AI is No Silver Bullet
It was almost twenty years ago when I sat in the office of a CMO who was raving about the prospects of marketing automation. He was speaking about two vendors that he was considering and how excited he was that all of his marketing would be automated. This was the early days of marketing automation and soon his level of excitement seemed to permeate the B2B marketing landscape. The pervading belief was that marketers now had a solution that they could deploy that would improve their success.
However, beliefs do not always turn into reality and while marketing automation can be a useful solution when used properly, like most everything else, it is not the silver bullet that will address all of marketing’s challenges.
I reach back to the early days of marketing automation and the buzz that surrounded it as I see much of the same thing happening today with artificial intelligence (AI). It seems that every day there is a new post, a new application, a new use case that has marketing, sales and customer success professionals worked into a frenzy that finally this will be the thing that makes us successful, makes our jobs easier and will be the silver bullet.
Rather than take my word for it, I went to ChatGPT to see if it would agree or disagree with me about AI being a silver bullet, see the response for yourself:
I would agree with the first and last statement, “it is important to approach AI as a strategic tool and not solely rely on it as a silver bullet.” And it is this concept that many are failing to grasp as seen in this post from our good friend Ann Handley at MarketingProfs.
While the short sighted thinking is a cost savings, the long term implications is that customers will stop paying for a lack of quality and go elsewhere. Why? Because people are not machines and want to engage in personal content and stories, not in gibberish.
Embrace the Hype . . . Carefully
How to AI
It may seem counterintuitive for me, the co-founder of an AI-enabled consultancy to be writing against the perils of AI. I of course believe in what AI can do, but I believe that there must be the proper application of these solutions to help brands get the most value from them.
With that in mind, here are a few ways you can embrace the hype without joining the throngs of those who believe that AI is the answer to all of their problems.
Have a Plan
Two months ago Generative AI posted on LinkedIn that in one week there were 200 AI tools released. Just in one week! This is a deluge of technology and tools and I see many who are trying to keep up with it all and end up in a proverbial game of whack-a-mole.
Before taking the plunge into the AI deep end, have a plan for how it will be deployed, what problem it will help solve, what is the governance policy for its use within your organization. Defining your strategy first, will help guide and direct what you choose and how you use it and as a result will improve its value.
I get it, you want to be the cool kid that has the trendiest outfit and latest tech gadget. But going slow can pay dividends and help work out any potential kinks in the process of deploying these solutions. As an add-on to the first point about planning above, do not be in a rush to embrace AI, be methodical and purposeful in the approach and ensure the outcomes are getting you closer to your growth goals.
One of the more disturbing and at times amusing things about AI are the robotic and clinical content I now receive in my inbox and my LinkedIn feed. There is nothing remotely human about it and it quickly finds itself in the trash folder.
Engaging your customers at every stage of the customer lifecycle is more than just sending out messages and content. It is tailoring that content to them and looking to build some kind of connection (even in a B2B context).
Summing it Up
While many brands are using AI for content generation, do not be one of those brands that was highlighted by the Washington Post, be a brand that understands that good content can be produced in draft form by AI, but does require a human to adapt so that it relates to other humans i.e. your customers.
Our world is changing fast and there are days when you can feel like you are falling behind. I can assure you that a lot of the hype will stay and some will fade, but above all, your path to growth will not be found in the latest technology or AI solution, but in how you develop a meaningful relationship with your customers.