Better B2B Marketing 41 - How will AI affect B2B marketing
How will AI affect B2B marketing?

Visit any marketing event or conference in 2023 and AI (Artificial Intelligence) is sure to be one of the top topics of discussion! And, it can divide opinion too.

Some see it as potentially hugely useful and creative, whilst others fear it replacing skilled jobs and making marketing synthetic and uniform.

With the rise of practical AI tools like ChatGPT – and AI’s integration into everything from Google to your toaster – the impact of AI is a subject of much speculation.

So, as East Anglia’s leading B2B marketing agency, we thought we’d have a look at some of the current and potential impacts and uses of AI in B2B marketing.

What is AI?

Let’s begin at the start.

Artificial Intelligence is a computer’s ability to perform the cognitive (thinking) actions which we traditionally associate with humans, such as perceiving, reasoning, learning and decision-making.

Machines and computers have historically only followed their programming. Now, they are able to generate new outcomes or behaviours through reasoned analysis.

Machine learning is another term which is widely used. Machine Learning is a form of artificial intelligence based on complex algorithms which explore large volumes of data and make decisions or take actions based upon it.

Though it may feel like something which has suddenly arrived in the last 12-months, AI has actually been integrated into much of the technology we’ve used for the last decade or more, especially in digital marketing.

It is perhaps more accurate to say that machine learning – which grew out of the value identified in ‘Big Data’ at the start of this century – is the driving force behind many of the AI tools and applications we are now experiencing.

How is AI already playing a role in marketing?

The current most visible example of AI is perhaps ChatGPT and other AI interphases, like Bard (from Google) and Jasper (an AI copywriter).

Using a dialogue box, you can ask a question or ask it to create something, such as market analysis or an article on a particular subject.

For those who have experimented, feedback appears fairly consistent. The results are impressive but typically require a human editor to elevate it to the level required. As such, it can be a good research tool or starting point.

AI has also made its way into images too, with dedicated AI image creation or manipulation tools like PhotoRoom. AI tools have also been integrated into the latest version of the industry-leading Adobe Photoshop.

For image manipulation, the results are impressive – removing backgrounds and evening tone etc. For image creation, the results can currently be a little more synthetic.

Google and AI

As mentioned, AI has been with us for many years and played a part in many marketing-related tools, including search engines, Google Ads and Google Analytics.

Google are naturally taking significant advantage of AI with its presence particularly visible in GA4 – the latest iteration of the Google Analytics tool for recording and analysing traffic to your business’s website or apps.

Anyone who has used Google Ads for some years (like us here at Full Mix Marketing) will also recognise the increasing reliance on automated actions and recommendations which increasingly use AI.

A word of caution though, as many digital marketing agencies will state (us included), Google Ads’ AI-led recommendations have a tendency result in a high spend but somewhat dubious targeting of your ideal customers.

Google Ads is increasingly defaulting towards automatically producing an ad campaign based on analysing your website. However, this is highly dependent on your website’s quality and how successfully it communicates what you do.

Though typically effective for consumer-focused websites which sell common products or services, it can fall short for B2B organisations who supply more specific items or services to a niche market.

Can AI be creative?

Much of the excitement around AI in marketing is in its use to create text (content) or images.

Perhaps a current limitation of AI is that it largely learns from existing data.

Many of the current tools simply search the internet and create content based on the information most frequently shared. As such, AI has been accused of simply creating an average or approximation and has raised questions around copyright infringement and plagiarism.

Where AI currently falls short is its relative inability to think laterally or ‘outside the box’ like a true creative.

Though it can produce paragraphs of plausible text, it is less able to string them together into an effective article or help produce a cohesive campaign. However, this is likely an ability it will eventually gain

At present, AI can be creative – but the content it delivers can be generic and is perhaps best as a starting point for a skilled copywriter, graphic designer or marketing manager.

 The future of AI in B2B marketing 

Like all emerging technology, AI has its limitations but will develop at pace.

True ‘artificial general intelligence’ – the ability for genuine reasoned thought – is still some time away. Until that point, the future of marketing professionals (and perhaps the human race) is safe!

As with any creative process, there will almost always be the need for a skilled human eye to evaluate and shape the content AI helps deliver.

Should B2B marketing embrace AI?

Yes, AI is here to stay and will only grow in its sophistication and effectiveness.

Though it is currently creating a lot of discussion, time will tell if it becomes the force some fear or just another tool to help kick-off great marketing.

Until then, the role of the B2B marketer remains critical in creating the right marketing strategy, truly understand a business’s market place and ensuring every piece of marketing achieves the right quality and results!

Get more from your marketing with Full Mix Marketing

We’re East Anglia’s leading B2B marketing agency, specialising in delivering a full mix of marketing for businesses who provide what they do to other companies, organisations and professionals.

As a full-service agency we can provide any element of your strategic, digital or creative marketing – and have extensive experience in sectors including manufacturing, engineering, technology, IT, logistics, construction and business services.

If you need any help with your marketing, please get in touch