The Gist

  • The power of email. Email remains a fundamental touchpoint for consumers in Europe and North America, making it a massive driver for utilization across all generations.
  • Artificial intelligence, etc. AI tools like ChatGPT can be used to optimize email subject lines, while more thorough data analysis and voice of the customer feedback can ensure email campaigns are more personalized and effective in driving desired results such as increased engagement, conversion and customer loyalty.
  • AI + VoC = Better CX. Focusing on VoC metrics can ensure that the messages marketers send are more valuable and drive better email performance, and AI can provide value by delivering an improved customer experience.

Digital marketing leaders are looking to increase email responses from their customers and reduce unsubscribe rates, but boosting those metrics requires additional data to help personalize messaging with information on past purchase behavior inquiries and engagement.

ChatGPT and AI-Based Programs for Optimizing Email Subject Lines

Artificial intelligence (AI) tools like ChatGPT or other AI-based programs can be used to help optimize email subject lines, while more thorough data analysis and voice of the customer (VoC) feedback can ensure the efforts are working. 

Matt Moorut, director, analyst, for Gartner's marketing leaders practice, explained email is still a fundamental touchpoint for consumers in Europe and North America.

"Email is one of the most preferred channels for receiving messages from brands and businesses — whether those messages come from brands you’ve bought from before or not," he said. "In other words, audiences are happier to receive emails than messages on other channels, so marketers naturally find value in sending campaigns on that channel."

Email is a ubiquitous channel across all generations, which makes it a massive driver for utilization across the board.

"The fact it often works as a unique identifier is valuable to a lot of marketers since it can enable centralization of disparate data sources," Moorut said. "It’s been a workhorse channel for some time, and continues to drive a strong ROI, relative to other channels."

He pointed out the relative ease of ability to send a time-sensitive message based on an action taken — like an abandoned cart message — makes it hugely appealing, given those messages can directly drive increased sales levels.

Related Articles: How AI-Driven Data Enhances CX

Using AI to Segment Your Audience for Personalized Messaging

Moorut explained a best practice for email is to segment your audience and target them with specific messaging that resonates with them.

"That’s great and all, but you quickly hit the limitation of capacity to manage such a volume of communications to multiple different segments," he said. "Platforms including ChatGPT have the ability to reduce the burden on marketers by enabling them to proof messaging instead of writing it, which should allow them to manage more messages to more segments at any given time."

He added several platforms already use AI to try suggesting the next best message for audiences, or to highlight the right kind of segment to target.

"Beyond that, there are platforms that have been using AI to optimize things like subject lines," Moorut said. "Those kinds of use cases are easy to test for ROI."

Subject lines are critical to email success, and digital marketers only have a few words to play with, and AI can help to optimize the words used. 

When thinking about AI improving the body of emails themselves — the copy and the images themselves — then the first step will be setting up your taxonomy in a way that enables any AI to easily understand the task in front of it.

"That might take some serious data mapping work, so will likely take some time to set up well," he said. 

Chris Smith, chief marketing officer at Delinea, admitted writing email content is still a tedious manual task and said it would be quite useful to automate with AI.

"It depends on evolution of the technology, but unfortunately, we are not quite there yet," he said. "We want to balance the SEO and our perspective or positioning into all our content and use this technology to help make sure we are complete in the outlines for all of the content we are creating."

Smith said he also knows there is a potential impact or penalty if the team just relies on this technology to do all the of the work for them.

"We have a suite of tools that measure the effectiveness of our email programs, measuring metrics such as open rate and click thru rate," he added. "These certainly improve email marketing."

Learning Opportunities

To this point, the organization has purchased Jasper and have been using it as well as testing ChatGPT for social media posts and getting into email subject lines. 

Related Article: How You Can Win With AI and Customer Experience

Tracking Email Engagement and Business Outcomes with AI Tools

Patrick Kehoe, chief marketing officer at Coalfire, said first, you need a tool to track engagement in your emails. He pointed to several tools on the market, including Salesforce Pardot and Google Analytics. 

"These tools provide real-time insights into email campaigns, including open, click-through and conversion rates," he said. 

Second, you should understand what impact emails are having on your pipeline or business. "We use Bizible, which provides insights for email marketing by connecting the dots between marketing efforts and business outcomes," he said. Bizible assigns a monetary value to each touchpoint in the customer journey, including email, to determine the impact of email on revenue.

Kehoe also advises marrying your email content based on your buyer intent data.

"We leverage ZoomInfo MarketingOS to track prospects," he explained. "We provide the platform with specific companies and titles within those companies and topics that link to the services we offer."

When Coalfire receives intent data, that automatically triggers a relevant series of emails that provide thought leadership/insights on topics the prospect is already engaging in online. "This dramatically improves results," Kehoe said. 

Leveraging AI Algorithms and VoC for More Personalized Email Campaigns 

Moorut cautioned that with email, there’s a trap marketers can fall into of thinking that "more is more." "In other words," he added, "if I use AI to increase the volume of messages, then I’ll make more money."

The risk is that marketers moving in that direction can actually end up bombarding recipients, worsening CX, increasing unsubscribes and reducing their long-term ability to engage and sell. 

Focusing on VoC metrics enables marketers to ensure the messages they send are actually more valuable — which is where AI can really provide value. "AI without VoC analysis can be problematic, whereas VoC focus can make AI deliver improved customer experience and so, in turn, drive better email performance," Moorut said. 

Kehoe said by incorporating VoC elements into email campaigns leveraging AI algorithms, marketers can ensure that their email campaigns are more personalized, relevant and effective in driving desired results such as increased engagement, conversion and customer loyalty.

"The technology is still new, so close monitoring is important," he said. "And you can never go wrong by incorporating the voice of your customer."