In a recent survey of 200 retail marketers, we found that 1 in 5 of marketing organizations fell short of their marketing goals in 2016. Of the organizations that did succeed, 75% said the correlation was tied to budget growth. In an ideal world, every year marketing budgets increase – but that’s wishful thinking.

Teams are challenged when they lack headcount, technical and financial resources. Our 2017 Retail Innovation Study confirmed this – headcount, technical and financial resources were most commonly listed as the biggest challenge to accomplishing marketing goals in the next year. So, we decided to figure out the best way retailers can do more with less in the year ahead.


While retailers see email and mobile as the top channels for retaining and acquiring customers, personalization, automation and artificial intelligence are the marketing tech innovations retailers are most excited about in the next year and offer the biggest opportunities for working smarter and increasing results.

You Know Email is a Powerhouse. Now Personalize It.

Email marketing leads the pack when it comes to effective channels for acquiring and retaining customers – and incorporating personalization is the best way to increase email results. But how do you drive this growth forward? To really achieve 1:1 personalization across email, web or even mobile channels, marketers must have (or start) to collect the right kinds of data.

Sailthru profiles combine an individual’s demographic, behaviors, interests, purchases, engagement level, predicted actions, devices and browsers used. All data points are automatically collected, and products/content are automatically personalized to that individual — whether the customer is on email or your website. This is what retail marketers should be looking for when researching how to innovate email with personalization

Sailthru customers regularly see significant upticks in metrics like active buyers, email conversion, email revenue and more using this personalization approach, making it a sound investment for marketing teams looking to exceed their 2017 goals.

Save Time and Increase Engagement with Automation

While automation was once feared as the great marketer displacer, today’s savvy marketers know that automation is a must-have for high performance marketing. It makes delivering individualized brand experiences scalable for any team size. We recommend that all retail marketers take this automated approach to personalization across their channels.

Triggered email can also drastically increase email engagement and loyalty. With Sailthru automation, marketers can deploy automated messages to customers based on data from email, onsite, and mobile, and deliver those messages to any device or browser your customer may use. This ensures that customers get the right message at the right time, and on the right device.

Automation is also key when it comes to leveraging real-time automated reporting and marketing analytics that focus on the behaviors and interests of your customers. Use automation to generate insights – instead of spending countless hours pulling reports.

Artificial Intelligence: More Than Just a Buzzword

Implementing AI into your marketing demonstrates a deep understanding of your customers – it’s all about being able to act on customer knowledge with messaging and products that are relevant to their interests, and to do so without manual effort.

Product recommendations are an important and effective application of AI, and we recommend all retail marketers have them as a part of your strategy. But, recommendations are just the tip of the iceberg of what’s possible…and you’d be surprised how simple it can be to go further with AI.

At Sailthru we recommend a number of predictions to improve the customer experience and increase results on your KPIs within email to start. A few predictions we suggest our customers apply to their marketing include messaging to customers predicted to make a purchase in 7, 10, 30 days to boost purchase volume, an auto-suppression of customers likely to opt out of email to mitigate churn, serving products in email customers are predicted to buy based on site browsing activity to increase conversion and cross-channel coordination; and many more.

Read the full report now to learn more about this research and how to break through barriers to meet 2017 goals!