Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

NDA meets: Michelle Taite, CMO, Intuit Mailchimp

The world of digital marketing is going through a very transformative period, with the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), the deprecation of third-party cookies, and economic and regulatory pressures all having a significant impact on the way everything works.

Marketers are faced with a seemingly uphill battle to deliver effectively on the, often squeezed, budgets they’ve been provided, but they also have more at their disposal than ever before.

“It’s both exciting and terrifying. It’s getting more and more complex. There’s more information. It’s harder to triangulate that information at the same time. If you have a view on how to triangulate and how to get through it, you’re more insightful than ever. I think it’s a really interesting moment for us marketers to just continuously learn,” says Michelle Taite, CMO at Intuit Mailchimp.

“It’s a marketer’s nightmare and a marketer’s dream at the same time. A nightmare in that there are so many pieces of technology. There are so many things to do. You have to do so much more with so much less, especially in a recession. But, at the same time, you have all of the data to be able to talk to all of your customers in the most meaningful way that we’ve ever been able to.”

It’s in these times of recession that marketers should be thinking more about retaining current customers rather than acquiring new ones, because “getting new customers is five times more costly than retaining and engaging your current customer base,” Taite states.

“Thinking about your current customer base and how you can harness that and engage them, cross-sell, upsell, repeat purchases, and maximise the insights and engagement with that customer base. That’s a lot more efficient.”

Marketing to the marketers

The need for marketers to better engage their existing customers is a big part of the reason why Mailchimp recently introduced more than 150 new and updated features to its platform, across custom reporting and analytics, segmentation, ecommerce automation, customer journeys, and support.

“We market to marketers, and we take that very seriously. We want to create the best-in-class marketing that our customers look up to and get inspired by,” explains Taite. “We think about creating inspiration and education, and then conversion, and then engagement and retention, and then essentially creating champions.”

Alongside the introduction of those 150 updates, Mailchimp launched its first-ever global marketing campaign.

Placing the UK at the heart of this campaign, a star-studded conference was held in London, featuring the likes of Richard Ayoade, Louis Theroux, Martina Navratilova, Professor Hannah Fry, Priya Lakhani, Patricia Bright, Grace Beverley, and Steven Bartlett.

“The UK is a really important market to us. We believe that the UK market is very much advanced in how it thinks about its marketing needs. But also, we see the customer’s needs. We see the need for automation and in simplifying the journey process. We think about creating a compounding journey in terms of its value when customers meet us along the way,” says Taite.

“We’re really taking the brand upmarket, in addition to expanding it internationally. To do that, you need to think about the current perceptions and where we want to go. We are very lucky in that marketers know us to be a very breakthrough and creative brand.”

As a result, Mailchimp sees itself as “a very bright yellow in the sea of blues and greens that is B2B,” according to Taite.

Generating success

Some of the most important updates to Mailchimp’s offering come in the form of generative AI-powered tools – something that has been a major talking point in 2023.

Mailchimp’s own research found that 88% of marketers view AI as being important for them to grow their business. However, just half believe they have got AI working well for them. So, the business wanted to address this.

“We have 21 AI and ML features and models in our product that essentially provide benchmarks and recommendations and helpful content optimisation as you work through your campaigns – all which make marketers more efficient and faster, and essentially scale them up,” says Taite.

“If your team can do the why, and let AI do the what, it actually creates more space and more scale for creativity to thrive, which a lot of marketers and creatives are yearning for.”

Ultimately, it’s Mailchimp’s – and the wider Intuit business’ – ambition to utilise AI and other capabilities to help to eliminate silos within businesses.

“We’re going to see an era where we’ve seen innovation like never before that advances revenue and customer growth across omnichannel,” says Taite. “Through AI and some of the additional capabilities that we bring, we’ll be able to connect front and back office. As a marketer, you’re often trying to connect your data to your peers’ data, especially in the C suite. And that’s really painful.”