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Pitfalls and Solutions for Using Artificial Intelligence in B2B Marketing

4 min

B2B marketers have been blazing trails by adopting artificial intelligence tools. Unfortunately, some trailblazers make mistakes.

Pitfall #1: Letting AI Write Content Without Oversight

Writing content is time-consuming, and doing it well requires focus, precision, and expertise that isn’t always easy to maintain. AI-generated written content is one of the shiniest promises being presented to B2B marketers these days.

But take a breath before handing over a list of keywords to a bot and calling your content writing done. Without human oversight, AI-generated content is usually plagued with problems. Poorly written AI-generated content can be:

  • Generic
  • Irrelevant
  • Inaccurate

A Nature post from March 2021 explored the rise of language-generating AI and found that the technology has improved by leaps and bounds — often fooling even eagle-eyed readers into thinking it was produced by a human mind.

However, the technology’s strength also masks its weaknesses. While it may look like it was written by a human, it can sometimes mimic a boorish, ignorant, badly misinformed human.

“It works by observing the statistical relationships between the words and phrases it reads, but doesn’t understand their meaning,” the article explains. Hate speech, racist and sexist comments, and nonsense answers are all possible outcomes when relying on AI writing.

One of the more infamous examples in Microsoft’s AI chatbot, Tay. Within 24 hours of interacting with social media, it went from saying “humans are super cool” to praising fascism.

Whether you are using AI-generated content for chatbots, blog posts, or email, don’t do it without some significant and trained human oversight.  

A Better Approach: Let AI Find Engaged Prospects

Rather than letting AI take over the writing of your content, give it a task where it can really excel: finding better prospects to read your content in the first place.

A much better use of AI is to model your best customers and let the algorithms identify more people who will follow in their footsteps — or at least in their clicks.

Once you know the type of customer who engages most heavily with your marketing and consistently moves through the sales funnel, you can use this information to recreate that success reliably and predictably.

Pitfall #2: Relying on Irrelevant Data Sets

AI offers fantastic solutions to many B2B marketing pain points, but it can only do so if it has access to high-quality data. Before you implement an AI marketing strategy, make sure you’re feeding the AI accurate data.  

First-party data — that is, the data you’ve collected directly from your audience — is crucial for targeting your best prospective buyers. AI excels at pattern recognition, but the promise of AI only becomes a reality if the data is good to begin with.

If the AI can develop a strong portrait of your best customers, it can find more customers who are similar — including customers you may not have ever considered. But if inaccurate data paints a skewed portrait, your AI results will be similarly skewed. 

A Better Approach: Refine Your Data Collection Now

Before you invest in new AI software or implement a new AI strategy, refine your data collection processes.

Starting with a data set that’s accurate and as complete as possible goes a long way toward ensuring the return on investment in AI strategies.

Now’s the time to look at your data collection processes with a critical eye and:

  • Clean up existing data sets to remove or replace inaccurate and incomplete information
  • Segment existing data sets in a way that makes sense for your goals
  • Refine first-party data collection touchpoints

Covering these data-collection fundamentals empowers you to effectively implement your AI strategy. 6sense works with new customers at the beginning of an engagement to clean and improve their data sets. It’s foundational to success.

Pitfall #3: Over-Personalizing in a Way That Freaks Out Customers

The whole point of personalizing marketing is to make the prospective customer feel seen, understood, and appreciated.

AI enables us to identify customers at the moment they most need us. Doing so well makes our products and services a welcome reprieve. It’s like seeing a best friend in a crowd of strangers. But over-personalization can have the opposite effect.

The reality of creepy marketing overreach is true for any business, but B2B businesses should be particularly careful. You’re marketing to professionals who are in their workplace roles, and stepping into overly personal marketing strategies will probably come off as inauthentic and potentially inappropriate.

Remember, crossing the line into creepy territory will be difficult to correct. If you overstep, it’ll take far more work to regain trust and credibility than it did to lose it.

A Better Approach: Set Boundaries and Use the Golden Rule

Treat others as you want to be treated. This rule has its place everywhere from the schoolyard to the boardroom … and it’s a great guideline when it comes to setting boundaries for your personalization approach.

Think about what you’d want to see as a potential customer. If an approach would strike you as too personal, don’t use it.

What do customers regularly report as acceptable in personalization? Marketing that targets their actual buying and browsing habits. Use data related to online behavior that’s relevant to your product or service.

When it comes time to engage your customers with a personalized approach, make sure the content is, well, actually engaging. Provide meaningful, relevant content. Use what you know about your customer to deliver value to them. Be a casual friend, not a stalker.

The 6sense Team

6sense helps B2B organizations achieve predictable revenue growth by putting the power of AI, big data, and machine learning behind every member of the revenue team.

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