Machine Learning and Marketing Automation

Continuing with yesterday’s post Machine Learning and the Startup World, a friend asked what machine learning applications might look like for marketing automation platforms (e.g. Pardot). Good question. Considering marketing automation platforms collect so much information about leads through email opens, form submissions, web page visits, ebook downloads, webinar signups, etc., there’s a tremendous amount of training data for machine learning to find insights.

Marketing automation is essentially human-defined rules based on what they think is best (e.g. send email A, wait two days, send email B, etc.) Machine learning “learns” over time and can figure out patterns humans can’t because there’s too many dimensions to analyze. Here are a few ideas on how to use machine learning in marketing automation:

  • Email Send Time – Analyze when leads opened emails in the past and automatically schedule future emails to be sent at the same time (time of day, day of week, etc.)
  • Email Message to Trigger – Analyze what emails (or other types of content) were most closely associated with pushing the lead through the current phase of the lifecycle (e.g. engaging with a sales rep) and trigger the email automatically (as opposed to human-defined static rules)
  • Lead to Opportunity Probability – Analyze every piece of historical data for leads that turned into opportunities (the training data or learning set) and come up with a probability for all other leads that haven’t turned into an opportunity based on how their behavior matches the training data
  • Lead to Customer Probability – Like the lead to opportunity probability, do the same thing for leads that became customers (not just those that had an opportunity in the pipeline associated with them) and come up with a probability that any given lead will become a customer

Machine learning has applications in all fields, especially marketing automation. Look for existing vendors to add this type of functionality as well as new vendors to emerge that take advantage of this new technology.

What else? What are some more ways machine learning can be applied to marketing automation?

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