Among typical email marketers, most plan to boost their use of artificial intelligence -- despite data-related challenges.
According to a study by Blueshift and TechValidate, 64% of brands expect to expand their AI usage in 2018, and 36% say it will remain the same.
Of those using AI, 43% are deploying it for audience expansion, 39% for audience targeting, 28% for product recommendations and 26% for campaign optimization
But they face limitations. Only 6% conduct personalization, using collaborative filtering and predictive models. And a mere 16% segment customers by predictive affinities.
The study shows that marketers are “able to leverage AI based on 3rd Party audience data more than they can leverage AI on First Party Customer Data,” the study states. And it would hinder personalized triggered emails.
Firms with advanced access to customer data are more likely to succeed with such advanced uses, the study adds.
Some companies are hindered by data challenges, including:
- Analysis — 54%
- Access — 46%
- Segmenting quickly — 43%
- Unifying — 41%
Of the sample, 46% are using 50% or more of their customer data, and 54% are using less. Among the firms that use 75% or more of their data, 70% exceeded their revenue goals, as did 76/% of those that segment several times a day.
Among those who use 50% or more of their customer data, 56% employ marketer-controlled advanced access to data, and 35% use manual or IT controlled access.
According to the study, advanced access is defined as follows: “I have full access and I can drive advanced personalization and triggers myself without IT or Data Scientist help.”
One potential issue is that senior executives have a more sanguine view of their AI efforts than workers in the trenches.
The study shows that 77% of the top execs anticipate increasing their use of AI in the next 12 months, compared with 60% of the individual contributors. And 57% of the senior people believe they are using more than 50% of their customer data. But only 37% of the contributors do.
Blueshift and TechValidate surveyed 198 companies, including C-suite executives, VPs, directors, managers and individual contributors.