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The Robots are Taking Over: but why could B2B marketers be the only ones safe?

02 December 2021

Rachie McCarthy

3 mins

blog

We’ve all been witnessing the rise of robotic science and intelligence, with recent years seeing robots taking over many jobs from warehouse packers to bomb squad heroes. There are multiple reasons why they are being introduced to multiple workplaces, but the simple fact is that with the advancements in technology nowadays, robots can simply do some jobs better than people. But as they encroach into more and more industries, will we all be out of a job in the near future? Perhaps not. Let’s take a look at why B2B marketing jobs might remain the one area where robots just can’t go.


Now I’ve previously spoken about the uses of AI that are quickly emerging in B2B marketing. From chatbots to data analysis, there’s no denying that it can make your marketing strategy go quite a bit smoother. But could they replace marketers entirely? The quick answer is no, they can’t. But that’s not completely accurate, as they’re already being used in aspects of the job that were solely human before. It used to be that we would have to gather and analyse the data from campaigns and the like ourselves, but now AI algorithms can do it far faster and more accurately than we ever could. But still remains our responsibility to create and evolve those algorithms depending on the current customer and marketing climate.


This brings me nicely into the first reason why robots will never fully be able to take over marketing jobs. Whilst they can analyse and react to data and any changes that occur within it, they cannot analyse the reasoning behind such changes. Imagine the click throughs on your ad campaign for say, an event are going down due to the government announcing an increase in Covid cases (not to be pessimistic, I just wanted to give a relevant example!), an AI algorithm isn’t going to recognise why those numbers are going down, or how to alter them to start rising again (say a switch to a virtual event). Only humans can recognise the swift changes in human behaviour and society, hence why they’re currently just assigned to dealing with the numbers.


Secondly, let’s talk about emotion, and why this is the reason robots will never be able to design or build the actual marketing campaigns that B2B excels in. A robot can imitate human emotion, like changing it’s frown to a smile, but it can’t read the minute changes in emotion that are clear to us not just through expression, but through implications in tone of writing and the words used. In B2B, a lot of emotion can be read through emails, responses on social media etc.. Being able to navigate through a campaign is not a black and white, beginning to end affair. Improvisation skills will always be required, something a robot simply does not possess. Furthermore, the way B2B marketers approach leads has changed dramatically over recent years, with a firm focus now on how the customer feels, and how you can help solve their individual problems specifically. Robots lack the empathy necessary to understand the issues faced by your target audience, so therefore are unable to tailor the perfect solution for them. Pair this with their inherant lack of human creativity, and you’re going to end up with a generic campaign that draws precisely nobody in. They can help us understand more about buyers via their previous online data, which allows for more targeted audiences, but when it comes to connecting with those audiences, robots are definitely going to take a backseat.


Talking about connecting with your audiences, we’ve been talking about robots’ response to customers. But what about customers’ response to robots? Let’s face it, if I were trying to find a solution to a problem in my life or business, I wouldn’t immediately jump at the chance to have it solved by a robot. Regardless of media portrayals of robots (evil, sentient & capable of wiping us out), it’s still quite hard to connect with and trust something that is so clearly not human. Besides, if a customer is greeted by a robot instead of a valued member of your company when contacting you, they may feel as if you don’t care about them as much, which could lead to a decrease in conversions. Sticking with peoples’ response to robots, networking is a crucial part of connecting the B2B world with possible clients. Robots can (I say can, what I really mean is ‘will’) appear as cold and impersonal; they won’t be able to convey the personality behind your brand when trying to expand your business network. For now, I’d recommend just shaking hands yourself.


Now, short of an accident or nervous breakdown (again, please don’t subscribe to my pessimism), us humans are generally very reliable. Computers, however, are a completely different story. How many times have you had to turn your laptop on and off again, or reset your phone completely? The fact is, whilst definitely smarter and more complex than us in some cases, we simply cannot trust technology to never let us down. If you rely solely on an AI algorithm to store all of your data, or a robot to handle all of your client interaction, what will happen if they malfunction? You could lose valuable data, progress and leads in the blink of an eye. Not to mention if they do break, the cost of fixing whatever went wrong will likely make your eyes water. Whilst it’s true that the future may lead to more overlap between the robotic world and B2B, ensure the larger portion of your strategy always remains in the hands of your human employees.


So there you have it. Robots may be giving more and more people the boot out of their industries, but B2B marketing will remain safely in our human hands for a while yet. At least until robots can successfully nurture a lead through to conversion, I think we’ll be safe.

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