Former Zolv business development director Jonathan Greensted launched his new business Sentient One at Travel Technology Europe, claiming it will help travel firms understand the full context of the interactions their brands have with customers.
Self-funded by Greensted, who was most recently IT director of Flybe, the firm is seeking major travel companies to agree a partnership deal with, allowing Sentient One to place its tracking technology on their websites to build up data sets.
Towergate Insurance, a cornerstone client with whom Greensted said the core technology was developed, will be the first customer to go live with Sentient One at Easter time.
Greensted said the firm will offer a non-traditional commercial model based on outcomes, with no scoping, setup, support or consultancy fees, but simply a flat fee per customer based on what firms are currently paying to convert prospects.
Greensted said 25% of revenues Sentient One generates will be placed in an “innovation pot” to fund future developments of the platform.The Sentient One system will have a core content management system that will facilitate what Greensted described as the firm’s USP a “conversational context engine” that will join up the fragmented interactions brands have with customers in the various touchpoints they use when researching and buying holidays.
Sentient One will be integrated with clients’ websites through Java script and will link in with Salesforce or any internal CRM system, it will either sit anonymously in the background or offer an upfront user experience. The software will build a detailed profile of the customer, so that brands know at the next point of contact what they are interested in and where they are in the purchase funnel.
“By focussing on outcomes we are aligning ourselves with our clients’ goals,” said Greensted. “The more complicated IT companies make their technology, the more they make because they charge a day rate. We do not get paid unless this stuff works. We are putting our money where our mouth is.
“We want to work with tier one firms, the big airlines, tour operators or hotels. A lot of this tech scares people, we want to avoid that. The reason we are orange – obvious and bright – is we are transparent about what we are doing.”
Greensted said forming a single picture of the customer was vital for travel firms looking to reduce wastage in their marketing campaigns by increasing conversion rates, improving customer service and boosting loyalty to the brand. He believes the technology is now available to crack what remains an issue for many firms.
“If you’ve had a problem while on holiday and Tweet about it the brand should know about that and proactively get in touch but they should also stop marketing to that person for a period because they are not receptive. If you just sold something to someone there’s no point marketing to them again for a period.
“Software should be able to do context and should understand you. We are going to solve this by going through the data and moving forward.”
Greensted said Sentient One revives the name of a previous company he once owned and sold, with the ‘One’ part of the name was inspired by the film Her. He said the firm is being privately funded and had sufficient backing to develop long term partnerships with clients.
“We are in it for the long haul. We are not a start up funded only for six months and if we do not make it we will disappear. I’ve been working towards this for 20 years.
“The tech is there, the market feels right to come back. We are just come out from under the cloud of the 2007 financial crisis in terms of investment. We are not expecting people to adopt this in two or three months, if someone wants to go on a 12 month with us we will do that. We are sufficiently well funded that we can stick around for a number of years getting people interested in the idea. We just know this is the right thing to be doing.”p>Greensted hopes to sign at least two major clients by the end of this year.