We predict predictions - part 1: What’s in store for email in 2021?
2021 is going to be the year of the recommendation. Specifically, the adoption and maximization of AI-Powered Prediction technologies.
2020 taught brands that communicating in a personal way with individual consumers via digital channels isn’t a “nice to have”, it’s imperative. Product recommendations for email have been underwhelming for too long, this year the game is changing. At the start of the pandemic, we all received CEO or Founders notes in our inboxes, thanking us for our patience and support. However, the emails that followed were in some cases underwhelming, and in most cases very impersonal. Many emails didn't take into account the changes in day-to-day life that we were experiencing, how we were browsing, what we were buying, what we were doing ,or not doing! If I felt like that, others did too. Now extrapolate that out over 100,000s, or millions of subscribers and there’s a real opportunity to satisfy the desire for more personalized experiences in the inbox.
We’ve all read the reports, we know the predictions - they’re the same every year:
- Personalization is a challenge
- This year it’s a priority
- Data is the barrier to personalization
- Personalization isn’t scalable (volume is the challenge)
In short, the lack of personalization comes down to data & scale.
I often hear from Marketers that the ethereal goal of personalization never gets off the ground for these simple reasons, they don't have the tools or capacity to make a scalable, meaningful go at it, so they don't start. When it comes to data, it’s rarely that there isn’t any, it’s usually the opposite: there is too much of it and no way to leverage into anything useable. It’s not marketing ready. It’s even less email ready.
However, the technology does exist to lift this burden and turn personalization into an achievable opportunity. It’s possible for marketers to quickly create personalized email experiences by using data and automation. Behaviour on site and product catalogue data can be ingested and computed to produce recommendations live, at scale, for email. In other words: AI-powered prediction technology. Retailers can implement recommendations and replace manual, time-consuming processes (like building reems of dynamic content) with a sleek, automated solution that works. In short – marketers can finally add attractive product recommendations to email, easily and at scale.
Every day, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week an abundance of interactions occur on a brand’s website, products fluctuate and change within their product catalogue, and CRM data updates and changes (preferences, click data, previous purchase information). As of now, in January 2021, AI-powered predictions tools have matured. We can say confidently that if CMOs & Marketing Leaders want to make a meaningful drive towards their personalisation goals, the tools exist to get you there.