How Artificial Intelligence is changing the way marketing departments maneuver in a highly competitive marketplace
In our last post, Can Artificial Intelligence help you become a more effective marketer, we discussed how real-world Artificial Intelligence (AI) is far more helpful than the malicious computers found in sci-fi fantasy stories. As AI assistants become more commonly integrated within marketing automation software, marketing departments are having to adapt their workflows to best use this dynamic tool.
Take a look at a fairly typical workflow for creating a summer promotion campaign:
- The Marketing Director creates the goal for a summer promotion and the channels they would like to use for the messaging (email, social media, Sunday circulars, etc.).
- The Marketing Specialists pour over data from the company’s most recent campaigns as well as last year’s promotion to determine the right type of assets to create, what the content should say and how to effectively send out promotion. This requires the use of several tools, such as Google Analytics, reporting in email software, and Customer Relationship Management systems.
- The team then separates their audience into various targeted segments to personalize the promotion to these unique groups (i.e. advertisements of toys being sent to parents, men’s clothing being sent to male customers, etc.).
- Once the time-consuming task of data mining is complete, the Marketing Coordinators and Specialists begin creating the various assets for the campaign.
- After the content is created, the team sets up a series of tests to fine tune the materials. These tests include: A/B split testing, Email Inbox previewing, SPAM analysis, and many others.
- Finally, the campaign is deployed and the team focuses on gathering data to fine tune the messaging as the campaign progresses.
Now imagine the same team has an AI assistant connected to all of their various systems. How would the process look different? The first major difference would relate to the automation of large data mining tasks. AI assistants would automatically segment the audience list and could suggest content for each of the targeted groups. The assistant would also automatically establish testing procedures and give recommendations for improving campaign performance. Essentially, an AI assistant would be able to rapidly complete tasks that are time-consuming for humans, allowing for the marketing to focus on building new creative ideas for communicating with their customers.
Industry leaders are predicting that in the coming years, many of the tasks currently related to marketing campaigns will be effectively automated. While on the surface this might sound alarming, it actually frees the team up to concur new challenges and be more productive. Each generation of marketers have embraced new forms of technology. From computer assisted drawing in 1980’s to online advertisements in the 1990’s, our industry has grown and come up with evermore creative and thought provoking ways to communicate. Now with the advent of AI assistants, we truly are facing a new frontier in communications.
Now is a perfect time to get your email list into shape. Why? Well, just like our bodies can’t function at optimal levels if we don’t take care of them, our email lists can also suffer if they are not getting the attention they need.
A clean, up-to-date email list is critical to the effectiveness of your campaigns, and to ensuring that you’re getting the best possible results. Once your list is in good shape, with a little ongoing maintenance, you’ll see improved delivery, response, and conversion rates — and a better-looking bottom line.
Okay, I’m just going to put this out there: the “Gmail issue” – that is, the ever increasing challenge of getting marketing emails to land in the Gmail Primary tab — is super frustrating! There. I said it! And I know I’m not alone on this. However…
Do you know who doesn’t hate the Gmail issue? Gmail, that’s who! And thank goodness for that, because they’ve given us all a reason to pause and consider how we think about our email campaigns, and what our subscribers want to know, receive and read.
That said, from a delivery and compliance perspective, senders can do a lot to ensure they get the best possible results in terms of where they want their mail to land at Gmail.
Email is widely regarded as one of the best ways to build long-term customer relationships, and it’s the most powerful marketing channel for retention and driving conversions.
On the other hand, social media is great for creating a sense of community around your brand, as well as inspiring real-time conversations with your customers and prospects. And then there’s the ability to deliver highly-targeted ads.
While it may not yet be common practice to use these two channels in conjunction with one another, the results can be quite powerful.
With a few months’ worth of the new Net Atlantic Executive Summary report under your belt, you may be wondering how you can improve your grade.
We recommend studying and reviewing trends in your list(s) from month to month. Study your subscribers, list growth, sending habits, opens and clicks, and more. The better you understand each element of your email marketing program, the better chance you have of improving your grade.
Of course, studying is only the beginning; you have to apply what you learn. Below, I’ll take you through the main areas of the Executive Summary Report, and provide some tips on how to improve your results in each one.
As you dip your toes into the waters of email marketing, you need to prepare yourself for the possibility that some of your email might contain content that people don’t want to receive. This is what ESP’s refer to as prohibited content. When you send a message with content like this — snap! — you’ll feel the jaws of compliance bite down on your email program!
Lionel Richie asked this question (well sort of) back in the ’80s, with his heartstring-tugging hit song Hello.
And you could ask the same question of your subscribers. You know, the ones who haven’t opened one of your mailings in a while. Or the ones who haven’t engaged with you in a way that shows they’re still interested.
Addresses from dead domains are like zombies. They exist in your list and look kind of like the real thing (i.e., valid addresses that you can send to). They may have been on your list for a long time, maybe since you started collecting addresses way back when. But, like zombies, they are mere shadows of their former selves.
When compliance folks like me talk about dead domains, we are referring to addresses within a sender’s list that are from domains which are no longer in business, or are no longer providing mail client services. Having addresses from these domains on a mailing list is an indication to any good compliance specialist that the list is in dire need of clean-up, or that the list owner may have purchased addresses. Neither of these scenarios is good for the client’s sender reputation, nor the ESP’s overall reputation.
What’s the most important part of any email marketing program?
Huh? Wha-? Not what you expected? Well, think about this:
Your subscribers joined your mailing list because they love your products, they’re crazy about your service, and they want to hear what you have to say. Setting expectations around how often your subscribers will hear from you, and then fulfilling those expectations, is the key to keeping them happy and getting the best results from your email marketing efforts.
Blackjack is a staple at any casino, and it’s a game in which skill and luck both play equal parts. Skill and a little bit of luck are needed in email marketing, too. For example, why take a chance on your email address collection process when you can improve your own odds by using a double opt-in sign up method whenever you can? See what I did there…cards and contacts? Tricky!
Seriously, though: The definition of doubling down is “to become more tenacious, zealous, or resolute in a position or undertaking”. And this is how everyone should approach email address collection. Why?