Avoid Getting Caught in the Next B2B Marketing Crisis

Nick Arnaiz
October 9, 2019

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Wait, what B2B marketing crisis?

If you’ve been watching the news at all concerning global relations (in your lifetime…), then you probably feel like there’s always some kind of conflict brewing up.

The same could be said for the marketplace, except instead of talk around a potential conflict, you get talk around recessions (and with some news outlets, depressions). While some blow off the talk as just that, we’ll never forget what surprised us in 2008.

People lost their jobs and I feared losing my own after hearing first-hand what was on the table in the C-Suite.  The business I worked in experienced a significant reduction in top line as customers were tightening budgets, and yet we had to produce the same, if not better, results with less budget ourselves.

Customers expected more of their vendors because they themselves had to makeup for their own shortfalls, and with less budget to boot. Needless to say, it was definitely not a good time to be Jurassic Park’s John Hammond (“Spare no expense!”).

So how do you prepare as a B2B marketing leader for the ‘recessions and rumors of recessions,’ especially the very real possibility of one looming over us for 2020? (i.e. the next B2B marketing crisis)

 

The need to get more from your B2B marketing with a lot less

You already know how you contribute to top-line revenue.  And you don’t have time, or money, to invent your own radical stuff to prepare for such a crisis. You need something that’s ready that you can test now, and something that has the power to easily outperform the processes that are already in place.

Not to mention it’s got to be compatible with the processes that are in place. Recessions aren’t necessarily predicted in years… rather, they are predicted in months.

No doubt your head has been deep into all the different options you can get into, especially the ones that use the magic word “AI”. But how do you sort through it all, most especially when that magic word is used (or any sort of word combination that could pass in Star Trek)?

 

The first and most important lesson about AI

Since joining LeadCrunch, I’ve already achieved one of my first wishes: to understand what someone really means when they say they use AI in a specific marketing application.  

I say this specifically because AI has always been this intriguing mystery to me. Much like anything that is given a big category name, I feel like it has been pushed on me by the market as the next big mysterious, powerful thing that I have to have for my marketing

After sitting down with LeadCrunch’s Chief Scientist, Steve Biafore, I learned the first and most valuable lesson someone should know if they are thinking about bringing this type of application into their own marketing and sales processes: It’s that not all AI is created equal.

What you think an AI application is may not be what someone else thinks an AI application is, especially if you’re not talking to a data scientist. In fact, there are tons of articles available from reputable authors that spell out all the various functions of ‘AI’, how shallow it can be to still ‘count’ and also how deep it can truly go.

We have to go beyond the basic “AI” message and get deeper into what is actually being offered.

 

You need to know what you’re really putting into your marketing processes

Have you ever sat down and thought about new medicines you decide to put into your body? Or do you just take it because, ‘the doctor said’? 

For a long time, I used to be the person that would just blindly take a medicine as long as it came recommended from someone that was in a place of authority. I didn’t really look to see how much they knew about it or specialized in it. I just figured that because they are in that position, they just know better. And you know what? We as human beings are actually biased towards that type of trust.

But have you ever experienced crazy side effects? To the point where if you continued taking that medicine, you not only lose the money you used to purchase it but actually risk the health you need to actually carry on your day-to-day job?

Well adding a B2B AI technology, a B2B AI subscription, or a B2B AI whatever to your marketing processes can have the potential of doing just that if you DON’T know what you’re really getting.

Just like the consequence of using a rapidly rising, highly unregulated recreational drug.

The risk that’s always there from a marketing and sales perspective is a loss of capital, and we all get that. But when you’re dealing in something that is directly affecting teams of people over a not-so-short period of time… like sales teams and developers… the risk goes way beyond the cash you just put down.

So really, it’s not just WHAT you’re putting into your team’s ‘body’ so to speak, it’s also HOW LONG it takes to revert back out of it if something doesn’t work out. And this is especially important if you’re preparing for a recession. You need to know this thing is going to help fast (months… not years, remember?), and if it doesn’t, you have to be able to shift fast without losing the trust of those you’re pushing through the process.

For example: I was recently prescribed a medication that has a half-life of 60 hours (2.5 some days), meaning, if I experience some bad side effects, it’s going to be a lot longer to feel normal if I stop it because it takes that long just for HALF of it to get out of my body. With the vast majority of medications out there, 99% of it will be out in a few days. With this one, it may be as long as 2 weeks when you do the math.

And unfortunately, I had an adverse reaction to it. But I fully knew what I was getting into, and I have no surprise in how long I have to deal with the consequences of taking that risk. That’s how executives operate. If I were recommending some new B2B Marketing tech to fight with in the recession, especially one using AI, I would want you to be in that position of knowledge and expectation. Could you afford not to?

 

So what AI does LeadCrunch actually offer?

So you see where I’m going here. How can I write about this without going into some detail about what I’ve learned about LeadCrunch’s offering?

What I’ve learned is that the actual form of AI we are using is a technology most similar in the marketplace today as Facebook Ad’s Lookalike technology, except this focuses primarily on B2B and is not restricted to a platform, whereas Facebook is focused on B2C and can only really apply the technology within their platform.

What this technology does (similar to what Facebook has done) is NOT crunch all the data that already exists out there.  It actually creates a series of underlying data points that no one else has, and in a format that can be ‘crunched’ by a computer. It uses this data to analyze organizations and compare them to find those that are most like them through a number of signal correlations named weak learners.

What’s brilliant about using weak learners is that it prevents the big fault that most very complex predictive models experience: overfitting. In overfitting, the model produces a highly predictive model that is too tied to the original data set and just cannot perform the same (or even close) with another data set (or the real world for that matter). This is why weak-learner-based models continue to outperform very complex ones in contests from the likes of Netflix who need that knowledge to help customers connect with more of their not-so-recent content (i.e. must keep them hooked!)

And then when you constantly feed that system feedback on the quality of its data-driven output (leads), it automatically gets better and better at producing a higher quality. 

But why go the “new data” route? Why not just use what’s out there? Because things like SIC and NAICS codes were not actually built for the purposes they are being used for today. And, more important, they aren’t truly helping you, or anyone else in the industry for that matter, analyze or compare in a way that’s going to help you get more new business right now. This is something that is truly different. 

Also, going back to the medication analogy, would you buy a medication from just any source?

Our Chief Scientist and VP of Customer and Marketing go into this in more detail in this free white paper: How to Win the Love of Your CEO, B2B Data Reimagined

 

What I like about this detailed resource as someone coming in from the outside is that it is CLEAR without watering down what’s really going on.

 

What’s the half-life of an engagement with AI? What are the side effects?

Meaning, how much commitment… how much hook up… does this require to try on a pilot basis?

In order to utilize the LeadCrunch artificial intelligence system, the only data you really need to provide is a list of your best customers. And just the company names, not personal identifying information. That’s it.

The crunching system of LeadCrunch is supported by a variety of automated systems that have already scraped and analyzed millions of websites, and the like, performing analyses that then transforms those results into original crunchable numbers, allowing for unique values and multiple values. That is what enables it to find algorithmically similar organizations, not based on the way others already recognize them (SIC, NAICS), but moreso on ways that the system has already learned to recognize the best lookalikes.

Again, for a very transparent look on how this happens, download this white paper:

(It’s like going into a Krispy Kreme donut shop… where you see all the donuts being made in front of your eyes through clear glass.)

 

What is the tangible?

From there, we have an application system that discovers the right people from those organizations that are most algorithmically similar to your existing customers and helps deliver them to you in a form your team can digest: leads.

And they aren’t just the first names, emails and numbers anyone can find; they are pre-qualified through a rigorous automated 9-point check system. The qualification is so effective that it should be its own product (but it isn’t… it’s just included).

So instead of having to create APIs… or hook up systems… or find people on your team that you have to pile even more work on top of, you get an end product that you can simply feed to sales or sales development reps. There is nothing else you have to do. (i.e. the side effects are minimal)

And you can do it on a project by project basis. So the half-life can be a little as… 2 weeks? (when you count in things like a launch and status calls, etc)

 

Don’t be tricked by a broad marketing message

Without understanding exactly what’s inside of that new thing you need to bring on, you may be spending more than you bargained for (in the front end, and in the back). And then, you definitely won’t be ready for a recession, at least not the one looming over 2020. 

Download this white paper to see exactly what’s inside the our AI technology powering LeadCrunch, and see if this radically different approach is the thing you need to avoid the next B2B marketing crisis.

Further Reading

Lainey Mebust
May 29, 2020
Olin Hyde
April 8, 2020
. 5 min read
Lainey Mebust