Digital Innovation Guest Columns
4 mins read

Implementing Artificial Intelligence for your readership

There was a time artificial intelligence may have conjured up visions of robots and sci-fi humanoids, however it is now increasingly being used by businesses across multiple industries and the publishing world is no different. For publishers, AI has the potential to deliver more relevant and targeted content for readers and ultimately drive subscriptions and renewals.

It’s important to recognise that AI technology is still in its infancy, especially in the publishing industry, and therefore some brands are cautious and naturally skeptical. According to Resulticks research, 47% of all marketers still consider AI to be “overhyped”. For those who are trying to move with the times, when it comes to technically implementing AI, 69% rate their vendor’s performance as “poor”. A further 42% of marketers either have no current plans to implement the technology, or have already aborted their efforts.

However, if used correctly, the potential of AI is vast. For years publishers have struggled to collect and centralise customer data, including analysing and identifying the relevant datapoints that can transform customer insights into an actionable competitive strategy. An effective data insight strategy is difficult enough to implement for one publication, but with the growing ‘umbrella’ trend within the publishing sector – one body heading up a collection of titles, websites or publishing houses – trying to consider the bespoke needs of numerous titles and platforms only escalates the strategic challenge.

Success in today’s media and publishing landscape is not only driven by the ability to deliver great content to customers but also an exceptional customer experience. By connecting all customer data, publishers are better able to uncover insights that drive subscription rates,click-throughs, and referrals.

The technology heralds a change for the subscription economy as a whole. AI-driven marketing solves the most nagging problem that publishers are facing: activating the plethora of customer data which is now available. AI will help publishers for example to customise content dependent on the channel and consumer profile, keeping the customer engaged and loyal.

AI heralds a major change. It will help to alleviate the heavy lifting that usually falls on marketers’ shoulders and can essentially deliver a one-to-one conversation. However, AI-driven marketing can be the very answer to the one of the most longstanding questions that publishers are facing: the ability to make sense of a deluge of available customer data on a micro scale that can tell publishers what their key demographic is reading, when it’s reading it, and how best to engage with them.

While this deluge is all extremely valuable data it presents the humanly impossible task of analysing and implementing the best way to utilitise this data. When you consider the task marketers have to get the attention of today’s hyperconnected consumer, the need to be able to make sense and act on this data becomes even greater.

So, what are the top three areas AI that can help publishers in driving relevant marketing messages and more personalised customer experiences – and, more importantly, to do this at scale?


Ensuring your content captures the attention of subscribers can be a challenge, especially if you’re using several channels to communicate with your readership. AI allows marketers to customise content, dependent on the channel and consumer profile, based on algorithms, meaning less work for the publisher. The result? Content that drives engagement and conversion on a one-to-one level, at every opportunity.


Always be where your reader is – not where they were two hours ago. Today’s consumers demand relevant and current content from their favourite media brands. AI allows publishers to identify customer data points in real-time to create dynamic content that engages and converts, which takes into consideration the context of the consumer –  with the major triggers based on geography, behaviour etc.


Automated communication flows that nurture new subscriptions and renewal are critical to every publisher. A missed communication could mean missed revenue. Take out the manual work by leveraging AI to design complex multi-channel streams that are updated in real time with every click, purchase, or page view.

Gartner predicts that by the year 2020, approximately 85% of the relationship between brands and consumers are expected to be conducted without human interactions. Publishers who embrace AI in their marketing efforts will be able to turn a new page in the industry.

These three methods in which publishers can begin leveraging AI immediately to drive value and conversion in your marketing departments will allow for greater understanding of how to reach and retain your readership in what is an increasingly competitive subscription economy.

You may be thinking: I don’t have to worry about this yet. However, if recent developments in eCommerce have taught us anything, it’s that companies which embrace innovations that serve to reduce friction in the customer journey are far more likely to be successful. Those publisher brands that don’t, will be left behind.

By Christopher Baldwin, Head of Marketing, Northern Europe at Selligent Marketing Cloud

About Selligent Marketing Cloud

Selligent Marketing Cloud is a marketing automation platform that enables B2C brands to engage consumers across all critical channels. Built for the relationship marketer, Selligent Marketing Cloud is the only marketing cloud built on a single code base, featuring artificial intelligence and a Customer DataPlatform with a universal consumer profile at the core of every action. More than 700 brands across retail, travel, automotive, publishing, and financial services rely on the platform.