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Mailchimp AI tool targets small-business email marketing

The veteran email marketing vendor's new tool, the result of its purchase of martech vendor Inspector 6, is aimed at boosting small businesses' email campaigns with AI.

Mailchimp on Oct. 5 launched Content Optimizer, a new AI tool aimed at improving email marketing strategies for small businesses, marketers and entrepreneurs with AI-based recommendations.

The tool is available now in English for standard and premium users of Mailchimp, with other languages expected later.

What Content Optimizer does

Content Optimizer recommends ways businesses can improve email marketing campaigns with more effective call-to-action language, better typography and readability, more conciseness and other changes.

The product of Mailchimp's acquisition of AI-based marketing analytics vendor Inspector 6 in July 2020, the tool uses best practices, benchmark and brand consistency analysis and predictive modeling.

"Even the most sophisticated marketers don't want to spend as much time as they're spending creating that content," said John Wolf, Mailchimp's principal product manager of smart content and the founder of Inspector 6. "It's just a very time-consuming, inefficient task. They don't really have the data or the tools to know which content is working and which one isn't."

The intent

While a content optimizer tool is already included in many of the big marketing automation platform such as Adobe, it can be an effective technology that adds a professional touch for small businesses that lack substantial creative resources, said Liz Miller, an analyst at Constellation Research.

Example of Content Optimizer making suggestions to a user's email
Mailchimp's Content Optimizer is an AI tool that helps optimize email marketing campaigns.

What sets Mailchimp's version apart is that it is designed more to make customers' emails perform better, while some of the similar AI tools are more focused on enhancing automation, Miller said. The Mailchimp system is intended to help make small-business email marketing campaigns more effective and eventually more profitable.

"It's not so much about the action that the Mailchimp tool is offering; it's really more about the intention," Miller said. "For marketers, especially in the SMB space, having something that is quick and easy and takes the drudgery out of analyzing all that data … becomes a real value."

For marketers, especially in the SMB space, having something that is quick and easy and takes the drudgery out of analyzing all that data … becomes a real value.
Liz MillerAnalyst, Constellation Research

Content Optimizer is available free to standard and premium Mailchimp users, which have plans starting at $14.99 a month.

"That is a great cost of entry considering how much opportunity personalized, relevant contextual email can drive for a small business," Miller said.

Using Inspector 6 technology

Wolf said Content Optimizer is the first step Mailchimp has taken in in fully making use of Inspector 6's technologies.

The tool focuses on the reporting phase of email campaigns by providing recommendations after the email creation process.

Mailchimp plans to expand the tool's capabilities to include recommendations about messaging, imagery, tone and brand consistency, according to Wolf. The vendor also plans to extend the technology beyond emails to include all marketing channels, including social media, landing pages, physical postcards and more.

Mailchimp's use of AI brings the vendor in line with some of the other marketing platforms for small and midsize enterprises, Miller said.

"The application of what this AI can do absolutely makes the entire package that much more competitive, especially in the small business space," she said.

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