When I die, the following quote might wind up on my gravestone:
“When artificial intelligence works, we call it software. When it doesn’t we spend a lot of time talking about AI”
I’ve been in the “AI” industry for more than 10 out of the 30 years I’ve been doing software. Yes, I’ve written code, sold to hundreds of enterprises, and even crafted a few patent-worthy algorithms.
LeadCrunch is my current and most successful startup. Our artificial intelligence targets the ideal audiences for B2B marketers then engages each prospect with content to get them on the buyer’s journey to becoming a customer.
Think: Targeting + Actionable Intelligence. It works. We are the 2nd fastest growing marketing company on the 2020 Inc 5000 and one of the fastest-growing MarTech companies in history.
But who cares…
We look like the tallest kid on the 4th-grade basketball team when compared to the LeBron James of marketing known as Google.
Queue everyone’s eye roll.
Every company that provides AI for marketing sounds the same. I know because my largest competitors and I joke about how similar we must look to the outside world (meaning you, the marketers).
The core problem for B2B marketing is not whether or not to adopt AI. You already have. And it’s embedded into your stack. You think of artificial intelligence as “software.” Mentioning something “is better because it has AI” simply means that the software can do one of the following things that make AI systems different from legacy rules-based systems.
So what is an AI system?
- It finds patterns in the data without being explicitly programmed to find an exact match. For example, the system can “read” any company’s website to determine their industry and product offerings.
- It adapts to dynamic data. For example, the system can “understand” how internet traffic changes over time to reveal that an internet user has “intent to buy” a product or service.
- It learns. For example, the system knows when it has made a mistake so it can automatically improve how it “thinks” about a problem. This learning can come from people telling the system that it is wrong (like the thumbs-down button on a recommendation from Netflix) or from the system evolving better solutions through trial and error (like the way Google ranks search results by the likelihood of getting a click for each query).
You know that you have good AI when it gives you answers that surprise you...then turn out to be correct. Given the current state of technology, the purpose of AI is to enhance, not replace, human intelligence.
The core problem of B2B marketers is knowing how to get the most value from the AI you already have. That is, how to amplify your existing marketing software with new capabilities.
Bottom Line: The highest return on investment in AI for B2B marketing is in target identification and generating actionable insights on each prospect.
Small improvements at the top of a marketing funnel can have profound impacts at the bottom of the sales funnel. Let's take a simplified example where increasing the marketing qualification rate of leads from 0.1% to 0.2% will increase your lead-to-revenue rate by 100%. That means every dollar of additional marketing spend doubles the amount of revenue per marketing dollar spent.
Queue CFO smiling. CEO laughing. CMO sending bottles of champagne to his/her team.
So how can AI amplify the B2B marketing stack?
- Amplify with Lookalikes: Find more of what you already love. Want more prospects that look like your best customers? Easy. Feed a list of customers into one of the leading lookalike engines out there. Google “B2B lookalike audiences”.
- Amplify Intent: Prioritize and segment your intent data by how much the accounts look like your best customers.
- Amplify ABM: Find ways to expand your ABM list with ideal fit accounts. Even better, find ways to sell more to the ABM list you have already defined. How? AI tools can help identify more accounts that fit your ideal customer profile and provide intelligence on unique segments within your targeting account list.
If you’ve read this far…I have to say it. LeadCrunch can help with all three, regardless of what you are already using. Give us a try here.
Olin Hyde is the CEO of LeadCrunch, an intelligent B2B demand generation solution powered by AI.