Over the last month, we’ve been exploring how Strategic Communications Group (Strategic) has been using Midjourney, a generative AI tool, to create images that tell our brand values story. This project started because of our evaluation of several generative AI tools and building use cases – and in some instances non-use cases – for integrating AI into our workflows. In this series of four articles we share what we’ve learnt about for marketers. We’ve discussed how generative AI can streamline work flows to enable marketers to do more with less and how it can help deliver low cost – high impact assets for marketers. In this installment, we explore the impact of generative AI on marketers and how being flexible in how they approach and integrate tools will pay dividends for those willing to explore the possibilities of this massively disruptive technology.
AI has burst out of the hype cycle and into workflows of every sector of the economy with a disruptive force not seen since the dotcom boom of the 1990s. In the space of a few months it seems like we’ve gone from a caricature of AI in the movies – think of Kubrik’s 2001: A Space Odyssey or Alex Garland’s Ex Machina – to using AI tools as part of our every day work. Thankfully, how AI has turned up at work and in our daily lives, thus far, has been with far less violence or peril than the movies led us to believe.
For marketers, AI has had the greatest impact, thus far, in three main areas:
- Content creation, editing, and SEO
- Digital marketing
Each of these areas touches on a core marketing function and, naturally, on the people who hold those job titles and have, up until this point, delivered their work without the assistance of AI. Inevitably with this much change so soon, there’s a certain amount of anxiety that seeps into the work environment. The tales of robots taking our jobs may feel a little bit too real at times when you can ask ChatGPT to create a nurture email campaign that’s enhanced with images created by Midjourney, then optimize the time the email is sent with another AI-powered tool, and finally use automation tools to analyze the data that’s returned from the campaign.
However, to paraphrase Mark Twain, the rumors about the demise of marketing at the hands of AI have been greatly exaggerated. What AI brings to marketing is not replacement but opportunity. Instead of reacting rigidly to these new tools, successful marketers are responding with a flexible approach and curiosity. For example, content creation tools aren’t a replacement for a human writer, but a way to improve the writing process, enable collaboration, maintain the consistency of brand voice and messaging across all content. This, in turn, enables more precise and targeted messaging to be delivered quickly to sales teams, prospects, and customers reducing the time to market for valuable assets. Equally, digital marketing tools take the guess work out of connecting with customers and prospects by enabling teams to pinpoint the best time to send an email marketing message to optimize open rates and click throughs. And automation tools, well, they can save marketers hours of work by taking on tasks like data computation and analysis, freeing up the marketer’s time to focus on the application of these insights to drive connection with the customer in ways that are more authentic and enduring, and reflected in a growing share of wallet and a rising customer lifetime value.
With the marketer’s AI journey just beginning, there is so much uncertainty that being flexible is something that will surely pay dividends in both the short and long term. From the generative AI tools chosen, to the use cases that are identified and operationalized, to understanding how these tools change teams and the workplace, marketers must be willing to adapt to the rapid and near-constant pace of change that comes with this technology to continue to deliver success.