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Is your email marketing ready for an AI makeover?

By Expert commentator 25 Feb, 2019
Essential

Are you looking for something that gives you the edge and helps take email campaign performance to the next level?

So you’ve been optimizing your email programme for a while now, you’ve segmented your database, developed customer personas, and you’ve implemented a range of triggered campaigns. However, your competitors have also raised their game, and the ‘business as usual’ option just won’t cut it anymore. You’re looking for something that gives you the edge and helps take email campaign performance to the next level.

AI technology and marketing – a match made in heaven?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already helping marketers by serving personalized content at scale, reducing campaign production times, and enabling them to boost revenues and engagement. Forrester Research has predicted that businesses who use AI to drive marketing will gain $1.2 trillion per annum from those who don’t.

It’s understandable that many marketers are still getting to grips with how to best use AI. The possibilities are endless – it’s a new area for consumer marketing and it seems like there are a few examples to follow. However, inspiration is everywhere. For example, Spotify's secret sauce is a taste profile for each consumer coupled with their ranking technology that brings you an individualized music playlist.

For those of you old enough to remember music tapes, Spotify is the digital equivalent of a tape recorder that can create an infinite mixtape of your favorite tunes, without you needing to put in all the time and effort. Similarly, marketers can now create an infinite stream of curated product recommendations for each consumer without needing all the time and effort of rules-based personalization.

Why Artificial Intelligence for marketing?

Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, and predictive analytics have been around for a while now. They help big businesses enhance their decisions and workflows, but how do you know if an AI personalization platform can help you build a more engaging, personal connection with consumers – and improve your KPIs? We broke down the criteria to consider when you are considering if your brand could use an AI makeover that takes your email marketing to the next level. Think of this as the checklist to ascertain whether your strategy is on track and ready for a step change.

automation and AI (1)

From segmentation to individualization

While segmentation helps you increase the relevance of your emails and improve general engagement, the downside is personalization must be limited to ensure your content appeals to the entire audience within that segment. But today’s consumers don’t have time for this one-size-fits-all approach. People have come to expect retailers to deliver content that recognizes their unique tastes and interests. For marketers, that means segmentation just won’t cut through the clutter: to drive engagement, email content must appeal to the individual on a personal level.

So if the results from your segmentation activities are plateauing, it may be time to consider a move from segmentation to personalization. Genuine personalization enables the marketer to:

  • Understand the real-time tastes and interests of each consumer
  • Personalize content to an audience of one
  • Be continuously updated based on user behaviors

Modern marketing platforms are designed from the ground up with AI in mind, and enable retailers to understand customers as individuals, including their unique tastes and preferences. Based on these individualized insights, marketers can 'surprise and delight' consumers with genuinely individualized content experiences for each consumer.

Content production

When some companies are creating an average of more than a million digital assets annually, manual content production becomes untenable. AI is here to help and automates content production based on your product feed. Modern marketing with AI-based content intelligence uncovers highly granular individualized preferences—and machine learning algorithms automate content distribution to the right person at the right time.

Metrics to improve

Chances are, if you’re responsible for email marketing, you have some metrics or KPIs that you look at frequently. These could include open rates or click-thru rates. They could also be financial, such as sales or profitability. For many retailers, continually boosting revenues and engagement is often a big challenge. If you have a clear idea what metrics are working and what you’d like to improve, now is a great time to chat with someone in charge of sales/customer success at an AI personalization company to see how their solution can get those numbers up in your email marketing strategy.

What's the impact of AI personalization on email KPIs?

Companies that have implemented Artificial Intelligence platforms in their email marketing have seen dramatic changes in their ROI and engagement levels. According to McKinsey, 35% of Amazon’s revenue is generated by its recommendation engine – a huge sum for an organisation with revenues of $52.9Bn. It shows the power of analysing data to learn what your customer wants, and offering it to them – and that’s one of the things AI does best.

In addition to ROI-based metrics, individualization also reduces campaign production time by removing manual segmentation processes. This frees marketers to focus on optimizing strategy, creative, and other value-adding operations within the business.

Conclusion

AI-powered Individualization enables marketers to send fresh and engaging content to every individual customer, every time, at any scale. And in today’s market with consumer spending increasingly being siphoned to Amazon, consumers have been conditioned to expect nothing less. In today’s retailing environment, the personal touch still matters, but you need to be able to deliver that personalization instantly and at scale. And as with many things, it is usually best to start small, prove the business case, and scale quickly.

Machine Learning platforms don’t just lighten your workload; they help you tap into vast wells of customer data to build better relationships faster. That’s something to be excited about.

By Expert commentator

This is a post we've invited from a digital marketing specialist who has agreed to share their expertise, opinions and case studies. Their details are given at the end of the article.

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