The longer humanity is on the Internet, the more data we have about the species. In fact, humans have more data on themselves than ever before because of the internet.
The natural progression for this data is the use of artificial intelligence. Because of social media, search, and retail, we know more about what humans do, question and buy. With this massive amount of data, it was only a matter of time before we attempted to create artificial intelligence to learn from the data.
This is especially true in marketing.
As each organization gets ahold of more and more data, we are then turning that data into products and services, both inside- and outside-facing.
First, we’ll look at the current state of AI in B2B marketing, then we’ll talk about the AI technologies that are going to grow in popularity in the near future.
IBM Watson (Question-Answering)
Whenever I think of AI in today’s business-scape, I think of Watson (. Watson is a supercomputer that combines artificial and sophisticated analytical software to serve as a question answering machine. It processes massive amounts of unstructured data very rapidly.
A really interesting example of Watson being used in B2B is Wayblazer, a B2B company that offers those in the travel industry to connect with their customers using AI.
It allows the customers interacting with these websites to ask user-specific questions and receive appropriate and informative answers.
It uses data to help personalize and give the correct results to whoever is asking the question. This in turn makes it easier for the hotels to sell their rooms to someone or for a tour company to get booked. This hyper-specific audience targeting is one of the future applications for AI like Watson in marketing
Customer segmentation that is built off data and AI is leading marketing to new heights. There is a growing number of software that takes pre-made data sets and segments the people in it to determine who receives what email, etc. Marketing companies and companies who are marketing their own products are already using this technology heavily.
This is leading to higher conversion rates for those who are using it because instead of simply blasting out a piece of content to every single person, these emails are tailored to the groups who receive them.
This immensely powerful tool can only grow in the future.
Microsoft Translator(Language Recognition)
Microsoft has started offering a translator for businesses, covering a good many of its platforms. This is yet another example of AI at work, which has allowed translation to be an integral part of our communication tools (other examples include: Facebook, Facebook messenger, etc).
This allows business, especially B2B, to reach further than ever. With the option to translate any and all messages, it is possible for two people who don’t speak the same language to reach a (rough) understanding of one another. In theory, it is possible for two users to close a business deal while speaking two entirely different languages.
Because of the one-on-one nature of dealss in B2B, this function is critical to converting prospects into customers.
Beyond the text side, Microsoft has also released a feature allowing text translations to appear on live talks on its Skype for Business Meeting Broadcast feature. This gives marketers the potential to reach a greater audience than ever.
Customer Service/Product Assistants
It seems that almost every website you go on these days has some sort of chat bot that will help guide a person from simply visiting a website, to asking a question about a product or service. This can either be in the context of customer service (post-purchase) or just a general bot to answer specific questions about the product.
Both of these bots are supposed to mimic a human interaction and they can sometimes do so quite well. Both also reduce friction that might be related to a purchase. Having a specific question answered about a product will reduce the friction a potential customer might feel during the buying process. Possibly leading them to purchase sooner.
A bot to start off a customer service interaction for someone who has already bought can help to give them a positive customer experience and potentially lead to them buying again.
Now, there are a lot of smaller or newer technologies that have yet to hit the mainstream. I would argue that these growing AI technologies are the future of B2B marketing in a lot of way, as well as the future of our world in general.
Social Media Based AI
Social media networks like Facebook and Twitter have astounding volumes about those that use their service.
And while failed AI experiments like Microsoft’s Tay might make some companies hesitant to release AI in social media, AI that learns from the social habits of humans will likely be the standard of the future.
You see, there are people that pour every detail of their lives into these social platforms, from where they live and work to conversations with their friends. This is data which AI can learn from and will be invaluable to marketers once it is harnessed correctly.
It will be interesting to see how marketers utilize social media and AI in the future to make more and more accurate predictions as to who buys what and why.
I (and quite a few others) might be out of a job soon enough with the advent of AI that can produce a news story from a structured data set (one that is organized). Once a piece of AI is developed that can take unstructured data and create a news story, it is likely that those that write hard news will have a difficult time matching the speed at which AI will be able to interpret data and churn out a story.
It might take longer for AI to write subjective pieces but it seems likely. This is an area to watch, especially in marketing.
Content will be cheaper and faster to produce if this sort of technology catches on, allowing it to be more accessible to more organizations. It will be interesting to see the state of this technology in the next five years.
Imagine if your prices were modified and changed by AI to reflect the state of the market and optimize your revenue to figure out what prices will make your business the most money.
That would mean that pricing would be out of the hands of humans and into the hands of machines, who would be making decisions not out of greed, but based-off of data.
This could be an interesting shift as the technology keeps evolving.
As more and more data is collected, it is only natural that our AI will get more and more advanced. There are countless technologies already that use AI, even if you barely notice them. And in the future, as products become more interactive and personalized, those who are simply consumers will only notice how much better their current experience is.
What technologies do you think will grow in AI? What technologies will die out? Let us know in the comments section.