As more and more software passes the Turing test — ensuring indistinguishability from humans versus robots — artificial intelligence (AI) will become more and more integrated into our lives (and our email).
Though still in the early stages of growth, the amount of AI that will be woven into marketing campaigns in the years to come will be truly astonishing.
Pushing Limits of Personalization
One of the biggest advantages to using automation and artificial intelligence in email marketing is that it enables developers (and marketers) to dedicate resources to creative elements and efficient messaging for each segmented vertical within a campaign.
Each year, personalization tops lists as a pain point for marketers and developers alike, most often because of the amount of data needed to make an informed decision, coupled with development and testing time for the most accurate readability and deliverability.
As AI technology expands to become more and more like a human brain, developers can be confident in the speed and accuracy of allowing a machine to fine-tune campaign lists and personalize the content to nearly each and every person within that list.
AI can help email developers craft more creative functions and designs into an email, such as the recent Minesweeper interactive email that went viral, while marketers benefit heavily from the ability to thoughtfully compose copy and analyze data to make more effective decisions.
Email service platforms such as MailChimp will increasingly improve their algorithms making it harder to ensure the maximum deliverability. Enhanced personalization and accurate list segmentations are quickly becoming one of the only ways to reach consumers, and artificial intelligence can provide both.
Critics of AI in business frequently cite job loss as an adverse conclusion to implementation of automated procedures, but a study performed by two Oxford researchers found this might not be the case for email marketers and developers specifically.
While “email marketer” isn’t an ideal job category for this study, it did find that data-heavy professions like research and development had a greater chance of being outsourced, while the creative aspects have very low chances of diminishing in a world owned by artificial intelligence.
The traits that make developers and marketers unique, such as originality, fine arts skills, social perceptiveness, and persuasion are not features that can be transferred to a machine, regardless of how well that machine performs as a “human.”
Thus, artificial intelligence should be seen as a primary tool to do the job more authentically.
Machine learning tools such as Boomtrain, Conversica, and others will help optimize original, creative and persuasive campaigns created by humans.
These tools will quickly adapt to provide optimizations for the types of campaigns a subscriber sees, the cadence and timing of each campaign, and maximization of value and revenue for each specific subscriber.
Marketers can then spend more time understanding what subscribers need on a deep level to create the most persuasive campaigns, and use the “out-of-the-box” thinking that makes their marketing copy special.
Human-driven analytics will then be more about identifying which programs work and less about how to deliver emails accurately. Likewise, developers will be able to tackle more creative development habits and interesting design implementation, in addition to continuous testing practices that enable the AI program to do its job.
Good, Not Perfect
While AI can offer predictive content, maximized subject lines, and generate compelling offers, it still can’t guarantee the email in question looks perfect in every inbox. Businesses may put their trust in algorithms and AI to develop emails, but campaigns will still need to go through a QA process before delivery.
Developers will quickly learn that continuous email campaign testing for email going through an AI program is an essential step. Like general web development agile principles, continuous testing should be a part of each organization as they develop more automated and artificial intelligence programs in their marketing efforts.
About the Author
Justin Khoo, a senior email developer at Email on Acid, writes about email techniques and new innovations. He has been involved in many aspects of email over the past decade, everything from building webmail clients and email campaign services to coding HTML emails.