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HOW ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IS BECOMING MANDATORY FOR MARKETING AND SALES TEAMS

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HOW ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IS BECOMING MANDATORY FOR MARKETING AND SALES TEAMS

Christelle DhrifMarketing & Communication Director at Sidetrade

Connected objects, chatbots, facial recognition… Artificial intelligence is spreading in every component of the applications on the market, allowing companies to analyze and exploit their customer date in real time. Half of the Marketing and Sales departments are already taking advantage of new predictive technologies to anticipate their client’s behavior and improve customer engagement. Customer segmentation is the first benefit underlined (78%), before profitability calculation (58%) and real-time custom offer creation (48 %).

If artificial intelligence platforms offer a massive acceleration of revenues, they still remain negligible: less than 20% of the respondent companies are using this technology.

Retargeting, chatbots, predictive algorithms… Big Data innovations are multiplying with a unique goal: target the right customer with the right message, at the right time. “The stake is huge for the most innovative predictive marketers”, identifies Randy Wootton, CEO of the programmatic marketing specialist Rocket Fuel.

Hyper-connection challenge, or the era of anticipation through data

McKinsey&Co predicts 30 billion connected devices by 2020 and as many revenues opportunities coming ahead. Marketing is facing a shift lead by artificial intelligence. According to Marketo’s study from January 2017, 41.6% of marketers intend to include predictive analysis solutions in their marketing strategies for 2017.

The recent breaks in the field of deep learning lead to the elaboration of more and more efficient algorithms. Today, companies are able to analyze data at a scale that was unimaginable few years – or even months – ago. The customer relationship is personified; the engagement is anticipated, from suspect to client.

For the first time, thanks to artificial intelligence, marketing departments segmenting their audience in real-time, anticipating expectations and identifying consumer trends by offer, geography, profiles… have a concrete return on investment and winning a length of advance on their competitors.

Automated marketing is giving away to smart predictive marketing, fulfilling the dream of markets: predict messages that, sent to the right target at the right time, trigger purchase at – almost – 100%.

Focus on predictive sales prospecting

Cookies, IP tracking, lead scoring… Algorithms exploit internal and external data to identify new prospects, scored by similarity with the ideal customer profile and according to their purchase likelihood. Personalized engagement scenarios are then generated to automate the first contact. By analysing the prospects/customers scoring, constantly evolving, companies can adapt their communication, following the interest level and the detected priority.

Automated sales prospecting is considerably simplified: the numbers of attempts necessary to contact a decision-maker, currently from 8 to 12, are halved.

Once these repetitive, unglamorous tasks are automated, Sales teams can concentrate their efforts on the qualification of the meeting generated by the Marketing. Sales directors accelerate their sales cycle; they control and better anticipate the reach of their objectives.

“Data strategies” supporting growth

Genuine revolution of the customer cycle, artificial intelligence is deploying in every ramification of the organizations. Companies need to formalize “data strategies” to break the silos and aggregate the data coming from marketing automation, CRM, ERP, CMS, social media… and make sure they are reachable and exploitable, to offer the right content to the right audience, at the right moment.

Unify Marketing, Sales, Finance or Customer Service data on a unique interface becomes a reality in the “Data Science as a Service” era.

Nowadays, Marketing and Sales departments cannot afford to avoid artificial intelligence!  More and more of them are realizing the infinite possibilities it offers.

“We should see a significant raise of AI distribution and utilization in corporate applications to provide counselling, recommendations, previsions”, predicts Patrick Moorhead, analyst for Moor Insights & Strategy.

Companies are entering the anticipation era, where automation is mandatory to ensure growth and boost performance: repetitive and less qualified tasks will be taken over by robots. Artificial intelligence is often seen as a threat for the employment market, when it is in fact an opportunity! It is not about the replace our jobs; on the contrary, artificial intelligence will amplify it and allow us to concentrate on more valued contents. AI will become complementary to our work.

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Robinhood plans confidential IPO filing as soon as March – Bloomberg News

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Robinhood plans confidential IPO filing as soon as March - Bloomberg News 1

(Reuters) – Online brokerage Robinhood, at the centre of this year’s retail trading frenzy, is planning to file confidentially for an initial public offering as soon as March, Bloomberg News reported late on Friday, citing sources.

The California-based brokerage has held talks in the past week with underwriters about moving forward with a filing within weeks, Bloomberg said.

Robinhood did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reuters reported last year that Robinhood has picked Goldman Sachs Group Inc to lead preparations for an initial public offering which could value it at more than $20 billion.

Robinhood was at the heart of a mania that gripped retail investors in late January following calls on Reddit thread WallStreetBets to trade certain stocks that were being heavily shorted by hedge funds.

The online brokerage tapped around $3.4 billion in funding after its finances were strained due to the massive trading in shares of companies such as GameStop Corp.

(Reporting by Ann Maria Shibu in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin)

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Analysis: How idled car factories super-charged a push for U.S. chip subsidies

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Analysis: How idled car factories super-charged a push for U.S. chip subsidies 2

By Stephen Nellis

(Reuters) – When President Joe Biden on Wednesday stood at a lectern holding a microchip and pledged to support $37 billion in federal subsidies for American semiconductor manufacturing, it marked a political breakthrough that happened much more quickly than industry insiders had expected.

For years, chip industry executives and U.S. government officials have been concerned about the slow drift of costly chip factories to Taiwan and Korea. While major American companies such as Qualcomm Inc and Nvidia Corp dominate their fields, they depend on factories abroad to build the chips they design.

As tensions with China heated up last year, U.S. lawmakers authorized manufacturing subsidies as part of an annual military spending bill due to concerns that depending on foreign factories for advanced chips posed national security risks. Yet funding for the subsidies was not guaranteed.

Then came the auto-chip crunch. Ford Motor Co said a lack of chips could slash a fifth of its first-quarter production and General Motors Co cut output across North America.

“It brings home very clearly the message that the semiconductor is really a critical component in a lot of the end products we take for granted,” said Mike Rosa, head of strategic and technical marketing for a group within semiconductor manufacturing toolmaker Applied Materials Inc that sells tools to automotive chip factories.

Within weeks, automakers joined chip companies calling for chip factory subsidies, and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and President Biden both pledged to fight for funding.

Industry backers now aim to be part of a package of legislation to counter China that Schumer hopes to bring to the Senate floor this spring. Still, all agree it will do little to solve the immediate auto-chip problem.

Headlines about idled car plants resonated with the public that had shrugged off abstract warnings in the past, said Jim Lewis, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Lawmakers, already worried that a promised infrastructure bill will not materialize this year, decided to push for quick solution.

“Nobody wants to be seen as soft on China. No one wants to tell the Ford workers in their district, ‘Sorry, can’t help,'” Lewis said. “It was one of those moments where everything aligned.”

The package includes matching funds for state and local chip-plant subsidies, a provision likely to heat up competition among states including Texas and Arizona to host big new chip plants that can cost as much as $20 billion.

The subsidies could benefit a factory in Arizona proposed by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co and one in Texas eyed by Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, even though those factories would be geared toward high-end chips for smartphones and laptops, rather than simpler auto chips. And those factories would not come on line until 2023 or 2024, according to plans disclosed by the companies, the world’s two largest chip manufacturers.

In the longer term, a raft of U.S. companies are also poised to benefit. Any chipmakers that build factories will source many tools from American companies such as Applied, Lam Research Corp and KLA Corp.

Intel Corp, Micron Technology Inc and GlobalFoundries – which already have U.S. factory networks – will also likely benefit.

Smaller, specialty chip factories also could benefit.

“The recent chip shortage in the automotive industry has highlighted the need to strengthen the microelectronics supply chain in the U.S.,” said Thomas Sonderman, chief executive of SkyWater Technology, a Minnesota-based chipmaker that makes automotive and defense chips. “We believe that SkyWater is uniquely positioned due to our differentiated business model and status as a U.S.- owned and U.S.- operated pure play semiconductor contract manufacturer.”

Even with subsidies, the U.S. companies still must compete with low-cost Asian vendors over the long run, and the immediate auto chip troubles will probably persist.

Surya Iyer, a vice president at Minnesota-based Polar Semiconductor, which makes chips for automakers, said his factory is booked beyond capacity and has started to speed some orders up while slowing others down, to meet automakers’ needs as best it can.

“We are expecting this level of demand to continue at least for the next 12 months, maybe even longer,” he said.

(This story has been refiled to add attribution to quote in paragraph 9, add dropped words in paragraphs 10 and 17)

(Reporting by Stephen Nellis and Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco and Alexandra Alper in Washington. Editing by Jonathan Weber and David Gregorio)

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Atlantia disappointed with CDP bid for unit, continues talks

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Atlantia disappointed with CDP bid for unit, continues talks 3

By Francesca Landini and Stephen Jewkes

MILAN (Reuters) – Italy’s Atlantia said on Friday an offer by a consortium of investors led by state lender CDP for its 88% stake in Autostrade per l’Italia fell short of the mark and asked its top managers to see if the bid could be sweetened.

“The offer falls below expectations,” the Italian infrastructure group said in a statement, adding it had mandated the chief executive and the chairman to assess “the potential for the necessary substantial improvements” to the bid.

Italian state lender CDP, together with co-investors Macquarie and Blackstone, has presented a proposal valuing all of Autostrade per l’Italia at 9.1 billion euros ($11 billion).

The consortium also requested Atlantia guarantee up to 700 million euros in potential damage claims and another roughly 800 million euros for a pending legal case, making the bid less attractive than previously expected.

One source said the consortium estimated overall pending legal claims against Autostrade at 3 billion to 4 billion euros, adding the 700 million euro cap did not mean the amount would be detracted from the offer price from the start.

Earlier on Friday Atlantia’s minority investors TCI and Spinecap had called on Atlantia’s board to reject the offer, saying it undervalued the asset.

“No deal is better than a bad deal, especially a bad deal and a wrong price,” TCI Advisory Services partner Jonathan Amouyal said in a emailed comment to Reuters.

TCI, which holds an indirect stake of around 10% in Atlantia, repeated that the value for 100% of Autostrade should be no less than 12.5 billion euros.

The board will hold a further meeting in order to take a final decision on the offer in due time, Atlantia said.

The negotiations between Atlantia and the CDP-led consortium are part of an effort to end a political dispute over Autostrade’s motorway concession triggered by the collapse of a motorway bridge run by the unit.

(GRAPHIC – Atlantia share performance: https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/qzjpqggjdpx/image-1614331237501.png)

The bid expires on March 16, but the deadline could be extended in case Atlantia calls an extraordinary shareholders meeting (EGM) on the issue, according to one source with knowledge of the matter.

Shares in the group ended down 0,7%, after recovering some losses, as investors waited for the decision of the board.

Atlantia, which is controlled by the Benetton family, owns 88% of Autostrade, with Germany’s Allianz and funds DIF, EDF Invest and China’s Silk Road Fund holding the rest.

The group also kept open an alternative plan to demerge and sell its stake in Autostrade per l’Italia unit and called an EGM on March 29 to extend to end-July a deadline for offers for the demerged stake.

(Additional reporting by Stefano Bernabei, editing by Louise Heavens and Steve Orlofsky)

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