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AI-powered SMS marketing drives record sales during Cyber Week

The news: Marketing communications platform Attentive reports it drove $1.8 billion in online sales during Cyber Week 2023. Brands using Attentive sent over 2.2 billion text messages, with the highest amount landing on Black Friday.

  • Brands saw up to 36.6% of their behavior-based SMS messages convert into mobile purchases, Attentive says; as part of that, sellers recovered a total of $148 million from abandoned carts.
  • 45% of brands sent an AI-influenced message, with more than 218 million AI-influenced messages sent in total.

Deep dive: AI, SMS marketing, and personalization are converging, reshaping how brands interact with their customers, Attentive CEO Amit Jhawar said in a recent exclusive sit-down with us.

  • As marketing efforts evolve, Jhawar cites a significant shift away from traditional email campaigns. "The way brands counteracted is they just sent more and more email.” This tactic has left consumer inboxes overflowing with unread messages, diminishing the effectiveness of email and fueling a search for more efficient communication channels.
  • SMS marketing has emerged as a powerful alternative to emails, offering a more direct and personal way to connect with customers—which explains Attentive’s sending 37% more messages this Black Friday than last year’s.

How AI fits in: Generative AI's role in marketing signifies a pivotal shift, enabling the creation of messages that resonate personally with each consumer. "We're at this really interesting turning point... where you can now generate messages at an individual level," Jhawar said. This capability to personalize promotions can enhance engagement and foster loyalty.

  • AI stands as a "force multiplier" in creating personalized shopping experiences, Jhawar notes. It allows brands to curate products and offers based on individual preferences and behaviors, simplifying the shopping process.
  • In the era of data-driven marketing, balancing personalization with privacy becomes crucial. Jhawar advises brands to target messages based on consumer behavior rather than invasive predictions. This approach involves using data to create relevant messages while respecting privacy boundaries, avoiding the perception of being “creepy.”

Why SMS is winning: As shopping increasingly moves to mobile devices, marketing tactics must adapt. "The mobile device is not a research device. It's an action device," Jhawar states, stressing the need for concise content that prompts immediate action. In the limited space of a mobile screen, personalized content is critical to drive engagement.

  • AI, SMS, and personalization are transforming digital marketing, creating more customer-focused experiences, and paving the way for innovative strategies.