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WPP and IBM Team Up to Revolutionize Business-to-Business Marketing with Generative AI

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WPP and IBM have announced the launch of WPP Open for B2B, a new AI-driven business-to-business marketing solution powered by IBM's watsonx platform. This initiative aims to address complex B2B marketing challenges by accurately identifying and engaging buying groups, thus enhancing clients' return on investment. IBM is the first user, aiming to accelerate its AI-driven marketing transformation. The collaboration includes LinkedIn to leverage its unique insights on buyer groups. Key features include the AI-powered Buying Group Brain™ model, orchestration and optimization tools, and a CMO command center. These capabilities are designed for enterprise-scale integration, security, and governance.

Positive
  • Launch of WPP Open for B2B powered by IBM's watsonx, designed to solve complex B2B marketing challenges.
  • Collaboration with LinkedIn to leverage insights on buying groups, enhancing the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
  • IBM is the first user, indicating confidence in the platform's capabilities and potential for accelerated AI-driven marketing transformation.
  • AI-powered Buying Group Brain™ model for accurate identification and engagement of target buying groups.
  • Enterprise-scale capabilities designed for integration, security, and governance, ensuring reliable performance.
Negative
  • Potential high costs associated with deploying and integrating the new AI-driven platform across enterprise systems.
  • Reliance on AI solutions may pose risks if AI models do not perform as expected or if data governance issues arise.

The announcement of the partnership between WPP and IBM to launch the WPP Open for B2B platform powered by IBM's watsonx AI represents a significant move in the B2B marketing space. The integration of AI to tackle complex marketing problems and enhance client engagement is a noteworthy development. The integration of AI in marketing is evolving rapidly and this platform could set a new standard by leveraging IBM's watsonx AI capabilities to optimize marketing strategies.

One key aspect worth noting is the **AI-powered Buying Group Brain™**. This model aims to accurately identify target buying groups within B2B client accounts, using data from multiple sources. This could lead to more precise targeting and personalized marketing, addressing a common pain point in B2B marketing - the complexity of dealing with multiple stakeholders with varied priorities.

Another innovative feature is the **Chief Marketing Officer command center**, which centralizes data and insights, allowing senior marketers to plan, model scenarios, predict results and make data-driven decisions. This can potentially streamline the decision-making process and improve marketing efficiency.

The focus on security, governance and integration into existing systems, combined with IBM's consulting services to help clients adopt the platform, shows a thorough approach to ensuring that the platform is not only powerful but also practical for enterprises to implement.

Short-term, this partnership might attract attention and investment from companies looking to enhance their marketing strategies. Long-term, if the platform delivers on its promises, it could become a staple in the B2B marketing toolkit, leading to improved marketing ROI for businesses. However, the actual effectiveness will need to be validated through practical use over time.

From a market perspective, the partnership between WPP and IBM to create a specialized B2B marketing platform could have significant implications. The B2B sector often struggles with complex sales processes and diverse stakeholder groups, making targeted marketing a challenge. By using AI to identify and engage these groups more effectively, the platform aims to reduce inefficiencies and improve marketing outcomes.

One of the standout features is the collaboration with LinkedIn. LinkedIn's extensive network and data on professional interactions could provide invaluable insights into buyer groups, enhancing the accuracy and effectiveness of marketing campaigns. This triangulation of data from IBM, WPP and LinkedIn could lead to more refined and impactful marketing strategies.

The use of **orchestration and optimization** features to ensure consistent and relevant messaging across channels could help in maintaining engagement with buying groups throughout lengthy sales cycles. This could be particularly beneficial for companies with long sales cycles, where sustained engagement is crucial.

For retail investors, this partnership suggests a strategic move by both WPP and IBM to position themselves at the forefront of AI-driven marketing solutions. **WPP** could see an uptick in client acquisition and retention due to the enhanced capabilities they offer. **IBM** stands to benefit from the application of its AI technologies in a new domain, showcasing the versatility and impact of its watsonx platform. However, the actual market reception and adoption rates will be critical to watch in the coming quarters.

Overall, the platform's success could lead to a paradigm shift in how B2B marketing is approached, with potential ripple effects across the industry.

  • WPP Open for B2B is powered by IBM's watsonx AI and data platform to solve complex B2B marketing challenges 
  • IBM is the first user of the platform to accelerate its AI-driven marketing and communications transformation
  • WPP and IBM will collaborate with LinkedIn to better understand buying groups 

CANNES, France, June 19, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- WPP (NYSE: WPP) and IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced the launch of a new business-to-business (B2B) solution powered by IBM's AI and data platform watsonx designed to reinvent how B2B marketers identify and engage clients and prospects across the buying journey. 

WPP Open for B2B will help marketers solve complex B2B marketing challenges, accurately identify and engage buying groups, and improve clients' return on investment. Buying groups are made up of multiple stakeholders with different priorities who influence key purchasing decisions both inside and outside of organizations, which can make it difficult to deliver a consistent message over a long sales period. Traditionally, understanding how to adjust that message across the right channels to guide buying groups to purchase is challenging and often leads to inefficient marketing spend. 

WPP Open for B2B is powered by watsonx – an AI and data platform designed to accelerate the impact of AI across businesses – and will bring together market-leading, proprietary capabilities from both organizations. WPP and IBM will strategically collaborate with LinkedIn to help brands better understand buying groups so they can market more effectively and reach target buyers. 

Alan Webber, Program Vice President – Digital Platform Ecosystems at analyst firm IDC believes "this product and partnership have the potential to be an exponential force multiplier for the Fortune 1000."        

Stephan Pretorius, Chief Technology Officer at WPP, said: "Our clients want to get in front of the right people, at the right time, on the right channels, with the right message. However, most solutions in the market today are designed for consumer marketing, targeted at sole decision-makers at a single point of purchase.  WPP Open for B2B, and our collaboration with IBM and LinkedIn, will help solve some incredibly complex challenges in the B2B marketing space, using the best of WPP and IBM technology and expertise."

Jonathan Adashek, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications at IBM, said: "B2B marketers have been focused on creating truly personalized, relevant and consistent experiences for buying groups at scale for years. Our collaboration with WPP and LinkedIn provides real-time, actionable insights that are based on trusted data. We are excited to create and use these new, powerful and trusted AI solutions to deliver a force multiplier for B2B marketing."

Penry Price, Vice President at LinkedIn, said: "With success in B2B requiring customers to reach between 6 to 10 stakeholders, building relationships and 'collective confidence' among the entire buyer group is key. We are looking forward to working with WPP and IBM to determine how our unique knowledge of buyer groups can help inform WPP Open for B2B and help clients deliver more effective advertising campaigns."

WPP and IBM have used watsonx to build capabilities for the platform including:

  • AI-powered Buying Group Brain™ – a WPP AI model that can more accurately identify target buying groups in a B2B client account, built with IBM watsonx.ai and trained on trustworthy data from the client and third parties through IBM watsonx.data. It can also inform how marketers deliver personalized and consistent experiences across channels and across the duration of a long-term influencer campaign. 
  • Orchestration and optimization – using insights from WPP's Buying Group Brain™ AI model to optimize engagement and opportunity progression for buying groups. That includes providing recommendations for channel mix and content to ensure buying groups experience a cohesive, consistent and relevant message. It can also help marketers track marketing activity effectiveness with a buying group and adjust messaging or influencer targeting on demand. 
  • Chief Marketing Officer command center – an AI assistant that serves as a command center for CMOs, bringing forward data and insights and connecting underlying systems so senior marketers can plan and model scenarios, predict results, make more data-driven decisions and execute recommended actions.

These capabilities are supported by the IBM watsonx.governance toolkit to help clients govern and transparently track the performance of the AI models. 

Accelerating IBM's AI-powered marketing and communications transformation

IBM has already begun deploying the new platform within its marketing and communications organization. WPP's creative and technology expertise alongside the joint innovation on the watsonx platform is expected to support IBM's objective to accelerate growth through AI-driven marketing. 

An open approach with embedded governance

WPP Open for B2B powered by watsonx is designed for enterprise scale, security, governance and easy integration into clients' existing systems, combining the open capabilities of WPP Open, IBM watsonx and Red Hat OpenShift1

IBM Consulting is the primary change management consulting partner for the solution. That  includes helping clients customize and operate the platform, integrate it into their marketing workflows and build employees' skills and adoption of the platform, using the collaborative engagement model IBM Garage. IBM consultants can help clients select and deploy the right AI models for the platform based on their requirements, including enterprise grade models like IBM Granite, open source or other third-party models. 

About WPP
WPP is the creative transformation company. We use the power of creativity to build better futures for our people, planet, clients and communities. For more information, visit www.wpp.com.

WPP Open for B2B is part of WPP Open, WPP's intelligent marketing operating system powered by AI. Applying WPP's decades of experience serving enterprise clients, WPP Open is designed to integrate with any client, partner or technology vendor to create optimised and automated marketing capabilities. 

About IBM
IBM is a leading provider of global hybrid cloud and AI, and consulting expertise. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs, and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Thousands of government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM's hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently, and securely. IBM's breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and consulting deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM's long-standing commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity, and service. 

1 Red Hat® and OpenShift® are trademarks or registered trademarks of Red Hat, Inc. or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries.

Media Contacts

WPP
Niken Wresniwiro, SVP Global Communications
niken.wresniwiro@wpp.com

IBM
Michelle Mattelson, IBM External Relations
morrison@us.ibm.com

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SOURCE IBM

FAQ

What is WPP Open for B2B?

WPP Open for B2B is a new AI-driven business-to-business marketing solution powered by IBM's watsonx platform, designed to address complex marketing challenges.

How does IBM's watsonx platform enhance B2B marketing?

IBM's watsonx platform uses AI to accurately identify and engage buying groups, improve ROI, and optimize marketing strategies across channels.

Who are the key collaborators in WPP Open for B2B?

The key collaborators are WPP, IBM, and LinkedIn, combining their expertise to improve B2B marketing effectiveness.

What is the Buying Group Brain™ model?

The Buying Group Brain™ is an AI model that identifies target buying groups in B2B client accounts, helping to deliver personalized and consistent marketing messages.

What are the enterprise capabilities of WPP Open for B2B?

The enterprise capabilities include integration, security, governance, and the ability to customize and operate the platform using IBM Consulting and the IBM Garage model.

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