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How to Hyper-Personalize the Customer Journey with AI

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What if you could hyper-personalize each message your customers see during every single engagement to deepen loyalty and increase LTV?

That's the promise of Movable Ink, a marketing tool that uses AI to personalize every customer engagement with unique messages for each customer.

We spoke with Vivek Sharma, cofounder and CEO of Movable Ink, to learn more about this AI-powered solution.

In a single sentence or statement, describe Movable Ink.

The Movable Ink platform uses the power of automation and AI to personalize every customer engagement.

How does Movable Ink use artificial intelligence in its products?

Movable Ink’s Da Vinci application is a marketing AI solution that helps brands take a fundamentally different approach to email by understanding individual customer needs and building brand loyalty. The application sits on top of your email service provider and runs autonomous email campaigns using a series of AI models that learn and adapt from every interaction.

Da Vinci’s AI leverages a combination of machine learning, deep learning, and generative AI to analyze, predict, and create unique messages for each customer. Da Vinci looks at every facet of the customer in order to generate fully personalized marketing communications for every subscriber—sending the right content to the person at the right time in order to create the optimal customer experience and maximize lifetime value.

Unlike other AI models that reinforce what customers already like, Movable Ink Da Vinci guides customers down a unique path of discovery that maximizes both short and long-term revenue gains. It doesn't just focus on the next conversion. Instead, it pursues a relationship-building strategy that creates a better customer experience, builds loyalty, and leads to higher lifetime value.

On average, the benefit of Movable Ink over three years across all its services including Movable Ink Da Vinci, was $20.3M with efficiency gains over 28,000 hours. This impact represents a 422% ROI for clients using the company's technology, as found in a Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) study commissioned by Forrester Consulting.

What are the primary marketing use cases for your AI-powered solutions?

Da Vinci replaces legacy campaign processes by offering a fundamentally different approach to email marketing for all industries. Within retail, Lands’ End, Bloomingdale's and L.L.Bean use Da Vinci to drive personalization within their email marketing programs. For example, through Da Vinci, Lands' End is reshaping its email marketing program to focus on deepening loyalty and driving long-term customer value (LTV).

What makes your AI-powered solution smarter than traditional approaches and products?

In 2022, we saw an 18% total average uplift in incremental revenue across Da Vinci clients. The platform can simplify the marketing workflow, giving valuable time back to marketers to focus on strategic work by streamlining the traditional email planning process without replacing existing technology. Additionally, Da Vinci determines which assets drive the best results for each individual customer. Teams then have the data to understand what creative resonates and can subsequently adjust creative strategies accordingly.

The engine is discovery-oriented and learns about the customer, rather than just echoing what it has heard before. By learning about the products and who they resonate with for each customer, marketers can engage with them earlier on in the funnel, not only when they’re close to purchasing. Through this, they can build a long-term relationship, tell the brand’s story, and ultimately, see profit gain. Rather than over-relying on promotions, Da Vinci helps curate editorial content that’s designed to serve messages to the customers most likely to engage with it.

Are there any minimum requirements for marketers to get value out of your AI-powered technology? (e.g. data, list size, etc.)

The minimum requirements would be marketers working with brands that have a large database of active email subscribers (ideally 2M+). Marketers working with a large enough file is crucial to enable Da Vinci to quickly run tests and drive maximum value.

Who are your ideal customers in terms of company size and industries?

Our ideal customers are Retail or Travel brands with a large customer base, and a diverse merchandise or offering mix. They are brands looking to not only achieve personalization at scale, but also bring depth to their email program, blending promotional content with editorial/lifestyle content (ie., not just fliers, product recommendations, super heavy promo, etc.).

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What do you see as the limitations of AI as it exists today?

AI serves as a supportive tool for humans to build great things. It is a long way from building anything truly remarkable on its own, but it provides invaluable assistance to humans by empowering them to address intricate challenges with their own ingenuity.

In the realm of marketing and ecommerce, AI is not yet advanced enough to function autonomously without human input. Thus, the interdependence between the machine and the marketer is imperative for achieving optimal results.

What do you see as the future potential of AI in marketing?

We’re just at the beginning of seeing AI’s true potential. There is an ongoing atomization of knowledge taking place. We’re transitioning from oral tradition to books, then the printing press (democratizing publishing), the web (single pages with global distribution), social media (short ideas in 140 characters), and now AI-generated content (synthesizing thought fragments)—connecting us to one another through a global mind of ideas. As we continue to explore the capabilities of AI, the potential applications and implications will likely be both exciting and challenging.

In the world of marketing, there's an opportunity to build an ideal version of each customer. AI is best suited when it tackles analytics relating to how to create a more loyal customer over time.

With Da Vinci, we can create a content quality report for brands. We generate a lot of information about what creative/products are good "teasers" for helping to move customers on their loyalty journey. This feedback loop is ideal for marketers because they can use it to help drive what creative they create and what offers they make. On the leadership side, it is useful in their discussions and part of the value they can give back to their partners. It is monetizable.

In regards to frequency and promotions, using analytics is great for understanding how often to touch a customer over time to maximize engagement with a channel. Analytics are also valuable in understanding how to maximize lifetime value without overly relying on sales or discounts.

Because marketers have been able to get farther with next step analytics, they have been slower to adopt more sophisticated but hugely valuable AI tools like Da Vinci. As marketers are starting to understand the advantages that longer term analytics offer right now, there’s a massive opportunity for AI. Especially for the brands that are looking to adopt a more long-term marketing vision, without being reliant on offering frequent short-term deals and discounts.

Any other thoughts on AI in marketing, or advice for marketers who are just starting with AI?

The AI disruption happening in the industry is a perfect opportunity for marketers to unlearn and rethink how they plan and execute email today. One thing’s for sure—batch and blast email programs are ripe for disruption, and there’s no better time to get started on rethinking them.

If marketers examine their email calendar, they will find that the majority of the dates are arbitrary (examples: 4/17 Men’s Spring Fashion, 4/20 Women’s blouses—can those editorials really only go out on those days?). Aside from key promotions or exclusive product launches with hard dates, the majority of the calendar is actually flexible.

Today’s approach of slotting in requests from merchants or other business units requires a lot of time and effort, especially when last minute changes arise (photography retouching, inventory not ready onsite, etc.) which equates to a lot of wasted time and effort for marketers. Not to mention it’s not even a great customer experience as the majority of customers don’t open email every day, let alone every week, or month. So content that is designed to go out only on one specific day equals a huge missed opportunity for the 80-90% of the file who missed out on seeing it.

Therefore, a way to break out of that mold is to decouple campaign from creative by separately scheduling campaigns, selecting templates, and managing a creative library full of content with lifespans associated.

Thus, relying more heavily on AI to make decisions on what content to show to whom and when. Additionally, recognizing there’s a way to approach AI as the "Marketer and Machine." This, for instance, can be done by setting guardrails in place around content that can’t be shown next to one another (ie. certain categories or promotions), giving content a lifespan, and also deciding which content blocks will still be static (ie. shown to all or a specific segment), powered by some other business rules or logic.

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