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Technical Models and Guides

Combining AI tools and human insight to drive B2B brand differentiation

Written by Propolis Expert Darren Coleman

Learn how to leverage AI and human insight to help your brand stand out.

AI: Starting with the problem, not the solution:

Artificial intelligence has captured the imaginations of marketers across the globe. The prospect of making manual tasks easier and faster is always going to inspire excitement, but now is not the time to dive in and buy a suite of AI tools and plaster over the problems. Now is the time to look at your marketing funnel as a whole and ask: “What are the main problems I face at each stage of the funnel?”. Forget AI for now.

Once we start with the problem, we can do the necessary thinking to understand what the solution will be. Once we know what the solution is, we can look at where and how AI may be able to help. The next step? Experimenting with the early-stage AI that’s out there, so that you’re ready for AI version 2. With that in mind, this quarter our Experts will be addressing the core challenges faced by marketers, and outlining where and how AI may be able to help.

Approach to generating content:

I suggest that we look at one or more of the core marketing challenges within each content channel. Then, the content created by each Expert can follow the following formula:

1. Blog addresses a core challenge (i.e. ‘The core challenge faced by marketers at the awareness stage is getting people who don’t know us to read our content’).
2. Then, the blog goes into: How do we establish WHY this is a challenge (i.e. ‘it’s a challenge because we don’t have enough data on what would interest our prospects’).
3. Next, the blog discusses the steps that marketers should take in terms of resolving that issue (i.e. ‘You need to collect data on your prospects’ requirements and desires by doing X, Y, and Z’).
4. Finally, the blog looks at the forms of AI that will be applicable here. (i.e. ‘These AI tools can help you achieve X, Y, and Z by doing the following’). The actual ‘using of the AI’ is then down to the marketers themselves, as we are currently still in the experimentation stage, and creating graphics on how to use every given piece of generative AI technology is not feasible.

By taking this approach, we can take a more mature approach to the topic of AI, as opposed to telling everyone ‘Here are the tools you need to buy right now’. However, there is still a requirement for technical models here, and we don’t wish to create the same graphic eight times (i.e. a process document for thinking skills around identifying problems and finding solutions).

Therefore, I suggest that the models focus on the solution to the ultimate challenge – not AI specifically. Each model can then indicate where AI may be useful.

As a very simple example, you can imagine a five-step graphic on ‘how to improve your email open rates’. You could then very simply annotate the model at, say, stage 3 (writing the copy), saying: “AI may be useful here, as it can be used to generate marketing copy for you. Some tools you may wish to experiment with are as follows: ChatGPT, and here is some initial learning.”


This is one of eight models and guides produced every quarter by the Propolis Experts, each designed to help develop knowledge and drive efficiencies across your marketing campaigns. The full set of models and guides is available exclusively to Propolis members.

Darren Coleman

Brand Expert, B2B Marketing

Darren Coleman is the Brand Expert for Propolis, the global community for B2B marketing leaders.

Darren specialises in helping brands drive growth and retain relevance through brand experiences and have been doing this for 25+ years across Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific. Johnson & Johnson, Faurecia, Dubai Properties, Abbot, FUJIFILM, Nikon and Orange are some of the brands he has helped.

Darren is one of seven Experts on hand for Propolis members to access at any time offering impartial, trusted advice that is tailored to their specific business needs.

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