In the recent times, thanks to the technological advancements, customers expect brands to go beyond “promotion”. They now, expect brands to understand them, and correspondingly anticipate their needs, followed by a completely personalized communication at the right time with the right channel.
On the other hand, marketers, with the sheer amount of data and technologies available in their arsenal, are going for a complete overhaul.
Today, let’s just take one aspect of marketing emails. It has remained the mainstay of the marketing toolbox. With the advent AI, email marketing is evolving from the traditional “let us push our product, sweetened by a promotion” to “let us target the right customer with the right product, at the right time with the right offer, thus encouraging the user to better engage with us”. In my opinion, here is how AI is helping the email marketing to evolve:
1. The right customers for the campaign: Every customer is unique, with different preferences for products, different responses to specific promotions and different habits to channels. Hence, it is important for the marketers to select the customer segments for their communication really well. There is a great new floral collection that a marketer wants to promote. The algorithms today are able to find the probability for each customer to buy a dress from this collection. Then, based on the reach and return ambitions of the campaign, the algorithms identify the best set of customers to reach out to for this collection. In the marketers’ dashboard, this increases the Open Rates for the campaigns.
2. The right products and communication: With consumers spending more time online, it is time for the sales and marketing to do the same. However, with the amount of data that customers generate by staying online, it would take mortal lifetimes to figure anything really useful out with the traditional algorithms. With the advancement of algorithms, marketers can “think” about the needs of EACH customer as if she is the only one the marketer cares about, and hence arrive at the most relevant and personalized products for her – and then repeat is for each of their customers every day, every time.So, having decided that Aarti is the right customer for the floral collection, the algorithms are able to identify the set of five completely personalized floral dresses forAarti, thus substantially increasing Aarti’s probability to buy the dresses. And then, the algorithms are able to repeat it for each and every customer. In the marketers’ dashboard, this increases the Click to Open Ratios for the campaigns.
3. Just the right time:With this generation of customers having the attention span of that of the goldfish, it has become necessary to grab their ‘moment’. This meant that marketers could no longer risk sending the right message at the wrong time, or for that matter, sending an email blast at “noon”.The algorithms are helping marketers decode the triggers for the customer. Aarti: dines out frequently; visits Bella Ciao restaurant in Chennai once a month; her last IP address on Friday evening corresponded to Bangalore location, indicating she is probably traveling; understanding the preference patterns indicate that people who like Bella Ciao restaurant in Chennai like Chianti restaurant in Bangalore; historical data indicates that Aarti opens her promotional emails in the afternoon (maybe after lunch, before starting on her work again) – Its Friday 2:00 pm – the algorithm sends a quick email toAarti telling her about our 20% discount on Chianti restaurant.In the marketers’ dashboard, this increases the Sales per Email from the campaigns.
4. The right offer:Finally, every customer has a different attitude towards pricing and discounts, ranging from “I buy when I want to buy a product, not caring about the discounts” to “I love discounts, and unfortunately I sometimes end up buying products I don’t need just because they were, oh, on such great discounts”. This also varies as a customer starts becoming more and more loyal (or familiar) to the brands. The algortithms today are evolving to understand the customers better than ever, and are, thus, able to optimize on the discounts at an individual level. Again, in the marketers’ dashboard, this increases the Profits per Email from the campaigns.
What this essentially means that with the advent of AI, the email marketing is coming back from the ashes. Huge opportunity lie with the brands to cater to the customers’ expectations, and in return generate wealth for themselves – or suffer by being permanently branded as “spam” by their customers.
The article has been contributed by Mr Ajay Kashyap, Co-Founder, Boxx.ai