The Ultimate Guide to AI in B2B Marketing: How to Gain a Competitive Edge with the Power of AI

October 25, 2023

Artificial intelligence or AI refers to computer systems that have been programmed to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence. AI B2B marketing is transforming how companies research customers, create content, generate leads, and personalize experiences.

B2B marketing focuses on promoting products and services to other businesses and organizations. B2B marketers aim to reach decision makers and influence the purchasing process. 

AI provides opportunities for B2B marketers to improve many of their key functions. However, there are also challenges around data, expertise, and job roles that must be addressed.

This guide will explore how generative AI can help generate content and expand martech capabilities, how to build an effective AI strategy, see case studies of AI in action, and consider both the opportunities and challenges of AI B2B marketing. 

Most of our clients at GCM are B2B clients. We have already seen the vast improvements our clients have made by implementing AI across their marketing strategies. Now, we want to shae some of those learnings to a wider audience.

Generative AI: An Additional Method or The Key to Martech Application Expansion

Generative AI uses machine learning and neural networks to generate new content such as text, images, video, and audio. For B2B marketers, generative AI holds a lot of promise for automating and scaling content creation. It can generate blog posts, social media posts, emails, landing pages, ads, and more.

Some see generative AI as just an additional tool for marketers to use. However, it may actually become the key to vastly expanding the capabilities of marketing technology stacks and human teams. Generative AI could power new applications for content management systems, email service providers, social media management tools, and beyond.

For example, a content management system could automatically generate hundreds of blog post drafts which marketers then review, edit and schedule. Email service providers could generate personalized email sequences for different customer segments. Social media management tools could automatically generate social posts, ads and landing pages. The possibilities are endless.

However, generative AI also brings challenges. The content it produces needs to be highly relevant and engaging, which requires massive amounts of data and testing. Marketers will need to determine how to gain insights from all the content and data to optimize their strategies. They'll also need to consider how generative AI may impact their workflows and job roles.

Used strategically, generative AI could transform content creation and allow B2B marketers to achieve significant scale. But it needs to be implemented thoughtfully and ethically to be fully effective. 

With the right approach, generative AI may become the key to maximizing martech investments and gaining a competitive advantage.

There's No Red Easy Button: AI in Demand Marketing Demands Experimentation

While we are as excited about anyone when it comes to AI B2B marketing, we have to be careful not to oversell its capabilities. It is true that generative AI offers a lot of promise. But there is no "easy button" for implementing it in B2B marketing

AI requires a lot of testing and experimenting to get right, and what works for one company may not work for another. B2B marketers need to be willing to try different techniques and applications to find the best approach for their unique goals and customers.

That is also the foundation of how we set up our AI Workshop & Implementation package, which we tailor to each business and organization’s challenges, goals and opportunities.

The options for using AI in B2B marketing are vast and varied. Marketers can use AI for content creation, personalization, predictive lead scoring, account-based marketing, and much more. With so many choices, it can be difficult to determine where to start.

The key is to pick one or two areas to focus on, start with a pilot or small-scale test, and be willing to fail fast and learn. Look for opportunities to enhance an existing process or campaign. See how AI could help provide more targeted messages, better content, optimized ad spending, or improved personalization.

For example, you might test using AI to generate some initial draft blog post content that you then refine and optimize. Or you could use AI to provide personalized product recommendations on your website that change based on customer behavior. You might test using AI for predictive lead scoring to see if it improves the quality of leads passed to your sales team.

Starting small, reviewing results, and making changes allows you to gain experience with AI in a low-risk way. You can then build on your successes over time. With experimentation, B2B marketers can find the right AI applications and strategies for their needs. 

But they must go into the process understanding that there is no simple or single solution. AI in B2B demand marketing requires an exploratory mindset.

Are We Smart Enough to Figure Out Content Intelligence in a World of Generative AI

Generative AI has the potential to produce huge amounts of content at scale for B2B marketers. But with all that content comes challenges in managing and gaining insights from the data. Determining what content is effective for which audience segments and channels will require sophisticated content intelligence capabilities.

Content intelligence refers to the processes and technologies used to gain actionable insights from your content and the interactions with it. For B2B marketers using generative AI, content intelligence is essential for optimization and ROI. Generative AI may produce the content, but marketers still need to figure out what's working.

Some of the key aspects of content intelligence for B2B marketers include:

  • Content performance: Analyze views, shares, links, comments, reviews, and other metrics to see how content is performing across channels. Look for trends in high-performing content types, topics, lengths, etc.
  • Persona and buyer journey mapping: Understand how different content is interacting with and influencing your key customer segments. See how content is impacting the buyer journey.
  • Sentiment analysis: Examine how your content is being received and determine the overall sentiment. Look for opportunities to improve or address negative or neutral sentiment.
  • Topic analysis: Identify the topics that your content covers and see how interest in those topics changes over time. Ensure you're covering the most relevant and in-demand subjects for your audience.
  • Content gaps: Detect any gaps in your content across topics, keywords, personas, stages of the buyer journey, and more. Then generate content to fill those gaps.
  • Predictive content: Use AI to gain insights from your performance data and determine the types of content that are most likely to perform well. Have AI generate predictive content briefs for your team.

The content intelligence required for effective use of generative AI in B2B marketing is significant. Marketers will need to implement advanced analytics, AI and martech solutions to gain insights from huge amounts of data. 

But for those that are able to master content intelligence, the rewards of higher performance, more relevant content and optimized experiences will be worth the effort. Content intelligence is key to success with generative AI.

Making Generative AI Work for Better B2B Content

Generative AI shows a lot of promise for automating content creation at scale for B2B marketers. But the content still needs to be highly relevant, engaging and targeted to be effective. Simply having AI generate hundreds of blog posts or thousands of social media posts won't necessarily lead to good results.

The key is to use AI to enhance human content creation, not replace it. Generative AI can be best used to produce initial drafts of content that marketers then review, refine and optimize. AI may generate the raw materials, but human content strategists, writers and editors add the creativity, storytelling, and customization needed for great content.

For example, AI could generate a first draft of a blog post on a topic, but marketers would then determine how to make it more compelling by revising the introduction, adding examples and case studies, incorporating visuals, and ensuring a logical flow and structure. AI could suggest some social media posts or email subject lines, but marketers would choose and edit the options to best fit their brand voice and audience.

Generative AI may also be better suited for some types of content versus others. For short-form content like news articles, press releases, and social media posts, AI can do more of the initial generation. But for long-form content like whitepapers, ebooks, case studies, and in-depth blog posts, AI should focus more on suggesting topics, outlines, and draft sections that marketers can then build upon.

The key to making generative AI work for B2B content is:

  • Use AI to enhance human content creation, not replace it. Have AI generate initial drafts and ideas that marketers then refine.
  • Leverage AI for short-form and long-form content differently. AI can do more of the initial short-form content generation, while for long-form content AI should suggest topics and outlines that marketers customize.
  • Focus on revising and optimizing. Go into the process understanding that AI will produce draft content, but marketers need to improve it with storytelling, examples, visuals, and a logical flow.
  • Review and provide feedback. Analyze the content that AI generates to determine what's working and not working. Provide feedback and guidance to improve the AI system over time.
  • Balance AI with human judgment. Don't rely entirely on AI to produce content. Human strategists and writers need to be involved to ensure content achieves key goals. AI should augment human skills, not replace them.

When used thoughtfully, generative AI can help B2B marketers achieve content at scale. But marketers must keep the human element front and center. With the right balance of AI and human skills, B2B content can become both high-volume and high-quality. Generative AI should make content creation more efficient and effective, not less strategic or targeted. By revising and optimizing AI's drafts, B2B marketers can leverage the power of generative content for better results.

Generative AI in B2B Marketing: Examples and Case Studies

Generative AI has proven itself a powerful tool in the realms of content creation, personalization, advertising, and more. Here, we present a few case studies that demonstrate how B2B tools such as Copy.AI, Jasper, and Persado are helping businesses scale their marketing and improve results.

  • Copy.AI (note: that is an affiliate link for which means you get a 40% discount and we get a commission) is paving the way in content generation. It works by utilizing an AI platform to produce tailored content for emails, social media posts, landing pages, and product descriptions, among other things. With a client roster that includes giants like Microsoft and Oracle, Copy.AI pledges its capability to generate thousands of distinctive, creative variations in under a couple of minutes.
  • Jasper offers an AI-based solution geared towards optimizing marketing and sales. It's capable of auto-generating personalized email sequences, allowing B2B clients, such as Niemen and SHI International, to engage potential leads with visually pleasing and personalized emails, at scale.
  • Persado is a leading AI-powered language generation platform extensively used by B2B marketing agencies for personalized content creation and enhancement. It enables marketers to deliver effective messaging content that drives customer acquisition and customer retention. Leveraging AI, Persado caters to all stages of the customer journey, from acquisition to retention, thereby enhancing digital engagement across all channels. Additionally, it facilitates large-scale experimentation and data collection, helping agencies make data-informed decisions.

These tools underscore the increasing extent to which B2B marketers can harness the potential of generative AI. Whether it's for content, personalization, advertising, or sales enablement, AI brings about greater scalability and optimization.

However, the key is not to overlook the importance of the human element. B2B brands are utilizing AI to enhance human skills, instead of supplanting them completely. 

With the right blend of AI-powered operations and human judgment, innovative B2B marketers stand to gain a significant edge over the competition. Mastery of generative AI and understanding how to augment its impact while retaining the human aspect will prove decisive for the future of B2B marketing.

Building Effective AI Strategies

For B2B marketers looking to leverage generative AI, having a well-defined strategy is key. AI technologies offer so much potential that it can be tempting to jump in without clear goals or a roadmap. 

But to be successful with AI, B2B marketers need to take a thoughtful, systematic approach. Here are some steps to build an effective AI strategy for B2B marketing:

  • Determine key business goals. What are your top priorities for lead generation, revenue growth, customer experience, etc.? Identify how AI could help achieve those goals. For example, if lead generation is a goal, explore how AI could enhance your content creation to attract and convert more leads.
  • Evaluate AI options. There are many AI applications for B2B marketing from personalization to predictive analytics and beyond. Assess different options based on your goals and existing tech stack. You may want to start with one or two areas to focus on initially.
  • Start with a pilot. Don't try to implement AI across your marketing all at once. Pick a specific campaign, content type, or customer journey to test AI on first. See how it performs and make adjustments before expanding to other areas.
  • Review and refine. Analyze the results of your pilot to determine what's working and not working. Make any needed changes to your AI tools or strategies before moving forward. Provide feedback to AI platforms to help improve their results.
  • Consider data, expertise and integration. Key requirements for effective AI include clean, organized data; staff with skills to implement and optimize AI; and seamless integration with your existing martech stack. Address any gaps in these areas before attempting large-scale AI implementation.
  • Stay updated on AI trends. AI is evolving rapidly. Stay updated on the latest advances, tools, and best practices in AI for B2B marketing. Attend conferences, read industry blogs, and participate in webinars or training courses.
  • Consider ethics and transparency. AI can raise ethical concerns around data privacy, job displacement, and more. Be transparent with customers about how you're using AI and prioritize ethical considerations in all decisions.

By following these steps, B2B marketers can build a clear, actionable strategy for leveraging generative AI. It's important to be thoughtful and systematic in your approach. Don't rush into AI without a plan. Instead, take the time to understand how AI can best serve your needs and then implement it in a way that maximizes results while prioritizing ethics and transparency.

Mastering the Right AI B2B Marketing Approach

The potential of Generative AI for B2B marketing is immense, presenting a wide array of opportunities such as automating content creation, streamlining personalization, optimizing advertising, and much more. 

However, the challenges it brings along, such as data management, need for expertise, and ethical considerations, cannot be overlooked. It is therefore paramount for B2B marketers eyeing to leverage AI to plan thoughtfully, strategize clearly and conduct pilot experiments to ensure finer adjustments.

At GCM, we are aiding organizations in this journey. Our AI Workshop & Implementation Package helps businesses and organizations craft the right approach, ensuring that AI serves as a formidable tool to help you scale and make a difference in an increasingly competitive digital environment.

We do this by learning about an organization’s specific challenges, goals and opportunities and then tailoring our workshop and off-the-shelf AI tools accordingly. We then walk with you through implementation two-weeks (longer if you desire) after the workshop to make sure you are up and running.

Mastering the art and human expertise and Generative AI will shape the future of AI B2B marketing. We at GCM are committed to assisting you in harnessing this potential effectively, driving greater relevance, and creating substantial impact. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you.

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