Need to know about Artificial Intelligence and Marketing Automation

More efficiency, more impact: Marketing automation systems are an important asset in order to effectively engage in dialogue with customers. They relieve marketers, help to merge information and translate it into actions.

10th Sep 2019
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Artificial intelligence adds an extra push to marketing automation solutions, because it can process data at a tremendous depth and even minimize risk through predictions.


Inactive customers are a challenge for every online store. As a customer buys for years in a beautiful regularity and suddenly nothing happens: Still the lake rests. It is worthwhile to reactivate these inactive customers, but it is time-consuming. For most of these customers have already opened up new sources to meet their needs.


So it would be better to be able to predict whether a customer could become inactive in the near future. For this the dealer would have to examine the respective purchase history, as well as the user behavior - and not only this one customer, but as far as possible all customers. Then it is important to recognize patterns and deduce them.


Online distribution of high-end luxury items with a small and selected customer base can handle such analysis. For a sports equipment platform with 500,000 products and millions of customers, things are different.


There is Artificial Intelligence - in short: Artificial Intelligence - the rescue. Admittedly, a dazzling term and many are tempted to think of Hal, the self-acting and speaking Artificial Intelligence from Stanley Kubrick's 2001 film : A Space Odyssey . What is meant in this context is a form of machine learning in which computers are programmed to analyze user behavior and recognize patterns. 


On this basis, they can derive recommendations for action or further findings in accordance with previously defined rules. For example, someone is about to stop shopping at a shopping platform. This technology can give hints why this is so. In other words, Artificial Intelligence takes marketing automation a giant leap forward.

Huge relief for marketers

Dirk Görtz, Vice President of Dialogue Marketing at Deutsche Post, explains why Artificial Intelligence is so important for marketing automation: "Today, data and customer information are available at a completely different depth than just a few years ago. These are analyzed in real-time dialog marketing in real time and made available to the system for controlling campaigns. Artificial intelligence makes these solutions even more efficient and accurate, enabling many of the services of marketing automation in the first place. "


As a recent coup, Deutsche Post has partnered with Acoustic, a US marketing technology and customer experience company. Acoustic? That's what IBM's marketing and commerce software offerings, which were sold to private equity firm Centerbridge Partners in April, are now an independent company called Acoustic. But other Deutsche Post partners, such as Emarsys or Episerver, have long integrated artificial intelligence into the data processing process of Marketing Automation.

New interaction between marketer and customer

The advantage for advertisers: "Artificial Intelligence in marketing automation helps to make the process less complex," says Holger Behnsen, Managing Director for German-speaking Europe and Eastern Europe at Emarsys. A machine is able to better decide on which channels and with which content customers should be addressed, which incentive they receive and more. 


The Benefits: Better conversion and revenue results, with programs running faster than previous automation routes, and time-to-value getting shorter. And because the systems based on AI can make complex decisions in real time, the customer's experience improves - and, indirectly, customer loyalty.


But marketers should never rely blindly on the machine, but keep an eye on its results. Why, says Marc Bohnes, Product Strategy Director, at Internet World Business : "It's important that the marketer keeps checking: does the generated data plausibly match other findings?"


Bohnes sees a dramatic change in the marketing process through Artificial Intelligence "In principle, the marketer sets the rules for the marketing suite," he explains. "The sales tax itself is indirectly assumed by the customer about his concrete behavior."

Artificial Intelligence provides marketers with freedom

But how exactly does Artificial Intelligence intervene in the process? Bernd Schlösser, Leading Client Solution Professional IBM Watson Customer Engagement, and soon to be in the same position at Acoustic, sees three areas of application: Firstly - in hindsight - analyze customer behavior, better understand it and identify patterns from it or derive customer segments. 


Second - in advance - recommendations for action with regard to channels, content or audience segments. And thirdly, solutions that support the marketer assist him. For example, an assistant who provides suggestions and metrics to help him make better decisions. "We're talking about a supportive intelligence that should give the marketer creative freedom," says Schlösser.


Marketing automation in conjunction with Artificial Intelligence brings significant benefits: as much more data is analyzed in real time, content development is easier.


What does a customer like? Which offers does he jump to? What should a voucher or other incentive be? The Artificial Intelligence ​​can individualize the speech at a high level. "It works like a recommendation engine," says Emsys manager Behnsen. "Previously, decisions about content were often 'all-or-nothing' decisions."


This means that all customers in a segment see the same ad or get the same offer. "It's easier and more granular to customize using Artificial Intelligence," he says. On Marconomy, Behnsen has done this in a separate post.

The sales letter provides the special momentum

Artificial Intelligence also provides tangible benefits to advertisers as part of Marketing Automation in terms of controlling channels. "The more channels a provider uses purposefully for the customer approach, the more likely it is that it converts in the end," says Marc Bohnes of Episerver.


Here too, according to Bohnes, predictions based on Artificial Intelligence could be used to address consumers more accurately. The integration of physical mailing into marketing automation is a real benefit: "Of course, these days, it's all about digital content and channels. But within the customer journey the analogue customer experience has to be served. 


The letter is still an important cultural asset and is ideal for customer communication due to two important factors: Haptics and visuality. The momentum to open a letter simply can not be compared to opening an e-mail, "says Bohnes.


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