These days, the marketing playbook for any innovative company looking to scale must include automation, AI, and machine learning. The rapid data analysis and subsequent predictive algorithms that machine learning allows is a sure-fire way to reach new customers--and quickly.
But what if you’re a small but beloved business that has only four full-time employees? That was the problem Paolo Mentonelli faced when he founded BioRepublic Skincare four and a half years ago. “We didn’t have the capabilities to do advanced segmentation and customizing of our message to specific groups of customers,” he says. What Mentonelli really needed was a robust marketing strategy, one capable of “specifically targeting groups of customers based on purchase history, demographics, even psychographics.”
Mentonelli found his solution in Mailchimp. The company that made its (whimsical) name providing mass email has evolved into a full-service marketing platform, providing insights and analytics, automation, machine learning, AI, and more, all aimed at maximizing companies’ customer relationship management.
Mailchimp utilizes predictive algorithms culled from machine learning to provide Mentonelli with a targeting feature that helps determine which products to tout to specific customers. Mentonelli likens it to a “black box,” but one that has reaped rewards. “It’s so easy to use,” he says. “It doesn’t overload you with too much information or make you do a lot of analysis outside of the app.”
THE “SPECIAL SAUCE”
Mailchimp brings further value to BioRepublic in the way it incorporates machine learning to integrate with Facebook data and Facebook’s ad product. “You have the ability to target people with ads based on likes, preferences, and so on,” Mentonelli says. This lets Mentonelli reach individuals who like BioRepublic Skincare without revealing the specific features that make them the sort of people who would like their products. “There may be attributes of those groups of people that we’re not cognizant of, which we can then target.”
Say, for instance, Mentonelli wants to market to consumers in a certain area who have indicated they like yoga and Whole Foods. To do this, he pushes his customer list to Facebook, whose algorithms cross check with its registered users, which then tabulates what characterizes those people in the Facebook universe. The result is what Mentonelli describes as its “special sauce” of what a BioRepublic Skincare fan tends to look like. Through its integration with Facebook, Mailchimp can then target BioRepublic Skincare ads to those individuals.
Today, BioRepublic supplies 12 distinct skincare products to the likes of Bloomingdale’s, Target, and Whole Foods. Mentonelli credits Mailchimp with providing the marketing muscle that helped take his company to the next level. “You don’t want to waste your marketing money on things that don’t necessarily work,” he says. “Mailchimp is basically a full-service portal. But the big story is how it allows small, non-technical teams do things that in the past required a dedicated team of analysts to execute.”
This article originally appeared on Fastcompany.com