Brand monitoring involves tracking public sentiment, often on social media but also in forums, reviews, and other channels, to understand how people feel about your brand. And it's about to get much more complicated.

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That's according to podcast guest Meghan Bazaman, who acknowledges the two-edged sword that AI could become: "AI can play a role in both helping with brand monitoring as well as causing issues," she says in Marketing Smarts Episode 561.

The issues include a scourge of misinformation brought on by generative AI as well as the sheer amount of content being produced online. But then, "AI technology is way better at handling large amounts of information, condensing it, summarizing it, being able to scan and provide insight, capabilities of that nature," says Meghan.

A big mistake, she explains, would be to think that AI and its issues and advantages are somebody else's problem.

"Marketers really need to dedicate resources and a strategy for brand monitoring to be prepared for the coming wave of more content and volatile content, especially on social media, just so they can maintain authenticity and keep customer trust," she says.

Listen to the entire show from the link above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode.

"Marketing Smarts" theme music composed by Juanito Pascual of Signature Tones.

Full Transcript: Revolutionizing B2B Brand Monitoring With AI-Powered Insights

George B. Thomas: Are you excited? You know I'm always excited, but maybe double or triple excited because the word revolutionizing was in that title that you just read, and brand monitoring was in the title that you just read to hopefully click on this podcast to listen to it, or maybe you have some type of system that automagically delivers your podcasts without needing to read what the title is, but probably not. I digress.

Let's get into this stuff. I can't wait to have this AI-powered insights conversation about brand monitoring and revolutionizing what you as a B2B marketer might be doing. Today I'm talking with Meghan Bazaman. We talk about what keeps her up at night, what is changing because of AI, brand monitoring in this B2B space, hurdles, success, and we get some words of wisdom along the way.

Meghan Bazaman is a senior analyst at Capterra, covering all of the latest trends, issues, and developments in marketing technology. With more than a decade of experience conducting qualitative and quantitative research, her work has been featured in publications such as Fast Company, Inc, Digiday, and AdAge. You can read Meghan's report, Why Marketers Need a Brand Monitoring Strategy in the Age of AI, on Capterra's website.

This is a good one, especially if you're trying to pay attention to what is happening around your brand. Revolutionizing B2B brand monitoring with AI-powered insights with Meghan Bazaman. Let's get into the good stuff.

We're going to talk about revolutionizing B2B brand monitoring. Guess what? We might even be talking about how you can do some AI-powered stuff around insights. I'm also excited because I have Meghan Bazaman here with me today. These conversations would be boring if it was just me. We always have to bring a friend along.

Meghan, how are you doing today?

Meghan Bazaman: I'm good. Thank you for having me.

George: I'm excited you're here. If you weren't, it would be kind of boring. I need to learn about the thing that we're talking about today as much as the Marketing Smarts listeners do. One of the things that I like to do is ask questions that can end us up anywhere. This first question, I have quickly learned after asking guests this question that it could be a dream or it could be a nightmare. What keeps you up at night around brand monitoring, or brand monitoring in an age of AI?

Meghan: I think it's an equally exciting and uncertain time. In the marketing world, we're already seeing marketers use AI tools to create all kinds of content, everything from writing ad copy to product descriptions, to even longer form content, blogs or articles. I think all that is really exciting and the use cases seem endless, but I don't think people are talking as much about the dark side of AI. I'd say my biggest concern is really how fast the technology is evolving and being adopted by the masses without the same energy being devoted to regulation and guidelines.

Even just in the last few months, we saw Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, publicly speak out against the dangers of generative AI in terms of what that means for the spread of large scale disinformation and calling for society and regulators to get involved. I just think that technology is advancing very fast before we can deeply understand and react to the implications. One of the topics we explore in our research is how these free generative AI tools like ChatGPT can be used by not only consumers but potentially bad actors, and that could just lead to this wave of fake or misleading content. Essentially, more content, more volatile content just means that's more that marketers need to monitor and react to.

The tools themselves have limitations. I'm not really sure if end users are truly aware of that. There is bias. AI models can replicate biases from the training data. Those tools are only trained using internet data, and you're missing out on a whole subset of the population that is not on the internet. Then you have the hallucinations, and that's where these tools can generate unpredictable or just flat out wrong outputs.

We also know that AI tools don't have any knowledge of current events, unless that information is provided to it. For example, ChatGPT is only trained with data up to September 2021. Then there's also issues with IP and copyright risk. Just limitations within the tools themselves is another thing that I'm concerned about.

George: It does sound like it's a little bit of a possible dream, but maybe a potential nightmare. Yes, Marketing Smarts listeners, there are people who are not on the internet, believe it or not. Just understanding sometimes the way we think or the way we live isn't the way that everybody thinks or lives is very interesting.

There is so much in that first part that I would be remiss if I didn't mention that we did an interview with Christopher Penn. Go back and listen to that episode, because we dug into some of what to watch for from the human side and legal side of AI and where Meghan was dipping her toe into the water there. Let's dive in a little bit deeper around brand monitoring.

One of the things that I like to do on the podcast is level-set. What I mean by that is I may say the words brand monitoring and think one thing, you may say them and think totally something else, and the thousands of listeners could be thinking of potentially thousands of other ways. For the rest of our conversation today on the Marketing Smarts Podcast, when we say brand monitoring, what the heck do we even mean? In other words, how do you define brand monitoring moving forward?

Meghan: I'd say essentially brand monitoring is the process or practice of tracking different channels to identify where your brand is being mentioned. The idea is to observe how your brand is perceived and talked about and understand where those conversations are happening. I'd say for many brands a lot of that is taking place on social media. This is really important for businesses and brands. It can help you identify customer needs, or respond to them, or spot a need that you weren't aware of. It's also just keeping a pulse on customer sentiments when it comes to your brand, product, or services.

How does that tie into AI? I think it's really interesting that AI can play a role in both helping with brand monitoring as well as causing issues. Some of the things we just talked about, like more content, volatility of content, lack of regulation. But it can help because I think AI is going to lead to better and more capable brand monitoring tools. For example, AI technology is way better at handling large amounts of information, condensing it, summarizing it, being able to scan and provide insight, capabilities of that nature. But again, I think the jury is still out about the potential risks.

In our research, we saw that 95% of marketers felt really optimistic about AI and felt that it would make their day-to-day job easier. Around the same percent, 93% said that even with AI tools they thought that brand monitoring would require human analysis of data.

George: So interesting. When I said brand monitoring, I too was like, social listening, that's it. But you're painting a much bigger picture that some of the Marketing Smarts listeners may be paying attention to historically, maybe some of them aren't but will in the future. Again, we're tying this to AI. I know in the future questions we might talk about tips, tricks, tools, and different things like that. Because of this AI insurgence, if you will, what is changing that marketers need to know pertaining to this whole monitoring, does it need a human eye, does it not, what do we need to know that's changing?

Meghan: Number one, just marketers need to be aware that volatile content is on the rise. From our research, marketers predict that this is going to get worse. Just to share some more stats from our research, we saw that 57% of the marketers we surveyed said that they witnessed criticism or defamatory content about their brand or company on social media. Nearly half said they ran into flat out fake and fraudulent brand accounts. 46% said they encountered inaccurate or misleading brand or company information. That's one thing.

I also think it's important for small businesses to be investing in this as well. When we did our research, we also saw that less of the small businesses had dedicated resources going into this, so budgets, staff, software, compared to large or midsize businesses. We're going to see more volatile content and it could be an issue for businesses of all sizes.

George: Let's dive back into the brand monitoring portion of this. What are some key elements of brand monitoring that B2B marketers (and maybe even any marketers) should be paying attention to, and how does AI help or hinder those elements that they should be paying attention to?

Meghan: We're definitely seeing some challenges. In our research, we found that there are especially challenges around data accessibility, the volume and the complexity. This is hindering companies of all sizes from implementing social media monitoring initiatives. So, I guess being aware of challenges around data accessibility. We even found that those data-related challenges outweigh other hurdles, like not having staff, skills, or time, so I would say that would be a challenge to be aware of.

George: I'm going to give you a chance to dive back into those hurdles here in a hot minute. One of the things that I love is the show Mythbusters. I fully understand that I'm dating myself at some point with saying that I like that show. Is there a common myth about brand monitoring now that we live in an age of AI, or just in general, that you want to debunk here on the Marketing Smarts Podcast?

Meghan: There are all sorts of myths out there about AI. I think of every robot movie I've ever seen. Will it replace us? Can it develop a mind of its own? I'd say for the most part many businesses are still in the deployment phase of generative AI, and the things that it can and can't do we're still sort of figuring out.

I think the biggest myth, though, would be to assume that your business or your marketing team doesn't need to be thinking about this, or the thinking that it's somebody else's problem. Marketers really need to dedicate resources and a strategy for brand monitoring to be prepared for the coming wave of more content and volatile content, especially on social media, just so they can maintain authenticity and keep customer trust.

George: Customer trust is really important. If you're working hard to be an authentic human, as you should for your brand, anything that goes against that is definitely something to pay attention to. With that said, are there any tips, tricks, hacks, templates that B2B marketers can use when implementing brand monitoring at their organization?

Meghan: I definitely have a few tips for marketers and businesses, especially when you're monitoring on social media. I'd say, first and foremost, you should take stock of the social media monitoring or analysis tools that your company might already be using. See if they're being used to their full capabilities. Maybe there is someone on your team or in your department that has special expertise there.

Once you have the lay of the land, I would work with your organization's leaders to prioritize social media and brand monitoring resources, whether that's devoting budget or staff, task force, and so on. I think it's really essential to allocate resources toward brand monitoring, especially in the wake of this new AI technology.

One way you can do that is communicating the benefits with leaders, and then also making sure they're aware of the risk. I know we talked a little bit about challenges already. Our survey actually found that 36% of marketers cited that a lack of understanding of brand monitoring benefits and uses was a top barrier to implementing initiatives at their company. Although, 88% of companies that had resources going into this were saying it's very high value to their business.

George: Earlier in the episode we were talking about challenges. You even alluded to a different set of hurdles. I do want to unpack that. People who are listening to this are like, "I probably need to be doing brand monitoring. I probably need to research some tools. These are the reasons why I need to do that. It's just going to get more interesting in the future," so they set off on a trek to actually do this thing that we're talking about today. What are some of the hurdles you've seen B2B marketers and organizations face when trying to do brand monitoring in this super fast-paced age of AI flying all over the place?

Meghan: I think a big hurdle is with data accessibility. What you can do to work on that is looking at boosting your company's data-centric function's accessibility to improve your brand monitoring. I think companies can try to achieve that by having a data management policy. That's just essentially documentation for handling, storing, processing, or managing data across your business. When you have policies that help clearly define the responsible parties and how you're going to achieve, collect, and share data, that's one thing you can do to really help.

Another thing would be making sure that you're upskilling your marketing team on data tools and techniques. That will allow them not only to gain access to the data that they need, but to get the most out of it. Include training that is specific on social media monitoring tools or how to monitor user generated content that references your brand. Data literacy is very important.

George: One of the things I like to do on the podcast is give two sides of one coin. I just asked you about hurdles. I'm super curious what success looks like. How do we know that we've reached this brand monitoring space of nirvana, if you will?

Meghan: That's a good question. I think it ties back into some of the tips that I mentioned. Having a marketing team that is equipped to work with data and who are data literate is really key. Also, ensuring that marketers have access to the data that they need. Another thing would be having software tools that can help you. I think that would be a marker of success. As I mentioned, having a data management policy that defines the processes and responsible parties for analyzing social media data to help provide clarity would be another marker of success. Then training and data literacy programs would be another marker.

George: I want to go off the beaten path for one second before I ask my final question. Several times throughout the podcast you have eloquently said, "In our report we show," and you've brought it back to stats. Not my opinion, here's the statistics, this is what is pointing to. Talk me through a little bit about this report, and if people can get access to the report, where they might be able to do that. Wax poetic on all things that we've been referencing this entire episode.

Meghan: Thanks. We definitely have a report where I talk about the tips that we discussed in more detail. It's called Why Marketers Need a Brand Monitoring Strategy in the Age of AI. You can check that out in the resources section at

George: Time flies when you're having fun. The final question that I like to ask is one that I think leans into allowing the thought leader, the guest, to any type of direction or directions that they want to go. You've been on a path, you've been part of the Capterra team, you've been going through this report, you've been having internal conversations around this topic. Those journeys equal nuggets of wisdom. Meghan, what are the words of wisdom that you would want to share with the Marketing Smarts listeners about brand monitoring, AI, or maybe just life in general?

Meghan: I know it's all very exciting and uncertain, and things seem to be advancing very fast. I would say don't fear it. I think instead it's important to be vigilant and prepared. Have an understanding of how this could impact your work or your team. I think right now is the time where marketers and other professionals need to regroup and figure out how to structure themselves so you can survive this transformative AI boom. Not only survive, but thrive.

I would say those are my last words of wisdom. I'm optimistic about it. It's an exciting time.

George: Marketing Smarts listeners, did you take lots of notes? I have to ask, what is your one thing, your number one execution opportunity after this podcast episode? Make sure you reach out and let us know in my inbox or on Twitter using the hashtag #MPB2B.

I also have to ask are you a free member of the MarketingProfs community yet? If not, head over to You won't regret the additional B2B marketing education that you'll be adding to your life.

We'd like it if you could leave us a rating or review on your favorite podcast app, but we'd love it if you would share this episode with a coworker or friend. Until we meet in the next episode of the Marketing Smarts Podcast where we talk with Owen Richards about empowering sales success, the role of marketing in sales enablement, I hope you do just a couple of things. One, reach out and let us know what conversation you'd like to listen in on next. Two, focus on getting 1% better at your craft each and every day. Finally, remember to be a happy, helpful, humble B2B marketing human. We'll see you in the next episode of the Marketing Smarts Podcast.

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