So it has arrived!
It has taken a little time, but forget about the importance of ‘Digital Marketing’ as the cornerstone of marketing transformation in B2B marketing. The next best thing, despite all the hype, is AI, which is now set to break the mould of traditional marketing.
“AI has the potential to transform the practice of marketing in significant ways over the next decade-plus,” so says Brian Yeager, Senior Director Analyst, Gartner for Marketers.
Based on Gartner’s assessment, many marketing activities are likely to be automatically processed using AI tools to free up human time for the much needed new challenges in the creative process, customer engagement, relationship building and more….
Marketers will be able to have more insights-related tools at their disposal to facilitate true data driven decision making. It will also allow seamless continuity across tools, datasets and platforms, previously held for a single purpose, in silos. As a result, decisions will be made and actioned based on learning in real-time rather than just describing the past and predicting the future. The action will provide 1:1 personalisation with scalable possibilities.
B2B customers will increasingly expect the types of experiences that machine learning helps to deliver: being more intuitive, more valuable and more secure. The good news is, machine learning technology is now more accessible than ever to deliver those experiences.
Of course, the biggest value-add of AI is that it can crunch ever-increasing volumes of data to make better, quicker decisions about the ‘who, what, when and where’ in cross-channel marketing. This kind of speed and intelligence is very helpful for marketers who are focused on driving revenue in the short term.
As AI becomes more and more incorporated in marketing activities, decision making and execution, so orchestration of the customer journey will become more automated. However, immediate access to customer data and content repositories will be key to the flow and accuracy.
The next focus is on data-centric, time-intensive marketing challenges including predictive and prescriptive analytics that improve accuracy over time of large amounts of different data and content variables. Companies such as Idio are already providing AI predictive analysis to enable marketers to personalise their next campaigns to get closer to a customer’s next steps, thereby increasing value from their lead generation activities and deliver more sales.
CMO of the Fitch Group, Jon Ewing, comments on their experience of using AI based marketing tools, “The flip-side of it is in our team’s efficiency, there are no longer parts of the website that we have to manually update, which frees us up for other experiments. Our email team now has to do less manual segmentation, and we’ve more than doubled the number of people using my email team to manage their campaigns.”
Other important benefits where AI is likely to free up time and provide benefits to marketing to include:
Predicting potential customers, discriminating between buyers and visitors, freeing time for additional creativity and the ability to investigate data to demonstrate business value.
Although decisions, responses and simpler repetitive tasks may become more automated, tough complex difficult marketing challenges will still be there. More importantly the human interaction part will be transferred to processes related to a firm’s relationship with the customer, which will become deeper, more important and more valuable.
Humans will be needed (Initially) to validate the data driven efficacy and operation to make sure that the right content or campaign is being rightly targeted to the right people at the right time.
Whilst the incorporation of AI is still in a trial phase within B2B Marketing, its potential is already being felt in the marketing department. Marketing transformation of an AI empowered workforce is likely to mean that marketing will change its more traditional role of purveyor of customer excellence across all sales channels to one which can harness true revenue growth and profitability.