A pragmatic AI Enablement agenda is going to keep you focused on leveraging AI for your most important B2B marketing goals. Follow these 8 recommendations to apply AI-enabled technology to the pursuit of your revenue marketing initiatives and ensure you stay strategy forward.
1. Stay the course. Innovation in AI, most visibly in generative AI, is dizzying right now. The pace has captured C-level minds, made endless headlines, and captured entire conference themes. What this innovation looks like is sometimes mighty new capabilities delivered by vendors in your existing stack – and sometimes via so many micro applications that it’s hard to believe there’s another AI-driven image-generating tool. The smart play at the moment? Explore the technology as an enabling tool for desired outcomes. Map your key goals and KPIs to an AI enablement strategy so that you apply technology to move outcomes forward. Otherwise, it might just be too attractive to adopt technology for technology’s sake. Consider the specific body of metrics you want to impact and stay pragmatic. Stay steady as the customer advocate you’ve always been and point your AI-powered technology toward design and execution of insights-driven, relevant, welcome, and differentiating experiences pre- and post-sale.
2. Leverage the AI in your revenue stack before you chase more waterfalls. As revenue leaders, it’s unlikely that you’re in the market to buy “natural language processing” or “machine learning” systems. It’s more likely, at least in the immediate to 12 month timeline, that you’ll be using AI-enabled features in the purpose-built systems you’re already engaging or exploring. Vendors are moving fast. Engage in a technology audit to be sure you are already leveraging what’s already available to you before investing in anything new and shiny. Assemble a team to manage the process of a technology audit. Start with some product roadmap sessions from vendors and partners to revitalize your sense of what’s possible.
3. Add “prompt engineering” to everyone’s career development plan. In technology waves of years past, the opportunity to truly ride them rested upon learning a new code of some kind. Generative AI enables us to ask machines and algorithms to assemble new content – text, images, audio, slides, and more – in plain words, as if you were talking to a peer. The connective tissue is prompts, the natural language we use to give machines instructions. This replacement of coding languages and queries with natural language to create content is the focus of most (potentially all) of the new tools that are coming to your attention right now. Right now the opportunity to differentiate when everyone has access to the same tools is to design better prompts. Think of prompts as the new creative briefs. The better the input, the better the output.
4. Complement investment in technology with focus on empathy. When everybody goes right, pay attention to what’s on the left. Arguably, there’s currently an opportunity to differentiate with great content while at least some peers and competitors focus on increasing content volume. There’s an opportunity to care more about putting the customer at the center of your strategy while at least some peers and competitors put technology at the center. Find where that opportunity lies for your business. At some point (soon), AI will be commonly effective at knowing what triggers a response out of an individual. You need to examine your talent and processes to ensure that once you understand what really affects the customer experience you can optimize against it. If this sounds like the easy part, it’s not. This competency isn’t universally present right now. Firms comfortably use instruments like surveys to understand customers’ preferences, but they often ignore or misinterpret insights-laden digital behavior when gathering data. For example, a prospect downloads a piece of educational content like an infographic or a guide; the firm can infer insights from this, such as the prospect’s topic of interest and journey stage. But observation suggests that we’re far better at collecting the data than activating it.
5. Accelerate content production. Speed is part of the deal here – accelerating your work should be a benefit of AI. But not so fast. Recognize that this is disruptive to your creative process in the short term. Don’t kick off with a goal of saving time; in fact add more time than you would in doing it manually, at first. Acknowledge the learning curve. And stay true to your strategy. Yes, you need volumes of efficient, fit-for-format content, ads, microcopy, and more. But ensure you make the investment in prompts that capture your personas, goals, and other details that ensure your content, images, slides, YouTube videos, summaries, etc. couldn’t be lifted and unrecognizable as your brand. Explore the expansion of formats. The market is full of applications that will take your podcast and create a YouTube video in various stages of maturity (and every other combination of format swap).
6. Get familiar with AI technology. While nobody expects you to become an overall AI engineer, it’s worth learning about the key elements that make up what we refer to as artificial intelligence. Get familiar with the concepts of natural language generation, speech recognition, machine learning, deep learning, image recognition, and more. While generative AI is capturing headlines right now, there’s of course endless opportunity for AI to impact your revenue system. AI-based conversational platforms can match content to customer needs with just a few questions; speech analytics can support emotionally appealing interactions; natural language can examine interactions for the risk of defection. You’ll be ahead of the game by understanding a bit of the underlying key technology that can positively impact your customer experiences.
7. Establish a governance model. Generative AI marks both a beginning and ending for marketing creativity as we know it. In the immediate future, this might look like disparate tools that are creeping up into your daily work rather than from a centralized function like IT revenue ops. Individuals will likely come with their own favorite tools to make images from text or summarize a web page or YouTube video. Designers might say “let’s not make images with text” or at least object to the large-scale ability to work outside of brand guidelines. This work doesn’t have to be a huge lift and it should be subject to change, but you would be in a good position to start governing use now for these possibilities and more.
8. Take it personally. This isn’t just about the impact to your organization, but also the impact on you. There’s a need for urgency here, including this call to action from George Colony, CEO of research firm Forrester to individuals – not organizations: “Position yourself not to be a victim. Position yourself to win.”
With eight actionable recommendations in your toolkit, you’re well-equipped for this journey. Ready to begin? Reach out today to keep your B2B marketing strategy ahead in the AI age by clicking here.