5 Ways AI is Driving Change in the B2B Marketing Space
The average reader online today probably sees references to artificial intelligence and the shorthand AI, and gets an immediate image in their head of crazy, out-of-control robots and computers gone mad. Despite the Hollywood-fueled fears surrounding AI, the reality is that AI and advanced machine learning algorithms are already in place all around us.
And that’s a good thing!
Some of the most innovative and transformative changes have been brought about by applying AI to pain points across every industry across the economy. And the marketing and advertising industries are no stranger to the impact of AI. The tools that marketing professionals have available to them now are literally changing how we do business, especially in the business-to-business (B2B) marketing space.
Before we explore five use cases for how AI is changing the way B2B marketers do their jobs, let’s take a moment to establish what we mean by AI and machine learning.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Systems built around an AI platform with machine learning applications in place are able to learn over time how to become more efficient and to better perform certain tasks. These systems are highly data-driven and depend upon their ability to analyze their own performance relative to provide metrics and goals.
This approach is intended to help developers and software designers speed up the iterative nature of development so that improvements can be made that much faster to the software in the field. Over time, the predictive analytics capabilities of software built around these methods become increasingly effective, which has a number of applications ranging from medical treatment to improving search engines to creating digital assistants such as Alexa or Siri.
Folding AI into Strategic Marketing Tools
Given the predictive abilities of AI-based tools, it’s no wonder that AI has been heavily adopted in the business-to-consumer focused retail industry. Customer behaviors and trends are easily tracked by AI systems and the level of data being collected and analyzed in order to better target advertising provides AI-driven systems limitless advantages.
While there are similarities with B2C, B2B is focused on different types of behaviors and relationships, and we have a more complex and drawn-out buying cycle. This has led to a slower rate of adoption in B2B focused organizations of AI-driven solutions, but trends in 2020 that have extended into 2021 show a distinct shift in attitudes in the B2B sector towards an emerging affinity for AI and machine learning-based solutions.
1. AI-Driven Lead Generation Systems Are Providing Higher Quality Qualified Leads
Integrating AI into the analytics of lead generation can help to automate the task of determining several customer data points that are crucial to improving and targeting marketing at the right buyer personas guaranteed to convert.
By tracking leads throughout complicated funnels and discovering which types of leads, in turn, convert at the end, a complex scoring process can allow the marketing team to prioritize leads, focusing first on leads with a higher chance of converting. For leads less likely to convert, the marketing team can then decide whether or not to tweak marketing funnels to address the factors that caused certain leads to score lower, or to tweak the lead generation funnels to simply focus efforts only on increasing the number of higher-qualified leads.
2. Powerful Analytics Allow You To Optimize Content and Address Website Performance
Content marketers have forever been at war with the Google SERP Ranking algorithms. Without any insight, it is hard for content creators to generate the exactly relevant content that will show up in a user’s Google search results. Integrate AI into the analytics of your SEO and content marketing strategy and not only will you be able to generate content about the exact topics your audience is looking for, but you’ll be publishing it exactly when it becomes relevant to your readership. You’ll also be able to monitor website performance data in real-time to identify key areas of improvement.
Google Analytics Intelligence, for instance, is a Google-powered tool that uses machine learning to break down analytics data. Instead of manually sorting through your Google Analytics data, Google Analytics Intelligence will monitor the data for you and send you alerts whenever sizable fluctuations occur. These capabilities allow you to take immediate action before arising issues wreak havoc on your website, content, and online presence.
3. AI Enables Marketers to Streamline Their Content Creation Process with Accuracy
As quality content continues to take precedence, marketers are now using AI-powered content creation tools to streamline their internal processes from start to finish. AI-powered content generation tools use natural language processing to translate intricate data points into words and sentences in the human language. Although AI tools aren’t quite advanced enough yet to create full-length articles and blog posts, they can be utilized to generate simple content formats.
Consider integrating AI to develop product descriptions, quarterly company reports, news recaps, and short, data-centric social media posts. MarketMuse, for instance, is an AI content intelligence tool that uses an advanced topic modeling system to help you craft structured and informative content outlines. Other AI content development tools like INITIATE.AI allow you to leverage existing blog posts or articles to create new multi-media content.
4. Ironically, AI Helps Make Advertising More Personal
With the changes in consumer behavior across every industry due to the pandemic, it’s becoming increasingly clear to marketers that generic pitches are a thing of the past and that even in B2B marketing you have to personalize.
How else are you going to make it personal in advertising, but use data to tweak your approach? Your system is already pulling buying behaviors, and your buyer persona research has helped to drill down into a pretty clear picture of what your ideal customer looks like. Combining data from all of these resources and through other means, AI-driven marketing tools have started to create more targeted and timely personalized marketing messages, and even automated marketing tasks can be designed to come across as individualized and sincere. This results in shortened sales cycles and increased revenue generation overall.
Madgicx, for example, is an AI-powered omnichannel ad-optimization tool for marketing teams. You can use its capabilities to identify top-performing words and phrases across different audiences. Madgicx’s Ad Copy Insights feature also assesses word count to determine the optimal length for converting your audience.
5. AI-Driven Systems Can Reduce the Challenges Around Maintaining Customer Relationships
The sales cycle is a challenging process for your sales team to keep up with when they are managing relationships across hundreds of customer accounts, especially the post-sale follow-up. Unfortunately, the post-sale follow-up is also both the most neglected point in the relationship management process and likely your team’s most profitable path to revenue generation.
Integrating AI automation to respond to customer inquiries and to send post-sales follow-ups can lead to massive revenue increases, responding to 5% more customer inquiries can generate a 25%-95% increase in revenue. AI-based email response tools can even be built to generate responses appropriate to the content of the email inquiry, after integrating such a system, Epson saw a qualified lead increase of 75 percent. Chatbots and conversational AI tools are becoming the norm for successful customer experience teams!
Don’t Fear AI, Embrace It!
The fact is that software developers and IT service providers are folding AI and machine learning systems into everything they build these days. The use cases are endless! The B2B digital marketing industry must embrace these AI technologies to help its clients thrive and keep pace with the competition in 2021.
Invest in AI tools to fine-tune your target audiences and create content that speaks directly to customers for higher lead generation. Monitor key performance data proactively and in real-time to help clients make the most informed business decisions. Once you follow those steps, continue to give your clients the advantages they need by embracing the most powerful and data-driven AI marketing tools on the market today.