Leveraging data and technology to secure new leads and develop customer loyalty is always a challenge for marketers. Developments in technology mean that the personalisation, targeting and overall efficacy of B2C campaigns have improved.

Yet, most B2B marketers report that they are still working hard to generate traffic and leads. The advent of technology is creating some hurdles, such as prohibitive costs and out-dated marketing practices, and this, combined with a lack of qualified talent, means that taking advantage of the benefits of technology can be a slow process.

Developments in marketing in the past 10 years has been rapid. At times it can seem overwhelming with new channels opening and closing, platforms crumbling over breaches and trust issues and others becoming stronger despite being in the same adverse position. For marketers trying to forecast a 12-month strategy, it can be challenging to remain flexible while committing to an approach that will ensure a decent-sized budget for new media marketing.

Added to this rapid change is the challenge of marketing internationally on a previously unprecedented scale. Cultural awareness and politically responsible advertising are as important for B2B marketers as they are for B2C marketers working for multinational oligarchies. One thoughtless Tweet could see your B2B enterprise lose an important account, however, one well-timed and thought-provoking Tweet could see your business accelerate. Working with new media channels is complex and requires 24/7 attention.

It is because of this constant flow of information that AI is so important to marketers. From data aggregation to schedule management, AI is fast answering some of the biggest challenges in B2B marketing.

AI working for B2B marketing

In 2018, a study found that AI-powered campaigns increase customer engagement 7 times, and revenue 3 times over the aggregate score. Because machine learning AI is continuously learning and updating from the information that gathers from each user, it can better predict and target advertising. Geolocation, word-search and push notification targeting performed by AI have helped marketers reach their audience in more effective ways than ever before.

By next year, 30{d1a1694403c5660430dc420b8f142668f13097a51a1c1fc172179b975fdf78b3} of B2B enterprises worldwide will use AI to improve their customer targeting. The highly personalised nature of AI advertising means that you can share your pitch with your audience in ways that appeal to individuals. By the time that you are making direct contact with a lead, they are more than half-way through the sales funnel because they understand your product, and are interested because your AI marketing is aimed at understanding their individual needs.

However, the sales funnel has changed. When you use AI marketing the expectation for a personalised experience is heightened. Your sales team needs to be well prepared so that they understand your leads. Marketing and sales teams are forced to work very closely. Sharing data and having a common narrative that flows between marketing and sales will be more important than the efficacy of your AI.

Key Questions

Businesses and their marketers looking to leverage AI and machine learning must also understand what questions need to be answered.

Is your AI use to understand?

  • Customer behaviour on your website
  • The number of repeat sales a customer is likely to bring over a period
  • The likelihood of a customer to unsubscribe or stop using their product/service
  • How customers select products or services on the website
  • The personality characteristics and traits of customers for segmentation purposes
  • The geolocation of site users and common usage patterns

AI can help marketers answer such questions and many more. You can leverage the power of AI to develop a personalised customer experience in the following ways.

  1. Know every customer and personify with a unified view

Global connection is leading to increased homogenization, or so many people feared as little as 4 years ago. Academics and writers now argue that because we have access to more languages, cultures and experiences online, we are actually more exposed than ever before.

However, customers have changed in response to this interconnection. Each person wants to feel unique. We are bombarded with imagery, news and clickbait that strokes our sense of self. Algorithms are set to target users based on their search history and this targeting makes your web experience feel catered. It also narrows your scope of the world and ensures that your bubble is reinforced through churnalism which is sent to the top of your searches and only shares content that reinforces what you already believe, according to what the AI has learned about you.

So while AI is good at reducing people to their most base self, it is also good at creating barriers between people and preventing conversations that allow people to connect on topics in ways that are respectful and purposeful. This is not the fault of AI as a tool, but of the human development of technology; we have yet to understand how to program the complexity of community in effective algorithms.

However, for marketers, this type of segmentation is highly effective. Machine learning technology is used to deliver a service that is targeted based on the perceived values of the user. If your potential customer is researching B2B software solutions, your company can take advantage of AI that places your business at the top of search ratings. More than SEO, effective AI can engage with your lead when they are directed to your site. Using chatbots, email segmentation, geolocation advertising and other targeted advertising helps your customers feel like you really know them and understand their needs.

Personalised customer experiences are more important today than ever before as technology increasingly places us into online communities and we disconnect from physical ones. We believe we are the most important person, the busiest person, the most interesting person because we have personalised advertising to re-enforce our ego-driven mania. Your B2B marketing needs to understand this to remain relevant.

2. Engage in real-time across channels

Intelligent buyer journey orchestration, as a result of AI-powered decision making, is the future of marketing. AI can foster a smarter way of engineering and optimising every individual cross-channel customer journey, helping marketers make faster, data-backed decisions.

This rapid response system will accelerate the customer journey. While it might include some additional swirls through the funnel before a sale is complete, clients are already more than 80{d1a1694403c5660430dc420b8f142668f13097a51a1c1fc172179b975fdf78b3} sold when they make contact with your sales team, according to surveys.

3. Personalise content and deliver value at scale

AI has the potential to elevate your brand’s content strategy and deliver relevant, meaningful messages to your target audience. The Internet is flooded with content, much of which is biased, dated, not fact-checked or based on evidence, and even just wrong. And this content is displayed for audiences based on their search history and other data.

Marketers can take advantage of the growing awareness of how AI is filtering what content Internet users are seeing. According to IDC statistics, 85 percent of marketing professionals feel pressured to create assets and deliver more campaigns, more quickly, and more than two-thirds of respondents said that they are creating more than 10 times their past levels of assets to support additional channels. This increased level of complexity is driving volume and associated costs while also lowering the quality of content.

Well curated, considered and researched content will be far more valuable to businesses moving forward. It is those businesses that invest in high-quality content that will be rewarded with business contracts.