How AI Can Drive Optimization for B2B Marketing

July 19, 2019

AI Optimizes B2B Marketing

Editor's Note: This guest post was contributed by Gil Allouche, CEO, Metadata.io.

Manual work is killing B2B marketers — one boring, repetitive task at a time.

Sure, automation helps marketers in big ways, but marketing automation platforms still require a lot of manual operations by humans to make them effective.

To give you an idea, here is a sample list of manual tasks required today for a typical account-based ad campaign:

  • Buying data
  • Joining data (list of target companies by tech stack, then joining with contact data)
  • Segmenting data (breaking down by audiences/cohorts)
  • Finding all personally-identifiable information (e.g., email) and upload to different ad networks
  • Multivariate testing for different audiences, creative content, channel, and other variables. 
  • Placing tags and pixels for tracking
  • Lead enrichment of incoming leads
  • Pushing leads from ad channels to marketing automation 
  • Merging performance data with marketing automation and CRM data
  • Reporting and attribution 

The sheer number of tasks makes it nearly impossible for lean, B2B marketing teams to conduct these Account-based Advertising campaigns at a rate that has an impact on pipeline. And, many spend a large portion of their working hours completing these technical, repetitive tasks, rather than applying their talents and creativity to the strategy and planning behind the campaign (which, I’m guessing, is what they signed up for when they went to marketing).

  • The consequences of these limited campaigns extend even further. As the CEO of a company in B2B marketing, here is what I’ve found to be true today (after running hundreds of thousands of ABM campaigns last year):
  • Poor ROI attribution leads to lack of belief that advertising can be a primary channel to drive marketing-ready leads and pipeline.
  • Marketers, on average, use over a dozen tools that are fragmented and demand manual tasks to keep them running - gives them less time to focus on optimization and strategy.
  • Many B2B marketers lose faith in digital advertising due to poor targeting and execution, and unpredictable results.
  • Traditional A/B testing is dead because it only allows marketers to test one variable at a time - too slow and doesn’t consider the variability of your digital marketing mix (message, creative, content, channel, campaign type, audience etc).
  • Instead, B2B marketers should consider testing multiple variables, including collateral, channel, audience, campaign type, persona and creative.

However, with AI in the mix, marketers are starting to eliminate these tasks, optimize and execute campaigns at a rate that is humanly impossible. The longer your let the AI execute, observe and optimize the campaigns, the further down your funnel it will be able to optimize towards.

The Time to Adopt AI is Now

The benefits of AI are unmatched. For CMOs, AI provides certainty that digital advertising delivers predictable lead flow.

For marketing teams, the automation features — such as APIs, algorithms and decision trees - save hundreds of hours on manual tasks, and allow for large-scale experimentation to quickly align campaigns, resources and results to strategic goals.

I see Account-based Advertising with an automatic engine as the future of marketing automation, where machine learning optimizes operations on an ongoing basis to drive incredible results (pipeline).

So, B2B Marketers have a choice to make. Either continue to struggle with manual workloads from tools and process overload, or become modern marketers by embracing the future of automation and AI.

AI is the obvious solution for marketing operations going forward because it encompasses both the automation of technical, mundane tasks and the ability to optimize those tasks toward a single goal — pipeline. Marketing teams thus overcome the challenge of building predictable pipeline and proving an ROI for B2B advertising.

AI has already begun to evolve, and smart marketers are embracing it. Modern AI is no longer limited to the traditional scope of analyzing, predicting and insights — as it has entered the realm of optimization and execution. Nutanix, for example, has leveraged more than 10,000 multivariate experiments to optimize their campaigns and has seen a direct impact on ROAS.

The Elements of an AI Optimization Campaign

Here are the elements of a fully optimized AI-powered Account-based Advertising campaign (and this is all possible today!):

  • Pretargeting to confirm exact companies and personas to target.
  • Show audiences to sales prior to execution to guarantee campaign alignment
  • Don’t limit your testing to one variable or limited experiments, scale with AI
  • Auto-identify net-new individuals within target accounts, exclude closed won accounts
  • Integration with leading marketing and advertising platforms to maximize data
  • Automatic operation of all marketing tasks for paid marketing campaigns at scale
  • Optimize towards pipeline metrics (vs. vanity metrics)

AI and experimentation are key to optimization in the B2B marketing landscape and companies are adopting it rapidly because they see the benefits of in time and results, and the savings in time and personnel.

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