I have yet to speak to a colleague in the marketing field who doesn’t feel some sort of pressure to figure out Artificial Intelligence. Some are qualifying potential partners. Others are identifying business processes with room for improvement. Many are researching marketing case studies to get a realistic level-set of who is using AI and for what. All good, but let me suggest something that trumps them all: your company’s data situation. It is a critical underlying component of any future engagement with AI.
AI runs on data, so now’s the time to clean up your data game. Your data doesn’t have to be perfect. But it’s important to have data that is identified, structured and organized in accessible places. Want a good place to start? Here are four simple steps:
1. First, find all the data sources. Many companies have multiple “sources of truth.” Look across your enterprise to see who is storing data. Siloed data makes it difficult to collaborate and obtain a unified view of your customer experience.
2. Then look at the kind of data you have. The more detailed and personalized data (PII) you collect on your customers, the better. It helps AI to understand individual prospects at scale. Don’t forget all the entities in your sales cycle. In the B2B world, distributors, brokers, resellers, etc. probably have customer data that you should gather.
3. Organize the data. Having a structured marketing database or a common repository is a huge asset before you run any AI programs.
4. Lastly, get the support of an executive who cares about your company’s master data strategy. If you don’t have one – or maybe you are that one (!) – then see if you can help your company organize, structure and integrate data so decisions can be made holistically across the organization.
AI can help improve the B2B customer experience broadly – from personalization to media mix optimization to rich consumer insights. But to get effective and real-time recommendations from any AI engine, you need a quality data position. What are you doing to prepare yourself for the addition of AI in your marketing programs?