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3 generative AI lessons B2B marketers should consider in 2024

“In the last year, large language models have gotten more powerful and sophisticated,” our analyst Kelsey Voss said on the “B2B Marketing Trends to Watch for 2024” webinar. “Generative AI [genAI] will bring about a renewed focus on brand reputation; an increased need to address data quality and reliability; and a growing desire for human interactions, such as live events.”

1. Generative AI is an increasingly powerful tool, but it requires guidelines

“Marketers are not only using genAI more, they’re [also] becoming more acutely aware that they need to harness the power and address the challenges that come with using it,” Voss said.

  • The way marketers create, iterate, distribute, manage, and even think about content will be transformed, according to Voss. In fact, 65% of US marketers are most excited about using generative AI to create and scale content faster, per a March 2023 Sitecore survey.
  • Half of US enterprise marketers have used or plan to use AI for content personalization in their email marketing campaigns, per July 2023 Ascend2 and RPE Origin data.
  • “[Generative AI] paves the way for increased productivity and streamlined operations, and it frees up marketers’ time so that they can be more creative and more strategic,” said Voss.

But for B2B marketers, generative AI is not without its challenges.

  • “The more genAI is integrated into workflows, the more important it is to have guidelines, governance, and a cohesive strategy across the entire business,” Voss said.
  • At least 61% of B2B marketers say their organization lacks generative AI guidelines, per a July 2023 survey from Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs.
  • Be proactive, said Voss. Define generative AI’s role, be protective of customer data, and foster collaboration between teams and AI experts.

2. Generative AI can optimize data, but not all at once

“Marketers need to prioritize data quality, governance, and integrations” when using generative AI, per Voss. “It is imperative for successful campaign performance, measuring ROI, and enhancing personalized buyer experiences.”

“The fusion of data analytics and genAI will empower marketers with predictive analytics throughout the customer life cycle, and this allows for more accurate forecasting and for optimizing strategies,” she said.

Don’t try too much at once, said Voss, but start by:

  • Defining data standards
  • Getting legacy systems in line
  • Ensuring a centralized data management system is in place
  • Performing regular data audits
  • Considering hiring data experts

3. AI needs to be balanced by human connections

“B2B firms, their prospects, and their customers want a counterbalance to AI and the incredible amount of digital noise that proliferated as a result of the pandemic,” Voss said. “We need to balance technological advancements with genuine human-centric marketing. This is crucial for trust-building.”

  • 6 in 10 B2B marketing leaders worldwide plan to use in-person events as a top marketing technique next year, per a May 2023 LinkedIn survey conducted by Ipsos.
  • A quarter of US B2B marketers say their leading areas of spend are on in-person tradeshows and events, per August 2023 Sagefrog Marketing Group data.
  • More than a third (34%) of US B2B marketers agree that in-person or live events contribute most to top-of-funnel goals, per April 2023 data from Wpromote and Ascend2.

Watch the full webinar.

This was originally featured in the eMarketer Daily newsletter. For more marketing insights, statistics, and trends, subscribe here.