AI, Bots, & Automation meet AdTech

Fine Point Grey Allen Klein, Strategic Account Executive with Microsoft Search Advertising James Haagenson, Programmatic Campaign Manager

AI, Bots, & Automation meet AdTech

(30-minute podcast)

This week we explore how Bots, automation, AI, & conversational voice search will fit into our lives & where they meet ad tech. Maureen Jann, Point It’s Director of Marketing is joined by Microsoft’s Allen Klein & our own programmatic advertising expert James Haagenson who also delve into the 4th computing wave (conversation), Microsoft’s CAB framework (Conversation as a platform, Agents like Cortana & Alexa, along with Bots), Amazon Alexa’s skills, smart homes, Facebook’s rebooted trending topics, native ads with Button, and Google’s Penguin 4.0 bringing trust back to SEO.

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Featured Experts:

Allen Klein, Strategic Account Executive Microsoft Search Advertising

James Haagenson, Programmatic Campaign Manager, Point It Digital Marketing

Guests and Experts


Allen Klein, Strategic Account Executive Microsoft Search Advertising

Bio: Allen gets excited about technology, that has always been the case, and puts that passion to work at Microsoft. Allen has worked with SMBs as well as some of the largest brands. In tandem with agencies, Allen aligns with their goals to succeed with pay per click advertising with a focus on Bing Ads. With a background in global customer acquisition programs in online marketing, Allen applies this background to ensure that the campaigns are executed in a cost efficient, high performing manner.


James Haagenson, Programmatic Campaign Manager, Point It Digital Marketing

Bio: James Haagenson is a customer-service focused, strategic brand consultant who is focused on the innovative world of programmatic advertising. James started out serving the Seattle software giant in the Microsoft Retail Stores and now he is an Associate Ad Ops Manager on the Programmatic Advertising and Display Team at Point It Digital Marketing.  In his current role, he helps clients get maximum business results by offering digital advertising strategies and executing on them. James has a degree in Music Technology and Composition from Seattle Pacific University and enjoys playing in his band, the Castle Dwellers.


Maureen Jann, Director of Marketing, Point It Digital Marketing

Bio: Maureen Jann is a veteran B2B marketer whose career in Digital Media has grown up with the Internet. A self-described jill-of-all-trades, Maureen has elevated creative problem solving to an art form and enjoys the daily challenges of driving business results in unexpected ways. Her skills as an entrepreneur, content marketer, creative director and passionate people manager set her apart from the pack. Maureen has worked in every corner of marketing making her a skilled tactical resource as well as a strategic partner.  Recently, she was the captain of the marketing ship for an award-winning professional services firm and is currently creating a content marketing strategy for Point It, a digital marketing agency.



Maureen Jann: Welcome to Fine Point, a weekly digest of digital marketing updates. Each week, we’ll feature industry experts and some interesting guests to talk through what’s happening in digital marketing. I’m Maureen Jann, the director of marketing at Point It, a digital marketing agency here in Seattle and I’ll be your hostess. We have a very special episode today. We have another guest from Microsoft, one of my favorite companies to have in the office. Today we’ll be talking about bots, AI and bears, oh my. Okay, really no bears, but it should be fun. We have Allen Klein, strategic account executive from Microsoft, and James Haagenson a programmatic campaign manager from Point It, from our display team digging into the dovetail between bots automation, algorithms and all kinds of other stuff emerging out of the AI space. Welcome guys.


James Haagenson: Hello.


Allen Klein: Hi, good to see you.


Maureen Jann: Yeah, you as well. Thanks for coming in.


Allen Klein: Pleasure.


Maureen Jann: So strategic account executive. It sounds very fancy, but I don’t really know what it means, so tell us more.


Allen Klein: Absolutely. So I work with our top revenue customers within the west.


Maureen Jann: Hey-o.


Allen Klein: Yeah, right? So, hello Point It. Specifically, I focus with our Bing product from Microsoft and I work to support advertisers that are advertising on Bing, like Point It.


Maureen Jann: Perfect. Well, we’re glad to have you.


Allen Klein: Glad to be here.


Maureen Jann: And we love you extra because you take us to WhirlyBall.


Allen Klein: Absolutely. It’s a world championship really that we participate in.


Maureen Jann: It’s true.


James Haagenson: Yeah.


Maureen Jann: It’s true. I have an excellent flask from it, which I use.


Allen Klein: As one should.


Maureen Jann: Anyway, let’s dig into the headlines. I should have talked to you too James, but we’ve heard from you recently, so we’re good to go.


James Haagenson: Oh, we just talked last week, yeah. Still here.


Maureen Jann: So talking about … And by the way that our guests have a long history together, so may this get a little deep and I might have to cut them off. Just warning everybody that that’s a possibility.


Allen Klein: Absolutely. Bringing you into the fold.


Maureen Jann: Okay. So let’s talk headlines. My network’s talking about Facebook, new perspectives on e-commerce, and the Google Penguin 4.0 update. Man, I am not an expert in Google Penguin 4.0, but we’re gonna give it a shot.


First one is, Facebook reboots trending topics again as fake news festers. This is a Wired article which I found. I frequently skim these articles, but this is not one I skimmed. I read through the whole thing because it was actually pretty interesting. Given everything that’s going around, it’s a challenging space. We’re having a lot of conversations about it. The idea is that Facebook is using, was using a more automated approach to serve news because human curators were swaying the political leanings of the trends that were showing up. That made a mess. So, last month they went at it again, cracking down on fake news by relying heavily on third party fact checkers. It’s interesting to see the way they’re shifting gears right now. The other thing that’s interesting is they’re taking a PR approach to this as well. It’s not just the trends themselves, but they’re also talking about the Facebook journalism project to work with news orgs to offer best practices and recover reputation from spreading disinformation. They’re making a huge push along this. This is a big deal, and I’m glad. It’s been some drama. Right?


Allen Klein: I think it’s really the question of authority in the web, still, you know what I mean? This is web authority 4.0 for all we know, right? It’s just within a portal within Facebook. We’ve experienced it with Google, Yahoo, and Bing as ranking what’s authoritative on the web, and this is showing up in the newsfeed now instead but without higher requirement for fact checking. It’s a pretty interesting, I guess, new era of the same problem.


Maureen Jann: Yeah.


James Haagenson: I mean, and it’s interesting cause it does create a challenge for Facebook that they have to be a judge of what’s fake and what’s not fake, right?


Maureen Jann: Right.


James Haagenson: It’s hard because Facebook is so … There’s so much information that can be proliferated by Facebook, and they have to start to become gatekeepers because of this fake news, which puts them in a policing situation they probably weren’t interesting in in the first place.


Maureen Jann: Yeah. We talked about that last week with Google and them having that same problem. How do they quell … And I’m sure Bing is running into the same things. How do you be the gatekeeper and are you actually verifying facts on these news sites? That puts you in a whole different category outside of what your core competency is. And from a resource perspective, that’s gotta be a real pain. On the other hand, for the quality of user experience, it might be a valuable investment.


Allen Klein: Facebook’s not the only one dealing with it. Facebook, I think, has probably the most PR oriented approach of them all, but Reddit has had the same issue with content as well.


Maureen Jann: Oh really?


Allen Klein: Yeah. How do you police content that is maybe very, very offensive to groups of people or incorrect?


Maureen Jann: Yeah.


Allen Klein: It’s a really big issue that I think will be around for a lot longer.


Maureen Jann: It’s a fine line between censorship and not censorship.


Allen Klein: Yeah, absolutely.


James Haagenson: Well and it’s-


Allen Klein: Big questions we’ve got here.


James Haagenson: Yeah, yeah. And I mean it’s very different from … Now that we can access information so quickly that an idea can spread so, so quickly across the internet that whereas people would have to have their nuances before digital communications were out. But now it’s just spreading, spreading, spreading without any fact checking. It’s new territory because of how far we’ve come in our communication.


Allen Klein: Absolutely.


Maureen Jann: I’ve actually posted things that I found out later were wrong on Facebook, but that first impression is done. That damage is over. It’s already happened, and so even if I go back and correct it or I remove it, it doesn’t matter. I’ve already spread that bad information. And then you feel like a jerk, which I did.


James Haagenson: And the other … This is the scary part, is that now that there is fake information, there’s a question of is the person that’s telling you that it’s fake actually the fake information? People are now just choosing to believe what they want as it comes through, because somebody saying, “Oh, that’s fake,” could also … I saw somebody post a fake news article that the title of the news article was “This is not fake news.” I was like, “Yes, it is fake news.”


Allen Klein: Click bait. Click bait. Yeah. You gotta hand it to Facebook for taking … I wouldn’t say it’s proactive or reactive, I think they’re taking an aggressive approach either way to helping us as a society with this.


Maureen Jann: Yeah, and if you think about … If I were Facebook and somebody said, “I think you had a negative impact on US election,” that’s probably gonna end up being a priority at some point.


Allen Klein: Absolutely.


Maureen Jann: Anyway, interesting stuff. I’m waiting for them to come up with really solid algorithms and force a quality score for the publishers, which I think is legit.


Allen Klein: Quality score, I mean it’s a dirty word in the right circles, you know?


James Haagenson: Yeah.


Maureen Jann: Well, what’re you gonna do?


Allen Klein: Sure.


Maureen Jann: So the next article that I found is out of Fast Company, it’s in their news section. I don’t generally talk about brands, but I thought this was a pretty interesting one. It’s a company called Button, and they’re taking kind of a native ad approach to purchasing. The idea is that you have content or whatever and then you can buy or consume at the moment of need, instead of having to go outside of what you’re reading to go consume. So, for instance, I hate this example that they gave so I’m actually not … I mean, they say … I think a better example would be like if you’re reading an article about Seattle, or a restaurant in Seattle, and you’re not in that restaurant, then you serve them an ad that makes sense to grab an Uber, right? That feels right. I thought that was pretty interesting. The idea is to take them out of the shopping cart, so the start up is breaking e-commerce out of the shopping cart. You don’t have to be in a shopping space, you can be in a shopping mindset. I thought that was fairly interesting.


James Haagenson: Whoa, that’s-


Allen Klein: That’s a new buzzword. Buckle up. 2017 buzzword. Shopping mindset.


James Haagenson: Shopping mindset.


Allen Klein: Well, yeah. It’s like then-


James Haagenson: Yeah. It’s like the idea that Amazon has those buttons where you can just push it and it adds it to your cart.


Maureen Jann: The dash buttons?


James Haagenson: Yeah.


Allen Klein: Same thing for a web page, really.


James Haagenson: Yeah, yeah.


Maureen Jann: Wait. What about a web page?


Allen Klein: Yeah, so to James’ point, the dash button, you’re taking that same concept. You’re in the context of needing more, let’s say, Tide detergent and you’re in your laundry room, press a button. Boom, done. You got more Tide coming. If you’re reading an article about a new restaurant down in Pike Place, hit the button, book Open Table. Done. Those sort of transactional things I think can happen.


Maureen Jann: See, that starts making me think of that one-two-three approach, right? Not only can you book an Open Table, and then on Open Tables you can grab an Uber, right? Maybe it’s that-


Allen Klein: Oh, bundling yeah.


Maureen Jann: That domino effect.


James Haagenson: All of a sudden, you’re in China and you don’t know what happened.


Maureen Jann: And then I booked an airline ticket and then the Uber came and got me.


James Haagenson: Then, heck, you’re in China, so who’s complaining.


Allen Klein: Yeah, that’s fun. I’ll have some dumplings.


Maureen Jann: And then I had a reservation. It was delicious. Then I had to get home and I had work.


Allen Klein: It’s a weird 24 hours, but it was enjoyable.


Maureen Jann: What is this, like an alternative version of the Hangover. You’re like, “What just happened to me?”


James Haagenson: Great food. Yeah.


Allen Klein: We were in a shopping-


James Haagenson: So much marketing, I don’t know. I was in a shopping mindset.


Allen Klein: I don’t know how I ended in China.


Maureen Jann: Oh my gosh, that’s hilarious. Apparently, we’re not alone thinking this is a good idea. They just got 20 million for Norwest Venture Partners. Anyone want to bet on how long it takes for them to get acquired by an ad tech company? I’d say-


Allen Klein: Probably already happened.


Maureen Jann: In talks? They’re like, we’ll fund you, but we expect this all to happen.


Allen Klein: And I think that the idea of being able to take actions when it’s contextually relevant. It’s something we’ll talk about a little bit later, but I think right now they’re experiencing in a webpage format and that’s great. But I think that they could set themselves up having some sort of action repository in the future so people could take actions off anywhere and they just allow publishers to act against that. It could be really interesting.


Maureen Jann: Then we could take that programmatic side, and we could deliver those actions via programmatic audiences and we could just see some stuff.


Allen Klein: Lot of marketing. Then you end up in China.


James Haagenson: Lot of … Lot of … Then you end up in China.


Maureen Jann: And then you were in another version of the Hangover. So, I don’t know. I just thought that was-


Allen Klein: Part Four.


Maureen Jann: Parkour. Yes.


James Haagenson: It’s like Hangover Part Four: Too Much Marketing.


Maureen Jann: Oh, part four.


Allen Klein: Too much, too much marketing. It’s a lesser known hit, but it’ll be a hit. Yeah.


James Haagenson: Yeah.


Maureen Jann: I heard parkour and I got very excited. I didn’t hear part four, so that was fun. A little fun divergence.


Allen Klein: I’m not skilled in that field.


Maureen Jann: Parkour?


Allen Klein: Yeah, no.


James Haagenson: Or that rooftop.


Maureen Jann: Sometimes when I-


Allen Klein: Trashcans. Rooftops, I mean you name it. I’m not good there.


Maureen Jann: Yeah. Sometimes when I have to go up on a curb to go around somebody, I do parkour.


James Haagenson: You feel-


Maureen Jann: You know, as one does.


Allen Klein: In a Prius.


Maureen Jann: Get very excited. I was just walking.


Allen Klein: Oh, okay.


Maureen Jann: Parkour, you know.


Allen Klein: Doesn’t apply when you’re in a car, but that’s cool.


James Haagenson: No, it doesn’t. Yeah.


Maureen Jann: Probably not so much. That’s all right.


Penguin 4.0, bringing trust to SEO industry. One of the big concerns is every time they rollout one of these updates it just decimates sites and then people like us and in-house SEO people are just scrambling. It’s not a phone call you want to make to your client, “Hey by the way, everything’s going to the crapper.”


Allen Klein: No.


Maureen Jann: What I like … When I was reading about this, I thought oh gosh finally Google has found a middle ground here. We were really struggling with having people get really punished, the spamming links. The original Penguin updates would just wipe out entire sites rankings. Penguin 4.0 allows pages that are penalized to recover faster with more refreshes. The new Penguin filter allows for some flexibility, which I thought was really smart.


SEO’s a tough one, but I imagine this is probably an issue across the web. Fraud and the idea around spam and you can even go so much as to tie it back to fake news, but-


James Haagenson: Yeah, well that’s kind of what I was thinking about just in that idea of ranking a publisher of how fake or not fake their news is. If this idea came over where they would rank really high, but then if they started serving more fake news that ranking would go down, so they wouldn’t have as much Facebook.


Maureen Jann: Right?


James Haagenson: But that could start to get real dangerous real quick.


Allen Klein: What’s fake news? Yeah.


James Haagenson: Yeah.


Maureen Jann: How is it more dangerous than a search engine, though, and advertisers? I imagine … They’re even paying for it, right? That’s not even organic. That has got to be tricky business.


James Haagenson: That’s- Yeah.


Allen Klein: It is. Yeah, it is tricky business.


Maureen Jann: Yeah. Well, I’m sure that you run into it at Bing around ad quality and making sure that you’re delivering a good user experience for your clients. How does that get managed?


Allen Klein: I mean, I can’t go into the details of everything-


Maureen Jann: Sure, clearly.


Allen Klein: I don’t even know them, let’s be honest.


Maureen Jann: My IP. We’re not gonna talk about my IP on here.


Allen Klein: No, but I mean we look at it from the user perspective certainly. How fast somebody comes back to the search engine after they’ve clicked on an ad or an organic ranking? Those are basic things, but-


Maureen Jann: Classic bounce rate stuff.


Allen Klein: Yeah, I mean we look at that, but down to the milliseconds, right? We also look at what are these potential matches they could be matching to on the page versus what queries that can go against it? It’s something that’s ongoing. We’ve got a huge team that deals with it. We do apply AI to actually mostly automate how we approach these things, but sometimes you just need a human touch. There’s no is this subjectively, or if it is subjective content on there, stuff like that we really have to evaluate. It’s crazy all the stuff that goes into it. It shows up in quality scoring both Google and Bing, but good content results in good serving time and time again.


James Haagenson: Yeah. We have quite a few partners that work on dealing with fraud and things like that. We outsource that a little bit, just because for display we’re serving their new website, so many new websites coming out every day, that we can’t police all of them ourselves. So we have to hire someone to do it, basically. But-


Maureen Jann: Yeah, I mean the specialists are … That’s a good thing to have a specialist for.


James Haagenson: Yeah, exactly. When it comes down to … We are also checking in, because we can’t just trust them, either. Then it comes down to … You start … The more that I’ve looked at it, and the more that the people on our team look at it, we start to know, okay that doesn’t look right. Why isn’t that … Why did we have a huge spike in clicks? And it might be that we actually found something that was a really great ad unit or something-


Maureen Jann: Nailed it.


James Haagenson: Yeah. More often than not, it’s like oh this is coming from one website on one ad exchange that just … We hit fraud. Our clients know that that’s a possibility. We don’t pay by clicks, so that doesn’t usually affect us, which is nice. We pay by just the amount of impressions that we’re serving.


Maureen Jann: Yeah.


James Haagenson: So we just start to police that way as well. It’s just that idea of the more you look at it, the more you think. And, if it’s not logical, there’s probably something not logical going on.


Maureen Jann: Something’s wrong.


James Haagenson: Yeah.


Maureen Jann: Yeah. Yeah, that makes sense. That actually takes us to our next section where we talking about automation and bots and how, not only is automation making our lives easier, but it’s giving us the room and the space to be more strategic as people and the doers. So we have to spend less time on things like reports or tracking down bad sites, because we have the software to do that. I know that that’s high on Bing’s radar right now.


Allen Klein: Totally.


Maureen Jann: Yeah, so we’re gonna talk a little bit about that, AI and bots, and I imagine some algorithm stuff is gonna come up. It should be a interesting conversation. So let’s dive into that.


Allen Klein: Yeah.


Maureen Jann: Yeah. So James, you want to tell me a little bit about what your experience is with the algorithms and AI and bots? How does that fit in for you?


James Haagenson: Yeah, so the idea of programmatic marketing is that of algorithms. The idea is that we are able to have a computer make decisions on where we’re serving ads in real time. As soon as somebody hits a webpage, we’re able to bid on that person if we want to serve an ad there. We’re able to do that over millions of websites in a second.


Maureen Jann: Sure.


James Haagenson: I don’t have the ability to approve a million bids per second. I don’t have that ability.


Maureen Jann: I’m disappointed. I’m not gonna lie.


James Haagenson: I know. I’ve gotten up to about 500,000, but the million … Getting that second half is the hardest.


Maureen Jann: Deeply disappointed.


Allen Klein: Yeah. Little let down right now, James.


James Haagenson: That’s the idea of programmatic, is that we’re using algorithms to make many, many decisions at one time.


Maureen Jann: Sure.


James Haagenson: We’re using that. We’re also then able to use those computer algorithms to start to measure who is more likely to click on things without … In just a pure mathematical way, which is helpful because there’s so much data coming in that we can’t do that all by ourselves that way as well.


Maureen Jann: Sure.


James Haagenson: Yeah.


Maureen Jann: Yeah. And can you tell us a little bit about you’re here, we’re talking about bots, I know that’s really high on Microsoft’s and Bing’s radar, so tell me what you guys are doing and why this is important to you.


Allen Klein: Yeah, I think last June our CEO Satya Nedella spoke about the future in computing. We look at the 1980s. That was … The PC came out, desktop was a dominant form factor of the 1990s. There was a revolution with the internet, with the webs, the dub dub dubs, as we referred to them.


James Haagenson: Interwebs.


Allen Klein: It spurred just a huge, tremendous growth wave of new businesses. Zappos, Amazon, I guess Zappos was early 2000s, but all these web based business. Google, Yahoo, MSN. They all just came out of that time. Then we move into the 2000s, we have mobile is the dominant form factor for computing. What it’s limiting by these is computing has been defined by a form factor. Very, very limited. Also, the way you interact with the computer. Steve Jobs famously talked about the best stylus for your phone is your finger. That natural language or that natural interface. What we’re seeing being the future of computing is within bots. It’s actually largely conversational. We broadly refer to this as conversations as a platform. It’s CAAP. C A A P.


Maureen Jann: Oh, I’ve never heard of this.


Allen Klein: Yeah, yeah. So we talk about it. We started to talk about it a lot from Bing’s perspective as well as broadly Microsoft’s perspective. Just as desktops, web, and mobile drove the industry forward in these huge waves, this is really the fourth computing wave that we’re expecting to see. I don’t think we’re alone in this. Google’s been very much on this as well. Facebook, and other companies are jumping in to the fray, especially Amazon with AWS and what Alexa can do.


Maureen Jann: Yep.


Allen Klein: We seek into the future moving into this conversational format. Like I mentioned the stylus being … The best stylus being your finger-


Maureen Jann: And plus, who keeps that stylus? Who doesn’t lose that stylus immediately the moment that it hits your hand?


Allen Klein: I don’t need to get into specifics, but in middle school maybe I did have a PDA with a stylus and-


Maureen Jann: Course you did. PDAs are sweet. I mean-


Allen Klein: Yeah, I wasn’t the coolest kid in school.


Maureen Jann: No, no. I wasn’t being facetious. They’re sweet.


Allen Klein: I was the most technically advanced, I will say that. Sure it was the selling point for no one.


Maureen Jann: Hey-o. You’ve got a nice lady friend. All is well.


Allen Klein: Yeah, true. She’s … Yeah, 10 years now. But anyways, what’s interesting about this is with the stylus being a really natural way to interact with a touch device, conversations and natural language, our spoken language, is the most effective way to communicate with a computer in future. We look at it-


Maureen Jann: And the future is now, right?


Allen Klein: And the future was here yesterday, right?


Maureen Jann: Okay, just checking.


Allen Klein: We look at some of the things that we’re doing and we have 98% accuracy in translation, I think now, for Skype from voice to text, which is crazy accurate.


Maureen Jann: That is crazy.


Allen Klein: It’s more accurate than a-


Maureen Jann: Typist?


Allen Klein: Yeah. No, seriously-


Maureen Jann: I believe you.


Allen Klein: I forget the exact metric. You can’t quote me on this, listeners, exactly, but look it up. It’s a Microsoft PR library. But anyways, I can find the exact number, but it’s in the high 90s.


It’s really fascinating in terms of how that as a mode of interaction with computers is changing. What this brings about is CAAP, or conversations as a platform, has three key elements. We have agents, or smart agents. We know Siri, we know Alexa, we know Cortana from Microsoft. You’ve got the humans that are gonna need to be trained in this. That’s what a second actor. And then the third actor is bots. Bots are … I like to refer to them as the business’ AI representation of computing capability. Whatever a business can do on a webpage, they should be able to do through bots. I get asked, “Do you actually see this? You know, are people doing this?” Well, actually more people use messaging apps a day than they use computers a day. Three billion people use messaging apps every day.


Maureen Jann: Ah. You’re talking about Snap and-


Allen Klein: Yeah, we’re talking about WeChat, Messenger, WhatsApp. I was in China-


Maureen Jann: And there’s Facebook Messenger on top of it, and SnapChat. Okay, yeah.


Allen Klein: Yeah, Telegram, Twilio. I mean, there’s tons and tons of these canvases where people are interacting. I was surprised, I went over to China for working on this project actually, and the amount of people … Nobody really uses Facebook in China. They all use WeChat. So it’s messaging and operates with this board idea, how you actually communicate with strangers within similar interest set. I think of flashbacks to Yahoo chatrooms, in terms of people finding similar interests. That’s their primary social network over there is WeChat. It’s a messaging app. It is not social media network as we would define that in the US.


Maureen Jann: That’s interesting. Yeah.


Allen Klein: But think about that. Three billion people use chat apps every day. The ability for bots to interact within this is becoming very, very meaningful.


Maureen Jann: Give me an example.


Allen Klein: Yeah, totally. We released RSTKs for Cortana just about two months ago, I think-


Maureen Jann: And what is that?


Allen Klein: Yeah, software development kit.


Maureen Jann: Ah, got it.


Allen Klein: Yeah. Totally. Microsoft speak.


Maureen Jann: You and your fancy Microsoft talk.


Allen Klein: We released a couple of key milestones in this journey. The first one … The most important one is the bot framework, and I’ll get into that in a second. But in terms of an example, this is like super nerd talk. This is something that I love to talk about.


A core example would be I hope in my car and Cortana’s in my car, cause it’s a smart car. Not an actual Smart car brand, but an intelligent AI car. I’m driving into my office and I say, “Hey Cortana, what does my schedule look like?” Now because Cortana is connected to Office 365, it knows my schedule for the day, says, “Kay, there’s a couple meetings you have,” and it’s also connected to Facebook, so it knows it’s one of my coworkers birthdays. It tells me that while I’m in the car.


So I say, “Oh, you know what? Like, I need to get,” say it’s Lance, “I need to get Lance some donuts for his birthday,” cause he loves donuts. Now Cortana, because it knows my route into work, could find a bot that represents a donut shop. Maybe Krispy Kreme’s got a bot, maybe Mighty-O’s got a bot, or Top Pot’s got a bot, and so it says Top Pot’s on my way to work. It says, “Hey Top Pot, can you have a dozen donuts ready for Allen in eight minutes and prepay for those with his credit card on file?” My car, plugged with my AI, is routing me now to Top Pot, it’s paying for the donuts in advance for me because it has my credit card on file, and now I’m able to get those donuts and just walk out the door and make Lance happy. I look like I remembered something. Everybody looks good.


That’s how it all started to show up. These conversational canvases. I think, largely, we get fixated in like, it could be a messaging app, it could be completely voice. I think this is where Amazon’s really, really thoughtful about it in terms of they use skills with Alexa, right? You control your entire home through voice, and that’s a conversation.


James Haagenson: That’s a huge thing that I’ve seen potential for the Xbox, and I’m sure that this is … Something like this is coming, but the Xbox has a connect and when you walk into the room, it recognizes you by your facial features. So it’ll log you in and say, “Hi James.” Which is super cool.


Allen Klein: Super cool. I love it.


James Haagenson: Although, sometimes it’s been thinking that I’m my brother, which is funny. It’ll log me in and then immediately after log my brother in, who’s living 200 miles away. It’s cool because I’m thinking about, okay. So I walk in, it sees me, and then Cortana, if it had control over my Philips Hue light bulbs, could turn the lighting on to the room exactly how I want it to be, because I’ve already set those settings up. And then-


Maureen Jann: So you don’t need to be Bill Gates, is what you’re saying?


James Haagenson: Exactly.


Maureen Jann: And have music follow you, and the lighting to be right.


James Haagenson: Exactly. You don’t. No.


Maureen Jann: I mean, that used to be a thing, right?


James Haagenson: Right.


Allen Klein: You did it, yeah. That’s crazy.


Maureen Jann: Your urban legends about Bill Gates’ house and how that stuff follows him all over the house.


James Haagenson: Yeah.


Allen Klein: Yeah. He was 20 years ahead of the future.


James Haagenson: Yeah, so I mean it’s just-


Maureen Jann: He also had endless funds, so that probably helps.


Allen Klein: I mean, potato-


Maureen Jann: Tomato, tomato.


Allen Klein: Yeah, yeah.


James Haagenson: It’s just those ideas of that you can just be … Things can be automated like that now. It’s not far away.


Allen Klein: You know, I think in a lot of part of that, what we need to think about as marketers is there will be … I think there’s gonna be really near term scenarios that are very valuable. The smart home example, a lot of value right now. As we start to change how we interact with our computers, as marketers we need to think about how we’re going to be in those places. In the instance where I’m trying to get donuts on my way into work, if there’s four places that sell donuts on my way into work, who wins?


Maureen Jann: Well, it just depends on who had the bot, right?


Allen Klein: Who had the bot, exactly. I’m not gonna be fixed to only using Facebook. I’m not gonna be fixed to only using Gchat or WeChat. I’m gonna exist everywhere in terms of what I … Not personally, but in terms of how I interact with people in my life or computers in my life, there will be multiple different canvases that I will interact with. I think what’s important here, and maybe a soft plug, maybe not. I don’t know. I talked about bot framework and what this is, so if you don’t have a bot you can’t exist in this future, right? The challenge is right now, how do you deploy that bot in multiple environments? That’s what our bot framework does. If you build your bot with our bot framework, our connector will deploy it to eight plus channels. It’s the same technology and it deploys to eight channels, instead of if you develop only on Facebook, it stays in Facebook. But if you develop with the bot framework and the bot connector, it goes to Twilio, it can go to SMS, it can go to Telegram, Facebook, as well as Skype, and then it will line up with Cortana in the future.


Maureen Jann: And I think that really speaks to just integration being key to long term marketing success. If you aren’t connecting with existing systems, the possibility of people investing in new software, unless there’s some sort of very obvious magic, you’re just gonna lose ’em. You’re gonna lose ’em, because we already have systems as marketers and we need to be able to incorporate.


Allen Klein: Yeah.


James Haagenson: Yeah.


Maureen Jann: Very cool.


Allen Klein: Future’s gonna be different.


Maureen Jann: Yeah, the future is now.


James Haagenson: Yes it is.


Maureen Jann: Very-


Allen Klein: [crosstalk 00:28:10].


Maureen Jann: I find them a little creepy, to be honest. I would be lying if I didn’t. I say it regularly enough on this podcast. Home assistants are creepy.


Allen Klein: Oh man, I love it.


Maureen Jann: But I think as much as that … Well, I mean having them collect all that information is pretty weird. And the more that we’re learning about that, the weirder that gets. So, I don’t know. My two cents. I think I’m old. I think I’ve just made sure that I am of the old camp. Get off my lawn, you know.


Allen Klein: Sure.


Maureen Jann: So, all right, well. Thank you guys for coming. We have to wrap up cause we have just talked ourselves right through 30 minutes.


Allen Klein: That went way too fast.


James Haagenson: Yeah that, seriously, that was … What happened?


Maureen Jann: Yeah.


Allen Klein: We’re in the future now.


James Haagenson: I was in a shopping mindset and now I’m here, I don’t know how I got here.


Maureen Jann: We are in the future.


Allen Klein: Are we in China?


Maureen Jann: Dude. Hashtag shopping mindset.


James Haagenson: Yeah.


Allen Klein: Yeah.


Maureen Jann: Yeah, I love that. Well, now we’ve seen the future. So much uncertainty and opportunity, for sure. So, thanks both of you guys for coming in. It was really fun.


Allen Klein: Thank you.


James Haagenson: Yeah.


Maureen Jann: Hopefully we’ll have you back soon. It’s always interested to learn what big tech is doing around ad tech and how that dovetails with all the stuff that we do and all of the technology that we’re experimenting with. For all of you guys out in podcast land, it’s time for us to sign off, so thanks so much for listening. I’m Maureen Jann, and this is Fine Point Digital Marketing Updates. You can find us on Twitter for our latest content, podcasts, and more. Subscribe to our podcast via your favorite podcast distribution source, including the iTunes store. We’re looking forward to next week. We’re gonna have more great guests. So for now, stay on point.



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