Unilever, one of the biggest multinational consumer goods companies, is partnering with Alibaba Cloud, as part of a strategic initiative that will enable the global consumer goods business to action on next-generation digital marketing campaigns, according to the companies.

Fang Jun, VP Data and Digital, Unilever China: “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.  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.”

Jun Fang, VP, Data and Digital, Unilever, China

The Unilever and Alibaba Cloud collaboration were announced at the Alibaba Cloud Global Summit, in which “China Gateway 2.0” was also launched. The programme, that Unilever is part of, hopes to help Alibaba Cloud’s partners and customers to accelerate their growth in China by capitalizing Alibaba Cloud’s local business expertise, technologies, and matured ecosystem.

In the partnership, Unilever will apply Alibaba Cloud’s artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud-based technologies to its omnichannel, online and offline demand generation activities.

This will help the company unlock detailed insights into its customers’ buying patterns and behaviour. The data-driven business intelligence could help Unilever accelerate the creation of new and precisely targeted digital marketing campaigns and enable Unilever to predict more precisely and quickly respond to changing customer buying habits across multiple platforms, according to a statement from Alibaba Cloud.

The Chinese cloud computing giant says its solution can support optimized brand experience for consumers’ purchasing journey through Unilever’s online stores in Alibaba’s Taobao and Tmall. The data intelligence provided by Alibaba Cloud can be easily translated into consumer insight, pivotal in enabling Unilever to expand its current and future product offerings in line with customer needs. The insights into anticipated and current customer demand, will also benefit Unilever’s supply chain, as well as optimize its route to market.

There are a range of technologies involved in the deal such as

  • Data intelligence analysis, which includes machine learning and AI to spot customer and market patterns:
  • Dataphin, a unified PaaS platform for intelligent information processing and management;
  • Analytic DB, Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) managed database cloud service that can process enormous amounts of information in real-time;
  •  Quick BI, an intelligent business analysis suite that generates business insights for enterprise users. With the strategic partnership, Alibaba Cloud will empower Unilever to leverage these technologies in the future.

According to Selina Yuan, president of international business, Alibaba Cloud Intelligence, “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. 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 market place,” Yuan said.

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