Member guest blog post by KEO Marketing
Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies can mimic human intelligence. They can recognize voice, generate content, answer questions, and perform a variety of other functions throughout the sales journey. AI technology can use machine learning techniques to study historical data sets, applied propensity models to predict given events, and AI applications to perform human tasks. Given these capabilities, AI can significantly impact the customer journey and lead to improved campaign results. AI is one of the top trends impacting technology marketers this year.
During the past several years, inbound marketing rose to prominence. Outbound marketing was considered less efficient and costlier to manage. One HubSpot study concluded outbound marketing costs 61% more per lead than inbound marketing. Given the efficiency and cost drawbacks, executing cold calling, email blasting, and other outbound campaigns to draw customers to a business became less desirable options. Funneling prospects toward a business made better sense, especially when they were looking to buy a certain solution.
However, more and more business-to-business (B2B) marketers added outbound channels to their marketing mix in 2016. Why is the pendulum swinging back? Outbound marketing is benefiting from advances in technologies such as Artificial intelligence (AI). AI is providing greater insight into prospects than ever before and simplifying outbound campaign management. Here are some specific reasons for this shift back to outbound:
- AI helps marketers make sense of data so they can develop powerful outbound campaigns. You can predict more accurately when a prospect is ready to engage with your brand. Data also gives you more insight into target markets. It helps you identify new markets and existing markets that you can further exploit.
- Advances in AI help you create highly personalized marketing targeted to customer interests. By creating more accurate buyer profiles, you can expand the targeting of your outbound campaigns and include an increasingly mobile audience. The key is to send the right message, to the right target, at the right time, using the right channel.
- AI technology lets marketers communicate with prospects on a one-to-one basis. Salespeople have always conducted business this way. Now, AI eliminates assumptions and allows marketers to conduct campaigns, including email, which is suitable for all funnel stages.
- AI enables the use of bots. Traditionally, a salesperson would answer a prospect’s questions. However, navigating through online content, trying to reach a sales rep, or waiting for a return phone call is frustrating for a potential customer. Bots will power websites soon. Customers can chat back and forth with bots to get questions answered quickly. Bots running in the background can also perform tasks salespeople hate to do, such as updating CRM applications.
- AI will improve marketing automation by performing tasks automatically. You will not even have to tell an application what to do. AI gives software the ability to accomplish things like predictive lead scoring, content recommendations, and email acquisitions on its own. After analyzing data about leads, AI can also automatically route leads to the appropriate salesperson.
- AI can help salespeople secure repeat business from existing customers. Rather than always focusing on attracting new customers, salespeople can work the existing base to generate additional sales. One example is predictive customer service. In this application, predictive analytics can assess what situations and features could lead to a customer leaving your business. A salesperson can then intervene to engage these high-risk customers with personalized assistance and special offers.
Inbound campaigns have dominated the marketing landscape for the past decade. They have garnered more attention and budget from B2B marketers. Although inbound is still very much a critical component of today’s marketing programs, B2B marketers must bring outbound campaigns back into the fold. With technological advances such as AI, outbound marketing, including account based marketing, can become a scalable marketing and business development strategy that will help you meet your goals.
About KEO Marketing
KEO Marketing Inc., a leading marketing agency based in Phoenix, Arizona, develops and implements strategies to help clients significantly increase leads and sales.
For more information about how you can leverage artificial intelligence to advance your marketing program or to request a complimentary marketing audit, contact us today.