The end of marketing or a new beginning? The truth about AI
Artificial intelligence is shifting marketing approaches. Here's what you need to know to stay up-to-date and prepare for what's ahead.
Love it or hate it, the artificial intelligence revolution is here. People can’t stop talking about ChatGPT, OpenAI and how AI will fundamentally change the world. Marketers everywhere are obsessing over the newly discovered power of AI.
Amid the jaw-dropping realizations of what AI is capable of, marketers are faced with an existential question that’s a bit daunting to consider: Is this the end of marketing as we know it? After all, you can ask ChatGPT almost any question and get an exact answer.
Need to know how to set up form conversion tracking in Google Tag Manager? Just ask ChatGPT and it will give you step-by-step instructions.
Want to build a keyword strategy, craft a job description for a new hire, or write the copy for a new landing page? The AI will do it for you immediately and effortlessly.
It’s no surprise that marketers everywhere are concerned that AI will render many aspects of marketing obsolete, but before you start worrying, let’s remember that this has happened before:
- Direct mail was disrupted by email.
- The phone book was replaced by online search.
- Newspapers and magazines were largely replaced by social media.
- Telemarketing was replaced by SMS marketing.
Artificial intelligence is the next technological innovation that will fundamentally shift marketing approaches. Here’s what you need to know to stay up-to-date and prepare for the new world of marketing.
What’s changed (and what hasn’t)
The fast-paced evolution of artificial intelligence has already changed many things about marketing, but there are still several pillars that will stand the test of time.
Here’s a quick preview to give you a perspective on how to think about the future of marketing in a world dominated by AI.
Searching on Google for information or answers will soon seem as useful as flipping through the yellow pages to find a reliable business. People will ask AI questions and get specific, contextualized and detailed answers.
You can even ask the AI to clarify an answer or provide more options. It’s time to rethink your SEO and content strategy.
Creating content is already much easier and faster, thanks to artificial intelligence. As if we needed more content, AI will result in an explosion of content like we’ve never seen before. This isn’t speculative — it’s already happening.
There are now tools capable of creating complete articles, slide decks, talking head videos and even reproducing anyone’s voice. These tools are fast, affordable and extremely accurate. Plus, they’re only going to get better.
Dig deeper: 5 AI writing assistants in action
Consuming lots of inputs and information and making sense of it is complicated, complex and time-consuming. Not anymore.
AI makes data analysis, insights generation and even predictive analytics easier. Your data and reporting will evolve to a significantly new level of sophistication without too much effort or cost.
Fortunately, people are still the same. We are still emotional, irrational and human. That means that the marketing fundamentals will still work the same, only the mechanism has changed.
Consumers will still look to each other for guidance, approval and recommendations. Creating conversations, connections and community is still a smart and reliable approach.
No artificial intelligence is sentient (capable of conscious experience) — yet — so most of what we’ll see in the near term is the repackaging, repurposing and regurgitation of existing thoughts, ideas and content.
Thought leadership is still paramount in the form of original and innovative ideas. Every marketer should continue to pursue creating and distributing thought leadership to stand out in the sea of sameness.
Nothing beats having a powerful brand. Building a recognizable, trustworthy and desirable brand is still challenging, time-consuming and expensive.
The power of having a strong brand will only increase. Savvy marketers should continue their investments in brand building.
Dig deeper: Building a brand strategy: Essentials for long-term success
The pros and cons of AI in marketing
Artificial intelligence isn’t perfect. Although it will make marketing easier, it also brings some significant concerns and considerations.
First, here are some of the major wins:
Marketers are constantly overwhelmed with many tasks that AI can easily take over. Using AI will enable small teams (or individuals) to scale their efforts and be more efficient, which will have an enormous impact on the results that can be achieved.
Consuming, processing and summarizing large data sets is one of AI’s biggest strengths. Marketers can use this to mine insights from multiple data sources to inform and optimize our marketing efforts.
Google Analytics already provides “Analytics Intelligence,” which uses machine learning to answer questions about your data and build customized reports.
Delivering truly customized experiences is no longer a pipe dream. Email platforms can already use machine learning to send messages to customers at the exact right time, based on their historical behavior of when they’ve opened emails in the past.
As the capabilities evolve, AI will be able to create brand-new, unique and personalized experiences, content and conversations with users.
The time and cost savings of using AI tools will be one of the biggest impacts on every marketing organization. Marketing budgets are notoriously thin. The ability to reduce expenses and achieve greater scale will be transformative for marketers. AI also brings a new level of automation that will deliver immense time and cost savings.
Dig deeper: How AI can help your marketing right now
However, there are some significant concerns with the adoption of AI:
Quality and accuracy
Since artificial intelligence cannot think independently, there are massive concerns about the quality, accuracy and integrity of its output.
How can you trust what the AI says? What source is it relying on? We must be vigilant about ensuring that anything the AI produces can be verified.
Unsurprisingly, artificial intelligence will replace and displace jobs, with some marketers being more affected than others.
As with any new technology, there will be a shift into different types of work required to leverage AI to support the marketing organization. Companies are already hiring for “AI specialist” roles to understand and capitalize on what’s possible.
Privacy and ethical concerns
Since AI relies on consuming lots of data and information, how can we protect user privacy? In addition, how can we ensure that artificial intelligence is not biased or discriminatory?
There are major concerns around privacy and ethics that must be addressed before fully adopting AI.
Dig deeper: 4 areas of martech with ethical concerns
Will AI replace marketers?
AI will dramatically change how marketing is done. It will make it easier, faster, cheaper and better. Those benefits come at a price: replacing the need for many specific tools and shifting certain roles.
There is no question that some marketing roles will be made redundant by artificial intelligence, especially on small teams with limited resources.
However, all artificial intelligence requires a creative brain for input and guidance just as much as it needs critical thinking and proper review to maintain the quality and integrity of what it produces.
Every successful marketing team will embrace the use of AI throughout their tech stack and their processes in order to maximize their efficiency, creativity and productivity. In doing so, it will usher in a new generation of marketers who understand how to mold and shape AI to produce better marketing assets at record speed.
The ultimate question
There’s one important question that every marketing leader should be thinking about and asking: Is your marketing team using artificial intelligence?
If you don’t know the answer, you better find out. The benefits of using AI in marketing are massive: getting more done faster and cheaper. However, the risks must be understood and controlled.
Is your marketing team regurgitating your competitor’s content — or are you creating authentic thought leadership and building a powerful brand?
Artificial intelligence is just another tool. It’s your job to help your team understand how and where to use it to create powerful marketing.
This isn’t the end of an era, but the exciting merger of human creativity and cutting-edge technology will revolutionize how we connect with our customers.
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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.
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