A B2B Marketing Reality Check: Are Relationships Now Too Artificial?

B2B marketing professionals enjoying an outdoor meet-up over lunch

As the B2B marketing world is increasingly shaped by artificial intelligence, maintaining the human touch in business relationships has become a unique challenge.

As someone who isn’t the archetypal networker, my personal and professional life continues to be enriched by remarkable relationships with clients, competitors, coworkers, peers, vendors, and industry influencers despite my lack of prowess in fishing, golfing, or schmoozing at social functions.

Throughout my career in B2B marketing, business has always been about more than just the wins; it’s about partnership, mutual respect, and friendship. I am optimistic we can work with those same values–even as AI redefines the landscape of our interactions.

Like life’s unpredictable nature, business can veer off course at the most inopportune times. Mistakes happen, but they also offer growth opportunities. Strong business relationships, now often aided by AI’s instantaneous analytical prowess can help us learn and rebound more resiliently.

Zoom calls, email threads, and texts now weave the fabric of many day-to-day business relationships. A trend accelerated first by the pandemic and now by AI’s influence on communication technology.

While I’ve always seen B2B marketing as a competitive sport, rich in the thrill of the hunt and the satisfaction of rewards, AI has become the silent partner in this arena, providing insights and automating tasks to augment the outcomes of human-to-human interactions.

Too much reliance on AI can impersonalize interactions, but with the challenges come new opportunities. It’s daunting but also invigorating to forge partnerships based on personal chemistry plus the combined collaborative intelligence and innovation of humans and machines.

AI-driven CRM tools can nurture professional contacts, and what begins as “virtual relationships” can evolve into meaningful human connections. 

With AI’s growing role in our professional lives, time will tell if connections first fostered by technology have the potential to grow into active, substantive business relationships.

Perhaps now, more than ever, we should take advantage of the opportunities to meet each other face to face when possible. Our personalities can come through Zoom, but that is not the same as meeting over a meal, cold pint, or hot coffee to solve problems and share ideas. And there is nothing quite like the energy of a collaborative creative meeting where everyone is “in the room where it happens”. As many industries have seen their regional, national, and global trade shows revitalized, these are opportunities not to be missed if you can make it there.

What do you think?

Do you agree that AI has the power to deepen virtual connections into significant business relationships and friendships? Or do you believe that the human element will be increasingly diluted by AI, creating weak links with little chance of development into quality contacts and sustainable relationships?

The STOUT Creative Resource Center: Elevate Your Creativity!

Leave a Comment