MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2023

Dawn of the Next-Gen B2B Marketer with Paul Roetzer

AI is just getting started, says Paul Roetzer.

And the sooner you incorporate AI, the better chance you have to succeed in business.

But there are levels of AI’s competency. You don’t want AI to run the company, for example. Instead you want lower-level AI to handle the mundane…

While your people do the uniquely human work of building relationships and being creative.

Check out this video excerpt and transcript from Paul’s keynote at 2022’s B2B Forum—the most actionable B2B marketing conference on the planet.


So when you look at a software, the question is:

What is the machine gonna do, and what am I the marketer gonna do?

And so we just kind of have this very simplistic thing where it’s like, level zero is where most of your software is today. It’s all you, all human, all the time.

Level one, the AI starts to do pieces of it. It’s assisting you. It’s not making decisions. It’s not doing everything for you.

Level two is kind of half and half

Level three, mostly machine. You’re just kinda like giving it some goals, overseeing it, maybe telling it yes, no, that was good, that was bad. But it basically does its own thing.

Level four is, you just tell it, “I want 500 leads in this industry in the next three months and here’s my budget. Go do it.”

Level one and level two is actually what you’re looking for.

This is where most AI technology is today. It is mostly still you, but it can save you a lot of time and money just at level one and level two. That is not a bad thing.

Level three, I could probably listen to an argument from a vendor at level three. They would probably lose the argument, but some vendors think they’re there. They’re probably not. And that’s, again, not a bad thing.

Level four, if you talk to a vendor that says, “we’re fully autonomous ad management” or “fully autonomous this,” they’re lying or misinformed about what their product is capable of. It does not exist. Because that means the human has no oversight. There’s no human in the loop in this. I just tell it what to do and it’s never gonna be wrong.

We’re not there and we don’t even need to get there. I would argue we shouldn’t get there as marketers.

So the key, “is how is it gonna reduce costs? How is it gonna increase my revenue?”

So the key takeaway: a little bit of AI can go a very long way.

Level one, level two is fantastic if you have the right use case, the right technology.

Spend a moment on my thesis of where this is all going because I think this is critical for your business and your career path.

In May, I wrote a blog post called The Future of Business is AI or Obsolete.

Basic theory is, every business in every industry is going to be AI native—meaning from the ground up, I look at your business and say, “we can build a smarter version of that and we’re gonna go do it.”

Insurance brokers, retailers, marketing, whatever. It’s just: build a smarter version from the ground up with AI infused.

AI emergent is, “I’m an existing company and I believe AI is the future. And I’m going to start one by one infusing it into different elements of my company. I’m gonna build a smarter business myself.”

The third is: obsolete.

Now I’m not saying you’re done overnight. But it is going to be literally impossible to create the same value as the companies that figure this stuff out.

And I tell you right now: if you give me five really smart AI people, a couple of strategists and domain experts who know their industry, there is no way we don’t build a smarter version of that company.

If budgets are limitless and whatever, you can build a smarter version of every single company. And again, everyone on this list is gonna be impacted by that.

The way I look at it is if I look at any business model and say, “okay, can we better personalize experiences? Can we create a better overall experience for people? Can we intelligently automate repetitive tasks? Where is the inefficiency in the business where humans are doing things they don’t need to be doing?” They can do more fulfilling things. You know, creative things, strategic things, being empathetic, building relationships—the things we’re still uniquely capable of.

And the last is enhancing creativity, innovation, and decision making. There is not a business that couldn’t be made smarter with these three things.

So that would be my takeaway here: you can build a smarter version of your company.

And the reason is like, why is this happening now?

There’s five quick things I’m gonna tell you.

One is data. It is coming from everywhere. As marketers, we have data coming in from every single technology-thing we’re using. So the data increases exponentially, but what we’re able to do with it is very limited. So because of the data this is happening.

The second is that need for convenience and personalization. The experiences I have with B2C brands, I want with B2B brands. I do not want to fight with your terrible chatbot when I’m used to having a really good conversational experience with this B2C brand. I’m a human. I buy from humans and brands. It doesn’t matter if it’s B2B software or some consumer experience.

The other thing is we are all faced with this current economy that does not appear to be turning anytime soon. We’re asked to create the same output, same performance with less resources. Can’t get a new headcount. Things like that. AI helps us achieve those outcomes with less resources.

The fourth is the cost of this stuff is coming down dramatically. You can go get Runway ML—the one that generates videos—for 28 bucks a month. You can get Descript for 15 bucks a month, 19 bucks a month, whatever it is. You can access this stuff. Dall-E 2 is 15 bucks a month. So the cost of doing these things is becoming less and less. It’s democratizing access to it.

And then the last is venture capital. Money is pouring into these companies. So this [chart] is a venture deal in the US in 2021. Now it’s dropped down in ‘22 cuz everything is dropped down in 22, [but it shows] $40 billion in the US alone [invested] into AI startups and venture funded companies. 1,100 deals.

So the AI isn’t gonna replace the need to build great cultures, BA businesses, and great teams.

But again, if you don’t have AI, you’re not gonna be able to compete with the people that do.

Published 5/31/23

B2B Forum is packed with marketing insights, strategies, and tactics taken from the real world experience of over forty industry experts, packaged into context you can actually put to use.

Join us in Boston for B2B Forum 2024 this coming November 12-14, 2024. Early buyers get B2B Forum tickets at their lowest rate, and discounted hotel rooms are available while they last.


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