Author: Adriana Stein
When used for basic business-to-business digital marketing and search engine optimization tasks, like creating content, generating keyword research ideas, defining search intent, and analyzing search engine results pages (SERPs), ChatGPT can be a useful efficiency booster—but it’s far from displacing human marketers and SEOs.
The biggest limitation in content outputs from generative artificial intelligence is technical, long-form content. This type of content is typically driven by information from an SME (the true heart of effective B2B digital marketing)—content that AI simply can’t match.
Furthermore, due to the greater complexity of many B2B industries (compared to typical retail businesses, for example) there’s a high risk of publishing misinformation when relying solely on AI-generated content.
So, if you do happen to use generative AI (especially ChatGPT), you absolutely need to fact check, edit, and adjust—which, from my perspective, is the largest sticking point when evaluating whether an AI-driven process is actually more efficient.
To further explore these potential applications, let’s dive into how AI-generated content can be used for SEO and digital marketing strategies for B2B SaaS products and services.
Table of contents:
How are generative AI and ChatGPT used in B2B companies?
The excitement around ChatGPT is a recent development, but the concept of generative AI is not as new as all of the hype might suggest.
Automate chat conversations and personalization with engagement-driven data
Predict customer journey behavior to improve the customer experience
Provide insights on large-scale and advanced analytics and data science
Analyze content marketing data and results
Furthermore, there are several tactics for integrating elements of AI marketing for both eCommerce and B2B companies. For example, generative AI can be used as a content idea generator, as part of your content creation process, and for assistance with basic SEO tasks.
But, there’s still a major issue that you need to be aware of:
AI tools are not yet advanced enough to use as a standalone solution—especially in the complex world of B2B digital marketing and SEO. Human oversight is still 100% essential for generative AI to achieve results for a company.
Case in point, here’s a (hyperbolic) take on the state of generative AI for sales from B2B marketing consultant David Kirkdorffer:
Will ChatGPT replace B2B content writers?
As potential applications for ChatGPT and generative AI continue to increase, B2B digital marketers face an important choice: work with generative AI or with a human content writer/subject matter expert (SME).
Here are a few considerations that may impact your decision:
01. Generative AI tools summarize information sources that may not have been fact-checked: You may be familiar with these types of sources (e.g., the list of “X Stats for B2B Digital Marketers in 2023” that you have to dive into a rabbit hole to confirm original sources across 10 backlinks). Unfortunately, generative AI doesn’t account for the quality of information (or lack thereof), so this makes the fact-checking process more important than ever before.
02. Google’s priority is to show quality information on the SERPs: When you combine AI-driven SERP manipulation with misinformation, that can be a direct route to a manual penalty.
To avoid this scenario, you need to understand how search engines perceive AI and how AI-generated content is detected. I go over this in detail in another article about using AI for eCommerce content.
Overall, B2B buying decisions are heavily influenced by technical SMEs and case study data, so if your content contains wrong or misleading information, that can create a cascading effect that loses clients, revenue, and—most importantly—long-term brand trust.
So, to answer the question, no, I don’t believe generative AI will replace B2B content writers or SEO strategists. At this stage, generative AI can only potentially help B2B digital marketers with content production efficiency.
But again, there’s another major caveat specific to B2B:
I, myself, work primarily with B2B businesses and the amount of editing and fact checking required from generative AI outputs is the same (if not even more) than with a content writer. So, I currently find working with a human writer or expert to be much simpler, more authoritative, and consequently more efficient.
ChatGPT and generative AI considerations for your B2B SEO strategy
If integrating generative AI into your B2B SEO strategy is a necessity, here are my suggestions for doing so in the most effective manner.
Assess strategic guidance with a critical eye: It’s important to always do your own customer research if you want to avoid botched campaigns down the line (I have an example of this in the section below). B2B buying committees are complex and full of nuances, so the basic information that AI generates is simply not enough to market and sell million-dollar B2B products and services.
Focus on using generative AI for content ideation rather than content production: Long-form AI-generated content that tries to explain technical B2B topics is often low quality because it lacks subject matter expertise and credible data. Instead, use it to help with brainstorming and creating new content plans.
Supplement your output with technical data from an SME: Mention your case studies, concrete customer data, real customer stories, get quotes from experts. There are so many ways to improve the authority of generically produced AI content.
Develop a database of prompts: The more you use generative AI, the more you’ll understand when and how it provides the best outputs for your specific company/situation/needs. Start saving a database of prompts that generated higher-quality outputs (closer to a final product). That’s one potential way generative AI can be used to save time and money in the long run. Base your prompt database on your specific company messaging, target audience, and the marketing channel that the content will be published on.
Prioritize quality over quantity: While this can be true for many types of businesses, B2B purchases can easily grow to multi-million dollar deals over the years and involve multi-person decision making and potentially serious consequences. Only use generative AI when it truly helps your content and strategy creation. Don’t use it to spit out random content that brings no ROI. For example, don’t be the digital marketer who creates thousands of blog posts in a day with AI. This is the exact definition of SERP manipulation and you’ll come to regret it later.
Fact check everything: Only use high-quality, legitimate sources that come from real industry experts. Generative AI doesn’t necessarily use such high-quality sources (in some implementations, it may even fabricate information), so this adds quite a bit of manual work, which is where I question the efficiency of working with ChatGPT-like tools the most.
Lily Ray, Amsive Digital’s senior director, SEO & head of organic research, points out the lack of source citation and credibility as one of AI content’s glaring flaws:
Review: 5 uses of ChatGPT in B2B SEO content creation
To help you better understand how you can utilize ChatGPT for B2B SaaS and services industries, I’ve provided some examples for different B2B business and content types. These are based on complex B2B companies that my team and I have worked with throughout the years. I’ve also included a few strategy foundation elements, since I find those more useful than full-length AI content generation.
Can ChatGPT create a B2B buyer journey map?
ChatGPT can be a great tool for creating a buyer journey map. You’ll just need to provide sufficient information about your company and the direction you want to take your buyer map in.
For this example, I wanted to create a buyer map for a company that sells IT consulting services for hospitals that don’t have their own IT platform. In the example below, I input the following prompt:
Create a buyer journey map for a company that sells IT consulting services for hospitals that don’t have their own IT platform.
While this is not the worst output, it omits buyer committee involvement (the group of decision makers involved in a B2B purchase). Since I based this example on a real client, I know that the IT department actually has very little involvement in the purchase decision for such services. That decision is influenced much more by the board of directors and investors. These stakeholders are also often the people who initiate the “awareness” phase above, not the IT department.
Similar to my advice in the previous section, don’t just take what the AI spits out at face value. Spend time doing your own customer research to better understand the buyer journey, especially in B2B, as there are often larger buyer committees and many different steps involved.
Can ChatGPT conduct B2B SEO keyword research?
I also wanted to see how well ChatGPT performs B2B SEO keyword research. For this example, I wanted to create a list of keywords for a company that sells a platform for media publishers and financial services providers to increase customer retention via gamification. I input the following prompt:
List keyword ideas for a company that sells a platform for media publishers and financial services to increase customer retention with gamification.
Unfortunately, this list is quite terrible and doesn’t match search intent at all. In fact, it talks about a bunch of topics that aren’t even relevant for this company. So, I tried again with a more detailed prompt:
List long tail keyword ideas for a company that sells a platform for media publishers and financial services to increase customer retention with gamification.
You can see that this prompt resulted in much better search terms. They actually relate to what the company does and how it can educate its audience about the product.
However, there are two problems here:
01. When I ask ChatGPT to provide search volume and search difficulty for the keywords, I get the following response:
02. While most of these terms do have a much better search intent match, the majority of them don’t have search volume, potentially making any SEO efforts to target them largely pointless.
The conclusion: ChatGPT will never be able to replace SEO tools or a human SEO strategist. True SEO success comes from targeting search intent-match keywords with search volume which—as it says itself (above)—ChatGPT is incapable of doing.
Can ChatGPT create a B2B product listing page?
Okay, so how about writing an SEO product page? Can ChatGPT do that well?
For this example, I tried to create a product listing page for a company that sells software that simulates traffic to help city governments plan infrastructure projects. I entered the following prompt:
Write a 500-word product page targeting the keyword “traffic simulation software” for a company that sells a traffic simulation software that helps city governments plan infrastructure projects.
This one is honestly awful—probably one of the worst outputs I’ve seen for B2B content. This type of content would need a full outline prompt in order to be even remotely viable. Some other issues with the content include:
Lack of headers that target focus keywords
Very difficult readability
CTA placement is only at the end
Lack of conversion landing page or on-page optimization best practices
No B2B trust builders (like case studies, data, or cited sources)
There is potential to improve the output over time by experimenting with prompts, however from my perspective, this company is likely to be much more successful by sticking with human writers. Just don’t even bother with AI here.
Can ChatGPT write a B2B SEO blog post?
For this example, I wanted to see if writing a blog post was possible for a business that provides high-quality prototyping, rapid tooling, and low-volume manufacturing services to support other companies’ product development needs. For this, I entered the following prompt:
A company provides high-quality prototyping, rapid tooling, and low-volume manufacturing services to support other companies’ product development needs. Write a 1000-word blog post targeting the focus keyword “plastic injection molding” that explains the topic ‘Color Consistency in Plastic Injection Molding’.
This output was so bad that only a snippet is worth showing. From what I can tell from the examples above, generative AI is not effective for long-form, technical B2B content. This particular example also needs a full outline prompt to produce any meaningful content in a way that’s both optimized for search engines and contains correct technical information. Its weaknesses are the same as the above product listing page example, which include:
Lack of headers that target focus keywords
Very difficult readability
CTA placement is only at the end
No B2B trust builders (e.g., case studies, data, or cited sources)
Lack of word variety makes it clear that the content was generated by an AI (it sounds spammy and untrustworthy)
You could spend time testing prompts and seeing if the output improves, but in my opinion, this company is also likely to be much more successful sticking with human writers— particularly those that are technical SMEs.
Can ChatGPT write a B2B case study?
Finally, let’s see how ChatGPT performs when you need to create a B2B SaaS case study. For this example, I used a company that provides a micro learning platform to help HR teams upskill company employees. For the prompt, I entered the following:
Write a 500-word case study about Company X, a client of a company that provides a micro learning platform to help HR teams upskill company employees. While adapting to a hybrid work environment, it became clear that Company X employees didn't feel like they had time for longer-form, desktop-oriented learning content. To grow engagement and create a learning culture at all levels of the organization, Company X needed to integrate bite-sized learning that accommodated different learning styles.
I think that this response could have been a lot better if I had provided a full outline, but this outline probably shouldn’t be created by AI. A human B2B digital marketing strategist would already need to compile the data, organize the flow, insert client testimonials, etc.
Again, I would say that this company would benefit more from human writers, because integrating AI into a process that so heavily depends on true customer stories and real data would just add more time to edit, personalize, and fact check, rendering it simply inefficient.
ChatGPT is a tool, not a B2B digital marketing replacement
Generative AI is taking B2B marketing by storm and it’s not going anywhere soon, but that doesn’t mean that digital marketers should hang up their coats and walk away.
In reality, AI was not created to replace B2B marketing or content creation—but, with some careful oversight, it can increase your efficiency. However, if you start to rely solely on AI without fact checking or generally caring about content quality (by spitting out articles by the thousands, for example) I can guarantee that you’re going to fade into the background fast.
Currently, generative AI simply isn’t able to create a strategy that actually generates revenue, nor is it capable of curating usable outputs without meticulous human input. So, if you really want to experiment with this technology, use AI tools as a way to help with brainstorming and initial ideation. Then, enhance value for your target audience and include specifics about your organization and products/services. Make sure to incorporate plenty of examples, testimonials, and case studies as well.
We may be able to automate repetitive tasks with AI, but we can never take the human out of effective B2B digital marketing.
Originally from the US and now living in Germany, Adriana Stein is the CEO and founder of the marketing agency AS Marketing. She leads a team of multi-language SEO experts who develop holistic international marketing strategies for global companies.