In this episode, Frank and Andy speak to Christopher P. Willis about Using AI to Create a Better User Experience with Better Content.
Certainly, if you have ever you read instructions or product documentation that left you annoyed and confused, then you can appreciate the work he does with Acrolinx.
Hello and welcome to data driven.
In this episode Frank and Andy speak with Christopher Willis about how artificial intelligence can help bake brands create congruent content across cultures, languages and writers.
One quick word of correction.
Frank made the assumption that CPO was chief product Officer.
Chris is actually Chief pipeline officer.
In addition to being chief marketing Officer, Acrolinx currently does not have a chief product officer.
Frank should know by now what happens when you assume anything.
I'll have a chat with him later.
For now, enjoy the show.
Hello and welcome to data driven, the podcast where we explore the emerging fields of data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence.
If you'd like to think of data as the new oil, then you can think of us like Car Talk because we focus on where the rubber meets the virtual road and with me on this epic road trip down the information.
Superhighway as always is Andy Leonard.
How's it going Andy?
Good Frank, how are you doing?
I'm doing great, I'm doing great.
It's a beautiful Tuesday morning here in the DC area.
We're recording this on September 28th and I can't believe it's already October.
Almost gosh, yeah, yeah.
It's it's been beautiful fall weather.
Past few days here in sunny Farmville, VA.
And I'm really enjoying that.
Got a lot of outdoors work done in the past few days and that's always a good thing.
Yeah, we just built the trampoline for the kids and that was a was a lot of fun.
Instructions were horrible.
Did you get one with that big net around it?
Keep from bouncing off and 'cause otherwise it should come with a coupon for a free cast.
Freecast and free healthcare that'd be funny.
Yes, yes, that's right, yeah.
Yeah, so without further ado I'd like to introduce we have this.
Awesome guest today.
We've been really lucking out on terms of folks coming to us and and suggesting guests for us, which is quite refreshing, actually.
So so today we have with us Christopher Willis, Acrolinx Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Product Officer.
Christopher is an expert in technology, marketing and brand alignment alignment with over 20 years of experience in with some of the world biggest tech names including Perfecto.
Kmag and Cambridge technology group.
And through his work at Acrolinx, he's become a renowned thought leader on the topics of content governance and brand alignment.
He's also an expert on AI and how AI can help.
Big brands can great create congruent content across cultures, language and writers.
Acrolinx creates tools for developing content that feels human, relatable, and compassionate.
It's already used by some of the biggest brands in the technology world today, so welcome to the show, Chris.
Thank you, I'm excited about your trampoline.
Well, thank you.
You should come on down I.
I think you're on the East Coast somewhere in Boston.
I am outside of Boston, yes?
Awesome cool cool you never know 'cause sometimes people will put where they used to live on LinkedIn and not update that so.
Nope, haven't gone anywhere in what a year?
Half if not.
A lot, not a lot of travel, yeah?
Year and a half in the two week lockdown.
Well, welcome to the show so so.
Tell me about what so, so you're a CMO and a CPO.
That's that's, uh.
That's an interesting mix I I can see how the two are related, but can you explain kind of like what it is you do for acrolinx and maybe a little bit about.
So I do a bunch of things.
I I I joined the company to run marketing and marketing has.
A lot of.
Reach in this organization because of what we do and who we sell to.
So I reach into pipeline.
I reach into the product process on product marketing in there and come from a background where this approach really resonates and makes a lot of sense and the way that we collect and build and use data is very aligned to the way that I've.
I've built content in the past.
So the the product at acrolinx it it.
It uses AI to create content.
So, so like what does that do is?
Different so we are.
It kind of NLP.
We're improving content, so we're we're about being improving the quality and effectiveness of enterprise.
Content so the easiest way to think about what we do is everybody that writes everybody that owns a content organization, whether that's in a development group with technical documentation or product manuals, or marketing content enablement content, internal education.
All these folks have a whiteboard in their office and.
On that whiteboard are all the components of language, the way that they want to create their content.
It's the tone of voice.
It's the clarity level education level of their of their readers.
It's the amount of compassion, emotion, inclusiveness that they want in their contents.
The words that they want to use and that they don't want.
Use, it's all up there on the whiteboard.
They feel good about it.
They've defined essentially the voice of their group or their organization.
The problem with that whiteboard is that it's in their office and nobody can see it, and even if they could, we don't have a writers pool in the world anymore.
We're all writers when you go to work, a byproduct of your work is.
Content, and so.
As a marketer I get my best content from folks that don't touch marketing.
They're just smart people that can create so they don't.
They don't care about what's on my whiteboard at all, and.
When we were, I mean, the last seven or eight years you talked about.
The potential for the digital shift, and I think everybody been using that as a marketing buzzword like digital shift is coming.
You got to get ready and I don't know if anybody ever really thought it was coming, but it was a great way to so some fear into our prospects that if you don't modernize, the world is going to change.
Holy crap March hit last year and the digital shift arrives and now you're only touchpoint with your consumer is through digital content for some period of time and it became really apparent to folks that how you commute.
Gay matters and then all the things that happened last year from from a social standpoint.
Language took on a very lead role.
And how do you as an enterprise ensure that you're communicating in the voice of your audience?
And that's where Acrolinx comes in.
We look at terminology.
We look at.
It's style guidelines voice guidelines to be able to create this essentially central lexecon of how to communicate his business and then.
Either your writers in real time use acrolinx in their sidebar and what in whatever authoring tool they're using, whether they're using something like madcap flare or Adobe products or Google Docs or Microsoft or anything in a browser.
Uhm, you're able to use acrolinx in real time to check there your content.
Acrolinx checks for all the components that.
It's learned from your organization to create great content and provide you with the score.
You can improve over time or through automation.
So think in terms of continuous process, continuous delivery of content.
I'm checking content in it's being scored delivered back to me.
I'm making changes and it's rolling out at the speed of my.
So at the base of what we're doing, when you think about where we're at, it's it's really about taking content in stream of characters, extracting that content, buying the context of that, identifying.
Uh, your tokens either at the word level at the sentence.
Level and then adding in the linguistic data underneath that around morphology and compound analysis to understand what's.
In the content that we're we're looking at identifying terminology and and variant detection and then laying patterns on top of that, our proprietary secret sauce to be able to provide that.
That feedback of whether or not your content is correct on character on tone on terminology, and then that feeds back.
To users in the form of guidance.
Interesting, so it guides the people who are creating the content doesn't necessarily generate the content for them.
We don't override and we don't right because customers.
If you think in terms of who our customers are.
Our our customers tend to be the largest technology companies in the world, so think top 20 global technology companies almost every single one of them uses acrolinx and.
A piece of guidance might be useful, it might be on purpose, so as an example, when I write through my system and I write the word software.
It says Are you sure you didn't mean platform?
And why does it say that?
Because in my world, if we're talking about our product, I don't want my employees to call it software, it's it's platform.
It's an extensible platform with integration pieces and an API.
I don't want to sell it as software.
But I might have meant to say software.
So I don't want to.
I don't want to enforce that rule.
I want to provide guidance and if you agree with that guidance, you implement that guidance.
We have the technology to override that, but in almost every case that doesn't make sense to the customer.
So is the input for the content is it?
What is this?
Is it spoken or written or all of the above?
All of the above, so we can take in.
I mean, there's a number of ways to teach the platform to be your editor.
One is to pull mass quantities of content.
Give me all your great content.
What does it look like?
Identify what you think is good and we're going to read through that, and the system will read through all that content and start generating guidelines.
Based on what you believe is great content today.
Uhm, there's also the ability to just go in and into our interface and set guidelines so you can set a tone of voice you can identify how lively you want your content.
Today there are challenges to all of those methods because over time you're going to learn more, and that's part of what I've really been aiming to.
Evolve with the product is.
Gartner, the analyst firm, has said that 50% of of marketers, people that set the company voice are. I don't think this is the word they use, but I.
Will use guessing.
I have a good idea of what my audience wants to hear, so I define my tone of voice.
I define the words that I'm going to use I I think I know what people want to hear.
And if I use acronyms.
Go ahead and I take all that information that I've gathered, and I teach acrolinx to to help create content like that and the output of acrolinx is an Acura link score so you're aiming for 100.
Most customers are aiming for 80.
You want to be 80 or better.
80 means good, 90 means done, numeric value of of good and done, so no subjectivity.
It's just it is what it is.
This is either on my guidance or it's not on my guidance and.
If I get 100 acrolinx score on a piece of content, well by God, that's going to perform fantastically. It's exactly what I think.
My audience wants to hear and how I think they want to hear it.
The important word in.
There though, is I think.
I think that.
Where I want to aim to get to is the ability to create a feedback loop from my audience.
So think in terms of support...