Background

YO! Marketing is a strategic marketing consultancy based in Aberdeen. The company was founded by Yekemi Otaru who has over 12 years of experience in senior engineering and marketing roles with Fortune 500 companies.

 

Challenge

Conducting marketing activities can be a constant challenge for many businesses who are time constrained, have limited resources, little marketing expertise and a budget that only goes so far.
 

Yekemi’s innovative idea was to design an intelligent solution of using a machine learning algorithm. Machine learning is an application of artificial intelligence (AI) that provides computers with the ability to automatically learn over time without being explicitly programmed, to identify the marketing activities that generate the greatest impact on business growth.

To date, marketing companies have never used machine learning before to provide customers with the best route to impact depending on their business requirements, potential clients and the longevity of their companies.

The entrepreneur approached Interface to help her find the necessary academic expertise in Machine Learning, Dataset Modelling and Data Mining to solve this challenge.

 

Solution

After putting out a search to various universities, Interface matched Yekemi with Dr Xavier Bellekens, Assistant Professor and Lecturer at the University of Abertay within the Division of Cyber-Security, where he is leading the Machine Learning Research Group. Dr Bellekens has a strong interest and extensive expertise in this area and he was a perfect match for this project.

Abertay University offers extensive expertise in big and small data analytics, machine learning, critical infrastructure protection, and the Internet of Things (IoT) both on the security side and the development side.

This collaboration project aimed to develop the intelligence behind YO! Marketing’s prototype (GO YO), an integrated online platform for marketing purposes, based on a data model and a machine learning algorithm.

The project was split into two parts: the first activity was the development of a dataset used to train the machine learning algorithm into predicting the best routes to impact for business. The second was the evaluation of the algorithm.

Machine learning focuses on the development of computer programs that can access data and use it to learn for themselves. It’s based on learning by example, finding the right algorithm for the task and obtaining accurate results. Therefore, it is a challenging task that can be achieved only through the assessment and research process.

The desired platform will be a highly intelligent machine that will learn with time and take into consideration the product life-cycle, giving tailored advice and helping businesses to manage their products’ performance in the marketplace to develop action plans and marketing strategies.

This project was funded through a Scottish Funding Council Innovation Voucher administered by Interface.

 

Additional support

Through this innovation journey, Elevator’s Accelerator Programme and Business Gateway have also provided Yekemi with a wide range of resources to support YO! Marketing’s success, including workshops along with one-on-one support from business advisers.

Thanks to the support of the Elevator and the Wider Innovation Team through Scottish Enterprise, Yekemi has also received the By Design Grant which offers businesses support for the design of a new product or service.

Yekemi also benefited from Santander’s Internship Programme which is an entrepreneurial internship programme that offers final year students and recent graduates paid work experience with SMEs.

 

Business benefits

Once completed, this project will provide YO! Marketing with a world’s first machine learning marketing algorithm. It will set YO! Marketing apart from other marketing companies in the market and allow them to make business life easier for business owners with limited marketing experience.​ 

Yekemi Otaru, Founder & Principal Strategist, YO! Marketing

As a business owner, I juggle many day-to-day operational tasks while nursing a stream of ideas for more strategic advancement.

It’s given YO! Marketing a significant leap forward to be able to engage with Abertay University with this particular idea.

Abertay University have the machine learning expertise that YO! Marketing does not have so the collaboration was perfect! We worked well together and I am very excited about the successful project of the initial machine learning model. YO! Marketing is on the way to being one of the most innovative marketing agencies in Scotland.

Yekemi Otaru, Founder & Principal Strategist, YO! Marketing

Academic benefits

Dr Xavier Bellekens

This project helped the University of Abertay to expand the research horizon of the machine learning research group into applied machine learning for marketing purposes.

Dr Xavier Bellekens, Lecturer in Computer Security & Privacy, Abertay University