The Reality of AI Adoption in B2B Marketing

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Marketing AI panelThe Marketing AI Institute’s fabulous AI for B2B Marketers Summit today delivered tons of strategies and tactics on how AI can revolutionize business-to-business marketing and drive company growth. At the virtual event, I moderated a barnburner of a panel The Reality of AI Adoption in B2B Marketing. I'm sharing some highlights here.

Over 3,000 people attended the event. What a remarkable number of global marketers who are eager to advance their careers!

If you missed it, you can watch the session replays here ($).

My fast-paced panel discussion explored the practical realities of AI adoption in B2B companies. The three panelists shared details on how AI is transforming their marketing and their businesses; the challenges they’ve faced integrating AI; and the approaches they’ve used to deploy these powerful new technologies.

The super smart panelists were:

Sarah, Christina, and Dan represented companies in different industries, and they are at different points of the AI adoption curve, so anyone can learn from our discussions. Here are some of the takeaways.

AI's Role in Growth and Demand Generation

At Google Cloud, Sarah shared that AI helps manage internal MarTech strategies and go-to-market efforts for AI products at Google Cloud. She said that AI enables even small businesses to compete by providing advanced tools without requiring extensive resources. “AI agents can actually become much closer to the reality and the context of what's happening in the day-to-day world of a marketer or any kind of other knowledge worker,” she said.

Christina highlighted AI's impact on content creation, especially in a traditional industry like insurance. She explained how AI tools have streamlined content development processes, enabling quicker production of advisories, blogs, and other materials at the Oswald Companies. This efficiency has fostered a culture of thought leadership within the Oswald Companies. “We're producing a ton of content, whether it's for webinars, our blog, and advisories to clients,” she said. “When we started being able to use AI tools to produce more content, to figure out ways to optimize, we became a force across the company and people became excited [about AI].”

AI and the Customer Experience

Dan discussed how AI enhances customer interactions at Tomorrow.io. By integrating AI into their platform, customers can easily understand how weather impacts their operations and get immediate insights through AI-driven chat features. This seamless integration of AI into customer experience ensures high engagement and satisfaction. “I can't think of a part of my marketing life that doesn't involve AI in some way, shape, or form,” Dan said. “We look at every single one of our go to market processes on a step by step basis to understand which step should be owned by a human? Which should be owned by AI? Which should be a hybrid of the two and why? And that's how we found so much efficiency over the past 18 months, just being maniacal about that process and analyzing it on a consistent basis.”

Hands-On Learning, Experimentation, Training, and AI Adoption

AI for B2B Marketers Summit attendes 2An important discussion was how to best implement AI, and the three panelists agreed on the need for experimentation and training.

Christina says that her team still employs traditional marketing tactics as they have been integrating more of AI into digital marketing and sales enablement. “We knew as a team that we needed to get on the AI train,” she said.” We started training and we had our own forums and we started working AI solutions into what we were doing.”

Sarah mentioned The Artificial Intelligence Show, a podcast hosted by Paul Roetzer, Founder & CEO, Marketing AI Institute, and Mike Kaput, Chief Content Officer, Marketing AI Institute. “I strongly encourage [my team] listen to it each week,” Sarah said.  “It's a really powerful way to get everything, really candid opinions about what's happening in the space.” I agree with Sarah! I’ve listened to most of the show’s 100 episodes.

AI for Small Teams and Budgets

Dan shared how AI allows small marketing teams to punch above their weight. By automating repetitive tasks and enabling efficient processes, AI helps small teams manage campaigns and limited resources effectively. “We are out there competing with the largest brands in the world, the Fortune 10s, the Fortune 100s out there,” Dan said. We're a startup, just six or seven years old. AI has unlocked my team's capability and confidence to compete with anyone out there.”

Balancing Marketing Art and Creativity with AI Data and Science

As a writer, I’ve been using AI tools for years. For example, to create this article, I ran the audio of the panel discussion through an AI engine to generate a text transcript and then ran the transcript though another AI tool to generate a summary of the important points. I then applied my twenty-five years’ experience writing magazine articles and blog posts to organize the content and identify some of the more interesting direct quotes to share. I then upload the post into Lately.ai a platform that turns this long form article into multiple short form social posts and with its calendar function can be shared over the next weeks.

While AI provides valuable insights and efficiency, the creative aspect remains irreplaceable. AI assists in idea generation and optimization, allowing marketers to focus on the artistic elements that resonate with their audience.

“The intersection of the human and the machine makes our work very special,” Sarah said. “And it's a role that human marketers are going to play even more of, making those judgment calls on where do you need to be even more human and where can AI make us more human. We’re exploring how a marketer can write the job description for their AI agent, just as a first step, so they can take control over defining exactly what that work is versus feeling like it's happening to us.”

Christina shared how she’s seen a change in her team as AI frees up time that used to be spent on repetitive tasks. “There's a strong opportunity for people who have that artistic or creative knack,” she said. “They find inspiration when they figure out that they can have more time to call on their talents to find new and creative ways to present the same materials.”

Dan agreed, saying: “For instance, being able to go into all of our sales calls and rip out the trends by industry and by customer. Instead of having to invest all that initial energy on just getting the data and the trends, [we can focus on] sparking creative ideas and come in with a fresh set of eyes.

One Best Piece of Advice

My last question to the panelists was to share their best piece of advice for those who are ready to go down the path that they’ve already gone down to implement Artificial Intelligence into their marketing and their business.

  • Dan: “Embrace it. This is a career defining moment for marketers at any level.”
  • Christina: “Lead by example. AI is going to help the organization overall. 
  • Sarah: “If you have passion or fire for AI, lean into that and be bold and educate yourself. This is that moment in time where it's a special accelerant for careers.

Disclosures: I am an investor in the Marketing AI Institute and I am on the board of Lately.ai