You Ask, I Answer: How Will AI Impact B2B Buying Process?

In today’s episode, Tim asks how B2B marketers should prepare for AI’s impact on the buying process. The key is strengthening your brand, establishing direct outreach channels, and building algorithm-free communities. Brand building will ensure your business stands out statistically. Direct channels like email newsletters keep you top of mind. Private communities on platforms like Slack foster meaningful connections. As AI tools continue to evolve, creatively implementing these strategies will help you stay competitive. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, so stay nimble. Tune in for more insights on thriving amidst AI disruption.

You Ask, I Answer: How Will AI Impact B2B Buying Process?

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In today’s episode, Tim asks, How should B2B marketers be thinking about how AI will impact the buying process? This is a big unknown.

This is a big question mark, because we don’t know what form AI will take when it comes to impacting the buying process when it comes to helping people buy stuff, particularly your traditional B2B buying process where there’s a lot of decision makers, where there are a lot of stakeholders.

What we do know for sure, is that machines are already doing a good job of summarizing things, right? We see this in search generative experiments within Google, we see this with Microsoft Bing, we see this, of course, with chat GPT.

And what the machines are doing is summarizing things being able to summarize and distill down content and then provide comparisons, right? If you go to Bard or Bing or the search generative experiments, you can say, Hey, what are the major features of this software versus that software of this company versus that company? And in asking those questions, it’s going to draw from the data it has the content that it knows, and then assemble essentially a short answer.

And so with summarization with extraction, with rewriting, these tools are essentially sort of they’re making it easier for the end user to do comparisons, they’re making it easier for the end user to wade through all of the marketing copy that we write, and turn it into shorter, more digestible content.

That also means is rewriting our stuff.

And that means in turn means that if there’s a particular way or voice that we speak with, that’s probably going to get lost along the way.

So how should we be thinking about it? We should be thinking about a few different things.

First, you do want to make sure that you’re building your brand, brand is going to be the one of the most, if not the most important thing that you can do as a marketer, B to B, B to C doesn’t matter in the age of AI, you need to have a strong brand because as AI engines become the standard as they become the way that people get information, they may not necessarily introduce you in an unbranded search, if someone’s looking for marketing and management consulting firm, they might not introduce trust insights by name unless our brand is so strong, that there’s a statistical significance to our brand plus the target concepts that we want to be known for.

Here’s a way to think about it.

If you were to ask a language model about a topic, it’s going to return the most statistically relevant bits and pieces of words about that topic and we’ll assemble it into coherent text.

So if you’re entirely about, you know, pineapple on pizza, and that’s a sufficiently large enough topic that you are known for, then when someone puts in pineapple and pizza, they’re going to get a response that will probably include you.

If you are not statistically relevant enough, if you don’t have enough presence in all the training data and all the texts that are out there on the internet, you won’t show up.

So you’ve got to build your brand, build your brand by being everywhere, do as much as you can to be as many places as possible within the resources that you have available to you.

So that’s one.

Two, you need to have a way of reaching customers that is not mediated by AI.

That typically means something like email, your email marketing, right, your email newsletter, if you are not sending out an email newsletter on a regular and frequent basis, you are, you are asking to be forgotten.

If you can, and I know it’s it’s a lot of work.

It’s a lot of work for me.

It’s a lot of work for Trust Insights.

We send out a weekly newsletter, I sent out a weekly newsletter of my own on Sundays, the company sends one out on Wednesdays.

It’s a lot of work to put that together.

But that weekly cadence keeps people remembering who we are.

Monthly, not often enough, people forget and do you remember the number of companies heard from the last month? I don’t.

And obviously, the email content has to be valuable, but email, text, direct mail, magazine subscription, anything where you can get your message to your audience in an intact format in a way that is not easy for a machine to rewrite is not easy for a machine to summarize that is not easy for a machine to aggregate and lump you with all of your competitors together, right, just a direct channel to your customer.

And number three, you absolutely positively need to have some form of non AI mediated communities.

So that means things like slack, for example, or discord, having a community in one of those places where chronological timeline, private place, no AI in the way.

So not Facebook groups, not LinkedIn groups, because those are AI intermediated, and you are competing for attention with all the other stuff that’s in those algorithms, you want to have a community experience that has no algorithm has no algorithm.

And there are, you know, plenty of other software packages out there that in B2B that people are trying to get up and running.

But the one I would tell people today, the best platform built on his discord, and I’m not paid to say that.

But that’s the sort of the three big things brand publication community, you’ve got to have those three pillars to impact the buying process and sidestep the impact of AI.

Or in the case of brand make it work for you.

It is going to be very challenging, very challenging for us as marketers to, to stand out from the crowd in an age of AI in an age of instant summarization, instant aggregation, instant comparison, in a way where what we think are our unique selling points may not be communicated by the summarization engines that that AI search tools are using or the AI knowledge bases using, we may not be we may not get that opportunity.

So we’ve got to build our brand.

So we’re known for something, we’ve got to have a direct line to our customers and our prospects.

And we’ve got to have a community that is has no algorithms at all, so that we can, in, in essence, get a hold of people when we need to.

So that is, that is the the answer to that question for today.

At the time of this recording.

Things may change, things may change a lot.

It’s unclear what will change.

But stay tuned because as soon as I know, I’ll let you know.

Thanks for tuning in.

We’ll talk to you next time.

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