AI-Powered Marketing: Leveraging First- & Third-Party Behavioral Data To Improve AI & Organizational Effectiveness

Published: April 21, 2021

Artificial intelligence (AI) is an invaluable aspect of modern marketing, with many organizations leveraging AI-powered solutions to help collect higher quality data, deliver better buyer experiences and more.

One of those data sets is behavioral data, which enables B2B organizations to identify buyer preferences, their stage of the buyer’s journey and purchasing intent for optimal outreach, engagement and deal closing. Naturally, B2B organizations are leveraging behavioral data to inform their AI-powered solutions and marketing strategies.

“There’s more awareness of what behavioral data is and how you can use it,” said Steven Casey, Principal Analyst at Forrester, in an interview with Demand Gen Report. “There’s been an arc in the development of the martech, with marketers using this kind of data to solve relatively simple problems. Solutions have also been using AI for a while to make recommendations for marketers and sellers, and behavioral data can only enhance that.”

In a recent report from Forrester, Casey highlighted the changing landscape of marketing with the consolidation of AI-powered solutions and the rise of behavioral data, and how it has given way to a new form of AI-powered B2B marketing. The report also explores the importance of data management and how solid data sets can help an organization’s AI tools improve operational efficiency and align marketing and sales strategies.

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AI-Managed First-Party Behavioral Data Improves Operational Effectiveness

According to the report, the key to successful behavioral data and AI synergy is the quality of the organization’s first-party data. However, many organizations still struggle to find ways to keep their AI informed and optimized, with 32% of global marketers citing bad data as a hindrance to effectiveness.

“The typical problem people run into is data management,” Casey explained. “They just have too much bad data from too many sources. It’s not clean; it’s not unified. Until you’ve cleaned up the data, it’s just bad fuel for your AI.”

The report highlighted some data sets for organizations to focus on to overhaul their behavioral data, which would allow them to improve their team’s effectiveness, including:

  • Assigned data – By assigning AI to record firmographic and demographic data sets, organizations can identify buyer preferences, needs and goals for a more personalized buying experience;
  • Observed data – Recording specific buyer statements and actions while interacting with a brand’s website, social media page, etc. can improve marketing and sales effectiveness, as AI records key information and provides recommendations for successful buyer interactions; and
  • Inferred (intent) data – This prediction-based data set leverages assigned and observed data to automatically provide predictions and recommended actions to take, allowing organizations to determine buying intent and make strategic decisions accordingly.

“AI-powered marketing thrives on these data sets,” said Casey. “The data shows a behavior, and it helps you see if people at an account did something, or maybe an account or a company did something, and act on it. With this first-party data, I can say ‘Okay, I’m gathering first-party behavioral data, and I’m getting a much better picture of buyers’ true intentions.’”

Expanding Third-Party Data Sets For AI-Powered Initiatives

Third-party behavior data also plays a critical role in AI-powered marketing, enabling organizations to rely on a holistic data strategy to engage buyers.

When building up third-party behavior data for AI-powered marketing, Casey explained that having AI solutions that cast as wide a net as possible is essential. The report highlights how AI can track unique behavior data signals, such as published content and review websites, and provide marketing and sales professionals with an external database that is constantly refreshed and ready to use for email campaigns, ABM engagement, programmatic advertising and more.

AI-powered marketing also encourages organizations to survey their third-party sources to make sure their AI-powered strategies are using behavior data that is accurate, up-to-date and relevant to their marketing initiatives.

“It’s an opportunity for marketers to think more broadly and comprehensively about all the data they gather about their customers,” said Casey. “There are lots of different processes and methodologies for leveraging third-party behavior data. But at its core, it’s a mindset of thinking about what I can learn from the landscape around me that would give me an indication of how best to engage with my own buyers.”

AI & Behavior Data Strategies Encourage Internal Alignment

Casey also made clear that AI and behavior data synergy with specific teams was essential for successful AI-powered strategies, as marketing, sales and customer experience teams will ultimately share and implement the data and solutions.

Various teams can share behavior data among their peers using AI, allowing the solutions to inform marketing, sales and customer service processes using the same, unfettered insights. By leveraging the first- and third-party behavioral data gathered by AI, teams can create a universal truth about buyers that encourages them to collaborate on campaigns and sales deals, optimize workflows and improve decision-making at the employee-level.

“Marketing can raise its profile and overcome some of this old behavior by using AI to make recommendations and surface insights for sellers,” Casey explained. “Leveraging observational data and gathering more insights using AI allows teams to make recommendations based on what your AI has learned while gathering data on similar situations.”

Ultimately, AI-powered marketing is only as good as the data organizations have at their disposal, as the AI solutions, as well as marketers and salespeople, heavily rely on accurate data to support their operations. Behavior data is an interesting and effective alternative to inform AI’s researching capabilities and can help B2B organizations improve internal operations and data gathering from internal and external signals.

“By using behavior data and AI, you are helping your teams be successful,” said Casey. “You are letting your teams know what their customers are doing so that you and your other teams are informed. This is the end goal of AI-powered marketing strategies, as you can leverage first- and third-party data to give marketers an AI partner with that will provide relevant data throughout the buyer’s journey.”

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