By Praveen Balla
Vice President, Production, True Influence
The traits and behaviors that indicate a prospect is likely a good customer are the backbone of B2B sales and marketing demand gen. All marketing at its core is one-to-one, and if you don’t have a good idea of who you want to talk to, your messaging and campaigns will be fragmented and unsuccessful.
Customer personas, by and large, are based on core criteria about job title, industry and buying group roles. These core traits are based on assumptions and basic (non-AI) analysis of first-party data about campaign response and closed business. Take any area where you know your best customers’ traits and behaviors and use AI to extend that knowledge into new revenue opportunities.
AI Expands on First-Party Data – It Doesn’t Replace It
Let me stress that AI’s ability to find patterns and predictive behavior doesn’t replace first-party data and market intelligence. AI extends use of data, sometimes into markets and purchase scenarios that marketers simply aren’t going to identify using direct response data and human intuition.
Never forget that AI runs on clean, accurate data. Acquiring, segmenting and prioritizing audiences still begins with core assumptions – even AI has to start someplace. First-party is still the gold standard. If a CFO downloads your financial justification calculator, that’s lead gen gold.
Find First, Then Engage
I’ve already discussed how identifying contact-level preferences makes hyper-personalized display advertising creative and marketing copy a reality. But before you can engage with prospects, you need to find them.
As AI constantly learns, it both expands and refines audiences for account-based marketing (ABM) and named list marketing strategies. And through propensity modeling and predictive analysis, it expands customer profiles without large-scale contact acquisition or exhaustive testing.
Create the Best Prospect Recipe
But prospects don’t just interact with your content. Serious buyers on the hunt do many things online. And their behavior – even when not specifically researching your market – points to extra variables that elevate your core personas from good to “wow”. AI processes billions of data points to find these variables, predict their outcomes, and allow you to run controlled, smaller-scale tests to validate AI’s conclusion.
Think of a chef who trades out an ingredient or two in her most popular recipes and then tries out the results on a small group of loyal patrons. Now imagine if she had culinary AI that could scour the entire internet to find patrons with similar tastes, analyze what other flavors they tend to enjoy, and then recommend what new spice the chef should try in her latest round of experimentation.
She could then upload the results of her limited trial to her AI, and search the internet for similar taste tests that either validate or refute her small-scale test. She’ll definitely try out the modified recipe as a daily special in her own restaurant for further feedback, but she doesn’t need to change the menu and order the new ingredient in bulk before she has a clear idea if the recipe tweak is a success.
Create Appetizing Campaigns to Attract Buyers
As you can see, a compelling power of AI is the ability to augment customer personas with attributes and behaviors that aren’t obvious to B2B marketers. AI-powered intelligence, such as intent monitoring, can pinpoint individual outliers, and these folks typically also share at least some of the core persona traits you’ve already established. Try some new prospect “recipes” and see what winners you find to add to the marketing menu.