AI Personalization

Self-Driving Cars and Marketing Automation: How to Race Ahead

Autonomous Marketing Is the Next Step

Autonomous marketing is a phrase that can get some hackles rising, with many marketers feeling exhausted by the constant AI buzz and cautious about losing any semblance of control. But in other areas of life, marketers are quick to rely on automation and are more than happy to take their hands off the wheel…and in the case of self-driving cars, quite literally so.

When it comes to cars, drivers have been quick to adopt every new phase of automation to enjoy a smoother, faster, and more efficient ride. This evolution of automation in the automotive industry actually holds key lessons for marketers as they seek to enhance their own workflows. Discover how the transformation of the automotive industry offers valuable lessons for marketers, and explore how adopting an autonomous marketing approach can boost results and address blind spots.

Level 1: The Stick-Shift Car

Does anyone remember manual transmissions with sudden lurches and whiplash-inducing stops? Most  of the up-and-coming drivers have never used a manual transmission, and for good reason. No matter how well a manual car drives, the ride can never compare to the smooth experience of an automatic transmission. Automation creates a ride that’s not only easier, but better.

Marketers that have eschewed anything but the most basic of automations are stuck in stick-shift. Tasks that have the potential to be far more efficient are being stymied by manual effort, which also eats away at the time that should be spent on strategizing and creative endeavors. In short, the era of hard-coding emails or manually managing customer data has come to an end.

Level 2: The Base Model

Level 2 automation is the type of car most people have. It has an automatic transmission and maybe even some enjoyable extras like heated seats or a basic back-up camera. This is the comfort zone, and all of these automated add-ons have become givens for the current generation of drivers.

For marketers, the comfort zone is often known as their business-as-usual workflow. These marketers probably know how to leverage zero- and first-party data, automate their omni-channel deployment, and take a templated, modular approach to their email campaigns.

While the gap between levels 1 and 2 is substantial, marketers that stay in the second tier will find it challenging to create campaigns that rise above the rest. Just like a car with automated transmission will no longer turn any heads, or even be advertised as a feature, brands that don’t keep innovating won’t stand out to customers. Marketers need to take it to the next level to see meaningful improvements in their campaign results, customer engagement, and productivity.

Level 3: The High-End Vehicle

A vehicle from this tier is a suburban mom’s dream. It’s got lane change and blind spot alerts, multiple views in the back-up camera, push-to-start, and even cruise control. The driving experience people know and love is elevated, easy, and convenient.

Marketers on top of their automated tools boast a similar experience. Every element of their workflow is automated and trackable: high quality, real-time data from every source is activated for relevant and personalized content to offer customers the utmost convenience as they navigate multiple touchpoints.

These martech advancements are clear game-changers and can drive stellar results when compared to the two previous levels. However, while marketers in this group stay on top of trends, it will be challenging for them to truly lead the charge in marketing. To act as  trailblazers in the martech space, marketers will have to look farther afield—ultimately, to AI adoption that surpasses the typical generative iterations.

Level 4: The Self-Driving Race Car

Self-driving cars are certainly not the typical vehicles you see on the road, but their ease and efficiency are unmatched. When a car can actually intercede to prevent human error, you know you’ve reached an entirely new level of automation, incomparable to any other driving experience.

When marketers leverage AI to its fullest capabilities—leaning on multiple AI models rather than the now-typical open source generative AI—they can revolutionize their workflow and create a similar autonomous approach:

  • Discard batch sends that use one-size-fits-all messaging, and employ AI to automatically personalize every promotional email to each customers’ preferences.
  • Instead of trying to read customers’ minds and follow a data trail that might’ve run cold, use AI’s content decisioning to send messaging that resonates with customers today and nurtures them for lasting loyalty.
  • Deploy campaigns at the right moment and create a unique cadence for each customer, rather than staying tied to a set calendar.
  • Scale in-depth campaign post-mortems and automatically generate content that speaks to customers’ most recent activity, guiding them towards their next-best action.

AI isn’t just another enhancement—it’s the vehicle for an entirely new approach to marketing that’s not only autonomous, but also far more effective. This is not to say that marketers should step away from all controls; after all, even a self-driving car needs to be told where to go. However, by using this method where it makes sense for your brand, you can create messaging that races far ahead of the pack with every deployment.