incredibly quickly,” he says. “That enables us to make our ad spend as efficient as possible.”
Albert’s ability to run highly targeted campaign tests enables the retailer to move fast and ensure the retailer is telling “different stories to different customers at the right time,” he says. It can talk about a maternity lingerie campaign on Monday, develop the creative the following day and have results it can analyze by Friday. That’s a far cry from the agency the retailer used to work with that would take up to five or six months to develop a campaign, Campello says.
The first month that Cosabella began working with Albert, the technology helped it quickly and efficiently scale its ad campaigns. The effort helped the retailer reduce its ad spending by 12%, which enabled it to rapidly scale its ad spending back once it found what worked. Within the first few months, the retailer produced a 336% return on ad spend, and a 155% increase in revenue that it directly attributed to Albert.
Even though Cosabella has given Albert some leeway to manage make some decisions, it requires some supervision. For example, when the retailer started working with the technology it found that it was too efficient with its ad spending. That is, it was acting too conservative with its budget. “When you’re dealing with an agency, it is more than happy to increase your budget,” Campello says. “But Albert could see that if we wanted to increase our spending we’d be less efficient with our ad dollars. We had to make the call that that was OK.”
But even with that supervision, Albert has enabled Cosabella to move its marketing in-house without it having to hire any new talent. Its 10-person marketing department produces its creative in-house. It then feeds Albert images and copy, which the technology can mix and match, as it dynamically serves it to consumers.
Despite the gains Cosabella has made thanks to artificial intelligence, Campello believes that specialized agencies can still play a role in retailers’ marketing efforts, which is why he plans to hire three or four agencies throughout this year that have specific specialties, such as maternity or plus-size, to bolster Albert’s effect.
“While Albert can handle the day-to-day collection and reporting processes, the agencies can add a human dimension, such as content development,” he says. For instance, an agency could help the retailer offer a sports bra tie with a gym that’s running a particular campaign.