AI and Marketing Automation
What’s the last tweet you retweeted? Or the last post you ‘Liked’? Can you recall? Most people I asked had to check their timelines before giving me an answer.
Everyday, almost 100,000 new articles are posted on the web.
100,000! And this entry isn’t a scientific report that disproves any of the content marketing tactics ever published to make this Top 1 of even the bottom 5.
This past couple of weeks, I’ve had a chance to immerse myself in most things #AI. I have this great opportunity to try out SAM.ai. Now for someone whose algorithm orientation and skills equal the sophistication of a rock, I am blown away by the intuitiveness and ease of navigation of this powerful platform. With a twinkle in my eye, as though a huge bowl of gelato has been set before me, I dove into the SAM sandbox—okay, I’d call it self-training with a couple of demo sessions as I drew flowcharts in my head. This, while I thought about how a modern marketer not only has tremendous amounts of data to digest and produce insights from, but is also expected to keep a pulse on the tactics that truly reflect customer engagement and buy-in.
It’s Time to Stop the Guessing Game
”There’s a famous parable that describes a group of blind men touching an elephant and describing how it felt to each other. Because each man touched a different part of the elephant – the side, or the tusk – they were in complete disagreement about what the elephant was. Your data sources act like disparate parts of the elephant. Only when they are integrated can you get a comprehensive picture of your prospect.” – Kathy Macchi, VP Consulting Services, Inverta
Speaking of funnels and flipping funnels, recent research by 2017 B2B Content Marketing Trends—North America: Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs indicates that:
- only 53% of B2B marketers Always/Frequently craft content based on specific points of the buyers’ journey.
- 49% of B2B marketers measure marketing ROI in Top-of-Funnel stage; and
- fewer than 35% said they use Purchase Intent (17%) as a metric.
- 28% don’t measure content marketing ROI after the Post-Sales stage
When marketers play mind games in the already-complex buying process, sales and opportunities are lost or wasted. Think about it. When a buyer’s readiness level is decided by disparate marketing data sources, sales is ill-equipped to address their real needs. On the other hand, if a buyer’s readiness is indicated by actual buy signals—whether through an initiated question, trial request, or demo, it most often translates to a fully-informed buying decision, therefore, creating more sales opportunities and long-term wins.
It’s Time to Ditch the Pitch
“Even with sustained friction between marketing and sales, content continues to be a powerful strategy for building brand awareness and continuing growth in the information economy. ” – Raz Choudhury, Founder and CEO, SAM.ai
The role of Sales in any business has transformed. The power has shifted from being the guy with the best answers to the guy who asks the right questions. Sales and marketing has never been more joined at the hip than today. Marketers deliver sound, useful, relevant content based also on intelligence gathered by sales from the field in addition to insights gleaned directly from customers who interact with the brand online on any given channel.
Marketing is expected to co-own Sales and Sales is expected to co-own Marketing.
Today, sales happen anywhere, anytime. The concept of time and place is no longer as huge an issue today as it was 15 or 20 years ago. Consumers have taken over the sales process in the information age. They research, they compare, they survey, they test products and services. On their own.
Today’s content hoopla is more than what I call a marketing buzzfest. It has earned a spot in the modern marketer’s discipline. New channels, messaging, and content have become the concept and credibility we sell in 60 seconds or less. They have replaced the proverbial telemarketing scripts and 3-minute elevator pitches of years ago. If Stewart Rogers’ 2008 book called Lessons from 100,000 phone calls is all it’s cracked up to be, then, in my opinion, artificial intelligence and marketing automation have just changed the whole traditional sales ‘Always-Be-Closing’ education into ‘AI/AM-Business-Content’ orientation in this chaotic maze of hyper-connected digital space we live in.
By the way, I read a bit of research saying that a blog’s average lifespan is 2 years and a tweet’s is 18 minutes. E-mail or call me in 2 years why don’t you, to see what I’m up to then or share this article via twitter, re-tweet, or simply drop me a note and say what you’re up to. Tell me what you think in the comments below. Either way, I would know this piece got around somehow and I’ll take that opportunity to connect.