You’ve probably heard the phrase Artificial Intelligence (AI) mentioned frequently in the business press recently. From worries that robots are literally about to take over the world, to machine intelligence snapping up jobs previously filled by humans.

But AI doesn’t just mean robots, and it offers several benefits for the marketing sector. From automated emails to detailed analysis of how marketing campaigns are performing, AI shouldn’t be dismissed by B2B marketers looking to grow their business. In fact, Gartner predicts that AI will be in almost every software product by 2020.

So what is AI and how will it affect my business?

You’ll already have seen AI in various aspects of your home life – from the technology behind Amazon Alexa and Google Home, to chatbots on websites or social media, and music recommendations on Spotify. But AI is also a key part of B2B marketing automation, from capturing new and better quality leads across websites, CRM systems and marketing campaigns, to personalising contact with potential customers and improving your SEO strategy.

Here’s why:

  1. Data: the new oil

Data hasn’t been described as ‘the new oil’ for no reason – it’s one of the most valuable resources available to B2B marketers and can make or break how a company generates leads. To generate the most value from data, AI can help to identify leads, pursue valuable prospects, and convert a lead into a sale by gathering detailed information on a person – such as online and search clicks, website visits and email communication.

It would be impossible for a human to gather this information and collate it into one system, but AI can organise the data, process it and provide in-depth reporting that denotes a potential customer’s online behaviour and demographics. It can therefore offer a holistic view of your database and track the journey of your potential customers so you can deliver marketing messages to them at a time when they’re most engaged. And, it can help to tell you which of your leads are most likely to convert to customers.

A whole host of marketing software exists to provide these functions, from Hubspot to Salesforce, but a marketing agency like Sugar can also help to facilitate this software and integrate it into your organisation .

  1. Marketing personalisation

While it’s been possible to segment your customers and potential clients into categories – such as location and industry – for some time, AI goes a step further and enables deeper personalisation. That means businesses can deliver messaging to individuals that addresses their specific needs, at a granular level, rather than sending generalised ‘one size fits all’ marketing messages.

AI can also analyse entire industries, such as manufacturing, by gathering data from every company in a specific market. This data then offers marketers in-depth insights for each of those companies, but on a massive scale. This means that B2B businesses can hone in their target audience and establish which companies could need their assistance at that moment in time. For example, a food manufacturer in Somerset has won a large new client and will need to purchase new machinery to fulfil their orders.

AI also enables a marketing department to send a customer, or potential customer, specific content at a set point in their journey – from blog posts to emails.

  1. SEO made simple

AI hasn’t yet reached the ability to write compelling content as a human can, but it will soon be able to optimise content for search engines for SEO purposes.

Traditionally, SEO requires a lot of detail and human interaction – from identifying keywords to creating backlinks, summaries and tags – and a simple article can turn into a form of science if it’s to reach the top of Google searches.

But AI can help to provide automated analysis of keywords and related information, making the whole SEO process more data-driven and simplified. So, while marketing will still need a human touch, AI will help to make marketers’ jobs more efficient by breaking down complex tasks and enabling them to increase engagement rates.

For marketers and businesses looking to streamline their marketing activity, while using data-driven insights, AI will be revolutionary. It won’t take over the world – yet – because it’s not quite that sophisticated, but it can certainly give us a helping hand and make life easier.

To find out more about AI and automated marketing, contact Sugar.