80 percent of marketers think artificial intelligence (AI) is going to be the next big thing.
The above statistic comes from DemandBase’s 2017 Virtual Marketing Innovation Summit. During the opening keynote speech, Peter Isaacson (DemandBase CMO) and Chris Golec (DemandBase CEO) explained how AI is beginning to evolve content marketing as we know it.
AI and Marketing in 2017
Artificial intelligence is defined as “the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence.” These tasks can include decision-making and language translation. It is literally intelligence automated at a massive scale.
In April 2017, DemandBase launched the first “AI-based website personalization solution for B2B” businesses. This solution takes a company’s account-based marketing and combines it with AI to improve user engagement and increase overall conversions. What does this mean?
According to Chris Golec, “There are literally millions of paths potential buyers can go through on a B2B website to reach a conversion, making it impossible for marketers to optimize for each customer.” But an AI-based website can synthesize all these data points and lead accounts and individuals to the right content.
Imagine walking into a grocery store, and a clerk on duty greets you and leads you to the cereal aisle, because they know you’re visiting the store to purchase cereal. AI-based websites are like that: It knows who your audience is and what content is most relevant to them. Instead of traversing all the pages of your website (or aisles of a grocery store), you’re led directly to what interests you most.
While directing your audience to relevant content seems like an ideal method of leading individuals to specific content, only about 10 percent of marketers utilize AI today. But marketers should consider utilizing AI, as it could help their content marketing in the same way social media has helped traditional marketing: By bringing back intimacy.
How AI Can Bring “Intimacy” Back to Marketing
AI can help develop that one-to-one connection with our audience that marketing has lacked over the past 10 to 15 years. Instead, marketers have been focused on volume: How much content can we get out and how quickly? And because technologies like the Internet and computers have made it easy to distribute content at a rapid-fire pace, we’ve come to believe that volume is the answer to getting our content seen.
Instead, B2B marketers need to utilize AI to connect more intimately to prospects by leading them directly to the content that matters most (and not by having AI write content for them).
While writing quality content on topics relevant to your audience and at frequent intervals is an important aspect of content marketing, getting that content seen by the right audience is crucial. If your content isn’t seen by its intended audience, it can’t convert.
In his keynote speech, Golec said that close rates are now the most important metric to track—even more than impressions or shares. AI can help improve your close rates by leading accounts to specific content.
What if, he asks the audience, a person from Goldman Sachs visits your website? What if your website could deliver them directly to content based on—or directly related to—Goldman Sachs? Instead of trying to assume what path they will take (hint: you can’t, because carbon-based lifeforms are inherently unpredictable), AI can personalize a user’s experience on your B2B website and lead them directly to relevant content.
AI’s Future in Marketing
We’re only just now touching the surface of what artificial intelligence can do for marketing. Golec envisions a future where AI makes marketing more efficient by
- Discovering companies who are looking for products and services like yours
- Identifying your ideal buyers and influencers and how you should message to them
- Optimizing keywords for paid search, SEO and other content generation
Artificial intelligence is beginning to make its place in marketing—and it will soon become a common staple in all marketing initiatives.
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