Knorr, a food product division of Unilever, recently introduced a marketing engagement tool called Chef Wendy, a “fully automated human-like system able to engage in natural language conversations with customers via SMS.”
Chef Wendy talks to Knorr customers, provides new recipe ideas and suggests recipes based on the ingredients that customers say they already have in their pantries. At the same time, the system creates a unique profile for each customer, continuously learning about their individual preferences and dietary requirements. As a result, when customers engage with Chef Wendy over time they experience a ‘unique and tailored conversation’ as they would with a real human friend.
Chef Wendy is an example of an increasing trend toward personalized marketing. Unlike traditional approaches driven by mass messaging, personalized marketing combines a deep understanding of a customer’s wants, needs and desires with timely and tailored delivery of relevant content, products and services. Advances in technology enable marketers to offer such personalization at scale. Social media, innovative automated communications platforms, big data analytic tools and the ubiquity of mobile devices make it possible for providers to interact with large customer bases in highly targeted ways at relatively low cost.
We believe that this approach to marketing will gain traction in financial services as well as packaged consumer products. It will also substantially impact both product design and delivery in banking, insurance and investment management.