Last week, I made a mistake. I grabbed a soda out of a cooler, and it was a Diet Pepsi. I'm living in Pepsi Country. Pepsi was founded in nearby New Bern, North Carolina. But I gave up diet drinks a while ago because I don't like the taste of artificial sweeteners. Artificial is generally not as good as the original. Especially with sweeteners, and intelligence.
That is not to say that artificial can't have some benefits, but it has limits, too.
I'm currently listening to an audiobook, Marketing 5.0 by Philip Kotler. It's part of a series that I have been following (3.0, 4.0). 5.0 explores marketing in the post-pandemic world.
4.0 covered the explosion of virtual technologies caused by remote work, social distancing, and more. Kotler believes our new digital world has evolved with traditional marketing techniques taking giant leaps in technology and adaptation.
In Marketing 5.0, he says that our new marketing paradigm includes human-mimicking technologies like artificial intelligence, augmented reality, natural language processing, robotics, sensors, virtual reality, and blockchain. It has also evolved IOT (the Internet of Things).
The book includes chapters on prosperity polarization, the digital divide, and generational marketing. This solidified my belief that Marketing 5.0 and the IOT are just a mix of new tools, technology, and techniques to reach a complex IOP (Internet of People).
I think it's time to do a reality check.
Are We There Yet?
The world imagined by the author is one of converging technologies, strategies, and innovations. This may lead to Marketing 5.0 being implemented by large organizations, but many small to mid-sized companies may lack the time and resources to fully integrate.
That means that those companies can dabble, experiment, and piecemeal parts, but we are a ways away from affordable and truly integrated systems and solutions.
I find Artificial Intelligence (AI) very exciting and scary at the same time. The fear is driven by people being replaced with AI's ability to create content and automate repetitive tasks. I have to agree that it is good at writing headlines, but it generally lacks the experience and empathy to outperform human-created content.
I am sure you have tried or seen images created by AI that have 3 or 7 fingers on one hand facing in the wrong direction. When it comes to writing content, it scrapes the internet and synthesizes good articles but, it's often plagued with marketing jargon and a mix of facts and incorrect information.
That being said, there is a start-up gold rush to create AI tools that can edit audio or video, generate images, and build content at an affordable subscription price. In their way are some big software companies (like Adobe) that have deeper pockets and a huge headstart.
What's Old Meets New
When it comes to B2b marketing, I believe that relationships are the key to success.
One of my Baconisms is “Businesses do not do business with other Businesses… People do business with People!” You simply can't outsource or automate relationships, but you can track and manage them.
It's easy to capture basic data, but compiling quality, current, and relative data is needed to help nurture budding or existing relationships.
Most of us use an ERP or CRM. I use Nimble to track people I meet and to compile data to help me manage and track those relationships. You can import data from lead forms or even an accounting package. Each of these can be integrated with an API (if provided) or Zapier to tag them as a customer or prospect.
But, that data can become stale without tracking changes, like when your prospect becomes a customer or a customer becomes a past customer.
Another challenge is systemization. If you have five salespeople and task them with managing that data, you could easily end up with five systems in various states of completeness or compliance.
This is why we use a Customer Journey Manager to help facilitate updates and implement outreach. It's helpful to keep the data updated and current, but it's ultimately up to a salesperson or team to engage and develop more profitable business relationships.
Now, let's explore a few mini-systems that incorporate AI automation to enhance the data we capture and use in our relationship marketing.
A Sample System
1) Adding A Lead
As I said, we use a CRM (Nimble) to import and update relationship data. The key is capturing their email, phone, and LinkedIn URL, and then adding some tags and notes. It's a combination of automation with a touch of human interaction. Especially when you have pre-selected tags you want to add.
2) Lead To Email
We use ActiveCampaign as our email program because it's the best mid-priced system that allows us to tag, segment, and automate. It can integrate with forms from a website or a CRM, to generate a welcome or follow-up email sequence to new customers, new prospects, or people who have interacted with specific content on our website.
3) Pre-Call Research
We use Nimble to capture a lead's LinkedIn Profile link to do two things: research their company, posts, connections, and teammates (in case I know some), and get to know HOW they like to communicate.
For that, we use a program called Crystal Knows to do a digital DISC profile that gives us insights into their personality and personal communication preferences.
4) Track A Get To Know You Call
We use Acuity to schedule meetings in my calendar. It has some automation with instructions and reminders for you and the guest.
If you use Zoom, Google Meet, or MS Teams, there's an AI tool called Fathom, that can record your meetings and provide a call transcription. It's free but has some flaws.
Many AI transcriptions make me laugh when they try to guess words or phrases it doesn't know or can't understand (especially tech speak). Sometimes, we use Rev.com when I want a more accurate human transcription (or an automated one).
5) Get Intelligent (Bonus)
I have been playing with a tool called Speak AI. You can import an audio, video, CSV, or text file and convert that into a transcription with visuals. I especially like the word cloud and sentiment graphs. They help you see the tone and words that make up the conversation. It combines some of the best features of Fathom and Rev, with a twist.
You may find that some AI tools can be useful or helpful to your unique business and situation. But, as Philip Kotler said in ‘Marketing 5.0‘, ultimately, it takes people and a solid marketing strategy to make any system work for you.
Although my samples are not perfectly integrated or automated, we use a mix of AI, and manpower to give us a competitive advantage. My goal has always been to create meaningful and lasting human-to-human relationships while integrating technology to help facilitate steps that save time and improve accuracy.
“Some people worry that artificial intelligence will make us feel inferior, but then, anybody in his right mind should have an inferiority complex every time he looks at a flower.”
– Alan Kay
Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas, or questions about artificial intelligence marketing! Do you feel your system is working for you? What tips or techniques can you share that worked for you and your business?
To learn more about this and other topics on B2b Sales & Marketing, visit our podcast website at The Bacon Podcast.