How Act-On’s machine learning will enhance communications and relationships.

Earlier this month, Act-On made a significant announcement unveiling Adaptive Journeys, the company’s 2017-2018 roadmap and supporting vision.

With Adaptive Journeys, Act-On isn’t just dipping its toes into the next generation of marketing automation waters; it’s cannonballing into them!

What Does This Mean?

The heart of this vision is a machine learning layer built on top of Act-On’s NoSQL Cloud Architecture. In English: that’s a lot of tech jargon for a modern, smarter and reasonably future-proof platform. In even plainer terms: the product and its new features are a differentiator for Act-On in a crowded marketing automation landscape where other top vendors lag behind with older, less flexible technology.

Let’s back up a bit.

Today, it’s impossible for marketers to map out a single purchase journey for their customers – literally each and every journey is unique to itself. Organizations need technology that supports relevant interactions to any and all unique journeys their buyers take. In a nutshell, that’s the problem Act-On is trying to solve with this vision.

Adaptive Journeys really means understanding where customers are at in their purchase journey and providing marketers with the capability to adapt communications to the needs of that specific stage. As cliche as it may sound, this is about getting the right message to the right person at the right time. More on that in a bit.

Every time a customer interacts with your brand it means something.
– Michelle Huff, Chief Marketing Officer, Act-On

Hearing Act-On’s Chief Marketing Officer, Michelle Huff, speak, it’s clear the automation company sees itself as a communication and relationship enhancer. Act-On is striving to help create more authentic relationships between companies and their customers. “Every time a customer interacts with your brand it means something,” says Huff. In a recent presentation, she emphasized that the Adaptive vision is built around learning from each interaction and helping marketers better interpret its meaning. Something that I really liked hearing from Act-On during this session is that marketing automation has become so much more than ‘just’ lead generation. It also means branding, customer marketing and more as we consider the entire customer journey that goes into acquiring and supporting a customer.

Adaptive Journeys breaks into several core functions:

Right Message

  • Adaptive Segmentation: As a result of tighter integrations into CRM’s and other apps, marketers can create lists of (engaged) contacts from data collected in CRM, web forms, behaviours within Act-On and other third party applications. These segments can be leveraged for personalized content as well.
  • Adaptive Forms: Act-On-powered forms will dynamically adapt to content put into each field. This will allow marketers to gain more information from their target contacts or even streamline form completion. Forms will take into account past behaviours and alter in real-time.

Right Time

  • Adaptive Sending: Based on past behaviours and collected data, Act-On can predict (and select!) the best time to send a message to each of your contacts. This functionality will predict the time most likely to drive email engagement.
  • Adaptive Scoring: This is an advancement of conditional scoring rules that exist with Act-On today. Now marketers will be able to automate scoring across segments, industries and buyers – essentially profile-based scoring which further helps marketers  rate/rank qualified leads, sales follow ups and general marketing effectiveness.

Right Channel

  • Adaptive Channels: Machine learning functionality will be able to determine the ideal channel (email, web, mobile or social) to send a message to each individual, therefore drive higher levels of engagement.

Other Info and Thoughts:

  • Act-On’s product architecture offers an ability to collect large amounts of data sets, and possibly build automation rules from it. When factoring in integrations and third party platforms, there is great potential for reporting, personalized experiences and more.
  • Improved Custom Objects sync between Act-On and leading CRM’s like Salesforce, Dynamics and SugarCRM is a big win for customers trying leverage data sets that currently exist in core marketing systems.
  • Act-On’s new contact database (coming in 2018) will finally address a single contact with multiple email addresses.
  • This kind of vision and soon-to-be added functionality legitimately puts Act-On in a very small class of market leaders. If Act-On can execute this strategy and implement machine learning into our marketing stacks this seamlessly, we might be talking about other vendors needing to catch up to Act-On soon!