The AI revolution is here, but nobody gave me a playbook. Until now.

In a new report my company just published — “2023 Email Marketing & Research Report: A Look at the Market for the Future of the Channel” — we reveal how marketers at enterprise companies are using AI right now, what they think about it, and how it will affect the business world.

One thing is clear – these marketers aren’t afraid AI will turn them into mere button-pushers who let the machines do the strategic decision-making. Our research, done In partnership with Ascend2, found marketers are using AI, and generative AI in particular, to help them do their jobs better. 
Here are five of the key findings in our study (download a free ungated copy):

1. More than 9 in 10 marketers say AI will have a major impact

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Source: 2023 Email Marketing & Research Report: A Look at the Market for the Future of the Channel by RPE Origin and Ascend2

Only 8% of marketers doubt the effect AI will have on email marketing. It’s heartening to see marketers see a big future for AI, with 92% saying it will play either a central or significant role. 

It’s not surprising to learn marketers are open to the possibilities that AI brings for better results from email. The swift uptake in 2022 of ChatGPT and its image-creation cousin, DALL-E (just to name two), meant marketers had finally found the tools they needed all along to take the grunt work out of content creation and give them more time to think of ways to improve their email programs.

2. More than half of marketers use AI now

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Source: 2023 Email Marketing & Research Report: A Look at the Market for the Future of the Channel by RPE Origin and Ascend2

AI in all of its forms will stick around. If you’re in the 18% of respondents who have either said no to  AI or are on the fence, I urge you to focus on the future. 

AI will affect you, either directly in the work you do now, or indirectly if your competitors use it to pull ahead of you in the race. 

We need to learn about it, develop a strategic plan for using it, and play with it to discover what it could do for us. Cost might have been a factor for companies that don’t have the budget to deploy high-end AI-powered systems, but generative AI can deliver a lot either at no cost or a manageable one.

One more thing: If you’re in the 24% who use AI extensively now, help your marketing peers and start writing or talking about your experiences in blog posts, webinar appearances, white papers, and conference speeches. We have always driven improvements in email by learning from each other.

Dig deeper: Marketing leaders, are you actually ready for AI?

3. Personalization, retargeting rule for AI right now

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Source: 2023 Email Marketing & Research Report: A Look at the Market for the Future of the Channel by RPE Origin and Ascend2

AI tackles three major email needs. Content personalization, email retargeting, and subject line optimization are the top three uses for marketers who are the most experienced with AI. These three uses bring us closer to the holy grail of email marketing: relevancy on top of speed to market. 

When using AI with these tactics, we can build an email message for an individual or a cohort, have a list of products or a group of content modules, and have a machine choose what to send and whom to target. 

This has been possible to achieve by using top-tier programs with price tags to match. AI can accelerate the typical marketer’s ability to learn and implement the technology, thus democratizing the process at a much lower cost. 

4. What marketers want from ESPs: Better personalization and predictive analytics, advanced testing

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Source: 2023 Email Marketing & Research Report: A Look at the Market for the Future of the Channel by RPE Origin and Ascend2

We asked marketers for their wish lists of features ESPs could bake into their platforms, and the results line up for the most part with how marketers use AI right now.

Now it’s time for marketers to ask vendors via the RFP process what their roadmaps are for generative AI. It’s more than just adding a subject line creation or testing tool. What are their plans for providing the advanced capabilities that marketers wish for?

If your ESP has not launched any new AI tools, either for all users or for VIPs, call your account or customer success rep and ask about it. Many of us at RPE Origin have worked on the vendor side of martech, so we know that a product or feature roadmap often gets defined by what needs to be fixed or updated or what customers are asking for. ESPs won’t consider adding something unless a lot of clients want it and they can monetize it.

5. Data, expertise, and strategy hold back AI adoption

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Source: 2023 Email Marketing & Research Report: A Look at the Market for the Future of the Channel by RPE Origin and Ascend2

The age-old challenges of email marketing — not enough time, money, and resources – still hold true. Add a lack of expertise to the list along with fresh concerns about having enough data and protecting people’s privacy, and it’s easy to see why AI hasn’t taken over the email world yet.

The tech industry hasn’t had enough time to move into adding AI tools, but they need to. What can we as tech consumers do to drive that? These steps can help:

  • Tell your vendors what you need and ask them how they plan to meet those needs. The answers will tell you whether you’re working with a tech partner who can help you grow your skills and improve your email program. If the answer is light on details, it might be time to go shopping for a partner who can help you.
  • Look around the tech marketplace to see what’s available. Our agency does many RFPs and platform migrations. We’ve learned over the years that companies switch tech platforms mainly because the tech no longer meets their marketing visions or needs. 

Switching isn’t always the answer. Could you do better with different technology? Or could you do better with the tech you’re already paying for? Getting outside training or bringing in someone with the expertise you need could help you use more of the technology you pay for right now. 

If you are like the 39% who feel stymied by the lack of an effective AI strategy, it might be time to find external voices to help you put one together. An agency with experience in planning and working with AI strategy gives you an advantage because it has a wider perspective from working across industry verticals and a wide range of clients. 

Dig deeper: Ryan Phelan: Spotlight on the expert

Wrapping up 

AI provides an excellent use case for incremental innovation — the idea that we don’t have to improve by a single great stride. Rather, we can take small steps forward and build on those improvements that add up to a big leap forward.

Naturally, enterprise-level companies are more likely to have the time, money, and human and technological resources to design and test big programs. But that’s how we’ve always advanced email. Big companies experimented with programs at scale and then led the way for the rest of us. 

Generative AI and its iterations will inspire a rebirth of conversation around what’s new both inside and outside of email. It harkens back to the early 2000s when we were all learning and talking about what email meant, along with consumer adoption of the channel. It also emphasizes the dominance of email over the last 25 years.

This can give us advantages in products, copy, targeting, and relevance, and generate abundant ideas and paths forward.



We’re still in the nascent stage of AI and its implications. But in one small way, we can push the boundaries. A lot is packed into the infrastructure of what we need to make these enhancements work. Let’s not abandon all hope because we don’t have the tools yet. Let’s try things with the tools we have. 

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.



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شركة النمر هي شركة متخصصة في تصميم وادارة المواقع الالكترونية والارشفة وكتابة المحتوى والتسويق الالكتروني وتقدم العديد من خدمات حلول المواقع الالكترونية والتطبيقات وهي شركة رسمية ومسجلة منذ عام 2015.

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