The AI Glow: How Email Marketers Are Using It - And How It's Working

With all the discussion of AI, one question stands out: Does it work for email? 

Yes, it does, according to 2023 AI in Email Marketing Research Report, a study by RPE Origin and Ascend2. 

Of the enterprise companies surveyed, 48% are using AI this year, compared to 26% in 2022. (There has been even faster growth in the use of accessible design — 46% are using it, up from 16% last year).

To break it down, 24% said they are extensively using AI, and 33% are using it to some extent. Another 25% have not yet tried it but expect to, and 14% have no such plans. And 4% are unsure. 

And they are happy with it: 99% of enterprise firms surveyed say the results are positive, and 47% say they are extremely positive, while a mere 1% feel there has been no significant impact.  

(In general, 25% of email marketers feel they are very successful. That’s down from 36% in 2017, but it shows that they “haven’t stagnated,” the report says. “That’s an amazingly positive finding considering the high churn rate as email marketers move on or move up in their jobs.”) 



What are email senders using AI for? They cite:

  • Content personalization — 50% 
  • Email retargeting — 47%
  • Subject line optimization — 47%
  • Dynamic content generation — 44%
  • Send-time optimization — 44% 
  • Predictive analytics for customer behavior — 40% 
  • Automated segmentation and targeting — 40%
  • A/B testing and optimization — 37%

Still, there are challenges when implementing AI in email marketing:

  • Concerns about customer privacy and data protection — 45% 
  • Data quality or availability issues — 42%
  • Lack of internal expertise — 40% 
  • Lack of an effective strategy — 39% 
  • Limited budget for AI implementation — 31%
  • Resistance from stakeholders or team members — 26% 
  • Lack of tools and/or limitations of current tech stack — 21%

And marketers have (perhaps unfulfilled) wish lists:

  • Enhanced personalization algorithms and recommendation engines — 55% 
  • Improved predictive analytics and customer behavior — 55% 
  • Advanced testing and automation functionalities — 47% 
  • Better integration with CRM and other marketing tools — 45%
  • Automated content creation and copywriting — 43% 

RPE Origin and Ascend2 surveyed 110 enterprise-marketing professionals (those with 500+ employees) in July 2023. Of these, 23% were in B2B, 49% in B2C and 28% in B2B and B2C equally. 

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