Films dating back as far as 1927 (and perhaps beyond) predicted machine intelligence would be the future. But for as many who saw the vision, there was an equal number who believed the forecast was soundless—how could a machine possibly replicate and surpass the intelligence of the human who created it?
Fast-forward to 2017, and we find two things: machine intelligence is here and rising, and it’s quite capable of learning at a much faster rate than us.
Look no further than search engines, which compile the digital footprints we leave behind, analyze them to better interpret our unique and changing behaviors, then use that information to tailor individual online experiences. With every search we do, the engines grow smarter about its billions of users and how to better accommodate them.
This type of direct access and insight is every marketer’s dream. It would help lift engagement, reduce churn, and substantially increase the lifetime value of their customers.
Psst, what if we said in just a few more years this dream could become a reality for you and every marketer? But there’s a twist….
Marketing Intelligence and Marketing Automation: The Future Power Couple
As a marketer, you constantly find yourself behind the curve. You have the same ally as machine intelligence—data—yet because you don’t have access or the capacity to inspect every digital footprint your ideal consumer makes online—both past and present—you never know if your guess-timation of their intent or behavior is completely accurate.
You crunch, analyze, and interpret data for days before deploying what you believe to be the perfect email marketing campaign. But if you’ve ever experienced the common headache many marketers sustain, then you know you are likely shooting at a target that has already moved. It is only through testing and iteration do you get some ground.
But a lifeline stands to come your way. Reports anticipate marketing intelligence will be fully infused into marketing automation and act as your army of researchers, testers, analysts, and content curators. Not replacing you or your team, rather beefing up your capacity to reach a larger audience quicker and with more accurate messaging.
Are you ready for the “Power Couple”?
Here’s a hint: If you aren’t using marketing automation now, and don’t plan to in the near future, the answer to that burning question is no.
Why You Won’t Be Ready for Machine Intelligence If You Don’t Have a Marketing Automation Tool In Place
Waiting for machine intelligence to get a solid footing in marketing automation is a mistake that could cost you.
It is not a matter of if, but when the two collide. As we speak, there are stand-alone machine intelligence tools that businesses of all sizes are using to support their marketing efforts. The problem is these tools have yet to become native elements of marketing automation platforms.
For now, your option is to piece together machine intelligence-powered products and integrate them into your core marketing automation platform.
But how can you if you don’t have a marketing automation tool in place?
Yes, machine intelligence has the ability to run on its own, but it has to be fueled first. What this means is that it needs to be fed a vast variety of data in order to create patterns necessary to accurately interpret consumer behavior and distribute the right messaging.
Think about it, can a car run without the fluids it needs for the machined parts to make a smooth connection? No.
Machine intelligence is no different.
Set up your marketing automation platform today, and have enough data once machine intelligence is fully on board—period.
And here’s why...
How Machine Intelligence Will Refine Your Automated Email Marketing Strategies
Also known as machine learning, machine intelligence is an automated process that allows software-based systems to analyze big data sets and recognize patterns. Then, using these patterns, the software is capable of not just reprogramming itself, but improving on its own.
Put another way: the technology couples the processing power of computers with algorithms to uncover patterns you cannot see yourself and applies a variety of insights simultaneously to solve problems at a scale and speed you cannot physically match.
Computers powered by machine intelligence will have the wherewithal to learn from data exposure, instead of being explicitly programmed like a human brain. By implanting human intelligence in machines, you can scale up your own smarts and even improve marketing accuracy with little to no human intervention.
“Think of machine intelligence much as you would think of raising a child: the goal is to create something that can make smart decisions when you’re not there” — BoomTrain, a company that helps companies orchestrate the user experience through email marketing automation and machine intelligence.
Marketing automation is already at your disposal and it allows marketers to waste less time nurturing customers, prospects, and leads. Based on how consumers have been segmented, as well as how they behave on your marketing channels, the platform’s system receives a response that triggers it to send out personalized emails that speak to that consumer’s unique interests.
The tool is hard-coded and rules-based. For such, it has to be actively managed by a “conductor” to ensure automated consumer journeys are properly orchestrated.
As conductor, the marketer must:
- Set the tempo of their marketing automation strategies
- Create the trigger-point systems that fire when the consumer is ready to move into the next phase
- Design campaigns around business goals
- Determine how to communicate with consumers in their language
- Draw data insights to see where consumers are in the funnel and to pinpoint which parts of the funnel are performing well or need work
- Create micro-journeys that can be reused in order to coordinate a flexible cross-interest buyer journey
It still requires effort on the marketer’s part, but value is gained with the time saved having to nurture every consumer manually over multiple channels.
Machine intelligence is much like marketing automation, except the computers tell themselves what to send and when. The system is designed to learn, adapt and respond based on business goals and consumer behavior.
And it can do much more:
- Use artificial intelligence bots to respond to customer service-oriented email questions, similar to Google Inbox’s Smart Reply feature.
- Integrate voice assistants like Siri and Alexa into email applications to read content aloud or trigger responses.
- Detect small nuances of online behavior that signal intent to purchase (e.g. if the consumer is downloading content or looking at reviews) and then send top-of-mind email messages when the consumer is ready to complete a sale.
- Distribute relevant, timely, and engaging content to every customer, at any scale
- Slice through massive data sets to find meaningful insights and subtle patterns in real time.
- Take the guesswork out of content curation by instantly surfacing and populating relevant, high-converting content for each consumer.
- Send content that is statistically likely to engage each consumer, depending on their behavior.
- Increase engagement rates by making subject lines dynamic based on what’s likely to engage the consumer and flow with the personalized content in the email, as well as optimize delivery time based on when the consumer is likely to open or engage with content.
- Enhance segmentation by slicing and re-slicing marketers’ master list into segments, using statistical models of consumer behavior.
- Draw insights from data and tell you what content/subjects are most important to your consumers (e.g. cultural trends, time-sensitive news).
Marketing intelligence, therefore, can act as your army of researchers, testers, analysts, and writers. Or better put, it will give you the “equivalent of a million email marketers.”
But with any software, system, tool, or platform, it will have its shortcomings until all the kinks have been ironed out. While machine intelligence will aid an email marketer in optimizing content and layout, it cannot develop and design email campaigns. And boundaries must be set on the sources the AI can learn from so that its tone is not influenced.
Testing & Data Insights As a Component of Machine Intelligence
It takes days, even weeks, to collect and analyze enough data around email marketing campaigns to have an idea of how they are performing. And based on your findings, you have to test ideas until you’ve established an iterative formula that increases engagement and conversions. Then, as the consumer changes and the performance levels dive, the cycle begins again.
With predictive analytics (PA) alone, statistical models have to be manually updated. But machine intelligence, a practically self-sufficient tool, has predictive analytics built in as a component. It takes complicated statistical models that define the relationship between data points and consumer actions—using past and current data intelligence to predict consumer intent and behavior.
Machine intelligence can automatically calibrate statistical models based on each successive outcome.
Unlike humans, machine intelligence never sleeps. It can gather and analyze massive amounts of data in milliseconds, 24 hours a day.
What this means for your automated email marketing campaigns is it can constantly run A/B tests, examining the results to tweak and improve algorithms based on performance data. It also consistently tests and refines statistical models and algorithms against new and existing data.
If campaign performance starts to dive, it goes into “discovery” mode, searching for the problem and then providing a solution.
Learn Before Machine Intelligence—and During
Perhaps the greatest benefit of incorporating machine intelligence into marketing automation software will be, as marketing intelligence progressively learns new insights about your consumers and their habits, so do you.
But you don’t have to wait on machine intelligence to come to marketing automation before you begin the learning process—your competitors surely aren’t waiting. As we speak, companies are already incorporating forms of machine intelligence into their marketing strategies.