Four real-world stories of B2B marketers unlocking growth through AI
Our new report, in association with B2B Marketing, cuts through the hype to reveal the real experience of marketers using AI
March 7, 2019
Artificial Intelligence (AI) produces some very emotional reactions among marketers – and that’s largely because there’s so little solid information about what the technology can actually do for them. In the absence of facts, hype and fear tend to take over. We hear a lot about how AI will hollow out marketing departments and take human choice out of buying decisions. We also hear a lot of claims about how it will solve every imaginable problem – and how businesses can automatically grow revenues simply by adopting it. We hear far less from people actually using the technology on a daily basis. However, those stories are out there – and it’s important to listen to them.
AI isn’t something that’s about to happen to you as a human being or as a B2B marketer. It’s already here – and it’s already having a significant impact on marketing campaigns. Before too long, every marketing solution and every tech stack will feature AI in some area or other. And that includes yours. The more you adopt AI, the more you tend to realise that it’s far less threatening – and far more accessible and useful than many people have made out. It’s not a magic-bullet solution to every marketing problem – but it’s certainly not the end of marketers and marketing, either.
At LinkedIn, for example, AI is like oxygen. We’ve been using it for over a decade to create the member experiences that people value most on our platform. It adds structure to the rich and valuable data that we have – and crucially, it helps to keep our site safe. Our customers increasingly expect the type of experiences that machine learning helps to deliver: more intuitive, more valuable and more secure.
We’re lucky enough to have a great perspective on what AI actually means in practice – and we felt strongly that B2B marketers deserve the same types of insight: what AI solutions are available today? What happens when they start to adopt them? What do they need to make sure they are getting the right value from them?
We partnered with B2B Marketing to find businesses of all sizes that are already applying readily available AI solutions to their marketing – and we talked to those businesses about the results they’re seeing, how AI shapes the experiences they create for customers, and how it helps to evolve the role of marketers themselves.
The result is a special report, AI in B2B: Going beyond the hype, that’s available for free download now. It cuts through the myths surrounding this technology to tell real-world stories about businesses of all sizes that are leveraging it to grow. From the pages of the report, here are four examples of how a focused approach to using AI and data can change customer experiences for the better – and help you to create marketing that’s more inspiring, and more effective:
Reinforcement Learning predicts where website visitors want to go next
ServiceMax is a provider of field technician management software for some of the world’s biggest equipment manufacturers and infrastructure companies. That means it has a lot of different potential customers, from across widely different sectors, searching for very specific information. Designing a single website where each of those prospects could find what they needed presented a huge challenge. It was one that ServiceMax solved using similar machine learning technology to the famous AlphaGo project, in which an AI beat a world champion at the complex strategy game, Go.
ServiceMax worked with the ABM solutions provider DemandBase, which uses AI to personalise buyer journeys through content recommendations. This form of machine learning, known as Reinforcement Learning, aims to predict the most rewarding journey for an individual and understands each page of a website within the context of that journey. It uses all of the available data from a site visitor’s role within their business to the intent signals they’ve sent, to understand what they’re trying to achieve. By showing prospects recommendations and snippets for the next page they should visit, the DemandBase AI cut bounce rates on ServiceMax’s site by 70%, doubled the time that people spent and the number of pages they viewed on the site, and significantly increased take-up of product demos.
Conversational AI delivers sales insight at scale
A state-of-the-art Conversational AI Platform (CAP) has quadrupled the ROI of lead generation for sales insight specialist, Artesian Solutions, and demonstrated how its use of AI in data analysis can add value for clients.
Known as Arti, the CAP developed for Artesian by the B2B tech agency Volume learns from its conversations with customers, prospects and partners. This enables Arti to use its natural language processing, machine learning and text-to speech technology to give more natural and relevant answers. Just as importantly, it can make informed recommendations to sales about risks and opportunities, based on these conversations. In its first year of activity, Arti helped to increase traffic to the Artesian website by 11%, answered more than 5,000 questions and increased the ROI of lead generation by 4x.
Automated editing drives quality and efficiency in content
The virtualisation and cloud infrastructure business VMWare has a product release cycle of just two weeks, with new solutions and updates going out of the door twice daily at its busiest times. This places huge demands on the business’s team of content writers and editors, who create the blog posts, user guides and other content to support these releases. With its team of five editors and 120 technical writers swamped by the schedule, VMWare struggled to maintain the quality and accuracy of content that it required.
Adopting an AI-enabled content editing solution proved a game-changer. It enabled VMWare to automate basic editing tasks like repetitive corrections, and free up its editors for higher-value activities like training writers, improving the taxonomy of content and classifying it more effectively. Provided by Acrolinx, which offers an AI-powered approach to content strategy, the automated editing platform helped VMWare de-risk its content output, with 73% of users saying that it helped them to improve quality – and 60% agreeing that it made them more efficient content creators.
AI-driven marketing automation powers dynamic creative
Leveraging IBM’s AI-powered campaign automation platform has enabled the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) business of Ingersoll Rand to deliver more personalised, more responsive marketing campaigns at scale.
The predictive capabilities of IBM’s Watson AI enable it to automate time-consuming processes such as customer segmentation, and create dynamic content likely to appeal to different roles. Through a single campaign template, Ingersoll Rand can deliver bespoke images, content and information tailored to very different customer types and segments, all selected by Watson based on the data available. The seamless integration of real-time data also enables marketing campaigns to respond to one of the most important factors contributing to demand for HVAC servicing: the weather. Using IBM’s WeatherFX data, the campaign automation platform creates localised campaigns for areas hit by hail storms, which can do notorious damage to air conditioning systems.
You’ll find full details on these AI success stories, along with interviews with AI pioneers and advice on using the technology more effectively, in our full report, AI in B2B: Going beyond the hype.