Custom Marketing Experience

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Consumer Insights Surrounding Custom Advertising Part 1

Custom advertising benefits consumers and businesses. “Consumers expect content that is both useful and contextually relevant -- the right information served at the right time.” The majority of customers say personalization has influenced their shopping decisions, and they are willing to share information about themselves in exchange for more enjoyable and relevant experiences that help them accomplish their goals. Consumers appreciate when irrelevant ads disappear, new products appear, and online shopping becomes easier. By responding to customers’ desire for more customized experiences, businesses with personalized marketing have observed an increase in sales, profit, online traffic, and customer loyalty. Affirming consumers' sense that they are in charge of their experience through personalization benefits the consumer and a company’s bottom line.

Buying Behavior

Consumers who experience personalized marketing are more likely to make purchases and become loyal customers. Customized experiences are so prevalent today that customers now expect them, with over 78% engaging with offers only if they reflect previous engagements with a brand. The vast majority, 75%, are more likely to buy when a company recognizes them by name, knows their purchase history, and/or makes recommendations based on past purchases. And a quarter of customers say personalization significantly influences what they ultimately buy; they chose, recommended, or paid more for a brand that provided a personalized experience. There is one very large caveat to personalization, however: a company's marketing must be consistent across all channels. The positive rewards for catering to customers’ preferences can be easily lost when messages become disjointed.

Consumer Engagement

The strong evidence that consumers want personalized experiences begs the question of which engagement strategies are most effective. The tactical approach considers that the majority of customers that desire personalization want targeted coupons, offers, and product recommendations. The broader view considers that “customers don’t see in channels, they engage with a brand” - the specific offer or medium of communication, per se, are not the greatest leverage point, rather it is the collective emotion a customer aggregates through all interactions with a particular brand that has the greatest cumulative impact. That said, some marketing approaches yield greater positive experiences for consumers than others.

The bulk email is a thing of the past. Personalized promotional emails increased transaction rates and revenue over 600%. In triggered email campaigns, personalization doubled transaction rates. Personalized subject lines increase unique open rates by 26% overall, with the greatest impact in the travel industry and the least impact in the publishing industry. Confirmed opt-in emails have higher unique clicks, specifically for sign-up and welcome emails. Second abandoned cart reminders have the highest click rate. Personalized emails that take into account a customer’s names, preferences, and/or shopping/browsing history are significantly more likely to be clicked and even more so if the email is opened on a mobile device.

It is worth noting that data hygiene is crucial for email campaigns to be successful. While outside the scope of this analysis, a successful campaign requires accurate email addresses and consumer information.

E-receipts are a relatively new, and powerful, method of marketing. They have double the open rates of bulk email campaigns and generate more revenue per email. The most successful of these efforts, in terms of click and transaction rates, focus on up-selling and cross-selling.

Personalized marketing on social media led to 41 percent higher unique click rates.

Text messaging is not a common form of marketing. Only 7% of brands marketed on both SMS and MMS, with over 50% not marketing on either SMS/MMS. Increasing the impact of personalization via text message would likely benefit from an increased usage of these channels, in addition to the aforementioned personalization strategies.

Forty-five percent of marketers use pop-up windows on their website, largely to collect email addresses. Little information was available on whether pop-up windows later became personalized after a customer was recognized.

Information on these two channels was not available.


The general theme of personalized marketing is that customers experience timely, relevant, coherent information that makes them feel good about the company. The newer areas of research consider behavioral targeting that goes beyond demographics to consider customer interests and characteristics. While the many channels of marketing and increasing personalization can generate significant amounts of fragmented data, a staged gate approach that begins with simpler market segments such as gender/geography is advisable. A simple beginning that is thoughtfully implemented will allow a company to successfully employ personalized marketing strategies across multiple channels to create more delightful experiences for consumers and more profit for companies.
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Consumer Insights Surrounding Custom Advertising Part 2

Brand sentiment and brand loyalty are two very important features of the retail experience. As such, advertising strategies that recommend relevant product and keep the customers informed about any new products and specials are the most effective. It is important to remember, however, that retailers need to stay vigilant about the amount of personal information used, as the majority of customers want to be in control of their personal data. When it comes to brand loyalty, consistency, customized and personalized marketing strategies, and the existence of a loyalty program are all great strategies to keep the customers loyal.

1. Recommending relevant products enhances brand sentiment. If retailers recommend products to customers based on their purchase history, more than 80% of customers express positive feelings towards the brand. This positive sentiment influences to purchasing decisions, as a different study found that 65% of people are more likely to buy from a website/retailer that remembers their purchase history

2. Customers are informed. 85% of the 2000 people surveyed understood that relevant and targeted content is made available by data tracking. The same study found that 73% of consumers are actually satisfied when their personal data is used to provide more relevant information.
3. Customers want control. Despite the positive influence of data tracking and custom marketing on brand sentiment, most consumers (88%) want control over how this personal information is used and how much they provide. This indicates that enhanced brand sentiment is achievable by providing agency to consumers over how their data is handled.

1. Consistency begets loyalty. An omnichannel approach to personalized marketing, along with consistency across brand engagement points is believed to be important to maintaining customer loyalty by 90% of businesses.

2. Personalized marketing doesn't always work. Customized social media marketing can have a positive impact on overall brand loyalty. However, the same study found that this relationship is not present for value-conscious consumers, who tend not to be as brand-loyal.

3. Loyalty programs are a great target for custom marketing. Only 22% of consumers felt happy with the level of personalization inherent in the loyalty programs they were subscribed to, indicating a useful avenue for improvement for companies that are aiming to increase brand loyalty. The same study found that satisfaction is increased eight fold when personalization is high. Therefore, AI driven personalization efforts should also be focused on loyalty programs as well as other marketing channels.

4. Personalization is better than segmentation for enhancing brand loyalty. AI and machine learning based marketing has a unique ability to provide truly personalized marketing beyond the basic 'segmentation' approach. This enhanced personalization enhances user satisfaction, and by extension increases brand loyalty.

5. Personalization works less well for older consumers. Personalization drives loyalty more for younger than older consumers, with 54% of Generation K saying it increases their brand loyalty, but only 40% of baby boomers. Building trust was found to be more important for older generations than personalization.

True personalization of marketing messages using AI and machine learning techniques offers businesses excellent ways to enhance brand sentiment and increase brand loyalty. However, businesses need to be wary of a few key areas, including control over use of customer data, the value-conscious consumer and older generations.

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Trends Related to Businesses Adopting Custom Marketing

Current trends relating to the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) within business to consumer marketing strategies include item-to-item collaborative filtering, combining AI and visuals, predictive scoring and audiences, aggregating third-party data, closing the gap between online and in-store shopping, and enhancing in-store experiences. We have used recent news articles (within the past 24 months) and reputable marketing websites to find current trends and have supported our findings by including examples of companies currently adopting this technology as part of their custom marketing strategy. The companies focused on are Netflix, Spotify, ShopAtHome, Under Armour, North Face and Macy's. Below we provide a deep dive into our findings.

Item-to-item collaborative filtering

This marketing technique involves the use of AI to make personalized recommendations and to drive product suggestions. Item-to-item collaborative filtering is most notably used by eCommerce giant Amazon and more recently, Netflix and Spotify. The latter two companies now rely on AI technology to keep customers engaged with personalized content on an ongoing basis. Netflix provides viewers with "top picks" which aim to avoid the decision paralysis customers are often faced with when choosing from the thousands of options to watch, with recommendations improving continually. Furthermore, the AI-driven recommendation engine can even differentiate between what a viewer says they like (e.g. gives a thumbs up to) and what they actually like (e.g. watches a movie or episode from start to finish or more than once). Spotify, on the other hand, uses collaborative filtering to make personalized music suggestions to listeners based on their listening behavior and a number of other data sources.

CombinINg AI & visuals

In addition to item-to-item collaborative filtering, Netflix also makes use of personalized title images depending on a viewer's previous choices and preferred genres. For example, if a viewer has a preference for comedy, then the title image for a particular film may feature a head shot of the funniest lead character as opposed to the more serious side-kick. This strategy not only makes use of predictive AI technology, but it also takes advantage of the fact that the human brain can process images up to 60,000 times faster than the written word.

Predictive Scoring & Audiences

The concept of predictive scoring using AI-technology assigns a score or percentage to the likelihood of a customer responding, engaging to make a purchase or unsubscribing from a subscribed email list. Next, audiences are grouped based on this score, also known as predictive audiences, which allows companies to modify their marketing strategies to better target and engage with their customers. One company making use of this strategy is ShopAtHome, who have integrated Salesforce Einstein which makes use of AI, predictive scoring and predictive audiences. This implementation has allowed ShopAtHome to redefine and improve the way they engage with their customers.

Aggregating third-party data

The use of third-party data to personalize customer experiences is becoming increasingly popular and allows companies to make use of related online content to customize and suggest relevant, new and trending content. One such example is Spotify's use of Echo Nest, a machine learning company acquired by Spotify, which collects data on new music trends and content according to what is posted on social media, new websites and music blogs. This data is then used to make personalized new music suggestions for listeners. Under Armour also makes use of this strategy, using AI platform Watson, made by IBM, to connect a user's personal fitness information and training records with relevant nutrition and fitness recommendations.

Closing the gap between online & in-store shopping

AI technology is also being used by retailers in an attempt to close the gap between online and in-store shopping experiences. One such example is VF Corporation's North Face who has created an app implementing Fluid's AI within IBM's Watson technology. The app engages with customers as an in-store shop assistant would and makes suggestions on purchases based on where, when and what the clothing will be worn for. Customers answer questions and the bot responds using intuitive, natural dialog, aiming to recreate a conversation one would expect to encounter in-store.

Enhancing in-store experiences

While many retailers are leaning toward expanding their online customer engagement, retailers such as Macy's are implementing AI technology in-store to enhance customer's overall shopping experience. Macy's has developed the Macy's On Call app, run by IBM's Watson, which comes into action as customers enter the store and acts as a personal assistant, making use of natural language processing. This advanced technology directs customers to where they can find items and is even able to detect when a customer is becoming frustrated and can alert a staff member nearby to come and assist.


In closing, current trends relating to the adoption of AI marketing strategies used by business to consumer companies include item-to-item collaborative filtering, combining AI and visuals, predictive scoring and audiences, aggregating third-party data, closing the gap between online and in-store shopping and enhancing in-store experiences.
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Success of AI Custom Marketing

The use of artificial intelligence is already in full swing in marketing, with around 42% of marketers saying they either have a program or pilot in place. While no definitive study has been done on an industry or country-wide benefit from AI in marketing, several case studies and articles highlight the successes B2C companies have had in implementing AI marketing solutions.

AI MARKET overview

A Forester study, in conjunction with AI marketer Emarsys, gave some enlightening perspectives on the role of AI in marketing. Those who invested in AI wanted, of course, the primary result to be an uplift in revenue, but also to better serve their customers and their expectations. As the biggest chunk of revenue (and better ROI) comes from serving an existing customer base, marketers know that using AI to better target segments more accurately is critical.

Additionally, AI is crucial in identifying and bringing new customer segments without significant human time expenditure. Since paid search and online display advertising are used by the vast majority of marketers, AI can better target these elements and save money. At the same, the data fed back from these efforts is much more accurate and real-time than non-AI mechanisms.

AI is seen as a competitive advantage, especially within B2C marketing. Marketers are always looking for the next tool to keep them ahead of the market, and with personalized recommendations enhancing the shopping experience, brand loyalty becomes key. Of the 717 marketers surveyed by Forester, 42% have a pilot or AI-based system in place, showing how it is and is quickly becoming critical to a successful B2C marketing campaign.

Tractica has some pretty bold predictions for the use of AI in marketing: number four on its top ten use cases for AI by 2025 is "content distribution on social media", worth around $1.2 billion. While they do not address B2C marketing specifically, social media content can often be an important component of a B2C's campaign.

survey results

Gartner predicts that companies who invest in online personalization (which AI operates in) will outsell those who have not by 30% by the end of this year. 90% of marketers believe that personalization is the future, yet 40% of online retailers have no plans to implement such technology. CMOs understand the importance of AI in marketing, as 69% of them said it was the single biggest technology to have an impact on customer experience.

Furthermore, from the consumer side, 86% said personalization has at least some impact on what they purchase.

Information from VentureBeat and Forester additionally found that AI beat "rules" in several metrics of personalization lift. Return visits were 7% higher (23% vs 16%), as was CTOR (33% vs 22%) and conversion rates (16% vs 11%).

case studies

1) Google recently had positive results from Custom Algorithm tool that uses machine learning to make sense of historical data and increase viewable impressions on premium placements. Compared to other campaigns not using the tool, CPM fell 34% and inventory impressions tripled.

2) A tool called Emarsys Incentive Recommender used AI to identify the right discount level for contacts, as well as pinpointing contacts that would purchase with no discount, thus increasing revenue. Using the tool saw a growth by 28.6% in sales, compared to the 'default incentive' group and 92.8% against no discount offered. Additionally, there was a 6.5% uplift in defective buyer revenue and 31.2% growth in lead-generated revenue. Toys R Us have also used Emarys with great success: e-mails sent with the tool had a 40% uplift in average order volume and 45% conversion rate from the e-mails overall.

3) Marketers Adgorithms launched a tool called Albert, an entirely AI-run platform for programming advertising. Once parameters are set, the tool completely takes over the bidding, management, integration and execution of ads across all digital platforms. When Harley-Davidson tried the tool, they saw 566% growth in website visits and triple sales for its in-person dealership. Lingerie brand Cosabella reduced ad spend by 12%, but with a 155% revenue increase.

4) Similarly, OneSpot, a content marketing personalization platform, used NLP and machine learning algorithms to predict what types of content faucet manufacturer Delta Faucet's customers would interact with. Pageviews rose 400% as customers were redirected to the content which interested them the most. They were also driven to advertorial content around the site, with 45% staying on the page for more than 40 seconds and 37% even going on to read further articles.

5) "Deep AI" marketing platform TinyClues has helped many B2C marketers in Europe maximize both their earnings and ROI. TinyClues helps identify future buyers in various product categories, and then runs an AI-based campaign to drive revenue with lower opt-outs. Customers say an average uplift of 49% revenue from their campaign overall, with some seeing even better results. Voyages-sncf (a French train and travel operator), with millions of customers, saw 115% revenue increase. One e-mail campaign actually had 11% lower sent e-mails, but 157% higher opening rate and 243% increase in revenue earned compared to similar non-AI campaigns.


To wrap it up, using AI solutions in marketing has some pretty obvious results. While statistics vary across use cases and case studies, positive benefits on revenue, ROI, lead-generation and other metrics can be seen in significant quantities. In an industry where competitive edge, marketers are definitely seeing the value in investing in artificial intelligence for their B2C campaigns.
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AI Customized Marketing Predictions


Generally, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is expected to become a major trend in marketing and commerce. Numerous reputable businesses and reporting outlets have covered the importance of AI in commerce in the very near future. Below, I will summarize key predictions from some of these trusted sources.


In their list of "28 Retail Marketing Predictions To Watch In 2018," Forbes lists AI-related trends four separate times. In AI marketing, Peter Ellen, CEO and Founder of Big Data for Humans predicts that AI will become critically integrated into retail marketing operations if businesses want to stay afloat. He says AI will no longer be an added bonus, but a necessary component in marketing.

Marketing insider group

Marketing Insider Group predicts that AI implementation in marketing will make leaps, not steps, to re-energize the goal of high customer expectations. They published an article that covers many of the personalization features of AI that marketers can use from multi-sensory conversations to collaborative filtering to personalized push notifications. At the end of the article, they predict that AI will be something all marketers will want to push for to solve the knowledge gap in consumer personalization.


Emarsys has been providing marketing automation services for almost two decades. They heavily predict that AI marketing is at the forefront of marketing, and it will soon overtake marketing as we know it. They report that companies with AI marketing plans predict average revenue increases of 39% by 2020. Because of AI's power to do the "dirty work," marketers can shift responsibility to other marketing needs like strategy and content development.


SAP is a market leader in enterprise application software, and they posit that AI marketing will become a necessity in addressing customer personalization. They explain that since customers can buy virtually anything from anywhere at any time, personalized marketing measures will be the only way to attract and retain customers at a retail company.


Martech, a daily publication on technology in marketing, published an article in which several CEOs of software and consumer engagement companies. In the section on personalization, Omer Artun, CEO of customer data platform AgilOne, says "2018 will be the year marketers tap into this technology to finally deliver on the ‘1:1’ promise that was hyped many years ago." Brett Caine, CEO of Urban Airship, spoke about enhanced customer experience and noted that "The pressure is on brands to earn this level of customer intimacy as first-party data becomes critical due to increasing privacy/data regulations, ad blocking and AI/machine learning advancements."


Magento, which has received several distinctions as the best commerce platform, was less enthusiastic in its predictions than some other companies. They predict that as far as personalization goes with AI, it will not ever fully replace marketers because it lacks emotional intelligence and empathy. They say it will more likely help under-resourced teams with merchandising functions.


A Gartner research report revealed several predictions about AI in commerce. They predict that by 2020 AI "will be used by at least 60% of organizations for digital commerce." In addition, "30% of digital revenue growth will be attributable" to AI. And finally, "smart machines will be top five investment priority for more than 30% of CIOs." The report identifies personalization as a major use of AI for companies.

Boston Retail Partners (BRP)

BRP used data collected in their 2017 Unified Commerce Survey to predict that 45% of retailers plan to use AI within the next three years to improve customer experience. Also within the three-year time span, "59% of retailers plan to use Wi-Fi and 63% plan to use mobile apps to identify customers in their stores."

Simpler Media Group, Inc

Through their online publication, Simpler Media Group predicts that the rise in AI will be driven by millennials. The CMSWire article suggests that millennials have great power as consumers, but look for customer experiences that are seamless with less human interaction. AI's use of bots and predictive abilities can offer this service to millennials, and CMSWire says that AI-driven experience will become the norm for this group.

Warc and Deloitte digital

Marketing data giant Warc collaborated with Deloitte Digital to produce a toolkit of marketing trends in 2017. Though the toolkit requires a paid subscription to read entirely, one summary point we found important to this request is that "58% of global CMOs believe that, within the next five years, companies will need to compete in the AI space to succeed."


Through the predictions of multiple well-known sources, we conclude that AI in marketing is a huge trend, and many businesses will be implementing AI in their marketing plans in the future. This growth will not be driven by interest or experimentation, but rather by necessity since so many customers need personalized advertising to remain loyal to any one retailer. The predictions mostly agree that AI marketing is a necessity, more companies will be implementing marketing AI plans, revenue will increase for companies that use AI, and AI will lead to greater customer experiences.