EverString and Heinz research exposes the gaps between AI hype and B2B marketers’ reality

EverString AI B2B marketing
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Despite the introduction of natural language processing, machine learning and other technologies into major software packages, nearly half of B2B marketers say artificial intelligence plays no role in their current strategy, according to research from EverString and Heinz Marketing.

In ‘The State of Artificial Intelligence in B2B Marketing,’ EverString and Heinz surveyed 300 marketers, mostly in small to medium-sized firms, 49 per cent of whom said they were not making use of AI. According to the report’s authors, this was most likely due to an educational gap in which B2B marketers aren’t sure of how the technology will help them achieve better results. Elsewhere, for example, just over half, or 54.6 per cent, said they were “somewhat confident” in their knowledge of AI’s use in marketing.

Most AI experts also say lack of quality data makes it difficult to reap the technology’s benefits, and EverString and Heinz suggested this was particularly true among marketers. Only 21 per cent described themselves as “very confident” in achieving their goals with their current data.

“People change jobs, companies merge, and dynamic business situations cause data to become out of date on a moment’s notice,” the report said. Data is the Achilles heel all B2B marketers struggle with . . . data management requires continual maintenance and cleansing.”

While 59 per cent of B2B marketers said their expectations of AI included identifying prospective customers, it’s worth nothing that this is one of the areas in which EverString, a provider of AI-based marketing tools, specializes. That said, EverString is not alone in suggesting more B2B marketers should think about where they could weave in AI to improve the way they work.

In a recent blog post, for instance, Bizible VP of marketing Dave Rigotti suggested AI will make CMOs and their teams more focused on the areas where human talent can play a larger role, such as creativity.

“I think computers will get very good at helping marketing team optimize the math aspects of their work,” he wrote. “I think there will always be a creative aspect to all of this, so essentially humans will be needed to oversee the AI, but much of the math work we celebrate today will be done by computers.”

Another recent take, from Oracle senior solutions engineer Mark Tarro, predicted AI will also have a great impact on helping B2B marketers achieve closer alignment with sales.

“Predictive lead scoring can point salespeople in the right direction as they work to expand within a key account and understand whom the right contact will be to engage with next,” he wrote. “As they email the prospect and drive them to a website utilizing AI, personalized and predictive content can be served up to enhance the experience.”

In the Heinz and Everstring research, 70 per cent of respondents said they are most interested in using AI to boost their efforts at personalizing their approach to marketing.

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Shane Schick

Shane Schick

Shane Schick is the Editor-in-Chief of B2B News Network. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and was the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.