AI, or Artificial Intelligence, was once the stuff of early 20th century science fiction and dystopian novels. Though it’s currently built into systems we use on a daily basis, the term “artificial intelligence” may still conjure up an image of androids from Star Trek or the super-computer from 2001: A Space Odyssey, making us think of AI as having personality and the potential to be a superhero, or supervillain.
In reality, the AI of today is nothing like the robots and computers on TV — not even close. Bart Frischknecht from Marketing Profs describes it well: “Every time you see AI in the context of martech, just substitute out the term ‘artificial intelligence’ for ‘intelligent automation.'” The AI — or “IA” — of intelligent automation has no personality, no creative ability and no independent thought. It consists entirely of computer software and can only do what it’s already been programmed to do.
If B2B marketing depends on human creativity and emotional intelligence, then how useful can emotionless software be? Where AI outperforms its programmers is in executing repetitive tasks, performing precise calculations, and identifying patterns in enormous amounts of data, all at a speed we humans can only dream of. That’s why more and more marketers are turning to AI to streamline their process and get the most out of their analytics, reclaiming more time to create and maintain successful marketing initiatives.
AI has become increasingly widespread — but do you know how it fits into your specific industry, business model and marketing strategy? Here are three reasons you should be using AI as your handy multi-tool to construct, adjust and expand your B2B marketing campaigns.
Wading through a large collection of website or social media analytics can be tedious and time consuming, even at the fastest pace humanly possible. And sometimes, data may include subtle patterns or cause/effect indicators which don’t stand out on the first review. But what if there were a way to compile analytics reports and track down valuable insights in your data long before your eyes start to hurt? Enter AI software, which can organize and evaluate large data banks, automatically search for trends and then serve up the conclusions at (almost) light-speed. Handing off the data dumpster-dive to AI allows you to focus on just the important information and get actionable insights in record time. In some cases, you can even automate AI to take action on those insights for you.
As a example from a 2019 LinkedIn study, field technician management software company ServiceMax used AI on their website to predict from user behavior what would most interest a particular user, and then automatically recommended relevant information or products elsewhere on the site. This strategy allowed ServiceMax to reach their broad audience more effectively. As the numbers show, they cut bounce rates by 70%, doubled the time that people spent and the number of pages they viewed on the site and significantly increased take-up of product demos.
If you spend much time writing on the computer, you’re probably familiar with the red squiggly lines that show up in many types of software when you type something the dictionary doesn’t recognize. Programming software to find misspelled or unrecognized words isn’t hard; getting it to recognize when a combination of correctly-spelled words is longer than necessary, confusing, or easy to misinterpret is another level of complexity entirely. And having software both recognize such instances and suggest, or even make, appropriate corrections sounds almost too good to be true.
But earlier this year, Microsoft announced the rollout of a new feature called “Ideas in Word,” which uses AI to find myriad potential issues with text and “deliver intelligent, contextually aware suggestions that could improve a document’s readability.” At first, this may sound basically the same as what software like Grammarly (also AI-powered) has been doing for years, but Ideas in Word gets precise enough to “provide estimated reading times, extract and highlight key points in paragraphs, underline potentially sensitive geopolitical references, and decode acronyms.” Such a helpful AI-based resource can only enhance the quality of articles, posts, technical manuals and other business or marketing writing.
VMWare, a company that produces backup and server virtualization software, turned to AI when its writers and editors never had enough time to sufficiently proofread all the content they constantly generated. When the company started using an automated editing platform powered by AI, the editors could leave the basic error correction to the software and spend more time improving content structure and presentation and supporting writers on the front end. The result was a much more efficient and effective writing and editing team.
One word that’s come up again and again in this discussion of AI is automation. If marketing AI is basically “intelligent automation,” it’s natural to assume automation is central to why AI for B2B marketing is so useful. One of those ways is to carry out more repetitive tasks in the marketing process, helping marketers get the most out of their day and providing support they can count on.
Just a few of the services AI can provide for a marketing department or agency (in addition to those mentioned above) include behavior analysis and prediction, ad spending optimization, content recommendations, ad targeting, blog post title or hashtag suggestions, chat bots and online searches. When you give it a job to do, you can count on it to fulfill that job even if you’re not around. For example, AI chat bots can provide basic customer service after-hours to customers and clients in a different time zone, giving you a better chance of promptly fixing some issues people are dealing with.
What AI can do is predict the best solution to a question or problem based on all the factors it has access to and use its fast processing power to save time and effort for everyone involved. By choosing AI software that provides solutions for your specific marketing needs, you can streamline your process and get the best information available, giving you more time to successfully market your business.
Have you started using AI for B2B marketing? What features do you use? How is it working for you? Let us know in the comments.