Brands need to stay relevant in a rapidly changing environment keeping their customers engaged. “The smart retailers are going to start creating an experience around the product“, according to Movable Ink CEO Vivek Sharma. He said that machine learning is becoming key to personalising the brand experience as it has the potential to assist customers to see how a brand fits into their lifestyle. However, the question remains: Whose lifestyle? And what experience? And how does this apply to email marketing?

Sharma provided a travel example on how machine learning could be implemented. People have different reasons for choosing a travel destination e.g. an island getaway. A young honeymoon couple would be interested in the romantic sunsets, white sand beaches etc., while athletic beachgoers would be interested in water activities such as paddleboards and snorkeling. With machine learning you can automate the visual artwork for the email going out to the different target audiences based on what they’ve booked, what they’ve browsed and what images they’ve lingered on.

Machine learning can be used to optimise and automate email marketing programmes e.g. content, broadcast times and frequency which will, in turn, improve engagement and conversions. Using artificial intelligence (AI), can predict the content and promotional offer that would most likely be appealing to the customer together with the best time of the day and the frequency that is most likely to keep the customer engaged.

For email marketing campaigns, it’s all about getting more performance out of it. Marketers need to move to behaviour-based approaches applying machine learning for their email strategies to be effective. There are different email tactics such as visual personalisation, segmenting messages by gender. Still, human creativity cannot be replaced by machine learning. However, the role of machine learning is about the ability to scale human creativity in ways physically impossible for any human. Humans cannot replicate the degree of constant learning and optimisation at the same pace. The correct AI tools have the potential to automate the repetitive tasks to free marketers up for strategic planning and coming up with even more creative ideas.

Marketers should start small using machine learning and ensure they have the correct technologies in place to implement AI tools. While they do, email marketing best practices should always be taken into account. Sharma estimates that only 3% to 5% of emails are based on behaviour. “I imagine a world in five years where 80% is behavior-based with emails being sent based upon machines making decisions and adapting the content.

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