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.
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.
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.
In our last post, we explained why it’s important to test your emails before they go out. There are many benefits to incorporating this practice into your email marketing program, from catching typos and grammatical errors to ensuring optimal image display and maximum delivery.
But the biggest benefit of all is a little more abstract.
Picture this: you’ve created a phenomenal email. One of your best ever, in fact. It’s got highly compelling content that’s relevant to your subscribers, gorgeous images, and a call to action that’s practically irresistible. This email is so good, you can’t wait to put it out there and watch the clicks and conversions start rolling in. So you’re really tempted to just pull the trigger and skip the whole testing phase. After all, you know your email is practically perfect.
What could possibly go wrong?
You want to include that beautiful photo you took, or that gorgeous artwork you created, in your latest mailing. Your image is so good, you can’t wait for everyone to see it. But there’s a problem: when your email goes out, all your subscribers see is a blank space where your image was supposed to be, along with this message:
So what happened??
Recently, I was reading some articles about William Shakespeare (stay with me here, folks!), which led to some posts that discussed whether he revised his plays, how many revisions there were, and how they evolved from first draft to finished masterpiece. Since I’m such a geek about email, I started wondering:
If Shakespeare had a mailing list, would he have tested different versions of his plays to see which one got the best response?
During our 20 years in the business, we’ve gotten every kind of support call imaginable from customers who have gotten themselves into all kinds of tricky email marketing situations.
To help you avoid the same scenarios, I thought I’d put together a list of best practices you should always implement in your email marketing program. I’m also including some things you should never do. The idea is to help save you time, avoid mistakes and preserve your sender reputation.
Now available: Our brand-new, FREE Expert’s Guide to Email Marketing!
You’ve done the batch-and-blast thing. You know how to segment your list to get better results. And you know that getting more in-depth metrics and stats from your campaigns is the key to your success – both now and in the future.
So it goes without saying that you’ve moved past entry-level solutions. But what’s next?