News

Enhancing customer experience through artificial intelligence

  • Date

    Mon 9 Dec 19

Henrik Profusion

A new partnership will use artificial intelligence (AI) to empower businesses and charities to make smarter, more targeted campaigns.

The second Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between London-based data science and marketing services company Profusion and experts at the University of Essex will be focused on the development of a new product called AI Marketer.

With Innovate UK’s flagship programme, KTPs connect businesses and social enterprises with research expertise, cutting-edge technology and graduate talent at UK universities.

The 32-month long KTP aims to deliver valuable insight and reduce costs for businesses and organisations, particularly those across the third sector including charities.

This new marketing tool will use artificial intelligence to streamline campaigns for customers and provide more accurate and timely recommendations for an improved customer experience.

Academics involved in the project include Professor Berthold Lausen, from the Department of Mathematical SciencesProfessor Ansgar Scherp and Dr Tony Russell-Rose from the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, and Dr Maged Ali from the Essex Business School.

Professor Lausen said: “Our first KTP with Profusion was a huge success and we are looking forward to this second project building on this. We really enjoy working with Profusion to contribute AI and data science that can be used to solve business challenges. The KTP provides many opportunities for our students as well.”

AI Marketer will be based on three algorithms which will help identify which customers are most likely to make a purchase, which ones are at risk of ‘churning’ and never coming back, and which customers are worth nurturing because they have a high likelihood of becoming a highly valued customer.

Further down the line, the project team hopes to build more modules – an optimizing tool to figure out the best time and day to send a marketing campaign, a nudge module to assess what is the next best action to recommend to the customer and a Recency, Frequency and Monetary Value (RFM) module to divide customers into groups to identify frequent shoppers.

AI Marketer will also aim to empower charities to raise money for valuable social and environmental causes by enabling them to better target and evaluate potential donors.

Essex graduate and Head of Data Science at Profusion Henrik Nordmark said: “We are very excited here at Profusion to start this next phase of our collaboration with Essex.

“We will be using the most state-of-the-art statistics and machine learning combined with UX expertise to deliver a product that is truly useful, easy to use and that empowers marketers to make use of artificial intelligence and data science without having to be a technical expert.

“We are taking one step further to help democratise AI.”

After completing an MSc in Statistics and Computer Science in 2013, Henrik joined Profusion as a graduate employee.

Essex has a long history of collaboration with the company, and their first KTP won Best KTP Award of 2018 at the University of Essex’s KTP Winter Celebration and the Research Impact Award for Best Research Impact in Enterprise and Innovation.

Robert Walker, Head of Business Engagement at the University of Essex, said: “I am excited by the potential this partnership with Profusion is likely to have on the third sector via the further development of an AI marketing tool. Our second KTP with Profusion; we will combine Academics with expertise across User Experience (UX), Natural Language Processing (NLP) and our Essex Business School to ensure the research within the partnership has a strong chance of commercialisation and economic impact. At Essex, our portfolio of industrial collaborations under the AI umbrella continues to grow with sectors ranging from marketing, healthcare, legal and financial services."

Many Essex students have worked as interns for Profusion, with some becoming full and permanent members of staff after graduating.

Recent Essex MSc Data Science graduate, Juan Pablo Equihua will be working as KTP research associate with Profusion and academics from the Department of Mathematical Sciences, the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering and Essex Business School on AI Marketer.

Essex is home to the Institute for Analytics and Data Science and is one of the top three universities in the UK for its number of Innovate UK-funded projects, and ranks as the leading university in the East of England and London for KTPs.