This is a guest post by Scott Roulet,, founder, The Roulet Group
The new year is pointing to be a defining year for B2B marketers as they refine their automated connections with customers. Content marketing strategies are increasing conversion rates by up to six times traditional outbound tactics, while the crown jewel of the B2B arsenal, Account-Based Marketing (ABM), attracted a wave of financial investment and consolidation in 2016.
Publishers are inundated with an ever-changing suite of tools promising to meet the demands of measured marketing performance and the rapid pace of innovation. The underlining goal of both ABM and Content Marketing has been to improve connections and meaningful experiences with prospects through data-driven deployment. According to Forrester, over a third of B2B marketers rank improved customer experience as their top 2017 marketing priority. Requirements for solutions that keep prospects engaged throughout the sales funnel is at its highest point.
So, how will artificial intelligence (AI) accelerate growth in 2017? By augmenting the tools already used to improve automation, and hyper-customize relevant user experiences.
Account-Based Marketing is ripe for AI development. It is ramping up for an expansive new era. Last year saw significant investment and acquisition activity in ABM, and the year ahead is expected to be even more active. This is because marketers acknowledge the effectiveness of account-centric campaigns.
However, ABM still relies significantly on human intervention of linking desperate data systems and applying data algorithms to maximize these assets. Companies are tasked with manually connecting CRM data with the rest of their marketing resources, often in a limited programmatic capacity. Artificial intelligence is the linchpin to piece together highly optimized campaigns, specifically tailored for individual decision makers. Having AI that sifts through a seemingly infinite pile of data saves both time and money. Plus, most CRM platforms are AI-friendly, making future integration seamless.
Furthermore, AI can fully customize cross-device, cross-platform campaigns to deliver an unparalleled personal experience for each prospect. It can generate unique landing pages, email exchanges, content, and ads in a hyper-personalized capacity— at scale. The future of ABM is in the process of delivering customized buyer experiences, so AI is a natural fit.
Content Marketing is becoming more standardized and audience-centric. For the past few years, the Content Marketing landscape has been fragmented, with limited metrics for success. However, both the creation and delivery of content will continue to standardize throughout the next year, giving marketers better opportunities to ensure its effectiveness. With AI, the process of marketing content to decision makers could see a huge boost in efficiency, eliminating much of the guess work that still plagues content strategy.
AI Will Empower Better Connections With B2B Decision Makers
AI will help align content within account-based campaigns by collecting valuable keyword, formatting and intent data to power a truly individualized experience. AI can also empower publishers with new tools to manage first party data and fuel more effective native advertising growth.
B2B Programmatic is finally taking hold. It’s no secret that B2B has been slow to adopt programmatic strategies. However, the tide is turning, and more B2B buys take place programmatically than ever before. Kantar Media reported back in May that over 63% of B2B media buyers are bidding programmatically. And while the technological trends may change as abruptly as they appeared, automation will remain a constant.
For example, Header Bidding wasn’t even discussed in a B2B capacity, as it appeared and changed before ever gaining notice. This is the case with plenty of new technological tools that could potentially offer publishers new ways to monetize their content, and marketers better channels to forge connections with target customers. AI can help both marketers and publishers seamlessly adopt, onboard, and integrate new technology by streamlining the learning process.
AI-based solutions will propel B2B into an era where we no longer latch onto the tail-end of industry trends. An overwhelming majority of B2B marketing executives believe AI will revolutionize their marketing strategy, but don’t yet understand the technology. And for 2017, it’s a space ripe for intelligent expansion.
Scott Roulet is a digital media executive, investor and advisor. He co-founded BBN Networks, the first Programmatic Private Exchange for B2B publishers. He currently manages The Roulet Group.