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Seventh Sense Uses Artificial Intelligence to Optimize Email Send Times and Drive Engagement
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By: Paul Roetzer

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October 5th, 2017

Seventh Sense Uses Artificial Intelligence to Optimize Email Send Times and Drive Engagement

Every marketer and salesperson has a problem in common: how do you make sure your marketing or sales email rises above the flood of communications hitting a person’s inbox each and every day?

Seventh Sense (@knowingwhen) is here to help. The company’s solution uses artificial Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 9.39.15 AM.pngintelligence to determine when a prospect is most likely to engage with your email. The tool integrates with HubSpot portals, Marketo accounts, or company email systems to build unique profiles of your contacts and learn their habits.

The result? Emails that people actually engage with. We talked to Seventh Sense cofounder and CTO Erik LaBianca (LinkedIn) to learn more.

In a single sentence or statement, describe Seventh Sense?

Email volume, deliverability, and relevancy are hidden plagues that affect all sales and marketing professionals who rely on email as a communication channel. Seventh Sense's artificial intelligence and predictive system uses data from your HubSpot portal, Marketo instance and / or corporate email system to help you win attention in today's overcrowded inboxes.

How does Seventh Sense use artificial intelligence (i.e. machine learning, natural language generation, natural language processing, deep learning, etc.)?

The foundation of Seventh Sense’s AI is behavioral profiling. Our system gathers data from a variety of sources and consolidates it into an activity stream, which is used to build a predictive model for each contact. This model is constructed using variety of statistical techniques, including heuristics, descriptive statistics, probabilistic models, and a variety of supervised and unsupervised machine learning techniques.

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

Artificial Intelligence as it exists today is limited in that it requires significant investments in data collection, expertise, and significant computing power to deliver highly targeted point solutions.

Most use cases are generalized, such as “if you like apples, maybe you’ll also like pears” or “here are the possible ways a person might say ‘apple.’” With recent breakthroughs in computing capacity, deep learning has made it feasible to provide the system with all the possible inputs to questions like these and build a model that’s highly effective. However, even in “best case” systems like these, careful problem formulation is key and still requires significant resources to deploy.

Problems that do not lend themselves to a generalization, do not have a clear set of “known good criteria” to provide training inputs, or are simply sufficiently complex are still very expensive and difficult, if not impossible, to get good results from.

What do you see as the future potential of artificial intelligence in marketing and sales?

As things stand, salespeople and marketers routinely lose deals and customers by not following their process or not fully understanding their customer. AI is well-suited to tackling both of these problems, by tracking the buyer’s journey and providing sales and marketing support, and by applying behavior data to segmentation and targeting instead of back-of-the-envelope guesses.

For instance, instead of relying on a checklist that probably doesn’t exist or is ignored, AI could populate a profile for each incoming lead and select an appropriate call or email script to ensure that an inbound sales representative is able to articulate value in a way the customer can appreciate.

Or, instead of guessing how well a given piece of content will resonate with a target segment, AI can provide real-time feedback to the writer, suggesting possible changes to target a given interest segment, or providing a view of who is most likely to appreciate the piece.

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What makes Seventh Sense different than competing or traditional solutions?

Seventh Sense is different because it is personalized down to the individual contact for every customer. Instead of a one-size fits all approach, Seventh Sense analyses each individual contact and builds a constant evolving profile that is then used to facilitate selecting a time to deliver email, how much email to send, and, soon, what email to send.

In addition, Seventh Sense integrates deeply with our supported marketing automation systems, allowing users to continue to take full advantage of their composition, analytics and delivery while gaining the benefit of Seventh Sense for personalization.

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

To date, Seventh Sense has been heavily focused on working with HubSpot’s customers and agencies and has over 100 joint customer integrations.

What are the primary use cases of Seventh Sense for marketers and sales professionals?

A tidal wave of email is hitting our inboxes every day and there's no shortage coming from marketing emails. The good thing is human beings are creatures of habit and the underlying data every marketer has access to supports this. Rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach of blasting 500, 5,000 or 500,000 of our closest friends at one time, they can send their email to each contact at the time that he or she is most likely to engage and also at what frequency.

We equate Seventh Sense to Moneyball. By looking at statistics, modeling, and data no one was looking at, the Oakland Athletics fundamentally changed the game of baseball. Seventh Sense is on it’s way to doing this with email for sales and marketing professionals.

Any other thoughts on AI in marketing, or advice for marketers who are just starting to explore the possibilities of AI?

If you aren’t thinking about ways to utilize AI in your marketing process and are following the traditional playbook, you’ll get left behind. Find areas that you’re struggling in and search out a solution. Exceptional content used to win the game, but now it’s all about the strategy to deliver it. This is where AI can help.

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About Paul Roetzer

Paul Roetzer (@paulroetzer) is founder and CEO of PR 20/20, author of The Marketing Performance Blueprint and The Marketing Agency Blueprint, and creator of The Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute and Marketing Score. Full bio.

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