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Pure Storage serves up a true 1-2-1 content experience with AI-enabled Ideo

How can you hook website visitors with disparate content needs and limited dwell time? Pure Storage turned to Idio’s NLP-based platform to progressively profile content against visitors’ needs. Joel Harrison writes

Production or output is just one aspect of the key content challenges facing B2B companies in 2019 – another could be termed web content deployment, or perhaps content maximisation.

Here’s what this challenge can look like, for B2B tech companies in particular: you have a huge and constantly growing repository of content, you have a broad suite of products and services, and you have a large prospect pool featuring different influencers and decision makers all with different needs, contexts and at different stages of the buying journey. And yet, you only have one website.

So once you’ve successfully enticed prospects to your site, you likely only have one chance, and a limited number of ‘slots’ to serve them up something that piques their interest and makes them want to surrender their data in order to find out more. That’s a big issue if you are serving an expert and highly technical audience in a specialist area, with individuals from a diverse range of roles, all with different content needs.

This was exactly the challenge facing Pure Storage, a fast-growing enterprise data storage solutions provider – it was very successful at driving web traffic, and a strong UX that served up new content to casual visitors in an aesthetically pleasing and easy-to-use way. But the site treated all anonymous visitors the same, serving the same content regardless of the circumstances. Without any insight on the visitors’ needs, history or preferences, Pure Storage was struggling to enable compelling one-to-one engagement by providing the right content to the right prospect at the right time. This was particularly the case for gated content, which potentially moves the visitor through to the next stage of prospect engagement, and therefore an obvious priority.

This is where Idio’s demand orchestration platform came to the fore.

The system uses a form of AI called Natural Language Programming (NLP) to tag Pure Storage’s entire content archive against core topics, and uses this knowledge to progressively profile website individual visitors against core topics to show them more and relevant content options as they move from page to page within the site. The aim is to allow it show them optimum content for their needs and provide a true one-to-one engagement experience.

Kevin Li, chief strategy officer at Idio, explains while content tagging can obviously be done manually, it is slow, subjective and labour intensive, and the result is at best flawed, and at worst potentially highly inaccurate and likely to have missed multiple opportunities. “NLP-based tagging is much more effective than manual tagging… and is a lot less painful!” he explains. “Our platform turns unstructured data into structured data.”

Once Idio’s AI-enabled technology was properly deployed within the Pure Storage tech stack, the marketing team ran an ‘inflight test’ to understand its effectiveness in a live, real time environment. 50% of site visitors were shown content suggestions based on Idio’s profiling and tagging, and the remaining 50% were served manually curated content, without progressive profiling. In terms of clicks to the gated content areas, the results using Idio’s platform demonstrated a 289% improvement for first time visitors, and a 158% improvement for repeat visitors (who were a priority for Pure Storage).

So successful has the deployment of Idio been on improving Pure Storage’s web content results, that it has just deployed the platform for its retargeting activity, and is in discussion about its email marketing. Use of the platform for all of these activities can ultimately contribute to an overall ‘data lake’ through which the vendor claims will provide Pure Storage with a significant additional insight potential. This data can also be ‘daisy-chained’ so that it is cross-referenced to other sources, including marketing automation and CRM, creating a significantly richer picture of customers and prospects.

Li says AI is critical to Idio’s platform, allowing it to address marketing challenges in new ways and achieve new levels of performance on solutions. So is this AI capability and infrastructure a key selling point, when it comes to Idio’s own customers? Not particularly, says Li. He agrees that there is some residual cynicism about AI, “but not about their business challenges that they are seeking to address. At the risk of sounding glib, our customers don’t care if it’s a hamster on a wheel, or AI in the cloud that’s doing the job, as long as it’s meeting their needs.”

AI in B2B: Going beyond the hype

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