How will Machine Learning Shape the Future of Marketing?

How will Machine Learning Shape the Future of Marketing?

More and more small businesses are taking advantage of the potential of machine learning and incorporating it into their business plan, and they’re not disappointed by the results.  Some entrepreneurs are wary of machine learning because in the past it’s gotten a bad reputation for being heavily dependent on computer coding, a skill that not all business owners possess, and hiring out an expert isn’t always an option on a small business budget.  This mindset is slowly changing as entrepreneurs see the benefits of utilizing machine learning, and nowadays there are many affordable machine learning platforms available for those who are looking for a more simplified way to integrate the skill into their long-term business plans.  Regardless of the reason they choose to pursue machine learning, it’s advantages are unparalleled, and now they’re easier than ever to access.

What is Machine Learning?

“Machine learning (ML) has been described as the science of getting computers to act without being specifically programmed to act.”  CMO.com believes the key to marketing is a balancing act between art and science, where data provides the science and marketers provide the art.  Machine learning fills in the gap by using computer code to solve data problems that marketers could never resolve on their own as they are solely dependent on the human brain.  ML does this by using a variety of algorithms that act based on the data with which they are presented.  Machine learning is able to identify patterns, make inferences based on those patterns, and then act on those inferences, all without the supervision or actions of a human marketer.  The potential for how ML can impact marketing is limitless; whether it’s used to free up a business owner’s time so they can focus on other tasks, or it provides solutions to problems before the entrepreneur even knows they exist, the possibilities are never-ending.  Below are some specific ways we foresee machine learning impacting the field of marketing in the future.

Machine Learning makes brand email marketing more effective

There are many programs, such as SailThru, that use machine learning in order to help businesses improve the effectiveness of their email marketing campaigns.  Machine learning is known for being able to analyze customer behavior, which most entrepreneurs know is a key detail for the success of email marketing.  In order to launch and maintain a successful email campaign, you have to understand how to engage your audience, ie: how often to send emails, what subject lines to use, what to list in the “from” field, etc.  All of these details influence whether or not a consumer will open an email or send it straight to their junk folder.  Machine learning provides incredibly detailed, accurate data that makes it possible for business owners to best determine when email delivery is most likely to draw engagement and conversions. 

Machine Learning takes the guesswork out of timing for marketing campaigns

Targeted outreach data is important not just for email marketing, but for marketing success overall.  Business owners rely on data to know when consumers are most likely to make a conversion, and they use that information when determining how often to run sales and giveaways, when to post information on social media and their website, and who they should send advertisements and recommendations to and how often, among other things.  Machine learning can analyze customer behavior and narrow it down to a very small window that entrepreneurs can use to be as accurate as possible when deciding on the timing of new marketing campaigns. Also, it helps them better tailor their campaigns to the specific needs of their customers, all of which result in more conversions and higher click through rates.

Machine learning uses content analysis in order to drive better marketing conversations

Forbes believes that machine learning will aid in lexical analysis, a relatively new process that helps entrepreneurs analyze which words, phrases, and sentences will best engage consumers.  They can then use this information to create content that is meaningful to customers and which will be more likely to draw website traffic and increase conversions.  It’s not uncommon for business owners to test out a variety of words or phrases when constructing email campaigns, newsletters, and content, in general, to determine exactly which phrase will result in marketing success, and machine learning takes the guesswork out of this by using an algorithm to quickly determine which words are the most engaging for consumers.  The data that is produced is more accurate and it requires much less time and effort on the part of the entrepreneur.

Machine learning can improve the experience of both the consumer and the marketer

Machine learning has the potential to help both the customer and the marketer.  ML can influence the customer experience by helping business owners individually personalize their customer’s experience with their brand and website, as opposed to targeting small groups of people like many entrepreneurs do now.  There are ML algorithms that can be utilized to tailor product recommendations for individual customers, as well as to suggest categories and brands that people might be interested in.  In addition, the algorithms can help tailor site navigation and search results so that they are unique to each customer.  This is much more effective than the typical A/B testing that business owners currently utilize, and the result yields a dynamic profile of human behavior that far surpasses traditional methods.

ML can also help the marketer by determining which elements of your business should have the highest priority.  Business owners are often overwhelmed by data and can find it difficult to know which problems to start solving first, but ML simplifies this process.  It can quickly sort through all your metrics and data to locate patterns or problems and then alert you to them so you know which areas need your attention the most. Not only is this a more accurate way to problem solve, but it’s also a huge time saver as well.

Machine Learning allows for time for creativity

In addition to helping to prioritize tasks for business owners, machine learning can also free up time for creativity.  Oftentimes small business owners are so overloaded with analyzing data and metrics in order to engage their target audience that there isn’t a whole lot of time left over for creativity.  This is a shame since many entrepreneurs got into the business in the first place in order to come up with a product or service as an outlet for their creative mind.  At the very least, it’s helpful to have some time for creativity when developing a website or marketing plan.  Because utilizing machine learning algorithms frees up so much time that business owners might have otherwise spent on numbers, most are happy to report that they have a lot more time left over with which to utilize the right sides of their brains to dream, create, and otherwise be inspired.

Pattern recognition and machine learning have come a long way since they were first introduced in the 1960s, and we can only expect them to evolve further as time goes on.  Now is the time to take the plunge and integrate machine learning into your marketing plan- we can bet you won’t be disappointed with the results.  Just remember that with everything computerized, a certain amount of error can and should be expected.  Don’t forget to balance automation with human insight and experience, and your marketing plan will thrive.

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