Vine Blog: Sisältömarkkinointi
AI (Artificial Intelligence) will change marketing – this is something that us marketeers have heard plenty of times. In B2B marketing of small and middle-sized company the question is how will AI affect the every day work of marketing in the near future?
I’ve tried to learn as much as possible about this, but to be honest I still don’t feel like today’s AI- solutions work in my every day marketing tasks. “AI will change marketing”- hype has caused a lot of frustration in me, because the more I have studied this, more certain I am that it’s going to take a while before AI truly is a part of marketing. The frustration started with chatbots..
To understand more about AI, I have been listening to different experts in different events. Every time I hear the same story: ”Chatbots will take care of website chats.” And then what? To us, like many other small and middle-sized companies, the daily messages to the chat can be counted with one hand. It would take decades, before AI would have enough data from the chats, to answer all the questions instead of a human. And would this kind of investment pay itself back? No, I don’t think so.
In B2B markets the website volumes are notably smaller than in B2C markets and the extra value of chatbots comes with the quantity. So, for now the value of the chatbot in B2B world can most likely be forgotten.
2. IDENTIFICATION OF PICTURES AND VIDEOS
Identification of pictures and videos will certainly be a part of a small and middle sized companies b2b marketing. Picture identification is already done daily, by for example opening an Iphone with facial identification, adding a filter to your face in Instagram or when tagging yourself in a photo and Facebook asks: “Is this you in the photo?” In the near future consumers can search similar products and services from the web by using photos. Marketeers need to get ready for the change of search behaviour.
It has been said, that more than 70% of webstreaming will come from videos by the end of 2020. In the future AI can make conclusions and analyses based on videos. For example, we can choose the best brand videos of the year based on the AI’s suggestions. Picture and video identification will decrease the manual work of marketeer.
3. CONTENT PRODUCTION
The fact that AI will help in content production, is great news. Content producers might be scared that their jobs will disappear – I don’t believe that this is as black and white: Content producers will be needed in the future too. AI most likely will not write a Pulitzer winning novel. Or who knows maybe this will be possible in the future also.
Forbes uses AI for news producing and AI does that very successfully. The content produced by AI is still in children’s shoes that it can’t be fully trusted. Microsof's racist tweets are a proof of this. I still can’t wait for the time when AI can help with the content production of a small and middle-sized company.
4. SMART TARGETING OF ADVERTISING AND CONTENT
Day by day marketing is more personalized and targeted and it’s a great idea that no one has to see irrelevant adverts in the future. This is the way where we are going but we are still in the beginning of the journey. We all see adverts that we don’t want to see. Quantity replaces the quality in this case. AI is taking us towards a world where we see less but better adverts.
AI has bee used to target advertising for a long time now. Showing adverts to a certain person is like recommending shows on Netflix: It’s based on th behaviour of the user.
When advertising happens, like recommendations in the services you use, everybody benefits. I always love all the songs that Spotify recommends to me based on my song history. You can use the power of recommendation already on your website, in email marketing and Display advertising by serving certain content to different customer segments.
The amount of content online has grown with huge speed during last few years. The guestion is: Does business blogging acctually get results anymore in B2B marketing? Do the companies’ blogposts drown in the sea of other posts? Contents can get expensive to companies if there are no readers for them. Let’s address this issue based on data:
84% of companies say that business blogging is profitable
Research (2017) involving over thousand business bloggers, shows that 84% say that business blogging gets results. Those who spend over 6 hours writing an individual blogpost, tell that they have reached significant results (the avarage time spent on a blogpost is 3,5 hours). Being careless with your blogging you don’t get as good results, this rule is valid in all of your marketing operations.
Suprising is that, on avarage the length of companies’ blogposts has grown: the number of less than 500 words blogposts has decreased and at the same time posts over 2000 words have become more popular. According to the research longer articles produce better results and on avarage the length of a post is usually about 1000 words. You could have imagined that short and easy to read blogposts would get better results.
According to the same research companies that do blogging in B2B-marketing get 67% more leads than the non-blogging ones.
Media consumption in Finland
The research shows us that an avarage Finn consumes media almost 8 hours each day and year by year more of it is used online. A self evident fact but still important to mention, that companies’ blogs also exist online.
In the online use top-list there is still email holding the winning place, probably most of us spend a big part of our day with email. Serving business blogs via email, is very effective in B2B marketing.
Results of active business blogging
Year 2017 (2 posts in a month) we doubled the number of our blogposts at Vine compared to year 2016 (one blogpost in a month). We use around 6 hours on writing an individual blogpost and in addition to adding the number of our blogposts we also added the length of the posts.
Here are the results we got during 2017, with putting more effort into our blogposts, compared to year 2016:
1. Number of blog readers quadrupled
2. Organic search scores increased 35%
3. Number of leads tripled
4. Time spent on reading the posts quadrupled
5. Bounce rate decreased 20%
Marketing automation saves time by eliminating unnecessary manual work, and also makes cooperation of marketing and sales more efficient. Taking one step at a time brings you the benefits of automation. Take a closer look in our marketing automation blog post.
Three steps required for starting marketing automation:
1. high-quality and up-to-date marketing database
2. regular communications
3. content that you communicate
Your customer isn’t interested in your product or your service, at least not in long feature lists. Customer seeks for solution, help, and facilitation in the problems, routines, tasks and situations of their own operational environment. Well planned content is the key to arousing customer’s interest. When you offer content that is interesting specifically for the customers, they are more likely to become interested also in your product and service.
Where to get content?
Your customers speak for you the best. New customers are often interested in other customers’ experiences and success stories. You can start collecting your story bank from sales, customer service, maintenance, and from all those working with customers. Company’s traditions, history, charity targets, customer events, fairs, and other current news and subjects are great sources for stories. Starting content creation only takes one well thought story or message that has a clear goal.
How to offer the content?
Here are four steps through which you’ll create interesting content:
1. Set a clear goal
Is your goal to inform about your products or services? Or is your goal to get leads and add sales? Or maybe to manage and shape your company image? A well set and measurable goal gives meaning to content creation, makes following its success easier, and facilitates learning and developing for the future.
2. Choose your target group
Define a small enough target group. Think of a real or imaginary person as a part of your target group. Identify their expectations, interests, and expertise on your subject. Content that is created specifically for the target group appeals to readers better, and gets more clicks than a message that is prepared blindfolded.
3. Use suitable content and style
Choose content that suits your target group, and that serves your goal. Which appeals to your target group better; expert-written text, or a video or other visual content that appeals to emotions and imagination? How would you like your customers to react to your message? What takes you towards your target? Be careful, don’t go too much into detail. Demonstrate, teach, surprise, and remind! Get your customer excited with the help of stories and examples, through which they can get an answer or solution for their problem.
4. Collect interesting stories
Have you ever thought of how great stories your sales people could tell? They have an excellent view of your customer interface. The whole personnel of a company can basically be involved in content creation. Be brave and start with one content, and learn and develop on the way.
A good story or a demonstrating example that is easy to identify with are understandable and interesting ways of illustrating the necessity and functionality of your product. Customer can’t get a grip of the benefits of your product if you highlight and list only the excellent and technical product features. Refer to and concentrate rather on what your customer really gets and how they benefit if they buy your product.
Don’t set the bar too high. You can get started with one well thought content that is tailored for your target group. Once you’ve gotten started, follow the results of your message. What were the effects of your message, who reacted to it, and what parts of the content were the most interesting? Learn little by little, and improve and develop your next content. Move on bit by bit, keep your goals in mind, and follow how you reach them.
Start creating content, put your marketing database into shape, and start regular communications. After taking these three steps, starting marketing automation is easy. You’ll save time by eliminating unnecessary manual work, and make the cooperation of marketing and sales more efficient.
We organize webinars for example on Newsletter communication and content. Please notice that our webinars are held in Finnish.
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