Great marketing starts with knowing your target customer.

Traditionally this has involved hours of tedious market research, customer surveys, and knocking on doors.

Today, we can map our ideal customer in minutes.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to use AI-powered tools to improve your B2B customer research … from predictive analytics in Salesforce’s Einstein, to content analysis in Speak, to Quantilope’s survey capabilities.

These tools can streamline your processes, provide deeper (and better) insights, and deliver more personalized customer experiences. We’ll show you real brands that are using them.

AI Prompts for B2B Customer Research

Competitor Research

Using a tool like ChatGPT or Google Gemini, start with this basic prompt to get a breakdown of some of your competitors, replacing bracketed fields with your own details:

I want to do some competitor research in the industry of [network security]. We are a [mid-range] enterprise with [500] employees. Give me a breakdown of competitors in this space and provide sources.

In our example prompt, the output looks like this:

For a mid-sized enterprise like yours in the network security industry, several competitors offer robust solutions tailored to similar business sizes and needs. Here’s a breakdown of some notable competitors:

  • Fortinet: Known for their FortiGate Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW), Fortinet offers a range of products designed to provide high-performance security across various deployment sites, including remote offices and cloud environments. Their solutions incorporate AI-powered security, deep visibility into network activities, and extensive threat prevention capabilities​ (DataLink Networks)​.
  • Palo Alto Networks: They provide advanced firewall solutions for mid-sized to large enterprises with strong cloud integration capabilities. Palo Alto is especially noted for excellent customer support and extensive training resources, which could benefit companies looking to bolster their security without extensive in-house expertise​ (eSecurity Planet)​.
  • Cisco: A leader in the networking industry, Cisco’s firewalls are praised for their robust protection in dynamic environments and their ability to support scalable business policies. This makes them a good choice for businesses that need a customizable and comprehensive security approach​ (eSecurity Planet)​.
  • Hughes Network Systems: Hughes offers managed cybersecurity services such as Managed Detection and Response (MDR) and SOC as a Service (SOCaaS), specifically designed for small—to mid-sized enterprises. These services are ideal for businesses that may not have extensive in-house security expertise but still need strong network security measures​ (Hughes)​.
  • Barracuda Networks: Their Cloud-Gen Firewalls are suitable for diverse deployment scenarios, including on-premises and various cloud platforms like AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. Barracuda’s firewalls offer advanced threat protection with features like sandboxing, which detonates suspicious attachments in a secure environment​ (DataLink Networks)​.

With this information in hand, we can drill down into potential customer profiles:

With these competitors in mind, what does an ideal customer look like? Consider the type of business, their pain points, and what questions they might ask, and give me a profile.

Our output looks like this:

Type of Business

  • Industries: These typically operate in sectors where data security is paramount. These include healthcare, finance, education, government, and technology sectors. These industries often face regulatory compliance requirements that necessitate robust network security solutions.
  • Size: Mid-sized to large enterprises with significant reliance on digital infrastructure but might be unable to manage complex security needs in-house.
  • Geography: Businesses with operations in multiple locations or that require remote access capabilities for a distributed workforce need sophisticated firewall and VPN solutions.

Pain Points

  • Complex Security Challenges: Companies face complex security threats, including ransomware, phishing, and advanced persistent threats (APTs), that traditional security solutions may not adequately address.
  • Compliance and Regulatory Pressure: Businesses under stringent regulatory scrutiny (like GDPR and HIPAA) seek solutions that help maintain compliance while providing security.
  • Resource Constraints: Mid-sized enterprises often lack extensive in-house IT security expertise or resources to manage and respond to evolving threats effectively.
  • Integration Issues: Organizations need to seamlessly integrate their security solutions with existing IT infrastructure without causing disruptions in service or performance.

Questions They Might Ask

  • What is the total cost of ownership of your firewall solutions?
  • How do your products help comply with industry regulations like HIPAA for healthcare or PCI DSS for retail?
  • Can your solutions scale as our company grows and our needs change?
  • What kind of customer support do you offer? Are there 24/7 options?
  • How do you handle updates and new threats?

At this point, we’d recommend using two of our utilities to help you work with this profile:

  • Our Customer Persona Generator provides a more refined approach to building this customer profile. With the customer profile above, you can generate a more in-depth analysis of your ideal customer.
  • Our Customer Journey Map Generator takes you one step further. With this information, you can show the customer journey – from first touchpoint to final sale – then use that to design marketing and sales funnels and campaigns. 

Finally, you’ll want to start opening up outside research. With this prompt, you can get started:

With these competitors, please give me publicly available data (with linked sources) on the industry’s customer base. Please provide websites with relevant statistics on those customers, and limit your search to the past five years.

The output will look like this:

  • Dominant Industries: The IT and telecommunications sector holds the largest market share, followed closely by the government and BFSI (Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance) sectors. These sectors are particularly vulnerable due to the large volumes of sensitive data they handle, which makes them prime targets for cyberattacks. The healthcare sector is also rapidly growing in this market, driven by the need to protect Electronic Health Records (EHR) and other sensitive patient information​ (Fortune Business Insights)​​ (IMARC)​.
  • Regional Insights: North America dominates the network security market due to the advanced technological infrastructure, high adoption of cloud services, and stringent regulatory requirements. The Asia-Pacific region, particularly India, China, and Korea, is expected to grow substantially due to increasing investments in security infrastructure and rising internet penetration​ (Fortune Business Insights)​​ (IMARC)​.
  • Customer Preferences: There is a strong preference for services over hardware in the cybersecurity domain, reflecting the trend towards consulting and managed services, especially among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which often lack the budget and expertise to implement complex security solutions in-house​ (Grand View Research)​.
  • Emerging Trends: Cloud security is witnessing the fastest growth, driven by the widespread adoption of cloud computing and the need for specialized security solutions that protect data and applications in cloud environments. This shift is influencing the development of innovative cloud-native security tools and Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASBs)​ (Global Market Insights Inc.)​​ (Grand View Research)​.
  • Challenges and Opportunities: The complexity of security solutions and the lack of skilled cybersecurity professionals are significant challenges in the market. However, these challenges also present opportunities for the development of simplified, more user-friendly solutions and for the expansion of professional and managed cybersecurity services​ (Global Market Insights Inc.)​​ (Grand View Research)​.

AI Prompts for Expanding Your Research

Beyond ChatGPT, here are some next steps to enrich and improve your customer research:

  • Create a Customer Survey: Customer surveys help you listen to the customer. For example, using this prompt, we can craft an introductory survey that asks the customer to rate their needs and security gaps based on the customer profile we created:

    Using this customer data, create a customer survey of 10 questions that ask customers how they rate their top network security concerns. Use both Likert and open-ended questions where relevant.
  • Create a Set of Shared Attributes: Sometimes, an in-depth persona is useful for marketing purposes. Conversely, having a pool of attributes helps you see the larger picture of how these customers think and act. For example, this prompt will tell the AI to distill a set of key attributes with suggestions on what types of marketing assets might speak to them:

    Using the customer profile we created here, what are some of the more important attributes these potential customers share, and how can we effectively integrate those attributes into a marketing campaign?
  • Provide Customer Data: ChatGPT’s data set is limited and includes no particular customer information other than what is available. If you can strip out identifying information and create open-ended data sets on customer trends or questionnaire responses, you can ask it to provide insights into customers and refine the profile that you’ve built thus far.

AI Customer Research Tools

marketing specialist smiling

Here are some of our top picks, along with their use cases:

Salesforce (Einstein)

Einstein is the AI tool available through Salesforce’s customer relationship management platform. The technology’s predictive analytics and lead-scoring capabilities will let your company pinpoint promising prospective customers and customize their experiences.

Why try it: Companies that used Einstein had a 20% boost in conversion rates within the first six months (Cyntexa).

IBM (Watsonx)

To detect patterns and trends, IBM’s AI Watsonx can analyze vast amounts of B2B customer data, including contracts, emails, social media conversations, etc. Your business can leverage these to understand your customers’ needs better and create more targeted marketing and sales campaigns.

Why try it: A 2023 Forrester study found that after three years of using Watsonx’s predecessor, Watson Assistant, companies experienced a 370% return on investment (IBM).


Speak allows users to upload files in various formats – audio, video, and text – for transcription and analysis so that you can create search-engine-optimized content for marketing purposes.

Why try it: Startup incubator DMZ used the platform to create a 14-part webinar series that included real-time, near-instantaneous search capabilities, face detection allowing quick presenter labeling for webinar watchers, and a complete transcript section (Speak).


This AI-driven research platform promises to ease the usual heavy lifting of gathering and analyzing customer insights. Use Quantilope’s survey capabilities to discover market trends, determine competitor strategies, and validate your product concepts.

Why try it: Packaged food giant Kraft Heinz used Quantilope to track customer pairings with cream cheese. In just three months, it got results that helped it identify a trend in miniature foods–just in time to successfully market mini cheesecakes for spring (Quantilope).


Hotjar’s AI-powered analytics, a product-experience insights tool, can give your company a valuable new look at user behavior on digital platforms. You can use its heat mapping feature and session recordings to optimize site user experiences and increase conversion rates.

Why try it: British building materials supplier Materials Market used Hotjar to slash its online checkout exits by 86% (Hotjar).

Media Shower

Media Shower’s AI-powered content research and creation offerings can declutter and ease the process of creating compelling narratives for your audiences. By analyzing the market trends and customer feedback we compile for you, your brand can develop content strategies that always get the right eye on them.

Why try it: Home improvement leader Gutter Helmet engaged Media Shower’s content marketing services – and increased its organic web traffic by 1300% and its organic keywords ranking in Google by 550% (Media Shower).

Case Studies: Real Stories of AI and B2B Customer Research

No need to take our word for it: the companies highlighted below have all seen firsthand the benefits of AI in B2B customer research (CMSWire).

Ulta Beauty

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  • Challenge: The Illinois-based U.S. beauty store chain’s siloed data made personalizing its digital marketing difficult.
  • Solution: Ulta consolidated customer data using the marketing and advanced analytics tool SAS Customer Intelligence 360. The technology helped the company create a unified environment for quick, solid decision-making and better return on investment.
  • Result: Implementing AI-driven marketing automation allowed Ulta to craft highly personalized campaigns and print marketing, resulting in 95% of its sales from returning customers.

TGH Urgent Care

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  • Challenge: Florida-based TGH Urgent Care was experiencing a spike in patient calls, which overwhelmed customer service representatives and resulted in a low call answer rate.
  • Solution: The walk-in clinic chain began using solutions from technology company LivePerson, implementing options such as voice bots and FAQ chatbots to give patients alternative channels for inquiries.
  • Result: The adoption of AI-based solutions led to a 40% reduction in incoming calls and an increase in the call answer rate to 80%.

Liberty London

liberty london logo

  • Challenge: As sales rose at the high-end British department store Liberty London, the company wanted to improve its customer service and make contacting the firm a premium experience.
  • Solution: Liberty London chose customer service software provider Zendesk to help it automatically classify and route customer support tickets, ensuring swift resolutions to customer issues, especially at peak call periods. The platform’s AI capabilities also facilitated backlog management, making for smoother operations throughout the customer service department.
  • Result: AI-driven solutions led to significant improvements in customer service metrics for Liberty London, including an 11% decrease in ticket resolution time, a 73% decrease in first reply time, and a 9% increase in customer satisfaction. It also enhanced the customer service experience significantly.

Marketer Takeaway

Great marketing starts with laser-targeting your customer. With AI, this is easier than ever.

Take a free trial of our Media Shower platform, where you can get a full suite of AI customer research tools – and an award-winning creative team to put that customer research into action.