Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been around for decades. I won’t bore you with its long history, well summarized in this article. It has played an important role in the marketing industry for years (eg, predictive analytics used in many advertising platforms). But what has taken the storm recently is the use of generative AI in the creation of many marketing creatives. Mainly because technology is more accessible and easier to use than ever before. I think the industry is at a major inflection point and you better know what’s going on in this space, or you could be left behind.
Botco.ai, a generative AI cloud chat communication company, completed a very good industry research study in March 2023. They surveyed 1,000 marketing professionals in over 16 different industries and company sizes ranging from 1 to 5000+ employees. The results were fascinating—they found that a whopping 73% of respondents were already using generative AI to help them create text, images, videos, or other content. That was a weighted average of B2B companies with a 78% utilization rate and B2C companies with a 65% utilization rate (I would have guessed the opposite). Being among the 17% of people not using AI today, I felt I needed to learn more and learn faster here to stay competitive with our industry peers.
Content is being created by generative AI
The content generated by generative AI is extensive. Survey respondents said they are using it for: email copy (44%), social media copy (42%), social media images (39%), chatbots for customers (37%), website images (36%), SEO content ( 35%), blog post copy (33%) and marketing/sales collateral (33%). Reasons to use generative AI: (i) you can improve your marketing performance (58%); (ii) you can improve your creative diversity (50%); (iii) it is more cost-effective than traditional methods of creating creative (50%); and (iv) it is a physically faster creative cycle (47%). Rather than applying a one-size-fits-all approach to your marketing creative, I’d add the added benefits of better personalizing content for the exact user.
And to be clear, AI-produced content is in all forms of creative: text, images, video, coding, etc. It is revolutionizing everything a graphic designer or copywriter or website developer does for you. As an example, check out this corporate video created by Synthesia’s AI technology for my Restaurant Furniture Plus business. It was created in minutes by simply copying and pasting our about copy onto our website without any human intervention or professional actors involved. That’s pretty amazing (and scary if this life-like technology isn’t used in positive ways).
Generative AI tools are the most used
According to survey respondents, it was the most used technology by marketers. ChatGPT for human-like text (55%). Copy.ai (42%) for natural language processing. Jasper.ai (35%) for copywriting. Peppertype.ai (29%) for full article copy. Lenses for image editing (28%). DALL-E (25%) for text to image generation. Mid journey for text to image generation (24%). I’m sure there are many others to experiment with, but these are the ones that early adopters are using today. I personally played with some of these. I will summarize my experience as text based solutions are much more effective in producing higher quality output than image based solutions, understanding that we are still in the early stages of the learning curve and technology advancement.
How to prepare… and what happens if you don’t
First, it’s time to accept the simple fact that we need generative AI and we can’t ignore it. It doesn’t go away. So, slowly but steadily, immerse yourself in some (or all) of the tools above — how they work and what they can potentially offer. And if you’re working with a marketing agency, make sure it’s also well-versed in all the advances (if your agency isn’t currently using AI to improve campaigns, maybe it’s time to find a new one).
The consequences of non-action will be swift: you’ll either jump on board or prepare to be dusted off by other AI first-movers — you’ll be going into the marketing battle with one hand tied behind your back. Performance will suffer (including lower engagement rates compared to competitors) as will profits.
What does it all mean?
Hopefully, you are better informed about all the advancements happening in the marketing world today. Will generative AI replace your human teams? Absolutely not. I think it will make humans physically more efficient, and you’ll need fewer humans than before, but still need humans for strategic direction and quality control, protecting their brand. For example, if AI-generated copy upsets Google and hurts your search rankings, someone needs to review that content and make sure it complies with all of Google’s rules. So, think of AI as an augmentation tool designed for speed and efficiency, not as a complete human replacement. You still need to engage your marketing agencies or marketing teams, but they will be doing their jobs differently and possibly better.
Every decade or so, the marketing industry seems to be moving at a pace of innovation. It feels like we’re in the “early innings” of this most recent revolution, and I’m excited to see how these AI technologies improve from here and what additional AI advances we’ll see in the coming years. Time to pull up your shoelaces and get in, because it’s going to be one helluva ride! Good luck as you experiment with this technology on your own.
George Deeb is a partner here Red Rocket Ventures and author 101 Startup Lessons – An Entrepreneur’s Handbook.
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