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Asaf JacobiPresidentHarley-Davidson, New York City
Lookalike modeling is a key component of lead generation, and for motorcycle brand Harley-Davidson, the tactic now goes hand in hand with artificial intelligence (AI). In March 2016, the company began working with machine learning technology provider Adgorithms to grow its ecommerce reach and hasn’t looked back since. Asaf Jacobi, president of Harley-Davidson’s New York City division, spoke with eMarketer’s Maria Minsker about the brand’s experience with AI and discussed the results he has seen so far.
eMarketer: What are some of the business challenges that drove you to try artificial intelligence?
Asaf Jacobi: One of the biggest challenges of having a business in New York City is that it’s a very competitive environment. To get the response rate brands want, they have to reach as many people as possible. That’s where artificial intelligence comes in. I started reading about how artificial intelligence boosts online marketing reach, and contacted Adgorithms. We started using their platform, Albert, for our ecommerce ads in March.
eMarketer: How does artificial intelligence expand your ad reach?
Jacobi: Adgorithms can build lookalike models through machine learning. The technology can automatically detect the characteristics of existing customers and build an online profile for a lookalike prospect. Half of our leads now come from lookalike models.
eMarketer: Can you share some ROI [return on investment] results from your experience with artificial intelligence?
Jacobi: Within three months of using Adgorithms, average daily website visits skyrocketed by 566%. We saw an increase of 800% leads per month in March—15% were lookalikes. By May, we saw an increase of 2,930% leads per month, 50% of which were lookalikes. Currently, we attribute 40% of Harley-Davidson New York motorcycle sales to Albert, Adgorithms’ artificial intelligence tool.
eMarketer: Do you have a designated team of marketers that handles artificial intelligence for the brand?
Jacobi: That’s the beauty of it. We have one person here on the team that is responsible for it. That’s it. With that said, we’re in the process of hiring a team of approximately six new employees and building a call center to manage the deluge of potential new customers.
eMarketer: Besides lookalike modeling, are there other business challenges that artificial intelligence helps you overcome?
Jacobi: Albert is always providing feedback about our content. For example, how are certain words or fonts performing on a banner ad? What size should the banner be? Albert not only determines when and where we should display content, but also provides feedback on how that content is performing.
eMarketer: What advice do you have for companies just starting to consider artificial intelligence for marketing or advertising?
Jacobi: Artificial intelligence provides an opportunity for growth. If you put growth in human hands, you might not reach the brand’s full potential. If you put it in the hands of artificial intelligence, the data will get you there. Be patient. Give it some time, and you’ll see the results.
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