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    Implementing artificial intelligence in traditional B2B marketing practices: an Activity Theory perspective

    Keegan, Brendan James, Dennehy, Denis and Naude, Peter ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4019-0393 (2022) Implementing artificial intelligence in traditional B2B marketing practices: an Activity Theory perspective. Information Systems Frontiers: a journal of research and innovation. ISSN 1387-3326

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    Anecdotal evidence suggests that artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are highly effective in digital marketing and rapidly growing in popularity in the context of business-to-business (B2B) marketing. Yet empirical research on AI-powered B2B marketing, and particularly on the socio-technical aspects of its use, is sparse. This study uses Activity Theory (AT) as a theoretical lens to examine AI-powered B2B marketing as a collective activity system, and to illuminate the contradictions that emerge when adopting and implementing AI into traditional B2B marketing practices. AT is appropriate in the context of this study, as it shows how contradictions act as a motor for change and lead to transformational changes, rather than viewing tensions as a threat to prematurely abandon the adoption and implementation of AI in B2B marketing. Based on eighteen interviews with industry and academic experts, the study identifies contradictions with which marketing researchers and practitioners must contend. We show that these contradictions can be culturally or politically challenging to confront, and even when resolved, can have both intended and unintended consequences.

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