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GenAI is the power source to help level up your marketing function

Brian Jochum,

Chief Marketing Officer

Published: April 10, 2024

Is generative AI the answer that marketers have been looking for? We delve into its promise and potential use cases in this article. 

Amidst all the noise around the “genAI revolution” driving up the stock market and promising to disrupt every business, it can be hard to find proven genAI use cases that apply across industries. Orchestrating customer experience is one of them, especially in B2B.

When you marry up the customer experience with AI and genAI technology, myriad use cases appear that can rapidly drive meaningful results for a marketing organization. These present us with opportunities to boost team productivity and accelerate business outcomes at every step of the purchase journey, from reaching and educating nascent customers looking to make decisions to retention and loyalty of customers you already have.

Particularly at small and mid-size companies without deep marketing pockets, AI and genAI can help “level the playing field” against larger firms who traditionally have had an advantage when it comes to areas that have, in the past, required deep pockets for expensive agencies or large in-house studios and teams.

Democratizing the potential to create

Content development

This is the most obvious use case started by most marketing organizations. Gartner® predicts that “By 2026, 80% of advanced creative roles will be tasked with harnessing GenAI to achieve differentiated results, requiring CMOs to spend more on talent.”1 There are many emerging tools, such as GPT-4 or Bard, that leverage genAI to help you dramatically accelerate parts of the content value chain, such as thought leadership articles, creating videos, or other digital assets on key initiatives that would require external expertise or sizeable in-house budgetary outlays.

Outbound and inbound lead generation

For outbound communication, tools like OptiMonk leverage AI-powered machine learning using multiple data sources, from your website to your social media feeds, to help you reach prospective customers and bring them into your ecosystem. There are similar solutions, such as Sixth Sense, to reach new customers more efficiently via automated emails and leverage genAI to write them. Similarly, to capture more inbound traffic, it is also possible to turbocharge your SEO optimization for websites using machine learning and genAI, which used to require a large agency or in-house team to do SEO optimization manually.

Custom account-based marketing

GenAI-powered content tools like Synesthesia can help you create custom assets like videos, pop-up sites, and other assets that would otherwise be out of reach for thinly stretched teams that lack the capacity to go deep on messages, content, and experiences for individual accounts.
At Virtusa, we’ve tested, proven, and accelerated use cases at all three of these levels, which have helped us dramatically boost productivity and achieve meaningful outcomes without dramatic increases in budget or staff.

Engineering a new kind of marketing normal

Marketing is often viewed as the bastion of right-brained creativity, but tangible outcomes emerge when paired with left-brained logic. Pairing both sides has always been a way of life for Virtusans, and using genAI to power our marketing gives that balance to remain Engineering First, to imagine fast and execute with precision. Here’s a peek inside what we’re doing that may be useful fodder for your own marketing teams:

Content development

To create content at scale, we are deploying genAI-powered writing, video editing, and voice-over tools that allow us to create 120% more assets year on year. For example, we’ve used a tool called Vocal Video to help us simultaneously capture video from many Virtusans speaking on different themes and weave them together into integrated videos by each theme in an editing process that would have taken weeks or months before, in just days. As a result, we’ve been able to launch nine times more videos with the same staff over the past year. We’ve also started using a genAI-powered voice-over tool called Elevenlabs that has expanded our possibilities rather than relying on the same network of voices for every video and eliminated the need to select and record a voice-over artist for almost indistinguishable results. Finally, we’ve accelerated short-form blog and copywriting for varied assets using several of the large language models out there.

Outbound and inbound lead generation

For outbound, we are using genAI-powered writing tools to help quickly develop for our lead gen campaigns with a lean copywriting team. Third-party AI audience tools also allow us to retarget website visitors with the right ad at the right time to build our site traffic and our engaged audience pool. To grow our inbound traffic, we’ve begun optimizing the content on our website for organic search using a genAI-enabled tool that optimizes SEO much faster than it would have usually taken a team or agency. This tool has helped us increase SEO-based web traffic by 43%. Then, to engage our site visitors in a more personalized way that grows all our key engagement metrics, we’ve also built a genAI-powered chatbot with multiple genAI tools from multiple partners (e.g., AWS, Google, OpenAI) to get you to the right spot on our site as quickly as possible. This has helped us increase time on site by five seconds.

Lastly, account-based marketing (ABM)

Using many of the same tools we do for content development and design, we’ve been able to begin custom account-based programs we have never had staff for before. This has helped us grow engagement with top accounts and will only help us expand our footprint across the C-suite as we can engage more leaders with highly tailored ABM programs.

Unlearning and relearning with small steps before giant leaps

What did I learn that was most important in this journey to leveling up marketing with generative AI? Here are three takeaways for every marketer.

  • Be humble. Personally, I knew very little about genAI two years ago. However, now our entire marketing leadership team is immersed in it. It starts with a willingness to admit we don’t know it all and test and learn. To identify the right use cases, prove them out, and identify the tools we wanted to invest in, we conducted rigorous rounds of A/B testing with multiple tools across multiple groups company-wide. Finally, we settled on those offering the most immediate value and productivity boosts that can also scale with us as we grow.
  • Invest in Training. Owing to our focus on AI and genAI as a strategic imperative for the company, every marketing leader has completed Northwestern Kellogg’s Executive Education AI Applications for Growth program. We also supplemented this with skills-based training for many team members using the Miami Ad School’s “AI for Brands & Creativity” certificate, which we are scaling to more team members in 2024. There are many options out there that won’t break the bank to quickly skill up the team if there is a willingness to learn.
  • Build a network. It takes a village. Outside of the large software and cloud firms, no single marketing team has the resources, tools, and expertise in-house to make genAI part of their DNA. At Virtusa, we’ve partnered with multiple genAI players to form the network that works for us. We’ve also taken our time building our narrative, seeking outside advice from industry analysts and experts instead of rushing to the market with a half-baked proposition. Without a network of partners to help you prove your model and develop your story, you can’t go to market with any substance. Instead, people will quickly see through the fluff and move on. We’d rather do it right and that requires a network.

While we’ve made significant strides, we’re excited about what lies ahead. Whether you’re a nimble David looking to level up or a Goliath trying to keep pace with change, genAI will be that power source for marketing, be it for new efficiencies or big breakthroughs.

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