The name Bilin, “came from an ancient Chinese poem,” says Lin Wang, the company’s founder and CEO. “It says even though we are apart by oceans, the moon makes us feel like neighbors by looking at the moon.” He adds: “Ancient people could only dream of it, but today’s technologies are helping connect people and let them feel like neighbors”.
The latest technology to help with those connections – and in Bilin’s case it’s customers – is AI, and Wang insists that it’s not just a fad. “The change is going to be comprehensive, ranging from robots on assembly lines to driverless cars; from AI-assistant living to office automation at work. “The possibilities are endless! It has the power to change every aspect of our lives and we are just beginning to scratch the surface”, he says excitedly.
However, it’s important that that companies make sure that the new technology is used to help the workforce, not replace it. “As the evolution takes place, it’s important for companies to balance the changes in technology with the workforce the technology supports,” he notes.
AI AND MARKETING
The possibility of merging AI and Big Data Analytics into marketing applications intrigued Wang after he was wowed by the volumes of information being produced every day while in a previous role as the VP of Global Partnership at Digilant, where he oversaw partnerships with exchanges, media, and data providers. “It was changing the way marketers and advertisers thought,” he said. Immediately Wang – who also has a background in physics – began thinking about how there might be an alliance between the two – and Bilin was created as a “company that’s committed to bringing true innovation to marketing and help power creative individuals who drive business forward using AI”.
“Today marketers have more tools, platforms, and outlets than ever before to reach their intended audience,” he says, which is leading companies to be more and more reliant on their marketing teams to engage prospects and frame out conversations with them during the research process. After all, if a company doesn’t have an idea of its audience, it’s unlikely to be successful. And it doesn’t matter whether a business is starting up or if it’s a Fortune 500 company, if there is no marketing plan or timing, things can quickly go awry. “Timing becomes critical”, Wang says.
To help with that timing, Wang saw the need for AI in the sales and marketing world – and so built Bilin with that thought in mind. The AI-led system would give marketers the ability to process billions of bits of data and predict when companies were actively searching products – an insight incredibly important in today’s technology-fuelled universe. “This is where AI will have the biggest impact on marketing. AI will allow marketers to create timely, relevant, and tailored messages to reach a specific audience and deliver that message through the right channels”. In other words, if there was a gray area for marketing, Bilin will greatly reduce it. “I believe AI can change not only how we target prospects, but also how prospects purchase”.
“AI gives us the ability to give them the insight they need to create strategies and take actions by showing them the big picture,” he says. “And thanks to our analytics programs, I believe Bilin can show them that picture and help them make decisions on their actions. Our analytics programs can connect independent actions to intent,” he adds excitedly.
He also notes that AI – thanks to giving those insights – can help marketers craft messages to clients that feel personal and relevant and help to provide that insight to help them deliver those messages to their leads at the right time. Other companies are trying to do the same, but Wang insists that they only have part of the picture. “Many companies are using ‘lookalike’ profiles – meaning they use previous or existing clients to create a picture of who should be targeted – to try and build their intelligence, but it doesn’t measure intent and can be limiting”, he says. “Companies can look alike but have dramatically different needs and face different challenges, while others provide just a macro level of intent based on data consumption, but don’t provide targeted leads that marketing, and sales teams can use immediately”.
That’s where Bilin differentiates itself, Wang says. “We use AI to analyze data consumption to identify companies who are actively in the buying cycle, and once companies are identified we source actionable leads with verified contact info that can be used to start the prospecting process. All of this is done in real time, allowing each campaign we run for clients to be fully customizable and easily adjusted based on our results”.
Clients seem to like Wang’s model, which has moved from working with partners as its sole data provider and technological platform to its own Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) product, too. “One client running a trial told us that his team had approached 10 out of the 25 contacts supplied by Bilin with 3 of those approaches turning into meetings, Wang says. “But as amazing as that was, the second part was even better. The client said that based on our data they had discovered that they might have been targeting the wrong people and he had some changes they wanted to make to the campaign. And so, for this client we had changed his entire strategy and provided growth opportunities.”
If Bilin continues on this successful trajectory, Wang projects that the group will serve “hundreds of customers and generate tens of millions in revenues for clients” over the next three years.
And in a world full of a role models and projections, Wang hopes that Bilin can become the size of another company whose name is derived from a Chinese poem: Baidu. “I hope we will be a successful company like that someday,” he says. So do Bilin’s employees, and the AI technology community as a whole.