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Obzen: Leveraging Big Data: The Driving Force of AI Marketing
As the global marketing landscape opened its doors to automation and AI, the opportunities to improve its operations also blossomed. However, the same outcome could not be witnessed for a majority of companies in Korea. As the Korean market is very dynamic and majority of the consumers are highly techsavvy (for instance, around 97 percent of the population uses mobile payments and credit card) and has a wide range of detailed needs, companies are required to provide extremely personalized offerings and messages. Thus, an off-the-shelf marketing solution often falls short in responding to the precise requirements of Korean companies. As a result, a solution of a local company (like Obzen) is considered more suitable for wider adaptation.
But, what led to the establishment of Obzen...
Back in 1990’s, majority of Korean companies were adopting marketing solutions to advance their marketing efforts, but despite paying a license fee for the complete solution, these organizations ended up using only a fraction of the embedded features. Realizing this operational gap, Mr. BaeMoon Chun—a Seoul National University post graduate in statistics and a former researcher at IBM Korea’s Software Research Institute— took it upon himself to develop a solution that catered to the specific needs of the Korean market. To this end, Mr. Chun founded Obzen in the year 2000 with nine other fellow researchers from IBM. Since then, for over 20 years, Obzen has developed and improved its original marketing solutions and provided them to leading companies in Korea. In the early 2000’s Obzen used a CRM package based on multi-dimensional online analytical process and workflow engine. Today, the company is focusing on AI-based marketing solution leveraging big data.
Building on these solutions, today, Obzen has emerged as a dominant player in the Korean market, offering customized AI and big data-based end-to-end digital marketing solutions according to each client’s data/IT environment and marketing needs. The company provides marketing solutions for leading companies in various industries, such as finance, distribution, telecommunication, and manufacturing. Notably, the key strength of Obzen lies in the development/application of ML algorithms as well as the collection and processing of data. Due to such technical prowess and a client-centric approach, Obzen holds its market leadership position in Korea, even though giants such as Microsoft, Oracle, and Adobe have entered the market. Obzen’s flagship product, obzen IMP (Integrated Martech Platform), is a multi-faceted offering that covers every nook and cranny required to deliver the best data-driven customer experience. While most other market available solutions act as a black box and offer only reference information or a onetime experience, obzen IMP creates an environment where employees can explore/analyze data and get actionable insights according to their capabilities. Obzen IMP offers four main solutions: SmartOffering, CMS, R-EBM, and DataPlanet. SmartOffering is an AI-based hyperpersonalized marketing service/ analysis solution that provides end-toend features such as data preparation, exploration, analysis, and model development and management. With its one of many features, auto-targeting, a marketer can define target customers for a marketing promotion using AI recommendations.
Further, a marketer can automate the entire process of planning, executing, and analyzing marketing campaigns with its campaign management solution (CMS). With the obzen IMP’s real-time event-based marketing (R-EBM) solution, prompt marketing actions can be executed by leveraging real-time customer behavior.
Obzen IMP offers four main solutions: SmartOffering, CMS, R-EBM, and DataPlanet. SmartOffering is an AIbased hyper-personalized marketing service/analysis solution that provides end-to-end features such as data preparation, exploration, analysis, and model development and management
To this extent, Obzen has closely collaborated with global players as well—such as EY, KPMG, and PwC—to provide clients with the best possible marketing solutions. The company also has wide-ranging associations with local system integration companies. Moreover, to go neck and neck with the latest AI trends and develop new solutions, Obzen has partnered with top universities in Korea such as Seoul National University and a few wellrespected and top professors of the university.
Such extensive capabilities have propelled Obzen’s innovative solutions to be the number one choice for 90% of the top fives in each industry – banking, credit card, retails, insurance, and investment. Samsung, Hyundai, LG, KT, Lotte, KB Finance Group, ShinHan Finance Group, CJ Group, Shinsegae Group, etc. are the some of Obzen’s premium clients. With a few of these clients, Obzen has 10+ years of partnerships which is still going strong. Lee further elucidates Obzen’s expertise by sharing a story where one of Korea’s biggest retailers, Shinsegae (SSG), wanted a fully-automated marketing solution. Shinsegae owns multiple brick and mortar as well as an online store. With a wide range of products and customers, SSG knew that a standard marketing approach wouldn’t cut it and wanted a fully-automated solution. When Obzen took charge of the project, its skilled data scientists and IT engineers developed algorithms and applications which recommend products to each customer based on their existing purchase history. The result was ‘S-mind,’ the first AI application in the industry which executes personalized marketing. S-mind analyzes a customer’s online and offline purchase records, gender, purchase cycle by categories, and more. If a new product gets registered in the online store, then the solution automatically creates customer segmentation to find customers for the new product and provides various discount options. So, with just ten marketers, Shinsegae handled five million customers and a hundred million in transactions. After operating ‘S-mind’ about three years, the company developed the second personalized recommendation model, ‘FIT,’ which uses a broader range of data and provides various applications.
Through many such successful partnerships, Obzen has established its stature as a prominent AI-powered marketing solutions provider and leads a successful marketing think tank comprising some of the world’s largest consulting firms. The company is now exploring various business models by studying advanced AIbased modeling techniques. Through these efforts, Obzen is poised to leap beyond the Korean market to become a global digital marketing solutions company.