Interview with Yaagneshwaran Ganesh, Director of Marketing at Fiind
Know My Company
Tell us about your journey into Artificial Intelligence? How exciting is it to be a part of an AI-driven marketing technology company?
I’ve been into martech for quite some time because it has been so exciting to see how technology, marketing, and management have come together. All of us have touched AI in some way in our lives without actually labeling it AI. For example, your shopping on an e-commerce sites uses machine learning to remember your preferences and improves your buying experience by shortening your path to the product you are looking for.
I wanted to build a product that bridged the gap between marketing and sales, especially that would make marketing more relevant to sales and in turn, helps sales build relevant conversations and better experiences for B2B customers. That’s when I met the founders of Fiind, who had built a platform, using AI, way better than what I had in mind. So, there was a natural sync in our vision and thus started my marketing journey with Fiind. Ever since then, it has been an amazing journey be it within the organization or learning from the customers.
What are the core tenets of your AI roadmap? How do you intend to expand your horizon to meet B2B marketing goals?
In my view, a roadmap should never be like a movie shooting where the director goes with a full-bound script. We like to take a direction that we all believe in and are flexible and open to newer dimensions that open up on our way. Putting that into context, we do not limit our AI roadmap with hyper-personalization or helping our customers close sales more deals using our platform. We are headed in a direction where we would like to enable B2B marketers and sellers with better technology in their professional journey.
Define your ‘Ideal Customer’ profile? How do you leverage predictive analytics and AI to zero onto your customers?
We don’t see ourselves as software platform providers alone. We see ourselves and our platform as a concierge for B2B marketers and sellers. Our journey typically starts with a marketing user looking to execute ABM or trying to identify their prospects based on their buying signals, etc. and then expands to the sales team who often use our platform for sales intelligence at the account level and to extent of knowing what to pitch to a prospect, when and why.
How do you consume all the information on AI and new-age automation technologies?
Staying relevant to the customer is the backbone of any business. We have a strong team that has enjoys keeping an eye on technology advancements, and our biggest source of strength is that our R & D team headed by Karthik Thenalur, who apart from being one of our founders, is a technology visionary. Also, our relationships with industry analysts have helped us stay on course. At Fiind, we have some amazing customers, who have formed a Customer Advisory Board (CAB) for Fiind and go out of their way to ensure a successful journey for us.
With AI, there is another interesting dimension to adoption – how much of ML is personalization and when it gets creepy? With GDPR around the corner, access to customer data is going to be another challenge and a compliance factor
In 2018-2020, what are the biggest challenges in the adoption of AI/ML? How do you see the Predictive Analytics market evolving with better data management platforms?
Adoption is always going to be a challenge to handle for any tech company. Especially for a marketer or a seller, they don’t want to be logging into too many platforms.
In fact, the market is moving towards consolidation as well as integration with multiple third-party platforms. With AI, there is another interesting dimension to adoption – how much of ML is personalization and when it gets creepy? With GDPR around the corner, access to customer data is going to be another challenge and a compliance factor.
Predictive analytics as a market has already evolved and the market is looking beyond past data. The martech environment is moving towards situational awareness and real-time context-rich insights. The quality of data and its relevance is at the heart of data management platforms today, where continuous data enrichment is absolutely a must.
What technologies would be most useful in providing legitimacy to behavioral data science, AI/ML, and overarching technologies?
There are several kinds of tools that offer behavioral information ranging from Google Analytics to CRM tools to Artificial Intelligence. The choice of technology depends on the information sought. For example, as a marketer or a seller, if someone wants to reach out to the right customer at the right time with the right message, AI comes into play. Deep learning, Machine learning, and NLP are subsets of AI that have their own applications in relevant scenarios. In fact, we are in an age where the industry players such as IBM, Amazon, and Microsoft are opening up their AI engines for developers to build their custom solutions leveraging the AI platforms to solve the last mile problems.
How do you make AI deliver economic benefits as well as social goodwill?
In many ways, AI and machine learning have already changed the way we harness the power of data to produce actionable insights, giving us new tools to achieve goodwill in the form of improved customer experience, hyper-personalization, relevant go-to-market inputs, etc.
Machine learning provides you the insights and predictions to build relevant conversations with your prospect and AI augments your decision, thereby driving better results for both you and your customer, thus enabling you to take customer engagement to the next level. When you can augment actions that add value, the economic value is automatic.
Tell us about your AI research programs and the most outstanding digital campaign at Fiind or elsewhere?
As a technology company, R&D is our backbone. We have an exclusive team that experiments on new product ideas and are encouraged to become product owners as it takes off, thus building a strong intrapreneurial culture.
In fact, sometimes the best of campaign ideas come from non-marketing teams. In one such experiment, using our own platform (‘drinking our own champagne’ as we call internally) we got 17 ripe leads with whom we scheduled a meeting during a 2-day third party conference, without even putting up a booth. It was an idea suggested by a developer, who knew exactly what signals to look for, based on his experience in delivering projects. In fact, we encourage our teams to spend 20% of their time on pet projects and experiments.
What is your vision in making AI technology more accessible to local marketing communities? Do you provide any teaching or learning programs on AI for marketing and sales?
Technology is and will continue to be accessible to all, given the way it is proliferating. There is still a myth that AI is only for enterprises or companies with big budgets, which we have consistently tried to break by getting into the SMB market, apart from catering to enterprises. Also, we have our tie-ups with universities and institutions, where our data science experts conduct courses as part of the university curriculum.
For sales and marketing teams in organizations, we have a strong onboarding program and a customer success team, that takes them through the initial phases, ensuring they get the maximum out of Fiind’s platform. We’ve seen that this often helps move from insights to execution in short spans, resulting in 2x or more conversions.
The Crystal Gaze
What AI start-ups and labs are you keenly following?
There are several interesting start-ups in the field of AI, each catering to specific industry sectors. The start-ups that have excited me the most are Quantifi and DemandJump, majorly because they cater to the marketing audience.
What technologies within AI and computing are you interested in?
Machine learning and conversation technologies have been on my radar for a few years now. But, right now, I’m very much fascinated by quantum computing.
As an AI leader, what industries you think would be fastest to adopting AI/ML with smooth efficiency? What are the new emerging markets for AI technology markets?
I would think AI would be adopted by almost every industry in a few years – but for now, the biggest adoption of AI is happening in healthcare, BFSI, Marketing. On one hand, you have IBM Watson offering menus based on recipes, and on the other Google lens sharing insights about a picture and AI is right now even equipped to identify cardio symptoms in the preliminary stages. So, the opportunities and possibilities are limitless. For us at Fiind, we believe in enabling B2B marketers and sellers using our platform to guide their next course of action to drive desired results.
What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?
Being part of a start-up, the biggest shortcut I’ve learned is to reduce dependencies. It is the biggest productivity hack, I’ve experienced.
Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
Thank you, Yaagneshwaran! That was fun and hope to see you back on AiThority soon.
Yaagneshwaran Ganesh (aka “Yaag”) is among the Top 100 global Martech influencers, Director of Marketing at Fiind Inc., an artificial intelligence platform B2B marketers and sellers, a TEDx speaker, member of Forbes Council and author of five books, with the latest one titled “Syncfluence”.
He has been a speaker across business forums such as CII Young Indians, Chamber of Commerce Netherlands, Kerala Startup Mission (Initiative by Govt of Kerala), and academic institutions such as IITs, Saxion University of Applied Sciences and more.
Fiind helps businesses find their customers efficiently using machine learning – by enabling marketers and sellers tune into signals that customers send prior to buying. Fiind’s library of over 100 million signals serves as a Customer GPS with answers to questions such as who is likely to buy (and what and why). The digital signals process data, structured and unstructured, social and nonsocial, for actionable insights. They are available anywhere, anytime on everyday tools such as CRM, Email and Browser – to help win the right customer at the right time with the right message.