Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: A Guide for Personalization

We are currently living in the age of personalization. All trends in 2017 point to customer personalization becoming the norm and businesses need to take note. Personalization is by no means a cakewalk, even for the most savvy marketer. It takes many hours of researching, collecting data, planning and creating in order to optimize the customer experience.

If businesses want to continue to improve their value, they will encourage their marketing and advertising teams to collect all the data they can and take advantage of machine learning and artificial intelligence to develop and personalize the journey of each customer.

What is machine learning?

Machine learning is an artificial intelligence that provides computers with the ability to learn without being specifically programmed to do so. It is similar to data mining, because it searches through data and identifies patterns that can be used to adjust their program actions. 

According to Scott Anderson, CMO of Sitecore,“The advancement of technology has evolved consumer expectations to a point where marketers are challenged to keep up the pace amidst all the complexity.” Machine learning takes away some of this burden from marketers, whether it’s the mundane task of automating posts or something more complex like optimizing engagements.

Machine learning also offers a way for marketers to quickly process massive amounts of data and get a result that enables marketers to efficiently personalize their products for consumers.

Siemens called machine learning THE major trend for businesses today, and Dan Magresto, IIA Director of Research, said this about AI and machine learning in business, “Advanced analytics is becoming increasingly pervasive as a strategic component of doing business across all industries.” The graphic to the left shows how many personalized areas within a business machine learning can be useful.

Sitecore’s CMO, Scott Anderson, also had this to say regarding machine learning and its impact on personalization and marketing, “Machine learning and smart automation are beginning to prove valuable in an increasing number of areas, including optimization, personalization, customer segmentation, and contextual intelligence.”

So… what is artificial intelligence?

Artificial intelligence, also known as AI, is the “an area of computer science that emphasizes the creation of intelligent machines that work and react like humans.” It was coined in 1956 by John McCarty at The Dartmouth Conference. A few of the activities artificial intelligence computers work on include speech recognition, learning, planning, and problem solving. Many big name companies have already started to implement AI in their customer service with chatbots and virtual assistants.

Is there a difference?

Yes! Many people seem to be using machine learning and artificial intelligence interchangeably, but they are in fact two separate entities. While machine learning is technically a feature of artificial intelligence, it enables computers to learn and improve on their own over time, while artificial intelligence describes all the ways to get a machine to emulate aspects of human thinking.

Taking the differences between machine learning and artificial intelligence a step further, machine learning is different from artificial intelligence because it offers something artificial intelligence can’t - a way for users to get accurate predictions by using algorithms that make predictions from data collected, with these predictions getting more accurate over time due to the repetition.

What This Means for Businesses

It means personalization just got a whole lot easier for marketers! Machine learning makes it possible for marketers to deliver the right content to the right customer in real time, thanks to the data that has been collected. With a strong platform, the collected data can be thrown through an algorithm that makes it easy and simple for marketers to see what content is going to be the most valuable for a customer.

Sitecore’s CMO describes the importance of machine learning in marketing like this, “Machine learning lets you use fewer rules and more intelligence, to leverage the power of the computer to discover connections and correlations and causations that a human might never even see.”

Brands are expected to personalize the customer experience at every stage, from start to finish. With machine learning and AI, marketers no longer have to take the one size fits all approach to campaigns and they can now focus based on micro interests or location, thanks to the interpreted data from AI.

It is also important to mention that Allied Market Research expects machine learning to generate revenue of $13.7 billion by 2020. As soon as marketers recognize the benefits of AI and machine learning, they can gain a competitive advantage over others by responding quickly to customer needs, while delivering better user experiences (another top trend for 2017) with relevant product/content recommendations as a way to increase sales revenue.

Utilizing machine learning and artificial intelligence to personalize responses also leaves more time for creativity, something all marketing teams can take advantage of.

How Sitecore Can Help

The Sitecore® Experience Platform™ is a great option for any business looking to expand and optimize their customer personalization with the help of machine learning. The platform emphasizes the importance of customer intelligence by collecting up-to-the second information about any interactions a customer has had with your brand. This data helps you deliver a tailored, effective engagement with customers based on their wants and needs.


By using custom algorithms, Sitecore is able to automatically present appropriate content to customers based on their saved Dynamics profile that has been collected the moment a customer interacts anywhere on your site.


Machine learning and artificial intelligence are going to be important for marketers to incorporate in their strategies if they want their businesses to see increased ROI, which will be the direct result of optimized personalization in the customer journey.

About Author

Tim has been building, designing, and executing websites since 1999, and joined in 2009. His specialties include online e-commerce consulting, web and business marketing, and project management. With technical and creative savvy, Tim is a born entrepreneur & problem-solver. When not staring soulfully at Google Analytics, Tim enjoys roughing it Apple-free in the great outdoors.

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