Inbox Examiner is a video series featuring industry thought leaders discussing current challenges that marketers face,
Narrator: Welcome to the Inbox Examiner video series — a discussion around the many challenges in the email marketing industry, with proven solutions from leading industry experts.
The topic for today's episode is "AI and Your Email Marketing Program." Our industry experts will discuss artificial intelligence and its impact on the email marketing industry.
Joining us for this discussion is Andrew Kordek, Chief Strategist and Co-Founder of Trendline Interactive, and Damian Borichevsky, SVP Customer Success & Business Development for OneSpot.
AK: So we're talking about artificial intelligence in email marketing. And, I think there's a lot of confusion around the terms. Nothing gives the example such as a webcast that I attended last month. It was all about A.I. and email marketing. And at the end, the two questions which puzzled me was, "How do I get A.I.?" and "How do I turn on A.I.?" And I think there's this general thing that A.I. is so brand new, and it really isn't. It's actually older technology. But then you start talking about machine learning, and machine learning is a subset of A.I. And Damian, look, you're a senior leader at OneSpot, which does nothing but machine learning. So why don't you tell us a little bit about machine learning in general?
DB: Yeah, I think, Andrew, you make a great point, that there's a lot of confusion between, specifically, those two terms — machine learning and A.I. And I think the clearest way to distinguish the two, machine learning is a subset of A.I. Anything that's rules-based is A.I. A person gives a system a set of rules, and then the system follows the rules. And that's artificial intelligence. Machine learning is when the system actually gets smarter from analyzing the results. So a machine learning system actually does learn, just as the name implies, whereas any artificial intelligence system just does what you tell it to do, and does that over time.
AK: Yeah, but how does that apply? So I think that's a great way to define it. But then how do those two things apply to email today?
DB: I think there's a couple great examples. One that I think will resonate with everybody is spam filtering. The old spam filters were A.I.-based, where if you had a couple bad words in your subject line, like free or Viagra, you didn't get to the inbox. And those were the rules. And when you broke those rules, the system put you in the spam folder. New spam filters today are looking at what people are doing with messages, how they're filtering them, looking for similarities between those messages, and getting smarter. So they're now machine learning based.
Another thing I think really will resonate is what we're doing at OneSpot with machine learning. And we're taking the whole parrot out of how you create an email message, a newsletter, and we're kind of computerizing it. So, before you'd have content editors picking content and maybe picking seven or eight things to go in a newsletter, and then sending that out. And maybe they have two versions, where, for two different segments. And if you were a male, you got one version, a female, you got another version.
What we're doing is we're looking at the topic that the, that the editor wants to send about, and then we're using machine learning to pick the best content for each individual. So we're basically turning everybody into a segment of one instead of trying to jam everyone into a segment. And the difference is you have literally hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of versions of an email go out while you're just doing a big batch send. So you don't have to break your list into segments and the system gets smarter. It looks at how people are engaging with content, and it's learning over time. And it's really powerful.
AK: So, let's get down to brass tacks though, Damian. We hear all this, and it's great, right? So what does the future hold? What are you guys doing that is unique, that if I was a marketer, how would you explain it? What does that future hold going forward?
DB: What we think the future is — individualization. We don't like personalization because personalization means so much. But individualization is treating every subscriber as an individual, and finding the best content to send to them. And if we do our jobs well, we're gonna remove all the excuses for sending stale, static welcome messages or transactional messages out, or sending the same thing to your entire list. Because the operational aspect of sending great content out has become so simple through the power of machine learning. So we feel like we're really empowering our clients, and email marketers in general, to improve their email programs. And down the road, you ultimately create a better experience for subscribers, so everybody wins. Email marketers have an easier time getting better content out, and your subscribers just have a better content experience, like their email better.
AK: I think to close, I think the best thing we could say is that all machine learning is A.I., right? — that not all A.I. Is machine learning. And I think everyone needs to realize that I'm excited for the future. I know there's a lot of stuff around this topic, so I would love to know just what your closing thoughts would be, Damian.
DB:I think the different aspects of A.I. are changing people's lives. You look at Waze and Alexa and Echo, and there's A.I. all around us. And I think email, and what we're doing with machine learning now in email is gonna change the way that email operators function, and just change the way resources are deployed, which is really exciting.
Narrator: Thanks for joining Inbox Examiner where leading industry experts discussed artificial intelligence and the impact it's making on email marketing.
Trendline Interactive, is a full-service email marketing agency that combines strategy, ESP technology, sophisticated email solutions, execution, and analytics to create programs that produce bottom line results.
OneSpot is a technology platform for personalizing content across digital channels, giving brands a firm foothold in addressing the personalization imperative for content marketing.
If you are interested in exploring ways to improve your email marketing program contact our experts today for a no-obligation conversation.
Meet The Speakers | Andrew Kordek and Damian Borichevsky