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Artificial Intelligence – should marketing professionals embrace or shun it?

Updated: Jul 18, 2023




While images of the Pope in a puffer jacket might seem harmless and provide some comic relief there are pressing ethical and legal challenges about the use of AI in marketing. Given the rise of spoofs, CMOs are increasingly concerned about protecting their brand, with 93% admitting this is becoming an ever-more important part of their role.


The music industry faced a similar challenge when AI generated deepfakes of music by The Weeknd and Drake went viral last month. While the presence of these deepfakes was short-lived, it’s a very real example of how AI can potentially wreak havoc on an industry. Universal Music Group quickly put out a statement asking the music industry “which side of history all stakeholders in the music ecosystem want to be on: the side of artists, fans and human creative expression, or on the side of deep fakes, fraud and denying artists their due compensation.”


The good news is that CMOs are not shying away from new technologies, with 77% of CMOs excited about the rising use of AI in branding. There are countless applications for AI in the creative industries and aid marketers in the creative process through increased efficiency and ultimately help the industry make better campaigns.


One of the obvious applications of generative AI is using chatbots like ChatGPT to create copy for ads and email marketing. In the oversaturated space of ads and emails its increasingly hard to stand out and retain people’s attention. With the right prompts, ChatGPT can provide marketers with a good foundation to develop the right messaging. Tools like ChatGPT will never replace human creativity and a marketer’s context of their audience and brand position, but it can be a good starting point allowing professionals to automate the tedious parts of their jobs and freeing up capacity for creativity.


AI can also help marketers to optimise SEO and websites, but there are far more interesting uses of AI such as hyper-personalisation. Brands and marketers can leverage real-time data from AI to customise marketing experiences based on individualised customer needs. This data can be used to identify customer patterns and allow for targeted product recommendations based on customer purchase history and personalised news content based on reading history.


In a world where brands are competing to stand out, giving customers a personalised experience can ensure brand loyalty. According to a 2021 McKinsey study, 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalised interactions, and 76% get frustrated when they don’t get them. There is also a strong link between personalisation and growth - the same study found that companies that grow faster drive 40 percent more of their revenue from personalisation than their slower-growing counterparts.


The reality is that, regardless of whether or not marketers openly embrace AI, it will continue to have a significant impact on the industry. The more important question is how can the creative industries strike a balance between embracing these new technologies and retaining creative control?


Despite AI’s many uses, it still cannot replicate human creativity and in the context of marketing, it will never be able to replicate the knowledge marketing professionals possess about their product, audience, and customers. In that sense, AI’s applications are still quite rudimentary but incredibly helpful to marketers and other professionals.

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