Today, artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly being leveraged by B2B marketers in a variety of ways and will impact organizations and individuals more and more in the days ahead.
Clearly, AI spans across many industries and technology applications. In B2B marketing, the focus around AI implementation has largely centered on areas such as using existing data to find patterns, auto-populating or appending missing information via algorithms, automating decisions with greater accuracy and reducing the manual aspects of numerous tasks.
In a recent example of AI used in B2B marketing applications, SaaS landing page provider Unbounce challenged digital marketers at a conference compete against an AI-based technology dubbed “The Machine” in analyzing the copy of a landing page to predict whether it would deliver an above or below average conversion rate. As you may have guessed, “The Machine” reigned supreme, largely because it had no biases to sway its decision, whereas marketers looking at the copy were persuaded by design effects and other variables. The algorithm had an 80% accuracy rate vs. a 50% accuracy rate from the challenge’s human participants.
Imagine moving forward with ideas for your website or campaigns with 60% greater degree of confidence in the results of your decisions. This is the future of B2B Marketing and AI.
What roles does artificial intelligence play in B2B marketing today?
There are numerous ways in which AI currently uses B2B marketing processes, many of which go unnoticed. Five common applications in wide use today that provide a better look at AI’s application are propensity modeling, predictive analytics, lead scoring, personalization and chatbots.
Propensity modeling uses machine learning algorithms to autofill large amounts of data, in turn enabling accurate predictions about things such as lead and contact information elements. Propensity modeling can also automate many historically manual tasks related to efforts like lead scoring and web and app personalization.
For example, applying an AI algorithm to the vast historical data in your marketing database could help you to more accurately and efficiently categorize lead statuses and predict when they might move to the next funnel stage.
Predictive analytics pairs with propensity modeling to give estimates on the probability of an outcome, such as the likelihood of a customer converting or their propensity to behave in a certain way. Combined with smart views of how leads travel through the sales funnel, implementing predictive analytics into real-time marketing strategy can help marketers improve their ability to get the right information to the right people at the right time.
It’s important to note that artificial intelligence applications (especially predictive analytics and propensity modeling) are only effective when the data that fuels them is accurate and reliable. Incomplete database entries and dirty data can lead to incorrect outputs in machine learning algorithms. With increasing adoption of AI within applications, we can similarly expect a heavier emphasis on database management within marketing organizations.
Chatbots and data collection technologies also rely heavily on AI components and use machine learning algorithms to intelligently fulfill customer service needs and craft personalized messages. Chatbots, for example, can help navigate a visitor through a website and direct them to more desirable landing pages or offers on your website without the need for a full-time response team.
Through machine learning algorithms, chatbots have evolved to even be able to direct conversations on their own, and even develop new response trends. Several notable experiments have been conducted in this space and bit-by-bit reliable elements from these experiments are being implemented.
How will AI shape B2B marketing in the years to come?
Marketers have only scratched the surface when it comes to applying artificial intelligence technologies in B2B. With every passing day, it will become more disruptive and an integral element for virtually all organizations and individuals.
Companies Who Are Already Using AI
Many organizations are already using AI technologies to help marketers be better at their jobs. These organizations include Sentient and Persado, as well as Unbounce, who spoke about their AI experiences at their recent conference. These companies currently use and are increasing investments into AI technologies that will improve their marketing automation processes, predictive analysis, messaging and customer service.
For example, Persado uses machine learning technology to create messages that are original, precise and “outperforms man-made messages 100% of the time.” Their algorithms can be used to update and improve website pages and audience engagement.
How AI Will Affect the Job Market
Job markets and functions will likely begin to shift as AI is integrated throughout hierarchies and systems, but probably not in the way you’re expecting. While automated processing allows for many jobs to gain more free time, that time will not be idly spent or necessarily mean jobs removed. On the contrary, AI is expected to drive job creation through the need for more marketing operations and analytics support roles.
One expected shift is an increased need to support and foster accurate data within systems and enterprise technology. This will result in higher volume of data-focused jobs, such as data stewards that will place an increased focus on data auditing, testing, statistical inferences and interpretation of findings for action.
Embracing AI in Your B2B Marketing Order
It’s human nature to resist change, particularly change that is accompanied by new and unfamiliar technology. And while some of its implications can bring about anxiety, AI undoubtedly has the power to provide breakthroughs in your marketing efforts. Spend time thinking and ideating with your team about current applications of AI from leading marketers and organizations and how it might help you advance your marketing strategy, improve results and bring about efficiency.
Minimizing time spent by automating mundane tasks automatically creates more time for the parts of marketing that can’t be replaced. The very human experience of creating value, developing new thought processes and new business strategies are all integral parts of marketing and sales. In a world where AI and marketers can harmoniously combine, the possibilities are endless.