I do not have to convince anyone today that generative AI (genAI) technology is a huge trend and a potentially massive disruption to the way work gets done. You know something is incredibly popular when your next-door neighbor stops you outside your door and starts talking about the out-of-the-world benefits (or their fears) of the technology — or when your not-so-tech-savvy relative calls and asks about the certification she needs to specialize in the technology. Just when you think you can get a breather, your LinkedIn newsfeed bombards you with anyone and everyone’s voices and opinions on it — ecstatic, good, bad, and ugly — confirming that the buzz around the technology has become a tsunami. Surely, it is on your mind as a B2B marketing leader and CMO, but the important question is what you should do about it (if anything) at this stage.
Businesses are not immune to this buzz. In every industry and geography, they are interested in understanding how to harness the benefits of the technology before their competition does — and how they can reimagine, rethink, and reinvent what they do today — to be more relevant to customers and more efficient as an organization.
As with any new trend, there will be early adopters that get started while the tech is still evolving and all the risks are not yet known. There will be mainstreamers that wait a bit to see how things play out in terms of top use cases and challenges. Then, there are the laggards that will hold off until all the risks are known and best practices are defined to mitigate them. CMOs are finding themselves at a crossroads on which direction to take: jump right in with both feet, cautiously test the waters with some experimentation, or wait till the dust settles.
One Size Does Not Fit All
While countless posts postulate what can be done with genAI and the potential risks, they overlook the fact that every organization is on a distinct growth journey. Based on the stage of the company, its growth strategy, the size of the organization, the products and services it offers, the industries it operates in, its growth appetite, its risk-taking posture and ability, its skills and competencies, and more, no genAI journey is going to be the same. You cannot decide where you will fall on the adoption curve until you consider the uniqueness of your organization.
There are some situations that will prompt you to go all-in fast. This could be a call-to-action from your CEO, or maybe your organization takes an early-adopter approach to all (or most) disruptive tech. You might decide to be in the mainstream and try out some genAI experiments, learn from them, and then decide how to proceed. Or you might just take a “wait and see” attitude, monitoring what your competition is doing and confirming that organizations are reaping the promised benefits — engaging better with customers and getting more done with fewer resources and people — to strengthen your resolve to act. Only you can answer where you should be on the adoption curve.
Are You Ready For Generative AI?
Once you calibrate where you would like to be on the adoption curve (and I will assume you are going to be either an early adopter or mainstreamer if you have read this far), the next big question is: Are you ready?
Do you know what skills and technology you should have in place before you get started with genAI? Which marketing use cases should you consider? How many projects should you pursue at once? Which marketing processes will be affected? What privacy, intellectual property, and other legal perspectives should you evaluate? It is understandable that it may seem easier to simply start experimenting, but a readiness assessment before you leap is not just prudent but highly recommended given the expected impact (for good or for bad) of genAI.
B2B APAC Summit
Join me at Forrester’s B2B APAC Summit (September 19–20) in Singapore, where I will present a step-by-step approach to guide you and your marketing organization to answer critical adoption questions, help you assess your readiness, and prioritize your genAI investments.
At Summit, you will also find opportunities to connect and network with many other analysts and your industry peers, helping you take bolder decisions and be more successful in your role. I look forward to seeing you there!