Data analytics and artificial intelligence. How new technologies are impacting the marketing world.

24 May 2024

Interview with Cristiano Boscato, CEO @Dinova, enrolled by Forbes in the prestigious list dedicated to the 100 most influential managers in Italy, an expert in data analytics and new technologies, he is also a writer (In una notte d’estate ho visto il futuro, Franco Angeli editore) and loves to call himself a humanist.

At BBS he is Professor in the Professional Masters Artificial Intelligence and Innovation Management and Data Marketing and Analytics, teaches Digital Transformation in the MBAs and Digital Transformation in the AI for Business Open Program.



Information is today’s most valuable and most highly paid and exchanged product. Information is data. How does data analytics get into marketing today?

Data analytics and marketing have gone together for many years: customer buying behavior, trends, clustering are marketing topics derived from data analytics.

What is changing, and perhaps the most interesting part of the evolution of this practice, is that as the performance of new artificial intelligences based on increasingly sophisticated algorithms improves, data is no longer “just” analysis, but it becomes prediction. It was just a few days ago that GPT4o was released: we begin to think about how much time we will spend shortly talking to machines.

Machines capable of adapting to us, understanding our desires, but also able to predict them.

It is no longer science fiction the idea of artificial intelligences so adaptive that they can, in a short time, get to know us “better than we do,” able to anticipate our needs and desires and, therefore, influence them. Here is where predictive analytics becomes not only the study of what is happening, but the possibility to determine what will happen in terms of customer experience and buying behavior.

Overall, data analytics is a game-changer between those who will survive and those who will stay behind, perhaps voluntarily to devote themselves to the niche, but in businesses that have nothing to do with the global world.



In this scenario, what is the role of artificial intelligence?

Let’s start with a real-world example: if you buy something online and you do not receive the confirmation e-mail within 15 seconds after the payment, you have a negative experience. This fact is very descriptive: an experience not in line with expectations generates disaffection. The perception of service becomes crucial and fundamentally changes the relationship between the company and the customer (expressed by marketing). It is a path that is renewed with the development of new technologies because they change the way we perceive things and, therefore, experience society.

Marketing is the first to adapt. A service that goes slower than others is bound to lose customers; not embracing the technological world would be folly.

Another example: today the smartphone is considered an essential commodity. For non-digital natives, this sounds like hyperbole, but a 15-year-old today experiences the online world with the same perception he or she has of the real world. So technologies change physical reality: they transform our perception of it through the hybrid experience of digital and analog reality.



Intercepting needs is the key to reaching consumers. How are new technologies moving marketing away from its more classic approaches?

It is necessary to build an infrastructure capable of handling the acquisition of as much consumer data as possible. Quantitative, structural, but also qualitative data. Even if you don’t know why, you need to acquire data to experiment with the ideal mix, the most effective one.

Fortunately, today’s technologies are increasingly plug-and-play, much less distant from the common man than a few decades ago. This allows for more immediate and easier enjoyment of innovations, but it forces those who want to stay on top to relate to them.



Your entrepreneurial journey with Injenia first and Dinova now is one of great success and growth. What has been the key to this achievement?

A salesman who worked with me, at the beginning of the Injenia experience, and who came from “classic” sales experience used to tell me that with me “things were never done.” This was because I was changing the go to market every six months, reworking and renewing the whole strategy.

Years later, studying digital transformation, I realized that it was precisely this naive, almost “instinctive” approach that was the key to the success of our proposal: innovating means proposing, changing, redoing even when things seem to be working. The speed of technological growth forces us to be extremely fast, adaptive, open. Changing all the time means having partners who are appropriate for that model, mentally disposed to flexibility.

When the topic of smart working arrived with the breakout of the pandemic on the business world, it was already old hat for us: there was no clock punching, no imposed timetables in the company, and a lot of effort was put into employee autonomy.

Today you can’t do marketing well if you don’t have a structure behind you that can keep up with that speed. So many companies fall down on this point: if you have the best chatbot in the world and then the information crashes, the whole process crashes.

My entrepreneurial experience is based on innovation. That’s why, I think, I’ve heard many more “no’s” than “yes’s” in life, but that’s the price you have to pay if you want to always look one step ahead.



Innovation is at the core of your work experience. You have always promoted a process of cultural change, even before technological change. What impact does and will this “renewal” have on the marketing departments of large companies?

Speaking of technology, we have to talk about change management. The real challenge today is not the tech world, but the cultural approach to it.

Until a few years ago, technology was very complex and exclusive to “experts.” It is a legacy on which many companies were formed. Today, to think of a central office that manages everything technologically surrounded by digital illiterates is pure madness: you can’t do marketing well if you don’t know 50 software programs that work for marketing companies.

But, to understand how a technology works, you need culture: the technical data, today, is often very simple, and intuitive. It is the predisposition to understand and handle it that makes the difference.

We are at the halfway point: the approach to change must be gradual, creating new habits. In a company, you have to start at the top, with the enabler that kicks things off. Others will follow that example.

I dream of a reality in which digital natives dialogue with the digital wise man, who was not born into this world and, precisely because of that – if he has curiosity and culture – can look at it from the outside while he is involved in it.

Today no one is safe from change: be on an ocean liner or a speedboat, this iceberg is not standing still in the middle of the sea. It is moving, coming at you. It is not enough to change direction; you need to be able to react with the same speed and power. We need a technological humanism capable of managing the tools that developers keep making available.

This is why Bologna Business School‘s courses have a plus over other Master of the same level: because they are based on hybrid knowledge that has belonged to the school since its inception. Because the meeting of technology, knowledge and business is one of the foundations of the creation of BBS and is part of its DNA.

Studying here means belonging to a generation of managers and entrepreneurs who know what kind of world they live in, know its tools and have the cultural capacity to use them to the fullest. A guarantee for success stories.


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