Content Marketing in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Web marketing , and especially content marketing, aims to address “customers’ pain points”. Companies that succeed in satisfying their customers are the ones that identifythese “pain points” and provide services and products to resolve them. Web marketing has helped businesses to provide customers with fulfilling experience and loyalty, a phenomenon which is termed “customer experience”. A good example is Amazon: it provides a first-rate customer experience which is way better than what conventional distributors offer.

Computer science and artificial intelligence strengthen the marketing prowess with innovative tools and software. However,their worth is established only if they help marketers to create original, creative and quality content.

What these tools do best is that they provide added value to the content. Useful tools help to find relevant information in the mass of data, and subsequently synthesize and review it. It is not a mammoth task to initiate content marketing in a company having more than 10 employees. It could be easily done by bringing in experts in a particular field who have good communication skills and are helped by the company’s marketing team. They could be excellent content creators.

There is no marketing without customer. What are the customer’s concerns and how to reach them? How are their requirements detected?

artificial intelligence
Bosworth’s famous pyramid of client pain points

In content marketing, and for the B2B sector in particular, pain points mater more than requirements. This notion comes from the book ‘Solution Selling’ by Michael Bosworth. He explains the different levels of client problems through a pyramid hierarchical structure. At the top of the pyramid, there are pains that customers are aware of and for which they have an idea as to what the solution would be: customers know they have a problem and who can solve it. What Bosworth emphasizes here is that if the customer has reached this place already, you’ve lost the game. This segment is of no more interest.

At the second level of the pyramid is the problem which the customer if aware of, but he has no idea about any solution. This situation is relatively easy, because when you arrive with the solution, the customer will immediately associate it with the problem. Thus, when a salesman says you have a problem there, and I have the solution, chances are that he will leave with a sale- because he solves a problem.

The most difficult case lies at the base of the pyramid, and it occurs very frequently in technology: the customer has a problem, but he is not aware of it. In such a scenario, the first thing to do is to identify the problem, and there are several methods for doing it. One of these methods is the consultative method, in which we carry out an audit to show that the customer has a problem. If he agrees to purchase the solution, the price of the audit is waived off.

Supplying Value-Added Services

Here, I am touching on what Joe Pine calls the “economy of experience”. This is a stage rarely reachable for most businesses. He reckons that retailers are lost. Amazon is perhaps an exception to this, since its model is coherent with the ‘economy of experience’ approach and it has managed to create an incredible customer experience- even to the detriment of its profitability

Indeed, Amazon’s model is questionable. The notion that Amazon sells at a loss is both true and false. Amazon does not sell at a loss, it’s Amazon’s Achilles heel. Amazon sells servers that yield huge margins, and at the same time it sells toothpicks that are delivered on Sundays. Although selling toothpicks itself doesn’t bring any financial gain, through this Amazon creates an economy of experience. The ideology is simple: if the customer is satisfied with buying even toothpicks, he will turn to Amazon when he will need to buy something big. It is neither more nor less than a classic retail strategy (such as the one practiced by large retailers since the 1960s).

We have witnessed significant progress in machine translation lately, though, we must acknowledge that the resulting content lacks style. Nonetheless, it allows for a first translation quite fast, much better than what we had in the past. You have to recognize the utility, and the limit, of technology.

Speech recognition is not something very new. Its foundations date back to the years 1960-1970, when a Russian guy invented its basic algorithms. I have been using it a lot since past fifteen years. It’s not AI. The voice recognition system does not understand what I’m saying. Moreover, it sometimes makes serious mistakes. Let’s not forget that our vocabularies are very limited (a few thousand words, and includes many tics of language). It is necessary to know how to burnish: an hour and a half would suffice to correct this text (and misinterpretations made by the machine, as it happens to forget a negative, among other errors).

Content marketing

It’s all about content: who creates it, what is its added value, its differentiation, where does it come from, and where should it come from. Does it come from within, from collaborators, or from an external source?

In reality, any of these possibilities can occur, and often the result is a mix of many. It depends on the company. If I have a company with three employees, it’s more difficult to make a collaborative blog; whereas if I have 10, 20, 100, 1000 … it will be a lot easier. In a large company, it is very easy to make collaborative blogs. Fundamentally speaking, the more a company is able to leverage its internal B2B expertise to demonstrate its skills through its content, the better!

This is our specialty. It’s supporting customers that have the will and also the capacity to carry out such a project with at least 10 contributors (below 10, things are getting a lot difficult to manage), that is to say more than ten contributors at least. We must accompany them to ensure that they are able to manage their content themselves. Often, customers are afraid that their engineers/specialists wouldn’t know how to write. And it’s even worse when it happens that managers frighten them by telling that they can’t write properly. Thus, it is invaluable to have an expert by your side, especially when it comes to the realm of technology.

Yann Gourvennec
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Yann Gourvennec

CEO & Founder at Visionary Marketing
Yann has a long-standing experience in marketing, information systems and Web marketing. He created visionarymarketing.com in 1996 and since then, he has practiced Web strategy, e-business and Web communications in the field. He was a member of socialmedia.org from 2008 till 2013. He is a lecturer, a keynote speaker, an author and blogger. In early 2014, he went from intrapreneur to entrepreneur when he founded his digital marketing agency Visionary Marketing.
Yann Gourvennec
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