Could this be a question that's asked by B2B decision makers in the not too distant future? Quite possibly. Steven Van Belleghem does what he does best in this piece by joining the dots of today to paint a picture of a potential tomorrow. It's thought provoking stuff that's far more pragmatic than it is fantastical. Some of this stuff will happen.
As per usual plotting the curve of innovation and how it will impact the world is most vivid when applied to B2C. For example, as Stephen mentions, I can see how a blend of convenience and a rise in voice triggered decisions will mean brands that are top of mind could well prosper. If I use the last of the toilet roll, I'm more likely to shout from my thrown "Alexa, order some more Andrex Quilts" than just say ‘toilet rolls’. And as someone who is passionate about marketing the idea that increasing levels of AI will perversely inflate the importance of brand makes me smile.
Anyway, whilst reading this article my mind quickly wandered to what this could mean for B2B - specifically how sales and marketing cycles could be affected. As the dynamics within the B2B decision-making funnel have shifted over the last decade we've observed, amongst other things, how the digital native has become increasingly empowered. We've also seen how time spent in transit or at home have become optimal windows for decision makers and influencers to perform research. Therefore, can we safely deduce that a natural evolution of this behaviour will be to use voice to aid this part of the journey? That generationally this will be a natural extension for digitally native professionals?
I regularly surprise myself by how much I now rely on and integrate Google Home into my daily routine. Music, news, timers and importantly appeasing the kids with inane trivia and Christmas cracker quality jokes. Therefore why would I not ask it to save me time and effort by short cutting my research tasks. “Hey Google, who is in the top right of the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant for BI solutions?”. “Hey Google, who are the top 3 rated business energy providers in the UK?”. You can see this happening right? I can. The next question is and to Stephen’s main point, how do you ensure your brand, product or service is on the tip of the robots tongue?
For me, one of the most intriguing and exciting evolutions of the next years will be the transformation of our target audiences. It used to consist of humans only, but we will need to perform marketing to machines in a very near future as well.