How Artificial Intelligence Will Shape B2B SaaS Marketing (Plus Tips From SMEs)
AI is gradually becoming ingrained in our everyday life at work (and outside work).
The proof is everywhere you look: ChatGPT, Jasper, and other generative AI tools have become a big part of many brands’ martech stacks.
There are also enterprise software companies, such as Box, HubSpot, and Salesforce, integrating these tools into their products to stay relevant and maintain or increase market share. Plus, the AI market is on its way to a nearly $2 trillion USD valuation by 2030 if innovations keep up at this pace and we become even more reliant on the technology.
So, what does the future hold for the industry?
Should we worry about our jobs becoming obsolete? Are the speculations about artificial intelligence taking our jobs true? How can we prepare for what’s to come?
To help you better understand and prepare, I break down four ways AI will shape marketing, along with insights from SMEs.
Let’s jump right in.
4 Ways Artificial Intelligence Will Shape B2B SaaS Marketing
1. AI Will Replace Marketers With Mediocre Skills
When ChatGPT first hit the market, many people feared it would replace content marketers and writers.
Of course, there are still lots of varying viewpoints on LinkedIn and X (formerly known as Twitter)— you’ve probably seen the “99% of people are using ChatGPT wrong” posts 😅. However, generative AI won’t be kicking marketers and writers out of their jobs, at least not yet.
Instead, AI will replace those with mediocre skills. Ross Simmonds puts it this way:
“Give a mediocre writer an AI tool, and you’ll get mediocre writing. Give a good writer an AI tool, and you’ll get good writing. Give a great writer an AI tool, and you just might find a masterpiece written in half the time.”
Ross Simmonds, Founder and CEO at Foundation Marketing Inc.
Mediocre skills, in this context, mean writers creating basic content with generic information, poor research and formatting, repetitive/fluffy information, and over-reliance on stock images. However, if you
- Have deep industry research skills
- Add personality, expert insights, and stats from recent industry reports
- Can create content that speaks directly to your audience and gains their trust
- Evoke the right blend of emotions and drive sales using words
You’re definitely on your way to becoming a valuable asset who can do what AI can’t.
Pro Tip: To succeed in an AI world, become great at doing audience research to identify topics your audience cares about, how often they search for them, their intent and pain points, and the language used.
Incorporate original content research, subject matter expertise, and examples into your content to make the piece more valuable for your audience. Also, add visuals to break up text and make your content easier to digest. That way, your audience will see you as the expert, and Google will also reward you for showcasing E-E-A-T on your site.
2. Prompt Engineering Will Become a Must-have Skill for Marketers
If you’ve tried any generative AI tool, you’ve probably noticed its results sometimes fall short of your expectations.
Sure, these tools have impressive features and seem to get better over time, but they sometimes provide irrelevant or inaccurate information. To improve the quality of output from these tools, you should know how to prompt the tool.
Prompt engineering involves using the right instructions to communicate and make AI tools understand and generate the response you’re looking for.
This concept became a buzzword and a career path worth considering after the rollout of ChatGPT in late 2022. From Forbes to Insider, tech and business publications are gushing over the new career path, which sometimes commands upwards of $350K.
But you don’t have to switch career paths to get better at writing prompts that give you the answers you need or something really close to it.
My colleague, Ethan Crump, puts it this way:
“A well-engineered prompt effectively communicates your intent to the AI model so it generates answers that accurately address your question. That’s why knowing how to wield these tools is incredibly valuable, particularly if you’re in the content creation or marketing game.”
Ethan Crump, Senior Content Marketing Specialist at Foundation Marketing Inc.
Developing prompt engineering skills is certainly in your best interest as a marketer or content creator. You can start with the basics — understanding what makes a good prompt, how the language model was trained, and industry-specific use cases and examples. Here are some resources to get you started:
- Prompt Engineering: A Guide for Marketers and Content Creators
- AI Skills Initiative – Training and Resources | Microsoft CSR
- OpenAI’s Official ChatGPT Prompt Engineering Guide
- Prompt Engineering for ChatGPT | Coursera
- Google Cloud Generative AI Skill Badge
3. Zero-click Searches Will Become Even More Intense
Google rolled out Search Generative Experience to bring AI-generated answers directly to the search results page.
This is definitely a step up from the traditional featured snippet, as the AI combines answers from three sources to give users the best possible answers, plus a list of the most relevant web pages for users to learn more (if they choose to).
For many marketers, this means zero-click search will become more competitive, as many will start looking for ways to snag any of those spots for their business.
Zero-click search gives you and your audience the answers they need without having to click on any search result links. Amanda Natividad, VP of Marketing at Sparktoro, defines it this way:
“For marketers, writers or creators, zero-click content means giving the juiciest information upfront, earning engagement so the algorithm rewards your post, and building enough goodwill that your audience remembers you next time, seeks you out later, or even clicks on your profile to go find your call-to-action.”
Amanda Natividad, VP of Marketing at Sparktoro
Before Google’s experiment, Semrush found that 25.6% of desktop and 17.3% of mobile searches are zero-click searches.
Before now, this used to mean users could still find and click on your page if it appeared on page 1 of Google’s SERP. But with AI, they are more likely to engage with content that appears among the list of links that follow the AI-generated answer.
So, how do you stand out in a crowded marketplace and avoid significant organic traffic?
- Optimize for featured snippets: Structure your content to directly address common questions in your industry or questions relevant to your target audience.
- Provide valuable and engaging content: Offer in-depth insights, actionable tips, and engaging formats such as videos, infographics, or interactive elements to encourage users to click and explore further.
- Optimize your website for mobile: Ensure your website is mobile-friendly and offers a seamless user experience — fast loading times, responsive design, and easy navigation.
- Target long-tail keywords that align with user intent and reflect specific search queries: These keywords often have less competition and a higher chance of triggering clicks from users seeking more detailed information.
- Repurpose and distribute content on the platforms your audience spends time on: Increase your organic reach and traffic and avoid relying on one platform alone.
4. AI Will Become a Part of Every Marketer’s Tech Stack; It’s Only a Matter of Time and Lots of Tweaks
Twilio’s CMO, Joyce Kim, predicts sales and marketing teams in every company will make generative/predictive AI a core part of every tool that they use in 12 months.
“Every company” and 12 months might be a stretch, but her point of view isn’t without proof. Companies such as LinkedIn, Microsoft, Snowflake, and Salesforce are already incorporating generative AI into their tools — companies with millions of users.
Currently, many marketers still fear that AI content isn’t high quality enough, so we shouldn’t rely on them. I completely agree that generative AI tools give generic answers and share false information sometimes — ChatGPT puts the disclaimer on its page:
However, AI isn’t supposed to be a substitute for our brains (no offense). Instead, we should partner with the tool to create high-quality content. This means:
- Prompting the tool with as much content about your audience and topic as possible to get near-accurate answers
- Reaching out to SMEs to make the piece more authoritative
- Editing its output to ensure it aligns with your brand voice, audience intent, and language and includes unique insights and relevant examples or statistics
- Turning blocks of text into illustrative visuals to make the piece more engaging
Tequia Burt, Editor in Chief at LinkedIn Collective & LinkedIn Ads Blog, puts it this way:
“It’s easy to think of the generative AI tool as an authority; you ask a question and it gives you a detailed response that sounds knowledgeable. But it’s better to think of it as a companion to your own intellect. It won’t always give you 100% complete and correct information, but it can still be hugely beneficial for many common marketing activities.”
Tequia Burt, Editor in Chief at LinkedIn Collective & LinkedIn Ads Blog
AI isn’t replacing writers who are great thinkers, researchers, and editors. Instead, it will become a sparring buddy and assistant for many marketing teams using the tool to elevate their work in half the time and create something readers will truly love.
Prioritize Originality and Experience While Using AI Tools
When using AI tools, it’s important to focus on two things: being original and drawing from your own experience. ChatGPT, Jasper, and other tools can’t give you these.
- Use AI tools to come up with ideas, but add your own unique perspective and think creatively to make your piece original
- Combine your expertise with information from these tools to provide depth and context to the AI-generated content
- Review AI content to make sure it’s accurate and will resonate with your audience
Overall, recognize that artificial intelligence has its limitations, so you should prioritize your judgment and experience. AI is a tool that helps you, but you determine its output. AI, or ChatGPT, cannot replace originality and experience. So, even if you do use AI as a generative tool, it is something that will set it apart for the better!