This article is the third in a series of Leadspace blogs explaining the exciting, emerging phenomenon of Artificial Intelligence for B2B marketing.
I’m one of that rare breed of people who studied marketing at college and then went on to actually work in the field, for the most part, ever since graduating. The thing that always excited me the most about marketing was the ability to be creative, like designing new programs and campaigns that grab prospects’ attention. That’s what drew me to marketing in the first place, and it’s still the aspect of my job I love the most.
That’s hardly unique of course. As a recent survey by the Marketing Technology Industry Council illustrates, most B2B marketers want to spend their time on the creative aspects of their work, rather than on crunching numbers, playing with data and integrating different technologies. (Although if you’re a marketer yourself you don’t need a survey to tell you that!)
But whether we like it or not, as demand gen marketers data is a part of our everyday life. From targeting campaigns correctly to measuring success, we can’t afford to avoid it. The problem — as illustrated in the study cited above — is that all too often B2B marketers end up drowning in their data instead of harnessing it for their own purposes.
The reason for this epidemic of data-overload is simple: in an age of “big data”, B2B marketing databases are simply too large to manage and process manually. That’s why the prospect of Artificial Intelligence is generating so much excitement in the demand generation industry.
Artificial Intelligence has been around for some time, but in the past year or so it has clearly emerged as a major potential asset for B2B marketing and sales organizations. AI can remove many of the headaches that marketers face today and free up their time to spend on the more enjoyable, creative aspects of their jobs.
Here are 3 ways I see AI helping demand gen marketers right now:
1. Making Sense of it All
More data isn’t the same as good data; it’s the simple reality of quality over quantity.
In fact, the more data you throw into your database the messier it’s going to get. If you’ve ever tried to run a database cleanup project on your own, you know it’s a massive time suck and major headache.
AI can process the data for you in a fraction of the time, and score your database against models that look like your ideal customers. By applying AI to your marketing database in this way, you’ll be able to easily prioritize your leads and accounts, clean out the ones that won’t convert, and focus your efforts on the people you have a higher chance of converting. That, in turn, will leave you with far more time to work on creating killer campaigns.
2. Better ROI with refocused Budgets and Increased Conversions
One of the hardest parts about casting a wide net with your marketing is you can’t be confident that you’re getting your message in front of the right prospects. This problem is particularly acute for B2B marketers when it comes to running targeted ad campaigns — there’s always that looming fear that your investment isn’t going to show any significant ROI.
By gaining a deep understanding of your audience with AI, as outlined above, you can serve ads to only those people who are likely to respond to them, thereby multiplying the power of the same ad spend many times over. By focusing your marketing efforts on the right people and accounts, you know you are only spending money where it matters.
Speaking from personal experience using our own AI-powered Audience Management Platform, I can say this benefit of AI in particular has been transformative.
Recently, for example, I uploaded a list of contacts from our high-scoring accounts into Facebook and saw a 55% match rate on that list. Already within the first few weeks of serving ads, we are seeing 25% lift in click-throughs compared to a typical B2B advertising campaign we’ve run in the past. I can now sleep better at night knowing the money I’m spending on advertising is actually hitting my target audience.
3. Sales and Marketing Alignment
I know, I know — every new B2B marketing solution these days claims to help sales and marketing align. But the fact is AI really does do that. By providing both halves of your demand gen team with a single source of truth, AI brings a new level of confidence in the database and a demonstrable prioritization of where to focus your sales and marketing efforts.
Typically, sales and marketing will be working from different data platforms to suit their organizational needs (i.e. CRM vs. Marketing Automation). A major negative byproduct of this fact of life is the development of isolated silos of data which not only don’t align, but at times even conflict. It simply isn’t reasonable to expect sales and marketing to sit and compare notes each time a new lead comes in — nevermind keep each other informed every time a contact changes position or role.
Artificial Intelligence can neutralize this problem, by comparing, cross-checking and enriching enormous volumes of data from multiple sources simultaneously, in real-time. Sales and marketing will be aligned along a common source of accurate intelligence, while still remaining with their familiar technologies.
Once the models are built, and AI starts working it’s magic on the data, sales will consistently see clear successes (more conversions, decreased time to close a deal, etc). And as every B2B marketer knows, a productive sales team is a happy sales team.
For their part, marketing will no longer experience the frustration of having sales ignore the hard-earned leads they’re passing on. With both sides aligned on and confident in the same data and intelligence, the tensions between sales and marketing will greatly dissipate, as the debate over who to go after is backed by data that shows results.
Who doesn’t want to work in an environment where sales and marketing get along?
Artificial Intelligence: Transforming Your Data from Liability to Asset
As these three examples aptly demonstrate, AI holds the potential to revolutionize the way B2B marketers handle their data.
The more (quality) data that you feed an AI algorithm, the smarter it will get. So instead of sucking us in and overwhelming us, B2B marketing data will be converted into what it is supposed to be: an enormously valuable asset.
Demand Gen Marketers have just begun to see the benefits of Artificial Intelligence. Now is an exciting time to leverage this groundbreaking technology to be smarter, more productive and successful marketers.
Download our free ebook, The B2B Marketer’s Guide to AI, to discover how this powerful emerging technology is changing the face of B2B Marketing:
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