AI Adoption in Marketing: B2B Survey

How B2B Marketers View Marketing AI

It’s no secret to most about the role of AI in Marketing. It’s in the early innings of a long productive engagement with big expectations. Studies show marketers are aware, but they’re not sure how to overcome fears and integrate Marketing AI into their strategic mix.

What the studies revealed:

  1. 32% of marketers are not confident in their knowledge of AI (it’s new)
  2. 54% are only somewhat confident in their knowledge in AI (never read up on it)
  3. 86% of respondents measure success with KPIs closely tied to pipeline or revenue (quantity vs quality).
  4. B2B marketers are increasingly confident in their marketing strategies and technologies to help them achieve objectives (this shows AI marketer’s marketing works)
  5. half are not using AI in their marketing strategy (you need an AI software platform)
  6. 6 out of 10 believe it will improve marketing effectiveness in driving revenue (so why the lack of interest and adoption?)

Are AI Solution Providers in the Dark?

What AI solution providers want to know is what features and benefits will start the landslide to adoption. Since software and solutions are already here, the issue isn’t benefits and value, it may be the cost. A subscription price of $1500 to $5000 per month is a big commitment for small business owners who may harbor big doubts about their company’s success potential.

Risk is another issue. They must use the software in action and risk sales disruptions. Data requirements are a question mark too as some solutions require huge amounts of customer sales data.

Another point is that many managers/execs doubt their own company’s unique value propositions and competitiveness, and therefore are reluctant to double down on their investment in improvements. The status quo seems safer and known.

It’s About Client Confidence not Confusion

The choice to use AI marketing isn’t about confusion, lack of understanding, and lack of confidence about AI software performance.  When AI software companies push technology too much, they create confusion, insecurity and doubt. Best to keep it simple.

Do B2B marketers need to know the difference between machine learning, deep learning, autonomous decisions, and predictive modeling?  Studies show most B2B marketers expect that AI will improve their revenue and customer engagement so delving into deep tech will only turn them off. And more actual successes are being reported.

B2B marketers real world problems are about low market reach and online visibility, their audience ignoring emails, their crappy, irrelevant website content, low conversion rates, customer turnover, along with excessive ad spend. And these are the challenges AI can assist with.

B2B Marketer Comfort and Confidence

People buy complicated automobiles and smartphones, yet don’t have the foggiest idea what’s in a car or smartphone. They don’t even know what a spark plug or sensor is let alone the AI systems they’re already using.  Buyers are confident the car will work out fine.

Yet, AI software solution providers don’t have the brand power of BMW, GM, Ford, Apple, Samsung, or Toyota. It’s the brand assurance that’s lacking in AI. Brands bring clarity and focus along with some type of “drive train” warranty. They focus on customer feelings and keeping things simple so happiness is the outcome.

Even after the nuts and bolts of AI are explained, what’s really missing from the AI software companies brand promise that B2B marketer’s key actual challenges will be resolved, their UVP will be improved, they will know more about their customers, that AI chat bots won’t ruin customer relations, customers will be captured and engaged in real time, made loyal, and sales and revenue will rise, and they’ll win more marketshare.

But What About The B2B Survey?

Data company EverString (the leader in AI-assisted SaaS for B2B) teamed up with Heinz Marketing (a B2B marketing and sales acceleration firm) last year to conduct a study on B2B marketers attitudes about AI Marketing. It’s helpful to know the current B2B technology climate, discover what issues might be preventing some companies from using AI and thus becoming leaders in their markets.

The majority of survey respondents were CEOs, owners and executives in small companies (less than 200 employees; half less than 50 employees). They polled respondents to find these insights:

Screen capture courtesy of EverString/Heinz AI in B2B Marketing Survey Report 2018

Respondents are most interested in processing data for wealth of behavioral and sales insights, in achieving personalization for customers, to identify trends, customize their marketing, and help solve pricing problems.

Respondents said they were confident of their data value, but how many small companies have thorough, comprehensive sales data, and online customer behavior data? This is what AI marketing should solve.

2/3 rds of respondents are not using AI marketing capabilities, yet some are using lead scoring, customer profiling, and identifying market opportunities. There’s big opportunities. But as we explain on the homepage, human expertise and creativity are very important.  AI doesn’t make the B2B product/service.

AI in B2B Marketing: Our Conclusion

Surveys help us understand the mood, but don’t tell us what the real issues are in SMB’s adopting AI, or using it to get better results.

The survey shows B2B exec’s are confident that AI marketing will work for them. Yet if we marketers don’t focus on solving real world problems and confidence lapses, and show them clearly how the solutions will ramp up their most cherished KPIs, adoption will suffer.

B2B execs should be reassured that they don’t need to understand artificial intelligence technology, the providers do.

A big part of the solution is its ability to organize marketing tasks, process data, provide insights, and automate decisions.  Basically, humans need to be taken out of the marketing process, to act as a trainer to the system.

B2B owners need to know AI will reduce the drudgery of marketing, increase precision and personalization, grow insight, cut costs, and ensure their companies achieve market leadership.  If AI is as good as proponents promise, only market leaders will be left standing.

Choosing AI Marketing solutions is a confidence vote for you and your business. The insight and power from AI marketing will improve the performance of everyone in your company, from your SEO specialist to your content strategist/content creators and customer service team, to your CEO.

Take a closer look at Marketing AI, and how it can help your firm in 2020.

 

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