Ch-ch-ch-changes: How to evolve your marketing for troubled times

This is a guest blog post from Parry Malm, CEO of Phraseea Movable Ink Exchange Partner.

This year, the way we talk to customers was forced to change quickly and dramatically. Marketers were forced to pump the brakes on high-pressure sales tactics as people lost their jobs en masse. They put their fire emojis on the bench as the world burned. They made sure soft, slow music was playing in the background of every ad. 

The consequences of appearing insensitive are well-known – a public shaming from the Twitterati spawns think pieces galore, and your CEO is put in front of a camera to publicly say we’re sorry for trying to sell you our new Tsunami-Size Soda the same week that an actual tsunami hit.

The C-Suite is apparently tired of making these somber decrees – we did some research with senior marketers, and 30% of them said their CEOs are paying more attention to marketing copy than they were before the pandemic. And 64% report that COVID-19 has made their language more important than ever in helping them connect with customers.

But as marketers have scrambled to adjust to a continuing barrage of bad news and off-limits topics, they’re still trying to do what was already an impossible job: delivering a massive amount of content across many different channels that is consistent, in the brand voice, and relevant to each individual consumer. Our research shows 82% are struggling to create high-quality branded content, and 51% have said they flat out can’t create consistent messaging across all channels, at scale, and aligned to their brand. 

That’s over half! 

So what are these poor marketers supposed to do? The answer is simple: partner up with AI to shift the burden. There are two companies who have gotten a handle on this problem by bringing in AI – eBay and Dixons Carphone. 

I’m assuming you’ve heard of eBay if you’ve heard of “the internet” and “buying things online.” As Justine Del Greco, Marketing Manager of Global CRM at eBay describes it, “One thing that makes our email program at eBay unique is our personalized content; everything is 100% powered by technology using personalization. So my email is going to be completely different from what yours looks like.” eBay knows that the only way to deliver this kind of extremely relevant email experience is with the help of machines. And while the reduced workload on the team is nice, the 42% increase in click rate from Movable Ink and Phrasee is pretty great too.

You may be less familiar with Dixons Carphone if you’re outside of the UK, but it’s one of the biggest tech retailers in Europe. They also wanted to deliver emails that were optimized for each customer’s interests. With the help of some research from Proximity and AI-powered content from both Phrasee and Movable Ink, Dixons was able to reach a record-breaking 29:1 ROI on one of its biggest campaigns of the year. 

Both of these companies know that the only way to do the very big job of producing high-performing content at scale is with AI. But our research shows that despite the innovative brands leading the way, many senior marketers aren’t planning to use AI to solve these big issues and are concerned about the balance of man and machines. If you’re a marketer of the future and want to better understand more about AI fundamentals so you can explore how it might work for you, check out our A to Z of AI to learn everything you ever wanted to know.

AI is new and cutting-edge, and I get that new things can sometimes be scary. But it’s no scarier than looking at your content calendar and wondering how you’re going to do it all for the 1,000th day in a row. Creating great content at scale can be so much easier – join trailblazing companies like eBay and Dixons Carphone who are saying the right thing at the right time with less work and better results.