Everything You Wanted To Know About Intelligent Messaging -- But Were Afraid To Ask

Is there such a thing as intelligent messaging? The way we communicate has evolved from words to symbols, and it varies by device. When I think of how communication has advanced from yesterday to today, I visualize this:

We’ve come a long way, but this concept of “intelligent messaging” is so vital to how we think about engagement, both for brands and consumers.

Intelligent messaging presumes a few key principles:
-- You know who your customers are.
-- You know how to react to their interactions with your company (Web site, POS, social, etc.).
-- You can be somewhat predictive without risking the relationship.
-- You can deliver on the experience in a timely manner.
-- The relationship evolves and improves over time.

Now, which of these don’t line up to most traditional marketing programs that are rooted in sending batch emails with limited personalization at 9 a.m. on a Tuesday?



I believe the world will change and all messaging will become intelligent, adapting to behaviors observed and expressed, controlled by consumer preference versus Pavlovian style promotional windows. I also believe the world will become more transactional in nature (think interaction management versus promotional messaging).

As you begin to digest what intelligent messaging means for your business, here are some things to consider:

Data isn’t the challenge; the challenge is to shrink the problem. Delivering intelligent messaging requires you to think about what data is most actionable, not how to amass more data.

With that comes balancing data quality. What is actionable to a broad subset of people?  What data can you rely on, and can you even visualize it?

Web browsing behavior is super valuable, but it’s also transient (meaning it has a shelf life). Shopping cart data has value and a shelf life, but then the question becomes, how do you weigh self-disclosed data vs observed behavior?

For instance, how many of you have given false birthdates on a site you’ve registered for, or thought it was funny to click “Ms.” instead of “Mr.” in your profile?

Prioritizing the value of data sets is important when moving to any real-time or near real-time engagement strategy. It starts with weeding out what is not essential.

You condition your readers/customers to your cadence and timing. Many people struggle with send-time optimization. Why? Because they have conditioned their audience (again, Pavlovian) to promotions and content at 8 a.m. on a Tuesday. It’s difficult to optimize outside that window when you’ve conditioned 20% of your audience with the same tactics and approaches.

When you break that down, the outliers (three to six hours after send) don’t show a high open or click density. What about the impact of device switching and time-shifting?

Without a portfolio messaging strategy, it’s difficult to optimize for send time and drive meaningful ROI. Reviewing the time and device type shifts of your audience is the best place the start. Trend this and it will tell you volumes.

Intelligent messaging means improving all aspects, automating what you can, and applying rules to help adapt as your customers do in each season and life event. By recognizing what users do on different devices and testing creative new approaches within that, you’re evolving alongside consumers.

In order to adapt, you must challenge everything!

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