Sunita Kishnani

Chief Marketing Officer at Softude

Unveiling the Power of AI & Personalized Content in B2B Marketing with Sunita Kishnani

We explore the significance of AI and personalized content in B2B marketing with industry expert Sunita Kishnani. Kishnani shares her experiences using AI tools to enhance marketing campaigns, emphasizes the impact of customized content, and underscores the advantages of integrating AI into content creation and analytics.

Tushar Singh, Director of Sales - APAC at Pepper Content, talks to Sunita Kishnani, Chief Marketing Officer at Softude, about topics like client sentiment analysis and the future adoption of chatbots for improved customer experiences. The conversation covers her perspectives on account-based marketing, brand humanization, and preferred marketing tools. Additionally, Kishnani highlights the importance of integrated software solutions for streamlining content development, research, and distribution.

1. Please tell us about your journey.

It is fascinating how my career journey can transport me back to my youth. I am currently CMO with Softude and I've spent 25 years in Information Technology. I started out in this field after completing my graduation. My initial role was that of a sales executive, and back then, it felt like I was breaking through a glass ceiling since there were very few women in sales positions.

As I worked my way up, I pursued my MBA, a parallel track to leading the sales and marketing teams. Along this incredible journey, I had the opportunity to become a founding member of a couple of tech startups, including EasyMedico and Medikabazaar. This experience marked a significant divergence from my marketing role, as it required me to play a pivotal role in launching and expanding a company. Reflecting on my journey, I must say it has been incredibly enriching and fulfilling.

Either you adopt AI or stay behind. That's the only choice.

2. How do you see AI impacting marketing, and how are you adapting to your sales background in this changing landscape?

In my marketing career, I've shifted from the traditional focus on brand awareness to a results-driven approach. Today, showing a clear return on investment (ROI) is crucial for boosting sales and enhancing customer engagement. Many marketers now take on roles like Chief Revenue Officer or Chief Growth Officer because businesses expect us to demonstrate direct impact.

Throughout my career, I've concentrated on ensuring that every marketing dollar spent contributes to the company's growth. I've also embraced new technologies, especially AI, which has disrupted various industries, including marketing. In account-based marketing, AI tools help us understand and target specific accounts for tailored campaigns. Data enrichment and intent keywords assist in identifying buyer journeys for personalized campaigns.

AI has transformed our content creation, making our team more productive while maintaining quality. We've also delved into deeper customer analytics and even offered customer sentiment analysis to our clients. Implementing chatbots and customer support bots on our website has enhanced lead generation.

Personalization is crucial, especially in B2B and software services marketing. While AI generates content, we add emotional and storytelling elements to make it engaging. Humanized content is essential to connect with clients on a personal level, and it accelerates decision-making. So, yes, I believe in the power of personalized content because it's not just about generating content; it's about communicating the right message effectively to our clients.

3. Can you describe your ideal marketing stack, including the tools you rely on for content creation and data analysis, envisioning a tool that centralizes critical data and actions?

Within our marketing arsenal, a suite of indispensable tools empowers our efforts. At the forefront stands our CRM system, serving as the bedrock of our account-based marketing endeavors. It goes beyond merely offering demographic data, providing invaluable client insights that enhance our understanding.

Complementing our CRM, we harness the potential of content creation and publishing tools such as Canva and the AI-driven Midjourney. These tools elevate our content game, ensuring that what we produce resonates effectively. To orchestrate the dissemination of our messaging, we turn to Hootsuite, a versatile platform that ensures our content reaches precisely the right audience. In the realm of email campaigns, we leverage the versatility of platforms like MailChimp and SendGrid. This multi-tool approach affords us the flexibility to adapt swiftly in the event of technical hiccups, collectively enabling us to execute our marketing strategies with precision and impact.

Right now, it is disintegrated, and it takes a lot of time to manage all these tools. We have an in-house-built marketing automation tool also that actually currently binds the entire execution plan.

4. What are the top three pain points that marketers like yourself, typically face in their daily work?

During my career, I've encountered a couple of consistent challenges. First and foremost, lead generation continues to be a central concern. It's the lifeblood of any marketing effort, and consistently achieving quality leads can be demanding.

Secondly, the marketing landscape often remains descriptive, lacking the quantifiable metrics needed to gauge ROI accurately. This makes it challenging to assess the real impact of marketing initiatives, which can be frustrating.

Surprisingly, it's challenging to identify a third pain point that rivals the significance of these two. While various challenges arise in marketing, addressing lead generation and improving ROI measurement stands out as my top priority.

5. What advice would you offer to new marketers who are just entering the field and need to learn both the tools and the traditional aspects of marketing?

Imagine marketing as a beautifully choreographed dance, where every move is deliberate and coordinated. It all begins with meticulous planning, a crucial step that sets the stage for success. Understanding your audience and their position in the buying journey is of utmost importance. This knowledge serves as the compass guiding your marketing efforts.

Gone are the days of indiscriminate content flooding; today, it's all about delivering value and relevance, especially in the realm of B2B marketing. Your content isn't just filler; it's a powerful tool for shaping your brand image and establishing yourself as a thought leader in your industry.

To build a strong marketing plan, you need to build it on a foundation of solid insights. These insights, gained from a deep understanding of your audience, should be the driving force behind your strategy. But don't stop there; be open to innovation and explore new media avenues to set yourself apart from the competition. In our journey, we switched from lengthy, monotonous PDF case studies to engaging one-minute video summaries. We recognize that today's audience demands quick, impactful insights.

Engaging content is the heart of successful marketing, but personalization takes it to a whole new level, especially in B2B marketing. Through account-based marketing, we've witnessed remarkable results, such as increasing wallet share within the same client and expanding our offerings both horizontally and vertically. The key is adapting to your customer's preferences and delivering a tailored experience that resonates deeply with them. This personalized approach can truly set you apart in the world of marketing.

We definitely need personalization. There cannot be a very common content line. We need to apply our mind, make it a little more emotional or storytelling, and make it more engaging from the perspective of the client and then float it.

6. What, in your view, defines excellent content? What criteria do you use to determine whether something qualifies as exceptional content?

When it comes to content, quality should always take precedence over quantity. To me, great content is a blend of two essential elements: meaning and engagement. Firstly, content should carry meaning. This means it should have a clear purpose, message, or valuable information that the audience can take away. If your content lacks depth and relevance, it becomes mere noise in the vast sea of online information. Meaningful content, on the other hand, provides value to your audience. It could be educational, informative, thought-provoking, or entertaining, depending on your goals and your audience's needs.

Secondly, content should be engaging. You don't want your audience to passively scroll through your content without interacting or feeling a connection. Engagement can take many forms, such as likes, shares, comments, or even conversions if you're in the marketing business. Engaging content captivates your audience, drawing them in and encouraging them to take action. It should resonate with your audience's interests, problems, or desires, making them feel that you understand their needs.

Now, some marketers fall into the trap of focusing on quantity rather than quality. It's not about how many blog posts you churn out in a week; it's about whether those blog posts truly engage your audience and deliver meaningful content. Publishing content for the sake of meeting a quota often results in disengaged readers who may quickly move on to more valuable sources.

In the end, the key is to strike a balance. Ensure that each piece of content you create serves a purpose and resonates with your audience. Quality content, coupled with strategic planning and a deep understanding of your target audience, will ultimately drive engagement and deliver the desired results, whether lead generation, brand recognition, or fostering meaningful connections with your audience.

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