Have you ‘AI’d?’ What’d you think? …Go? …No go? The past year’s slow roll adoption of generative artificial intelligence (AI), like ChatGPT, forces marketers across all disciplines to question and consider the implications and imperatives, both positive and negative, of AI implementation.
If you’re all “Oh hell yeah!” you may have already experienced how AI can be your next-level brainstorming buddy, dishing up a turbocharged mashup of search engine wizardry and thesaurus-ninja mastery that’s stunning in its speed and prodigious outputs. But just as we begin to revel in the possibilities of engaging AI in content creation, we quickly reveal AI’s struggle to capture the nuances of human emotion, connection, and authenticity. Building compelling brands relies heavily on these human qualities, which AI can’t fully replicate.
AI adoption also raises ethical concerns, specifically around data privacy, algorithm bias, and consumer trust. If not properly regulated and used responsibly, AI marketing could lead to invasive practices that erode trust and even damage brand reputations. While data-driven marketing tech continually sharpens our effectiveness, the risk of overreliance on AI-generated directives focused on metrics can potentially undermine the strength of broader brand-building efforts.
So, whether AI in advertising is good or bad news for brand marketers depends on how it is implemented and managed. Could a well-managed AI platform actually generate world-class marketing creativity? Could it read the room in a planning meeting and then propose an innovative, category-killing strategic angle? Could it tell you which half of your media budget is being wasted or author a culturally keyed-in tagline like; “If your grandfather hadn’t worn it, you wouldn’t exist.”? (Old Spice) …That’s a big ‘probably not.’
As always, it’s a ‘crap in / crap out’ equation: huge volumes of novel content in a myriad of styles may feel like a 1-800 hotline for free marketing support, but size alone doesn’t always matter. We quickly recognize that those prodigious outputs don’t necessarily represent best-in-class concepts or actionable ideas that are remotely close to consumer-ready. What we get from AI are not insights or instincts, but ingredients, because AI doesn’t recognize your brand’s culture, competition, or customers – or how to manage the expectations of key stakeholders and collaborators.
AI is not an innovator, it’s a rule-follower. It replicates techniques, styles, and trends, but it’s locked in a well-bounded cell without ‘lived’ access to the latest ideas or the ability to create new ones. But by giving us a limitless pipeline of ingredients, AI explodes the scale at which we can imagine. And the temporal efficiencies AI delivers enable us to ask increasingly more rigorous and imaginative questions, leading to higher standards of creative innovation.
HOW SLOW CAN YOU GO?
So… is AI powered marketing good or bad news for brand managers? As we move past the starting gates of this exciting frontier to explore the promise of AI, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning and begin integrating them into our approach to digital marketing management, it’s smart to remind ourselves that perceptions around the ‘Go/No Go” approach to AI depend on highly specific context. After all, autocorrect is an AI technology… so in a way, you’re already using it (for better or worse when it comes to ducking autocorrect). And even if your company “doesn’t use AI”, your competitors do.
“Resistance is futile” (said the Borg AI collective). Failure to explore, adapt, and test new technologies can be a costly step backward for otherwise forward-thinking brands. AI marketing solutions can’t replace human creativity, but it can it equip us with an inspirational power-pack to supercharge the work of discovering the joy inherent in the struggle for the perfectly magical way to express just the right message in fresh and unexpected ways. That process of collaborative discovery defines the art of human connection and persuasion and informs the work of creating world-class brands. And THAT’s all good…
You may have to be the one to step up and start considering new process routes where involving AI opportunities makes instinctive sense. Imagine if you could prioritize leads based on the highest sales potential without analyzing hundreds of data points. Imagine if you could predict future sales trends and make real-time strategy adjustments based on your current sales. And imagine harnessing the power of a passionate, digital-futurist org. like Plan B to intelligently guide you there in the most human ways. Plan B can help you play with AI, better understand AI, test it, and discover how it might best align with your brand’s goals and processes.