- IBM named Michael Mendenhall CMO of its Watson artificial intelligence (AI) brand last week per MediaPost.
- Mendenhall will promote both Big Blue’s AI tech and its cloud computing platform in a crowded space that includes Salesforce, Google, Adobe and Microsoft.
- In March, IBM and Salesforce partnered to collaborate on AI tech and soon after Microsoft and Adobe forged a similar deal.
IBM has been a leader in the AI tech space with its Watson technology emerging from years of research and development. By naming a CMO specifically for the AI division, IBM is sending a message that AI is a significant piece of its future business, and by extension that AI will increasingly be important for marketers as well.
Use of AI is rapidly ramping up in the marketing space, meaning IBM — an early leader in the space — is facing more competition. Ostensibly, the CMO will be charged with ensuring the company's tech retains an a big role as the space evolves.
IBM may be betting the strength of the interest in AI can help it out of a sales slump that has plagued the company of late, resulting in layoffs.
The AI tech behind Watson offer marketers a number of solutions including analytics around consumer behavior, an ability to parse content assets and the ability to offer marketers’ suggestions on planning future campaigns
“[AI] marketing solutions learn in an expert way, which is critical for marketing professionals who want to uncover insights hidden in their massive amounts of data," Maria Winans, CMO of IBM Commerce, previously told Marketing Dive. She added that Watson’s cognitive capabilities augment the human element in marketing rather than act as an independent intelligence.