MarTech Interview with Assaf Baciu, Chief Operating Officer and Co-founder of Persado

Assaf Baciu, Chief Operating Officer and Co-founder of Persado highlights more on the importance of hyper-personalization in today’s marketing sphere while taking us through Persado’s growth story in this quick chat:


Welcome to this MarTech Series chat. Assaf, tell us more about yourself and the story behind Persado…

I co-founded Persado with our CEO and co-founder Alex Vratskides in 2012 with the goal of helping companies globally unlock the power of language for business growth. Fast forward to today, Persado has become the market-leading generative AI platform that applies powerful language generation and decisioning models to enable companies to deliver personalized messages at scale that motivate their customers to act.

My background is actually speech technology. Prior to co-founding Persado, I was the VP of Product at Upstream, where Persado’s core technology originated. I’ve spent the last 10 years building the Persado Motivation AI platform for Fortune 500 companies looking to impact their business through personalized communication at scale.

We’d love to hear more about the Persado Motivation AI Platform and how it’s evolved…

The Persado Motivation AI Platform leverages our Customer Motivation Knowledge Base, which consists of more than 15.5 million unique messages with response data and more than 100 billion consumer interactions. It’s the world’s largest database trained for enterprise communications —containing structured, classified, and labeled language, with linguistics and learnings that serve as the data source for Persado’s AI models. We combine the most advanced Generative AI models with massive amounts of behavioral data with a platform that seamlessly connects to the martech stack so that brands can rapidly scale better experiences and impact.

We have invested heavily in many additional new innovations that meet brands’ growing demand to deliver hyper personalized communications across channels at scale. We recently launched Personal Narratives, which generate stories that engage specific segments of customers, as well as Language Profiles, which use first-party data to identify the language and communication preferences of individual customers using anonymized individual level response data.

And, we just unveiled our Motivation AI API, giving martech partners access to the industry’s only transformer model trained on customer communications for over a decade, enabling them to quickly offer behavior-driving language through their own solutions.

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How are platforms like that from Persado improving the way marketers drive their messaging via email/social/web today?

Since 2020, we have seen rapid platform adoption as companies transitioned and expanded their digital capabilities. This expansion stems from the need to meet expectations as the vast majority of customers prefer to buy from companies that personalize their experiences, yet the way most companies use personalization falls far short of the potential—typically more than 40% underperform.

Large organizations can lose millions of dollars in revenue by failing to address the most important part of the conversion: customer motivation. Persado conducted more than 50,000 statistically valid in-market experiments and found that 70% of customer decisions come from motivation, so we focus on what drives customers to engage and act. With Persado’s Motivation AI platform, brands can deliver personalized messaging that resonates with each individual in their preferred method, motivating them to act.

When it comes to using tools and interfaces to build better customer engagement, what should brands/marketers keep in mind? 

Most organizations focus on a specific product and offer as the key to personalization but largely neglect the personalization of the message itself. Motivation-aware language includes that missing element in all messages—including those already designed to be personalized.

A new type of first-party data is emerging that helps organizations more effectively personalize messages and engage customers. The Persado Motivation AI Platform captures language insights about individual customers based on how they react to different variants. Over time, the data can build up into a Language Profile—a source of first-party data identifying the language elements that most effectively motivate specific customers. Capturing and acting on this new type of first-type data empowers brands to consistently speak to individuals as if they knew them personally, leading to higher performing communication.

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What are the three top-of-mind thoughts/tips you’d share with B2C marketers as they try to navigate complex/crowded marketing environments?

Persado has the unique ability to understand how customers engage with language over time. Through observation and analysis throughout the last 10 years, we have surfaced numerous best practices, but three principles rise to the top for marketing leaders to consider for driving growth with communications.

  • Motivation matters. Customers require brands to communicate in ways that consider different circumstances and externalities, so brands must have the agility to rapidly adjust the ways they speak to customers in the face of shifting conditions. For example, we’ve seen brands actually reduce their promotion discount, change their language to address underlying factors for motivation, and generate higher conversions. Better results with less.
  • Anticipate and evolve language changes. Consumer emotions change based on macro forces: savings, investment, and borrowing, so brands should evolve as well. For example, in 2022, as global rising costs negatively impact consumer spending, marketers are pivoting their messaging to compete in a shaky economic landscape. See Banking example here with related wheel of emotion.
  • Individuals make the audience. The next wave of Generative AI for impact requires models that evolve with customer response and personalized language geared to engage specific customers.

*About the image: In 2021, brands that used Attention and Gratification to center messaging around competitive offers using notification-style language like “attention” and “required reading” won customers’ loyalty. In 2022, as customers became more selective about which financial institutions get their business, brands using Fascination to position themselves as expert partners rather than simply providers of a service or offer are coming out on top.

Some last thoughts on the future of martech and B2C marketing?

The future of marketing is hyper personalization. Generative AI is truly a transformational capability. If you don’t know much about it, I highly recommend you explore it as it’s already changing the landscape of content, messages, and communications. The most exciting aspect of Generative AI is its ability to transform your business, drive impact, and create experiences that were thought impossibly futuristic only 3-4 years ago.

Today, the technology can enable a company to talk to their customers as if they know them personally, going far beyond putting words together fast,  fundamentally changing the status quo. The technology generates motivating personalized language, and eventually images, or even videos, so that every company and brand can communicate with the best words and overall experience every time.

Generative AI coupled with behavioral data enables marketers to scale impact fast while personalizing one of the most important parts of the experience: how to communicate with a consumer. It’s important for brands to identify a roadmap, outlining specific goals to work toward personalized communications that drive customers to act.

First-party data is a great place to start and as we discussed earlier, augmenting first-party data such as purchasing history, contact preference and customer interests, with data that provides insight into motivation is the key to better engaging customers and driving actions.

The brands that take personalization further using augmented first-party data— coupled with AI and machine learning—can expect to experience an increase in revenue of up to 40% according to a McKinsey study. This is the single, most impactful, strategy we will see take off for B2C marketing in the coming years. It’s a highly informed approach that motivates consumers to act.


Persado | Increase Conversion With AI Language Generation

Persado is a high-growth, category-leading AI platform that helps data-driven executives – including CMOs, CXOs, CDOs, CFOs, and P&L owners – unlock a new level of value creation by ensuring the right words are used at every customer interaction.

Assaf Baciu is the Chief Operating Officer and co-founder of Persado. Assaf is responsible for the progression and foresight of Persado’s growing product portfolio and oversees the management of all product advancements. Prior to joining Persado, Assaf was Vice President of Product for Upstream, where Persado’s core technology originated. Assaf previously worked for speech and imaging solutions supplier Nuance Communications as a senior director of product strategy, where he was responsible for developing on-demand and mobile solutions. Assaf joined Nuance from BeVocal, following its acquisition in 2007. Assaf holds an MBA from the University of San Francisco and a Master’s in Social Psychology from the Sorbonne in Paris.

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