Short answer: there is no way to do this currently.
Here are my thoughts on this feature:
These features sound so incredibly sexy. I mean, who wouldn’t want to let computers solve everything for us! In reality, I think questions like this are a bit tough to answer. If you take a quick look at Mailchimp’s blog post about this, you should be able to spot some holes pretty quickly. The reason we haven’t invested in a feature like this yet is because, quite frankly, I don’t personally believe it can be implemented with high quality. Sure, some platforms might implement something just to say they do it. But, I think it would be fairly easy to show that it’s just smoke and mirrors. I encourage our team to work on features that are going to provide a superior email sending experience. I wouldn't want to over-promise "magic" features to our customers, that could actually end up hurting their email performance.
Using Mailchimp as my example, here’s a quick overview of why I believe features like this can’t work:
- They optimize the time based on only clicks. Is this really all that matters? If the email content changes across sends, this may not be indicative of optimal send time. Clicks might mean success for some emails, but for others, another metric (opens, for example) may suffice. Additionally, some emails will have many links and others will have few. If you have more links, it’s probably more likely that one will catch the eye of the recipient prompting a click. However, if you have too many links it might overwhelm the recipient. These points lead to the most important point. In my opinion, the most important factor in an email send is the content/design of the email itself. It is truly an art, not a science. Many times, the fact that one email is simply designed better will lead to much better results in the campaign! In this case, the send time has very little to do with the performance. It's really the design that's driving a higher clickthrough rate. Even if a different metric was used, these principles would still apply. I argue that there are many, many factors that influence performance, not just send time. I would find it naïve to try and reduce such a complex problem down to just when clicks (or other events) are occurring.
- Even if we know 6PM Thursday was a great time in the past for a certain lead, how do we know that will be true in the future? Who would Marketo be to think they understand everything about my hectic schedule. Maybe I happened to be jam-packed with meetings the day I was sent an email. Or maybe I was sent the email on Monday morning of a big conference and didn’t engage with it until Thursday after the conference was over. Does this mean I only like to read emails on Thursday? Certainly not. Again, making generalizations about why a person chose to engage with an email at a particular time can often times be pointless. In reality, today’s prospects are always on the move. It’s much better to have continuous conversations with them and let them determine when the right time is to engage.
- All emails aren’t created equal. Some emails are operational, others are marketing newsletters. Some are coupons, while others are invitations. Sometimes the audience is healthcare professionals, other times it's babysitters. All of these factors tremendously impact the performance of the email and the optimal send time. And that’s all in addition to the things already mentioned above. Platforms may say they optimize send-time based on how the leads have previously engaged with a number of different emails. If the contents of various emails are so different, what does that data really tell us? I don’t think it tells us much.
Anyway, I always continue to evaluate features like this. I just don't want to build a simple heuristic/algorithm into Marketo that could end up hurting our marketers.