3 Things Marketers Need to Know About AI:

Key Takeaways from the 2023 MarketingProfs' B2B Forum

We spent a few days out of the office last week attending the 2023 MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Summit in Boston. As former educators, continuous learning is one of our core values here at Chart Room. We’re committed to ongoing education and improvement, not only for our own edification and business, but also more importantly, for the benefit of our clients.

During the two days we spent at the summit, we heard from some of B2B marketing’s foremost thought leaders and innovators. We attended sessions on the current and future state of sales, promotions, advertising, video, email, social, data, strategy, and more. We brought home volumes of notes and as many take-aways, but there was one area that was on the tongues of every participant and speaker – AI.

Here are 3 overarching takeaways, or perhaps ‘maxims’ might be a better word, for AI and B2B Marketing that resonated with us well beyond the end of the Summit. These are ones we felt it was important for you to hear and process. So without further ado…

Source Image: MarketingProfs.com

#1 AI: You snooze, you lose.

TLDR: AI is a permanent fixture in our tech landscape. Embrace it or fall behind.

AI has firmly established itself as a permanent fixture in our ever-evolving technological landscape. Its presence is ubiquitous, from chatbots providing instant customer support to self-driving cars navigating our roads. In today’s digital age, the choice is becoming unavoidably clear: embrace AI or risk falling behind. We heard this more than once over the course of the 2-day gathering of the world’s B2B Marketers. 

The good news is this: Those who choose and act on embracing AI have much to gain from the choice, the least of which is access to a wealth of opportunities. Marketers are already harnessing the power of AI to streamline operations, enhance decision-making, and create innovative products and services. AI-driven insights are already empowering businesses to adapt swiftly to changing market conditions, and to improve customer experience.

Late adopters are going to find their hesitance detrimental to their remaining competitive. Those who resist the integration of AI into their strategies will undoubtedly find themselves struggling to keep pace with the rapid advancements in technology, and the quick-to-execution efficiencies gained from current adopters. The potential for time-saving gains, cost reductions, and improved outcomes represents untapped opportunity for those who embrace AI, leaving the hesitant at a significant disadvantage. 

It’s clear that the choice between embracing AI or falling behind is not just a technological one; it’s a strategic decision that will shape the future of businesses and industries alike. With regulation falling woefully behind the advances and uses of AI already actively in play, there are fewer-than-ever hurdles to individuals ready to take up the keyboard and wield AI in their competitive battles.

#2 Authenticity & Value: Humans vs Machines

TLDR: Authentically human content will be more valuable than ever as AI-generated content becomes the norm.

As AI-driven content generation becomes increasingly prevalent, the value of authentically human content is set to soar. In a world where algorithms can churn out text and media at remarkable speed, there was undeniable consensus among the AI experts at the event: human-generated content offers a unique and irreplaceable quality — authenticity.

People crave genuine connections, and this obviously extends to the content they consume. Our clients have heard us preach this sermon ad nauseum. Authenticity and genuine connection in content and across content channels is paramount. While AI can certainly assist in content creation, it often lacks the nuance and depth of human expression. Storytelling, personal anecdotes, and empathic engagement fosters trust in a way that is tough for AI-generated content to match. This uniquely human ability to convey complex emotions and connect on an interpersonal level are crucial elements in building the connections required to turn your audience into your advocates.

With the massive uptick in AI-generated content, marketing to clients or donors must tap into emotion, creativity, and personal experiences that resonate with audiences on a deeper level.  

Source Image: 9Gag.com

Even extremely complex and evolved AI engines still build their predictive content from logical models such as ALiBi (Attention with Linear Biases) among countless others. The predictive models that enable machine learning are predominantly based on logical connections. The lagging gap that AI will likely struggle to close will be around the nuance of language, the oft’ irrational and surprising nature of human wit and emotion, and turns-of-phrase that don’t fit these models. The more predictable the content output, the more likely AI will fail to hit on the human authenticity triggers that target audiences will become more sensitive for, especially as more and more AI-generated content floods the market.

So, we conclusively heard the point (and we agree). As AI becomes the norm in content production, businesses and creators who prioritize authentic human content will stand out in the digital landscape. They’ll not only extend organic reach (Google is already working on algorithms to identify purely AI-generated content), but also build stronger and more enduring relationships, improving not only engagement, but also conversion and retention. 

In this evolving era of technology, the intrinsic value of genuine human expression remains unmatched, and it is predicted to continue to be so. This makes it an indispensable asset in final content creation and marketing strategies.

#3 Community = Engagement

TLDR: Nurturing community with clients will be key for conversion and retention in an AI-dominated world.

In an AI-dominated world, where automation and algorithms play an increasingly significant role in governing the spheres in which we interact, the importance of community-building cannot be overstated. While AI can efficiently gather and analyze data to predict preferences, outcomes, and personalize user experiences, that information used in a vacuum lends itself to a purely transactional experience. Biologically, consumers today crave not just products or services, but a sense of belonging, and this is where community-building becomes pivotal.

Creating genuine connections with your audience will necessarily involve going beyond transactional relationships. Brands that actively engage their customers, listen to understand their needs, and respond with empathic solutions will win in the AI-dominated world.

Online consumer science hasn’t wavered on this maxim: When individuals feel heard and valued, they are more likely to become not only loyal customers, but also advocates for your brand.

Consumers in the age of AI will become increasingly discerning, will learn to spot inauthenticity more quickly, and will grow to mistrust brands who rely too heavily on AI-generated content experiences over authentic human connection. Brands that prioritize genuine connection and community-building are more likely to stand out and gain the trust of their audience, converting followers to customers and customers to brand advocates.  

The takeaway that we heard again and again is this: it’s not just about selling a product or service; it’s about creating an ecosystem where customers feel like they belong. In this AI-dominated landscape, the businesses that prioritize these human elements will find the key to higher conversions in the short term, and sustainable success in the long-term.

 

Though these maxims may seem like no brainers, in the midst of a call to embrace AI while simultaneously leaning into authenticity and community, you may find yourself feeling a bit overwhelmed (what to use? how to use it? where to begin?). And you wouldn’t be alone if you did experience some anxiety. One of the most memorable talks on AI at the B2B Forum shared that, right now, even the largest companies in the world — Nike, British Airways, and even well-known tech companies — just can’t keep up with how fast this technology is evolving. In comparison to post-internet technologies that were also considered disruptive (think about how email disrupted the direct mail marketing industry), we are witnessing evolution of this technology at an unprecedented speed.

So now what?! That’s where we gladly come in. We at Chart Room endeavor to be early adopters of AI technologies like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Stability.ai and StableCode (along with BigCode Foundation), MidJourney, Jasper, Notable and PyTorch, Inflection and other applications of large language model (LMMs, for short). We’re already adept at using this tech to quickly analyze massive data sets, solve complex coding quandaries, and assist us in the planning and execution of all aspects of digital marketing.

Source Image: from Lee Odden’s 2023 B2B Forum presentation, How to Elevate B2B Marketing with the Influence Trifecta

As we introduce our clients to these tools more and more, they’re discovering more efficient processes and workflows resulting in time and money saved. We’re actively working with existing clients to help them navigate the uniquely human elements of their marketing strategies that will continue to be requisite for their success, and will be increasingly so over the next year to two years.  Chart Room’s Data-Driven, Human-Centered approach positions us as the trusted partner you need. Together, we can chart a new course toward success.

Let’s get started!  Contact us today to schedule a free AI-audit so you can start putting this new technology to work for you.