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6.5 ways we’re using Gen AI in B2B marketing (without losing the magic)

#Innovation, #B2B, #DemandMarketing, #ContentMarketing, #Copywriting, #ExperienceDesign

Every time ChatGPT spits out a blog article that begins “In the fast-paced world of business…” a unicorn loses its horn.

Generative AI tools, including ChatGPT, Gemini, DALL-E and Midjourney, are topic du jour in B2B world. Early narrative was rife with doomsday messaging about the end of creativity and loss of marketing jobs. Fast forward a few short months and newly minted “experts” are rising up in droves, pitching hacks and paid courseware on how to be an AI rockstar (or guru or ninja or whatever).

It’s A LOT.

Our B2B clients count on us to stay on top of tech innovation. To help them separate the signal from the noise. Our aim here is not to add to the AI chatter, but to share practical, hands-on reflections on how we’ve been working with gen AI tools—because there are plenty of opportunities to get it right. From strategy through activation, we’ve identified six (and a half) use cases that are helping our teams move faster and more efficiently without compromising strategic or creative integrity.

Our B2B clients count on us to stay on top of tech innovation. To help them separate the signal from the noise.

6.5 ways we’re using generative AI at Quarry

1. Ramping up quickly

Whether it’s a new brand, solution, industry or audience, Quarry clients expect that we quickly become the expert. That way we can have more knowledgeable client conversations, better understand needs and goals, and get smart work into market faster. Gen AI can be fantastic at distilling huge amounts of complex information into chunky, easy-to-understand formats. Our teams have found that ChatGPT has become an integral part of their daily workflow, overtaking much of the Googling conventionally associated with desktop research. Caveat: Ensure your AI tool is fueled by up-to-date data sets if that’s the type of intel you’re after.

Qtip: To augment your learning, ask your gen AI tool to write a summary of a specific industry/sector/verticals, prompting for a general overview, important industry attributes, market influences, key players/competitors and high-level SWOT.

2. Building account and target lists

Much of the demand marketing work we do at Quarry is account-based—tightly targeted and deeply personalized. Gen AI can be great at generating a list of high-potential target accounts that serves as a starting point for evaluation and comparison, particularly for accounts whose attributes are well-defined but may not easily be found through typical means, such as described on their websites. We employ tools like ChatGPT to build lists of potential roles and functions involved in buying decisions for a particular type of purchase within a particular industry, allowing us to zero in on targeting opportunities and guide messaging decisions.

Qtip: Have your gen AI tool build a list of potential target accounts based upon specific firmographic/technographic criteria including firm size, location and/or industry.

3. Inspiring divergent thinking

We’re staunch believers that creativity is not an on-off switch, nor can great work be produced by hitting a few keys. (Have you seen ChatGPT try and be witty or charming or deep!?) But gen AI can help tweak creative thinking and inspire new avenues that might just lead somewhere extraordinary. For example, on a recent brand naming project, our teams found ChatGPT to be an excellent idea builder and helped open the team’s mind and vocabulary and inspire fresh terrain.

Qtip: Prompt your gen AI tool to build on nuggets of ideas by asking for synonyms, metaphors or allegories. This will send your brain in glorious new directions.

4. Starting and polishing content

Generative content AI tools can certainly create huge amounts of content at scale. But they can’t create content that has a unique POV. They can’t create emotional connections with the reader through rich storytelling. And they can’t make a persuasive argument that leads uniquely to your brand. That said, we have found use cases that make our content clearer and more effective—think editor, not writer. Our teams use gen AI to organize content (e.g. create outlines or logically block key messages), identify new ideas for derivative formats and angles (e.g. turn a whitepaper into a one-pager or a webinar transcript into soundbites for social), and fine-tune copy for tone and clarity.

Generative content AI tools can certainly create huge amounts of content at scale. But they can’t create content that has a unique POV.

Qtip: Ask your gen AI tool to synthesize your copy and produce a summary of key takeaways to help clarify your writing or spot holes in your argument.

5. Visualizing creative strategy

Extra limbs and uncanny valley phenomenon aside, generative design AI tools like DALL-E, Stable Diffusion and Midjourney can be cost- and time-effective. What’s more, they can help internal and external stakeholders better understand and align on the creative strategy. With strong vision and iteration, practiced craftspeople can spin up moodboards, storyboards or full creative experiences that define the setting, scene, cast and composition of a creative idea. Recently, our teams leveraged Midjourney for an ABM campaign for Chevron Lubricants, establishing a head-turning creative look and feel that fueled a strong campaign.

Qtip: Use a combination of gen AI tools for more control over creative output. Generate a “stage” in Midjourney, then generate and upscale characters. Finish by blending shadows and reflections with generative fills in Adobe Photoshop.

6. Speeding up visual production

For years, designers have been hamstrung by what’s available for purchase on stock image libraries. Hours are spent searching for images and fiddling with layouts to make the creative work just right (a real challenge when resizing digital banners, for example). Gen design AI tools are literally changing the craft and our teams have been loving Adobe Photoshop’s new “fill” and “extend” features. No longer beholden to the original dimensions of an image, designers make the image bend to their whims and needs. Recent ABM creative for Graebel is a great example of gen AI efficiency in action.

Qtip: You don’t always get the result you want with Photoshop’s Gerative Expand and Fill on the first try. Subtly vary the prompt with each iteration to refine and hone in on the best outcome.

6.5 Unleashing video creation possibilities

Video is the next big leap in gen AI for marketers, and it’s going to be a doozy. Gen AI video will usher in the era of audacious imagination, empowering Marketing & Sales teams to bring bold ideas to life in ways that are beyond the scope of reality. For example, tools like this new one from Vidyard enable salespeople to create personalized videos with AI avatars. We’re working with new video tools as they emerge, experimenting and learning fast so we might bring these innovations into our client work in the near future.

Another tool in the marketing toolkit

Generative AI tools are by no means a silver bullet for marketers, but they’re also not a flash in the pan. New versions of available tools are continually improving functionality, realism and creative possibilities, and new tools are cropping up every week to keep us on our toes.

Generative AI tools are by no means a silver bullet for marketers, but they’re also not a flash in the pan.

Marketers and their agency partners will continue to learn how, when and—most importantly—why to use gen AI in their workflows. We’re taking a flywheel approach to experimentation and keeping an open mind as to how AI will influence and increasingly inspire the way we design, create and iterate.

But can we all pinky swear not to use ChatGPT to write crummy blog articles? Good, that’s settled then.