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Unilever enters digital marketing initiative with Alibaba

A CPG giant is leveraging third-party artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance omnichannel marketing.

Unilever is partnering with Alibaba Cloud, the digital technology and intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group, in a strategic initiative that will enable the global CPG firm to develop next-generation digital marketing campaigns. As part of the collaboration, Unilever will utilize Alibaba Cloud’s AI and cloud-based technologies to optimize its omnichannel, online and offline demand generation activities. 

Unilever intends to uncover new insights into customers buying patterns and behavior, as well as accelerate the creation of new and precisely targeted digital marketing campaigns. Aided by AI technology, the company also may be able to more precisely predict and quickly respond to changing customer buying habits across multiple platforms.

The company will also utilize Alibaba Cloud technology to support an optimized brand experience at its online stores on the Alibaba Taobao and Tmall e-commerce platforms. Unilever plans to translate data intelligence provided by Alibaba Cloud into consumer insight to better align its current and future product offerings with customer needs. Other anticipated benefits include a better understanding of anticipated and current customer demand, as well as optimization of Unilever’s route to market.

A range of technologies from Alibaba Cloud will underpin Unilever’s data intelligence analysis, including machine learning and AI to spot customer and market patterns: Dataphin, a unified platform as a service (PaaS) platform for intelligent information processing and management; Analytic DB, an online analytical processing (OLAP) managed database cloud service that can process large amounts of information in real time; and Quick BI, an intelligent business analysis suite that generates enterprise business insights. 

“Customer buying patterns are ever changing; when and where they buy has caused marketing to become even more agile and precise in order to stay relevant and reduce marketing waste,” said Fang Jun, VP data and digital, Unilever China. “The use of Alibaba Cloud’s cutting-edge technology will ensure that our customers enjoy even more value from their relationship with the Unilever brand, through relevant campaigns and activities based on true insights into their buying preference.”

“In the online, always connected world, getting customers’ attention is an ongoing challenge for marketers, so understanding what their customers want has never been more important,” said Selina Yuan, president of international business, Alibaba Cloud Intelligence. “For marketers to keep on top of customers’ ever-changing needs and habits, the ability to understand their shopping habits is essential for keeping the brand messaging relevant for each customer. Alibaba Cloud’s solutions have the ability to unlock the customer insights needed, and are set to ensure Unilever continues to succeed and build brand loyalty with its customers amid a constantly evolving and complex marketplace.”

The Unilever and Alibaba Cloud collaboration is part of “China Gateway 2.0.” The program, that Unilever is part of, hopes to help Alibaba Cloud’s partners and customers to accelerate their growth in China by capitalizing its local business expertise, technologies and matured ecosystem.

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