Note: Updated March 2021 to include an additional example!
Artificial intelligence is well on its way to taking over the world.
But that’s not a bad thing — that’s a good thing.
The successful use of automation, artificial intelligence and emotional intelligence not only frees up time and resources for businesses, but it helps those companies to excel at a much higher rate than they’d be able to achieve using conventional manpower.
When done correctly, AI takes a good operation and makes it great.
However, AI hasn’t transformed B2B marketing the way that it has fundamentally changed the way we see B2C marketing. An April 2019 DemandMetric study showed that only 18 percent of surveyed businesses currently use AI in their B2B operations.
The study did say, though, that an additional 46 percent of organizations were either evaluating or implementing AI. In other words, the AI revolution that we’ve seen in the B2C world is coming to the B2B world very soon.
That hasn’t stopped some businesses from achieving some truly great things with AI. Here are some examples of companies that have used artificial intelligence to its greatest potential, with the results to match.
As much as everyone hates automated phone systems, that’s how much people love a well-executed chatbot.
A good chatbot provides necessary information to consumers, but more than that, it doesn’t leave those shoppers in a virtual dead end that ultimately nudges them towards the exit. In a perfect world, a user doesn’t even know that they’re dealing with an automated agent.
That’s exactly what Hubspot has achieved through their unique way of combining AI and reality.
The chatbot serves as a sort of buffer that gets preliminary information, and when a live person becomes available, they can take over the conversation and close the customer.
This arrangement helps to move leads through the funnel while simultaneously giving them top-notch customer service.
Mack’s Lead Generation and Nurturing
The idea of setting up automated lead nurturing rules isn’t exactly the newest innovation in B2B marketing, but it does utilize AI to perform at a higher level than what would be possible under normal circumstances.
And given how many companies try and fail to successfully execute automated marketing campaigns, it’s always interesting to learn from a business that does things right.
Mack operates in the highly specific niche industry of large trucks — the furthest thing from an impulse buy one could imagine.
However, Mack has created plenty of tools to educate potential customers about not only their trucks, but the truck industry in general and the people that drive those trucks.
Through traditional content marketing materials and their own TV show, Mack has set up plenty of ways to entice consumers.
Once those individuals sign up for Mack’s email list, they are carefully nurtured over a long period of time.
This nurturing period involves comprehensive tracking of not only includes email opens, but website activity, views of content and other KPIs.
It’s only when prospects hit specific thresholds that their information is turned over to a dealer, when the sales push actually begins. By that point, those leads are very well-qualified, ensuring that salespeople don’t waste time on leads that have no intention of buying a truck.
Epson’s AI-Based Automated Emails
It’s no surprise that email automation has become a powerful force in the 21st century.
But typically, the recipient can tell if they’ve received an email from a person or a bot.
Today, though, technology has given businesses the power to send out fully automated emails that seem like they’re from a real person.
Printer manufacturer Epson saw this firsthand when they worked with Conversica, a company that specializes in automated emails that come across as so authentic that they have a response rate of 35 percent.
Epson’s internal numbers rose dramatically — thanks to Conversica’s work, Epson saw a 240 percent increase in its customer response rate and a 75 percent increase in its number of qualified leads.
Facebook’s Lookalike Audience
The idea of lead scoring based on specific metrics has been around for a while, but it’s constantly being refined and updated to include new technological innovations.
What started as a way of tracking the activity of potentially interested consumers has become an AI-driven vehicle for spotting people who want to buy a product before they even know they want it.
One of Facebook’s latest innovations is a tool called Lookalike Audience, which analyzes the physical appearance of a company’s customer base and helps those companies to find more people that look like their existing customers.
This works through both the company’s website and through their regular Facebook followers.
While this could be seen as both superficial and invasive, it does assist businesses seeking to market to a specific segment of the audience.
Finding Chase a Human Voice with AI
Throughout the history of marketing, the industry has attempted to master the balancing act between informative and friendly communication.
On the one hand, companies want to ensure their marketing dollar is going to good use; they want to see their brand attributes clearly and precisely in the eyes of their clients.
On the other, marketing experts know that the best communication is able to also personify their brand – with just words, brands gain personality, characteristics, and a human voice.
A brand voice is exactly what JPMorgan Chase wanted, and they went somewhere many wouldn’t expect to be very human: AI.
The bank went to the marketing agency Persado, who are known for their unorthodox use of AI to generate creative.
Using the Persado Message Machine, an advanced language knowledge base, Chase and Persado were able to generate more human copywriting for the bank’s Mortgage and Card divisions.
This partnership resulted in ads with click-through rates lifting as high as 450%, and secured Persado a sizable five-year contract with the bank.
Their shared success points directly to the future of AI in marketing.
Not just for crunching big data, AI should not be seen as separate from the human experience in marketing. Instead, AI will continue moving to the forefront of customer experience.
Google’s RankBrain System
Google is so synonymous with Web searches that people often don’t even think to look anywhere else.
What they also don’t always realize is that Google’s search engine returns different results for different people.
Behind the scenes, Google uses its AI system called RankBrain to determine what each person wants from a particular search, based on their search terms and their previous searching activity.
RankBrain then sorts the results in a way that it believes most benefits the searcher, which ultimately means that a top-ranking result for one person might not be on Page 1 for another person.
Businesses, however, can use this to their advantage by studying up on how RankBrain works and incorporating those lessons into their SEO strategies.
These applications of artificial intelligence have allowed businesses to do things that seemed impossible even a decade ago.
But what’s truly amazing is that these innovations are just scratching the surface of what AI can do.
The future has some very exciting things in store for businesses that incorporate AI and continue to invest in this technology.