AI is everywhere: sweeping through the marketing and creative worlds like a brush fire ignited on a hot, breezy day. It's spread far and fast—portrayed as an ugly mirror, reflecting how easily the work we do is replicated by artificial intelligence. I'm a marketer—I too see article after article sounding the alarms and announcing the impending redundancy of many marketing professionals.
I'm here to grab your shoulders and tell you to snap out of it. Sure, AI has tons of benefits and is a wonderful tool. But it's exactly that—a tool. To think AI is in any position to actually replace you says a lot about the way we think about productivity and production in the workplace. Sure, AI has the potential to revolutionize the way we conduct marketing and advertising. But it's still lightyears away from replacing the intuition and creativity of marketers, even if it sometimes takes us eight coffees, two walks around the block, and a whole list of scratched ideas before we get there.
Why AI isn't coming for your job (probably)
The fear of AI taking jobs from humans is understandable. It can work 24/7, it doesn't ask for benefits, and doesn't carry the complexities of co-working dynamics. It's easy to get stuck on its many benefits. Sure, AI can automate and assist in innovation; but it can't replicate the precision and nuance that humans bring to the table.
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Alex Armstrong | 02.2024
AI isn't a panacea for the labor of real humans. If you've ever tried ChatGPT—or any content production technology built on it—then you'll know that it can only perform tasks well when they're broken down into specific, detailed instructions. AI just can't handle vague, open-ended tasks that require interpretation. Think about it, how many role descriptions mention ambiguous work environments? How many times have you set off on a project with only the direction of a half-constructed slack as the directive? AI just can't problem-solve and contextualize information the same way skilled marketers can.
AI can't replicate the nuance of human interactions—it can't be inspired; it has to be prompted. This is all to say, AI is a fantastic and valuable tool. Learn to harness it and you'll find yourself owning more of your time, creating more impactful content and campaigns, and producing more value for your customers.
How to leverage AI to be a better marketer
AI is revolutionizing the way we marketers approach what we do. We can gain insights, automate tasks, and deliver personalized experiences that drive engagement and build results. If you're not currently using AI in at least one way in a workflow, now is the time to dip your toes in. Here are some impactful ways to build AI into your workflows:
Generative AI and personalized content
AI can generate personalized content, such as product recommendations, tailored emails, and targeted ads. These tools analyze customer data, preferences, and behaviors to deliver relevant content that's more engaging and effective. A few AI-driven tools you might want to explore are:
Adobe Target: AI-powered testing, personalization, and automation to give customers exactly what they want.
Salesforce Einstein: Create predictive journeys and personalized, cross-channel experiences.
Persado: Leverage machine learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to generate persuasive and personalized content.
AI and SEO
Use AI to optimize SEO strategies to help you reach your target audience. AI-powered tools can sift through large amounts of data to identify keywords, generate content ideas, and analyze competitor strategies. This flavor of AI tool can help you create SEO strategies that are tailored to specific target audiences, and boost your visibility in search engine rankings. Consider exploring these tools:
Operational benefits of generative AI
AI can automate many of the mundane tasks that plague your day and streamline operations. They can do things like automate data entry, report generation, and lead nurturing, giving you more time to focus on strategy (or literally anything else). Save time, reduce human error, and increase productivity. It's a win-win-win. Try out these tools to get in on the fun:
Integrating AI into your marketing processes opens the door to deeper insights, more easily optimized campaigns, enhanced personalization, automated tasks, and superior customer experiences. Can we all agree that these are inarguably good things?
If you're not sure where exactly to get started with AI as a tool, consider just asking it. Head on over to ChatGPT and tell it about your struggles as a marketer, where you spend the most time wasting time, and what you'd actually like to accomplish. My challenge for you: prompt it with no less than four sentences. Don't forget to tell it about your role, what kind of marketing you do, and in what industry you work in.
(Understandable) AI concerns
It's no doubt that Generative AI can both help and hurt marketers. Its ability to generate unique and creative content is supercharging the industry as we know it. But with this unlimited access to constant generation and regeneration, it's important to keep the concerns and drawbacks in clear view.
One of my biggest concerns—or watch-outs, as I like to frame it—is the inherent lack of human and personal touch of AI outputs. While many content generating tools allow you to input brand guidelines and create algorithms of sorts to help the tool talk like your brand, they're not perfect and you shouldn't expect them to be. Don't miss the opportunity to turn a fine piece of content into a great piece of content by giving it a spin and giving it some love. Remember, just because you can create buckets of content, doesn't mean you need to. Focus on promoting originality and staying true to brand messaging. Customers won't trust anything less. You should be editing (or at least reading with the intent of editing) all content for tone, voice, and accuracy.
This leads me to my second watch out: the risk of AI inaccuracy. Generative AI is, well, generative. When asked what exactly Generative AI is, ChatGPT said, "Generative AI models are designed to learn the underlying structure and characteristics of a given dataset and then generate new content that resembles the original data."
Let's unpack this for just a moment. Generative AI takes a snapshot of what's on the internet, what's most popular or most produced, and uses that as the model for production. This is already causing problems in the fight for accurate information. The Guardian reported that ChatGPT was referencing articles they had supposedly published, but in fact, never did. It's fair to extrapolate the concern for false information to any output you receive from Generative AI.
Just like any team of interns, freelancers, and co-workers, statements and claims need to be verified and validated. But, by approaching the content with the same level of QA you would any other human-created piece, you remove the risk of, well, additional risk.
From one marketer to another...
Be smart, be cool, and don't overdo it. AI isn't coming to make you obsolete. Instead, it's providing you with the distinct opportunity to free up time and resources so you can focus on strategy, connecting with customers, and championing your brand. Do give time to understanding the limitations of current Generative AI technologies, and don't sweep them under the rug. Another caveat I really have to mention: AI alone can't make you a better marketer. It's up to you to create workflows and leverage tools that allow you to do your best, most impactful work.
A quick closing word
It'd be a miss not to mention how I used AI in the creation of this article about AI in the workplace. I knew my angle of approach and felt confident getting the outline and draft together for this piece. But slugs and titles are sometimes not my strongest suit, so, over to ChatGPT I went. I entered the literal translation of the title into a functional URL and asked for some help. Below are the results. What was also helpful in this interaction, was the explanation that ChatGPT left. Not only did I get the result I was looking for (an SEO optimized slug), but I was provided a clear and specific explanation about why ChatGPT made the decisions it did. Now, I can take these steps myself the next time.