Machine learning, the future of marketing automation

  • machine learning

A couple of years ago, Big Data was on everyone’s mouth and it has since then deeply changed what it is to be a marketer. Today, machine learning has taken its place and is changing again the way we do marketing, and more precisely marketing automation. Here are a couple of things you should know about that new buzzword.

The technology of learning

Machine learning actually isn’t that new. You might not know it, but it’s already used by airports – and many others – for facial recognition, by Apple for Siri, by Google for their car, by Microsoft with their real-time translation on Skype, etc.
Machine learning “simply” means that machines can learn on their own thanks to data we give them without being explicitly programed for it. There are several types of learning but only three you should know about:

  • Supervised learning: A “teacher” is showing the machine what it should learn and the machine works on its own to get this result
  • Unsupervised learning: In this scenario there is no teacher and the machine needs to find its own way to learn something. This can mainly help discover hidden patterns
  • Reinforcement learning: There is again no teacher but an environment from which the machine will learn, like a self-driving car that will look at other cars and the environment around them to learn to drive

What’s in it for marketing?

Machine learning goes further than just using data to target more precisely. The algorithms can learn from the response of clients or leads, for example in emailing campaigns, in order to deduce what topic is going to interest your leads. And thanks to this, they will be able to predict their future interests the way Amazon does when they suggest you a product – not a related one, but one specifically for you that you might not even have known you wanted.
Thus marketing automation becomes something else entirely and the possibilities are numerous. Below is a list of how it helps marketing in its different stages.

Segmentation

Machine learning will help you extract precise behaviours and preferences from small and similar groups – everything a marketer needs.

Targeting

Automate to whom you are going to send that email is already possible. But it goes further than this: technology will allow you to segment your own segments and integrate true personalisation with criteria such as gender, job, hierarchy level, interests, history with your brand, behaviour, etc.

Topics

It comes from everything else: depending on your clients, the time spent on a certain page, their history, behaviour, etc. marketing automation using machine learning will be able to find the right topics that will be relevant to the right people and predict which topic will become trendy. Content thus can be much more relevant.

Churn

By studying why customers left, the system will be able to predict which actions triggered it and will be able to predict the risks of churn. You can then anticipate them with useful content and use preventive campaigns thanks to what the machine learned.

Lifetime

Customers have a “lifetime”. Machine learning allows to study that cycle and to calculate the value of your customers at the different stages of their lifecycle. What better way to measure the potential of your clients and your company?

The possibilities don’t stop there. Today technology allows you to deduce and predict things that will greatly improve the results of your marketing operations. In the years to come, the benefits of machine learning will keep increasing with more relevance and better performance of your actions. Meanwhile, you can already start using tools like CRM that use this technology!

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