The year of big data and AI for B2B marketers

2019 will be the year that AI in marketing takes centre stage. Find out how you can empower your marketing efforts through AI and big data.

Pranita Tamang
4 MIN|November 6, 2018
AI in marketing for b2b

It wasn’t too long ago when people were discussing chatbots as an exciting, futuristic technology coming to a company website near you. Today, however, customer-facing chatbots are commonplace – and a good example of AI in marketing. Chatbots can improve the customer experience, answering questions and guiding a customer from the beginning of the sales journey all the way to the register. Increasingly, the technology is being lapped up by companies across the globe.

Chatbots are one of the first major examples of an emerging technology (in this case AI), being adopted on a mass scale by the marketing industry. But it almost certainly won’t be the last. Big data and AI are just beginning their floor-to-ceiling transformation of the digital marketing industry.

To date, however, much of the innovation has come from the B2C sector, with B2B companies just beginning to see the value of the technologies. For that reason, 2019 will be the year that AI in B2B marketing will take centre stage.

Let’s explore how it might look.

Big data and AI in marketing

The phrase big data gets thrown around a lot, but it’s actually quite difficult to quantify. Does big data simply refer to large datasets, or specific ways of compiling, analysing and implementing data? Well, it’s a little of both.

The definition of big data lies partly in its sheer volume, but also in the speed by which it’s updated and in the variety of data presented. Big data allows marketers to compile information on the entire population of website visitors, rather than a specified sample.

It’s all well and good knowing why someone landed on your website, but the real value is in comparing that with every other person who’s also landed. Big data allows the widest and most diverse comparison of these data points there is.

Once all that data has been assembled, marketers can use the most cutting-edge AI tools to match up potential consumers with the marketing materials that are most likely to convert them.

How does this work in B2B marketing?

Consumers are driven by emotion, trends, and impulses – a whole range of unquantifiable factors that big data attempts to track. You can’t assume that businesses will buy your product or service simply because it’s the best quality and/or value for money. This remains as true for business leads as it does for consumers.

Big data is not only useful for potential leads. For existing customers, big data and AI can optimise their experience to develop brand loyalty and increase future purchasing potential.

Compiling data allows you to identify what other interests the lead has, what alternative problems their business needs solving, and whether their immediate query is part of a larger problem that an alternative application, product or service could solve. And if there’s substantial interest in a problem that hasn’t been solved, then you may find yourself with the basis for a new product.

Get the right kind of data

Data about the kinds of consumers that visit your website has been available for years: just head over to Google Analytics. The real cutting edge of big data for marketing comes from those who can successfully work out why they’re visiting your site – and what else they might be looking for.

One of the particular benefits of big data is determining not only what a potential lead is looking for, but also their status as a lead. Are they ready to make a purchase when they visit your site or do they need some education before converting? The ability to tailor content to a reader’s knowledge base and progress as a lead is yet untapped potential that big data can unlock for many marketers.

As B2B marketers begin to compile more information on their clients in the coming years, they’ll increasingly find themselves developing more targeted, interactive content, and suggesting sales based on tangible purchasing evidence, rather than abstract guesswork. Now, this is the bit where AI really comes in handy.

How can AI in marketing help?

If big data is the mechanism by which companies compile detailed information databases, then artificial intelligence is the tool that helps them get the most from it.

As datasets become more expansive, big data becomes increasingly difficult for companies to process. This applies to multinationals just as it does SMEs. There comes a point at which the exponential spread of information and potential conclusions you can draw about individuals becomes simply too much to handle.

AI-enabled analytics platforms can automatically process data and from it draw conclusions about consumers and how to market to them. When combined with machine learning technology, it allows the system to create new rules based on observations.

What will this look like in practice?

The rise of Google Analytics and similar platforms have allowed business marketers to identify broad-brush trends among potential customers, and tailor content and products towards them.

The marketing campaigns of the future won’t be targeted towards broad-brush trends; they’ll be targeted towards your business; accounting for any contact you’ve ever made with them – and using that to inform content and suggestions.

The leading marketers of tomorrow already know how they’re going to deliver this. The question is: do you?

Fifty Five and Five are experts at using the power of contemporary data analytics to get the most out of Microsoft Partner’s digital marketing campaigns. Contact us to find out more about how you can identify your perfect audience and how to market to them today.

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