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B2B marketers are ‘generally unclear’ of what AI means, according to research


By Minda Smiley | Reporter

June 28, 2018 | 3 min read

B2B marketers are still very much in the early stages of grappling with artificial intelligence (AI) and how it applies to their businesses, according to a research conducted by two marketing firms.


According to the report, which surveyed more than 300 B2B marketing and sales professionals, those who work in the field are “generally unclear of what AI means and the potential impact it could have on their business to achieve objectives.” The report was conducted by marketing and sales intelligence software firm EverString and sales acceleration company Heinz Marketing.

The survey found that 32% of marketers are not confident in their knowledge of AI, while 54% are only somewhat confident in their knowledge of it. Only 12.8% of respondents reported feeling “very confident” in their level of knowledge of AI in the context of marketing technology.

While marketers have “broad expectations for AI,” some admit that they are still unsure if they fully understand what AI is. A large portion of marketers said they do not understand the differences in types of AI, such as machine learning and predictive modeling.

“AI is one of the most hyped terms in marketing technology with a variety of ideas and perspectives coming from vendors, thought leaders, and analysts,” the report states. “The hype has likely created a fog of confusion with many B2B marketers because the broad visionary concepts likely distract from how to get the best value today.”

When asked what role AI plays in their marketing strategy, 49% selected the option “no role currently.” Roughly 30% said they use it to identify market opportunities, while 14% said AI is used to project future revenue performance.

As far as expectation of AI go, 59% of marketers said they would like to use it to “help to identify prospective customers.” Nearly 40% said their expectations involve using AI to identify macro market trends and opportunities, while 41.4% said they expect it to help them identify specific account opportunities.

“Marketers are most interested in using AI to drive powerful customer engagement with personalization as well as improving data management, identifying market opportunities, and building pricing models,” the report says.

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