An Open Letter from Scott Ernst, CEO of Drift

By Scott Ernst

Today is a significant milestone in Drift’s history. We are announcing three new, AI-powered products that are defining the next generation of our buyer engagement platform and helping businesses create more personalized customer experiences, one conversation at a time.

But today is much bigger than a product launch. In this afternoon’s keynote, we will share our vision for the future of B2B marketing and our progress towards curating the entire customer experience.

But before we talk about where we are going, let’s talk about where we’ve been.

Back in 2015, our co-founders, David Cancel and Elias Torres, saw that the B2B landscape was on the verge of a massive transformation.

Digital was becoming the norm. More and more buyers were on the hunt for brands that offered an easy, always-on, personalized experience. And the line between the B2B and B2C sales process was starting to blur.

That’s the world that Drift created the Conversational Marketing category for. Our goal then wasn’t just to help businesses adapt to the new digital reality, but to do so in a way that fosters the human-to-human connection that we all — buyers and sellers alike — value.

Eight years later, we still believe that even though we are buying and selling online, it should still feel human. Businesses don’t buy from businesses; humans buy from humans. While this core belief remains the same, our buyers’ expectations have changed, and despite the promises of digital transformation, businesses still struggle to meet them.

In 2023, B2B buyers reported having fewer positive brand experiences than they did in 2022 — and that was true across the entire sales process, from the initial research phase to the onboarding phase.

For today’s buyers, the B2B sales process is still too long, too slow, and too complicated. We know first-hand that this leads to poor experiences and dissatisfied customers. But we also know that AI has the potential to change all of this, to deliver the right experience at every touchpoint of the buyer journey.

With the introduction of ChatGPT and other generative AI advancements in the past year, AI is now more accessible than ever and is transforming the way that we live, work, and interact with one another. But at Drift, AI is not new. It’s not another shiny new tool or trendy buzzword. We’ve been a leader and innovator in AI for years and our customers have seen real outcomes – proof that when done right, AI can actually make buyer journeys feel more human.

AI is central to empowering meaningful customer experiences and is the only way for brands to meet buyer expectations and curate personal interactions at scale. Now, we have both the experience and the opportunity to be at the forefront of this evolution.

That’s why today, we are reimagining Conversational Marketing, and with it, the future of B2B buying. We’re taking a step forward, away from rigid decision trees and simple chatbots, towards curated, white-glove experiences for every individual, every human, no matter where they are in their digital buying journey.

Our vision is a world where AI works for humans to turn conversations into relationships. Drift is a human-centric, AI-powered platform that listens, understands and learns from buyers to deliver personalized experiences and recommendations at every touchpoint.

We’re creating a new kind of experience that puts buyers back in the driver seat with consumer-like control over their brand interactions. In turn, brands can effectively anticipate buyer needs and recommend next steps, driving conversations that build trust and lead to lasting relationships.

And just as we did in 2015, we want to work with you to make this vision a reality.

If the sudden rise of AI has taught us anything, it’s that while change can be scary, it also brings incredible opportunity. We are ready to help you navigate this new frontier and usher in a new era of B2B marketing. Together, let’s push the boundaries of the digital buying process, unlock better buyer conversations, and humanize the experience for everyone.

Today’s announcement is just the beginning, just the start of the conversation. I hope to see you at today’s virtual keynote, and we hope you’ll join us for the ride