AiThority Interview Series With Daniel Meler, Co-Founder & CEO at InfiniGrow
The human – owns his or her data, and it’s up to the marketer to cultivate a mutually beneficial relationship with their users in which they agree to share their data.
Know My Company
Tell us about your journey into building technologies. What galvanized you to start/join InfiniGrow?
Since the age of 12, I have been passionate about technology and innovation. I always wanted to know how and why things worked. It became clear to me that I wanted to build technology-driven products when I understood the power of using technology to drive real impact on the world as we know it. To me, finding problems worth solving and identifying/creating/inventing the relevant solutions for them, is fun.
Earlier in my professional career, I worked as a marketing manager and always felt that the critical task of accurately allocating marketing budgets across the right channels involved too much time and guesswork.
With the development of AI technology over the last few years, I believed that this technology could help dynamically identify the right channels and budgets for companies by collecting and analyzing the right data. I built InfiniGrow to address this major pain point for marketers.
What’s InfiniGrow for Marketing and Sales teams? How do you differentiate the company from other AI-based marketing platforms?
InfiniGrow’s AI technology gives marketers confidence knowing that they can optimally plan and continuously allocate their budgets across online and offline channels in order to achieve organizational KPIs and maximize marketing performance.
InfiniGrow’s AI technology recommends which channels to allocate marketing budgets towards and how to allocate it – according to historical performance data, market data and specified company KPIs. In addition, it can recommend previously unused or undiscovered channels and forecast their results/impacts.
Most current solutions are data aggregators that collect a company’s performance data from different sources and display them in a single place. The good ones might be able to show specific trends and insights from the current data. Even this requires deep analysis in order to derive actionable insights, something that requires having analysts or data scientists to properly do.
InfiniGrow was developed for marketers. It’s easy to use and provides recommendations and actionable intelligence which marketers can use without hiring consultants, analysts or data scientists.
How do you prepare yourself for an AI-driven world?
I have always been someone immersed in technology, so I’m excited by the potential of AI. I believe that AI will solve problems which we previously didn’t have the technology to solve or didn’t even think were possible to solve, not just in marketing.
Business-wise, organizations should start thinking about how they can use AI technology to automate processes. At the same time, they need to start thinking about how to build different processes than what they were used to, as AI can ‘think’ differently.
How could AI/ML help businesses optimize Channel Budget Allocation? What are the major pain-points that you solve for businesses?
With more channels than ever, a major pain point for marketers is how to effectively allocate their budget across channels to drive business impact and achieve their defined KPIs.
InfiniGrow automatically collects and analyzes vast amounts of performance and market data and applies advanced AI & machine learning algorithms on top of the collected data to predict outcomes for future marketing activities and investments. Using this, we provide actionable recommendations to marketing leaders on how to optimize their budget allocations to achieve and exceed their KPIs and organizational goals.
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An example of this is a marketing director ready to update his or her cross-channel budgets. He or she can select ‘new scenario’ in InfiniGrow’s planning module and receive actionable recommendations from InfiniGrow’s AI engine in line with their company KPIs. The marketer can then follow some or all of InfiniGrow’s recommendations OR define their own budget updates based on InfiniGrow’s forecasts for each scenario and action, and receive recommendations on how to optimize it on an ongoing basis.
Do you think the world needs better coaching and education on AI and Blockchain technologies?
In general, yes. It’s important that people understand what AI is in practice and its potential.
But on the business side, I don’t think we need coaching or education as much as we need to focus on building easy-to-use, AI-driven systems for people to actually use.
AI is meant to empower professionals and reduce mundane and tedious tasks in their everyday professional life. But making AI applications complex, to the point that it requires significant education and training to understand and operate, defeats this purpose. This is a big reason why we focused on simplicity when building InfiniGrow. We believe that marketing professionals should have powerful yet easy-to-use AI-driven tools at their disposal.
What are the biggest challenges and opportunities in fully-monetizing AI-as-a-Service?
I usually prefer technologies and solutions that are made to solve a focused problem, unlike generic used as ‘AI-as-a-Service’. I think organizations will simply integrate AI and machine learning technologies as a layer into their existing technologies, at least in the near future.
I think some of the hype about AI from a couple of years ago has actually died down, and now we’re at the stage where companies like InfiniGrow are able to demonstrate the true effectiveness of AI technology to solve a range of complex problems, which is the real opportunity.
Challenges certainly do exist. Some professionals will inevitably view AI with contempt out of the fear that it can potentially replace their jobs. Others, in some cases rightfully so, will see AI as inferior to the human touch. As AI progresses, this challenge will be much less of a consideration.
What are your favored predictions and must-watch technologies for 2018-2022? How much of these technologies would be influenced by the adoption of AI/machine learning?
There will be a lot of interesting and innovative uses of AI technology in the future and they can be applied to a huge range of industries and problems.
Marketing Technology (MarTech) will be among the biggest gainers when it comes to AI. Much of modern marketing and the systems that we use are based on data. This is why we have witnessed the rise of the data scientist and analyst in marketing roles. We are trying to compensate for this increased need for data analysis through hiring and expanding skill sets. It is clear though that the long-term answer lies in AI and we have seen companies in the marketing technology space begin to incorporate AI into their products.
As such, I’m really excited by how InfiniGrow is empowering marketers with better AI-driven marketing budget allocation recommendations and think the application of AI to marketing planning and budget decisions will only grow, particularly as budgets continue their upward trend and more marketing channels are added to the mix.
On a humanity-level, I’d like to see AI and machine learning technologies applied to global warming and climate change studies because these technologies are most effective with data-rich challenges, and there is a treasure trove of climate data from the last fifty years collected by most governments and environmental organizations.
AI can be used to help government and industry do a better job of monitoring and controlling emissions.
Other significant opportunities for AI can be found in the transportation and medical fields. Things like autonomous vehicles and early disease detection will become the norm. Eventually, in any industry with lots of data points, AI can help by recognizing hidden patterns, making better decisions, and much more.
Would we see the creation of a specific AI-related Executive/Office – like Chief AI Officer? Or, for maybe blockchain!!!
In the short term, yes. Titles like that are already in use and more will certainly be created and applied to the heads of AI Research departments in the next few years.
I believe that in the long term, however, AI will be part of everything and having a specific title for it will be redundant. It’s kind of like saying ‘mobile marketing’ today. That used to be a specialized concept and field in marketing. Once mobile technology and devices became commonplace, this special designation disappeared.
Today, all marketers consider the impact of mobile on all of their initiatives.
How potent is the Human-Machine intelligence for businesses and society? Who owns machine learning results?
I believe that the user – the human – owns his or her data, and it’s up to the marketer to cultivate a mutually beneficial relationship with their users in which they agree to share their data.
Tell us the “Good, the Bad and the Ugly” of AI – Do you see ‘AI weaponization’ a potential risk to goodwill?
- The good
Companies, like InfiniGlow, who are succeeding to do things which weren’t possible before AI. These are the true innovators in the industry. They have managed to advance the cause of AI among society by building revolutionary technology to address actual pain points and needs.
- The bad
Companies that claim to be using AI technologies when in fact their solutions are just a rules-based, which have been around for years. These companies are just riding the hype of AI and haven’t contributed to developing AI technology. The worst part is that when their products deliver underwhelming experiences, people attribute it to their claimed usage of AI. This tarnishes the image of AI in the minds of people.
- The ugly
Companies trying to apply, and not always succeeding, AI applications to new problems. This can be a messy process and constitutes the ugly. It’s really important for me to emphasize here that the ‘ugly’ is necessary for AI evolution– it’s part of the learning curve. All of the good were once in the ugly phase.
Regarding the whole debate on the weaponization of AI, currently, no one knows what will come of it. It is a period of uncertainty. There are differing viewpoints on the matter. There was the famous “debate” in the media between Mark Zuckerberg, a positive believer in AI and Elon Musk, who warns of its weaponization and irresponsible use.
Personally, I don’t believe we’ll see a weaponization of AI that will risk goodwill. I think that because there will be too much pushback from society and AI technology with the potential for weaponization will inevitably be regulated to some degree.
The Crystal Gaze
What AI/ Marketing automation start-ups and labs are you keenly following?
I’ve been following the development of Mobileye and of AI in the autonomous car space because that’s something that really interests me. A few years ago, autonomous cars seemed tens of years away, and now, we’re much closer to realizing that dream. Google DeepMind is amazing as well.
What technologies within AI/ ML are you interested in?
Obviously, I’m interested in how we can use AI technology to help marketing teams. Humans are not perfect analysts by nature. We tend to let perception and biases creep into our ability to analyze. This even applies to when we analyze data sets.
More technically, I’m interested in advancements in Natural Language Understanding and Generation, Generative Adversarial Networks, and in general, everything that’s related to deep learning.
What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?
- Hire the best people.
- Outsource everything that is not in your core. Usually, your time worth more (Upwork is awesome).
Be goals-oriented. When thinking strategy, always start from the end-goal and reverse/optimize your path to it.
One advice on Team Management –
- Spend more time listening than talking!
While employees do turn to managers for guidance and leadership, a good manager needs to listen closely to really understand the question or problem. Sometimes, the issues go deeper than the words used. When a manager really listens, they will truly understand what’s being asked, and what the problem is. The end result will be that the relationship with the team will be better and stronger. The ability to listen has even wider impacts on the organization as a whole. Empowering employees should be the goal of all managers. By listening and understanding, you empower your employees and this results in an increase in productivity, innovation and organizational morale.
Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
I’m going to say Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. She’s a business/operations person and not a technology person.
For a company like Facebook, who has so much sensitive personal user data and is also one of the world’s largest advertising platforms, it would be interesting to see what the company does with AI and how they apply it across their business.
Thank you, Daniel! That was fun and hope to see you back on AiThority soon.
Entrepreneur and business leader. Passionate about working with the best people and building amazing products that solve meaningful problems. I have big ideas, but who gives a damn, right? The execution of an idea is what makes it valuable. I actively engage both my logical side and my creative side in creating, developing, and nurturing ideas into big projects.
Founder & CEO of InfiniGrow, an AI-driven marketing planning optimization platform. We enable B2B SaaS marketing teams to optimally allocate their budget to achieve and exceed their goals.
InfiniGrow is an AI-driven marketing planning and analytics platform. Invest in the channels and activities that will maximize your ROI.