Once again, Fox Agency was excited to visit the annual B2B Marketing Expo. Events in previous years have had a major focus on emerging digital capabilities, but this time was a little different. We are no longer thinking of AI, VR and AR as gimmicks, but instead these technologies are being used right now, to ensure prospective clients and customers are engaging with exactly the right content, at exactly the right time, in exactly the right way.
Yes, B2B is still a little way behind B2C (aren’t we always) – but emerging digital capabilities are most definitely making an impact in our world too. The issue for us, as B2B marketeers, is proving to our clients that these new technologies can be trusted to give a genuine ROI.
B2B CMOs are reluctant to take this leap of faith into new technologies. It is our responsibility to take the time and find out where the opportunities lie for our clients. But until we can prove that AI, VR and AR deliver cold, hard ROI – these digital trends will not be willingly adopted by the majority of B2B brands.
Another prominent theme at the Expo was the worry that AI is actually going to replace the need for human marketeers in the not-too-distant future. The feeling on the discussion panels was that we want to be able to automate the things that machines can do better than humans, but it’s imperative that we retain human creative flair, input and control where necessary. Because no machine can replace human insight and intuition, no matter how intelligent it becomes.
History has shown that the best balance is a relationship between human and machine. At the moment, these technologies may be able to write content, and analyse data – but there is still the need for someone to set their parameters, and create the rules. For now, it looks like our jobs are safe, however we can expect to see our job roles become much more specialised over the coming years; as machines become more independent, and human input is only required to fill the creative gaps.