Generative AI: B2B Marketing’s ‘Get-Out-of-Work-Free’ Card or Just Yesterday’s News?

Ask anyone about the rapidly increasing use cases for generative AI in B2B marketing, and the first answer you'll get might be "laziness." While said with a chuckle, it points to a universal truth — work is always work and magic doesn’t exist, though many are eagerly trying to create it! In the realm of social media-centric generative AI, a dazzling range of innovative applications are emerging. Everything from brand amplification and executive thought leadership, to employee advocacy, recruiting, and sales enablement has found a place. Every now and then, customers are even finding new ways to harness our product, more than we ever imagined. This unpredictability is precisely what makes artificial intelligence such an exciting field!

When it comes to leading AI adoption in B2B organizations, it's rarely the CMO, owing to fear and misunderstanding of the technology. Instead, the baton tends to be held by CIOs or product leads on one end, and digital marketers on the other. The charge is also taken up by various teams seeking to extend their reach and efficiency, including sales enablement, employee advocacy, and content creation teams.

The reservations among senior marketing leaders regarding AI are mostly rooted in fear, thinking it might render them obsolete, or due to a plain misunderstanding about what AI really entails. They need to realize that a) AI is not magic and b) because collaborative AI far out-paces AI alone when it comes to ROI, their jobs aren’t going anywhere. For many, upon introduction, marketers often wonder why they hadn't encountered AI sooner; after all, it’s been a part of Hollywood seemingly forever and there is a misconception of “reality AI” versus “fictional AI.” These marketers are usually interested in the practicalities of the technology and how it could help them save time, but what they should really be asking is how to best train the AI to achieve improved results and impact.

What may come as a surprise to many is that training generative AI tools is largely the responsibility of the end user, whether that be for the company or individual employees. The minimum amount of data needed for expertise is around 10,000 pieces of content, and post-training, the AI only requires the occasional guiding hand. It's the wild west in the B2B landscape though, with many companies just expecting the AI tools to work like "magic" without investing in training  –  a massive pitfall that’s already tripping up many.

For those marketers that are able to understand and embrace Collaborative AI, both functionally and as a mindset, the adoption of AI tools is changing workflows and outcomes dramatically. Our workflow, for instance, goes something like this: ingest, generate, train, schedule drip feed, publish; once the workflow is mastered, marketers have more freedom to tackle complex, creative tasks.  Additionally, once we embraced this workflow, our results skyrocketed. For example, we only use Lately.AI to market Lately.AI and we have a 98% trial-to-sale conversion.

In large part, our success with Lately, as is the case with all generative AI, hinges on Collaborative AI, by which I mean humans analyzing results and course correcting as needed.  For generative text AI, that requires marketers who possess skilled writing and editing abilities. After all, it’s a case of what you put in is what you get out. If the input is subpar, the AI is only going to replicate that lack of quality. And just like any intern’s work, what the AI outputs needs to be reviewed before it's published; it can only learn from two things, data and humans.

Looking towards the future, mysterious and enticing career opportunities are on the horizon, particularly in AI training. These roles require competent, intelligent individuals capable of making decisions on behalf of the company. As is the case with digital managers, people may underestimate these roles, but with the explosive growth of AI, they’re bound to become more and more pivotal. In fact, there is currently a worldwide analytics skill set vacuum, precisely the quality that AI is most reliant on to improve. This is because, as a race, we have dumbed down our ability to identify problems because of the overwhelming pressures to always find solutions. 2024 will be the year of Collaborative AI for this reason. Those who have already embraced it are enormously ahead of the game.

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