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Generative AI is huge, and it's everywhere.

Bloomberg predicts AI spend will hit $1.3 trillion by 2032. Microsoft is investing $14 billion in Open AI. And Netflix has hired a director of AI at $900K a year—which shows me I'm clearly in the wrong profession.

And which corporate function will be most affected by AI, across all industries? You may (or may not) be surprised that it's Sales and Marketing.

How will the incredibly promising technology hit Marketing? Although some fear jobs will be lost to AI, most marketers are taking a rosier view. A full 71% of them say AI will make their work more strategic, not replace it.

How AI is Affecting B2B Sales and Marketing

After a decade-long lull in B2B marketing innovation after the introduction of marketing automation, generative AI is hitting like a tidal wave. So hang on to your trunks.

Up until now, B2B marketing-driven experiences have been static, linear, and one-way. But with digital natives entering B2B buying groups, customer expectations are changing. And just in time, AI is letting us respond with the kind of dynamic two-way customer-driven marketing experiences we once only talked about.

Thanks to its incredible ability to convert natural language prompts into images, videos, code, audio, and writing, AI can help us populate a digital shell with high-volume, highly relevant content, completely based on what customers and prospects are doing in that moment.

It can give us the customer insights needed to activate highly effective mass personalization.

And a hundred other things we haven't even thought of yet!

Four Investments to Win in the AI World

Don't get me wrong: We're still on the hook for pipeline. The average B2B revenue marketing team is now expected to deliver 40% of it. And the pressure continues to mount.

But, although it might be tempting to run out and AI everything, you're not looking for a nail to hit with your new hammer just because it's cool. World-class experiences will be delivered by a great plan, short- and long-term goals, and a superior operations layer focused on talent, technology, content, and governance.

1. Talent

This is not a time for layoffs, but for investment in talent. So create a vision for the next generation of work.

Shift from functional teams to matrixed G2M customer experience teams led by an "experience designer" (campaign manager). Teams should include an AI systems architect, a personalization strategist, a data-to-insights activation specialist, and an ethics/legal partner.

Build, buy, and borrow the talent you need. Get everyone engaged in goals, pilots, and of course successes.

2. Technology

Google lost $100 billion when Bard messed up a demo... but AMA's monthly engagement rate increased 42% when it used AI-developed subject lines.

Because AI can go either way, it's best to first build an AI tech strategy mapped to goals.

Audit your current stack, harness what you can, and stay current so you can grab any new functionality that offers efficiency gains and performance boosts many times the investment. Who knows—you may get a first-mover advantage. Then, stay in control: Train your team, test like crazy, and constantly ask yourselves, Is AI making us better?

3. Content

AI will be your content copilot. Instead of project managers driving your content production, you're going to need big thinkers driving content strategy and using AI to rapidly iterate.

4. Ethics and Governance

As Matthew McConaughey asks in a Salesforce ad, "If AI's the Wild West, who's the sheriff around here?"

In a recent survey, 73% of customers expressed concern that Gen AI will introduce new security risks.

Ongoing governance will cut risk and surprises. In a playground full of affordable capabilities such as deepfaking, someone on your team will be tempted to do something regrettable. Governance in this new era means setting boundaries, monitoring for ethics, and being transparent about where AI is used.

Ask experts to rate your AI-driven experiences and see which tools drive results securely and ethically.

Get Execs on Board and Ride the Wave

Your business plan needs to read like a P&L sheet. What's the expected impact on the Customer Experience? On revenue? How are you redeploying talent, reinvesting funds for pilots, gaining efficiencies?

Shop your plan around to your executive colleagues, from CFO to CHRO to CPO. How could it support their strategies? Once pencils are sharpened and you take it to the CEO, you'll already have plenty of buy-in.

AI's impact on marketing is real. The power of generative AI can banish content overload while sharpening generic personalization and aimless upselling. Small steps lead to big leaps in innovation.

It's time to usher in a new era of marketing-driven experiences.

More Resources on AI-Driven Customer experiences

Reduce Customer Churn and Maximize Revenue: It's Time to Let AI Do the Work

AI for Customer Support: More Meaningful Interactions, Less Costly Resolutions

The Power of AI in B2B Marketing and Communications | Marketing Smarts Live Show

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For AI-Driven B2B Customer Experiences, You'll Need These Four Strategic Investments

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image of Matt Roberts

Matt Roberts is the CEO of Demand Spring, a revenue marketing consultancy. He has 20+ years of marketing leadership experience at Forrester, Staples, and Schneider Electric, among others.

LinkedIn: Matt Roberts