You Can’t Spell “Marketing” Without “AI” Anymore
Well, technically, you never could. But whatever, we’re not here to have a spelling bee. We’re here to talk about the impact and importance of AI on the future (and present) of marketing.
It’s an all-consuming topic in our world right now–articles, podcasts, presentations, new products, new products on hold, new products off hold. It was one thing when machine learning was crunching data and automating various pedestrian tasks (doing computer-y things), but now that it’s analyzing complex data with tools available to everyone, creating lifelike images and crafting very competent copy (more human-y things), everyone in marketing and outside marketing is freaking out, with either excitement or dread, and asking us what we think.
So what do we think?
Let’s start with what we know. We know “AI” is not the sound a Canadian makes when proclaiming something, “Eh, I … don’t know what you’re talking abooot, eh.” We know it’s not that. We can say that because our COO has dual citizenship, by the way. Plus, a good old-fashioned Canadian joke is still fair game, right? Right?
Okay, enough of that. Here’s what we think, and what we think we know*.
(*Subject to change. Probably by the time you’re done reading this.)
We think we know it’s going to change marketing roles and tasks, making mundane activities easier and less valuable.
We think we know it’s going to democratize certain expertise.
We think we know it’s going to disrupt the role of certain marketing channels and tactics, potentially making some irrelevant or reshaping their importance.
We think we know it’s going to be inserted into every program and platform as an assistant.
We think we know it’s going to create a new set of ethics guidelines and laws and a fresh crop of technology to track and combat AI’s reach and ability to scrape information.
And we think we know that AI is going to give rise to a whole new type of expertise, creating the need for all marketers to know how to interface with it, but will also create specific jobs solely focused on leveraging AI and getting the most out of it.
But most importantly, we think we know less on the subject today than we will tomorrow. And that’s going to be the case for a long time–we know that. The learning curve is going to be less like a curve and more like a rollercoaster-y loop-the-loop. Every tomorrow is going to bring a new twist. AI actually has us thinking about changing our rallying cry from “Let’s be better every day” to “Let’s be better every tomorrow.” Not really. But kind of.
And anyone who tells you they know everything about AI right now is full of 💩. In fact, they probably asked ChatGPT to give them talking points. If you listen carefully to the experts, they are being very measured in their analysis and prognostication. They know it’s going to bring a lot of change, and they have some ideas about where it could go.But the speed of change they expect has them slowing down a bit with a thoughtful approach, so someone isn’t showing them receipts in two months. We’re doing the same thing right here, right now. Keeping this thing as evergreen and regret-free as possible.
Exponential change in a short amount of time is the only thing we’re 100% positive about. Every day brings a new use, a new experiment, a new potential tool, and that means a new evolution for AI as it learns. Anyone who tells you things aren’t going to change, and aren’t going to change fast, is the same person who told you the first iPhone was stupid (that aged about as well as unrefrigerated sushi during a Vegas summer). We happen to love change. In fact, one of our guiding principles is, “Be a Change Hugger,” so we’re embracing AI. Holding it close and tight and keeping our eye on it, because it’s a slippery bastard.
We’re not holding it close because we’re scared of it, though. We’re holding it close because we want to be along for the ride, on the leading edge of the change it’s going to make–contributing to that change. Not viewing it as a threat, but a throttle that’s going to crank up our creative engine, helping us spend time on insights and imagination that lead to better strategies.
Truth is, we’re excited to learn how AI can make us better, how we can make it better and how together we can make our clients and the world better. That’s why we’re writing with it, designing with it, analyzing with it, strategizing with it and writing dad jokes with it.(To be fair, those still have a long way to go.)
As all the experts are saying right now, it’s not going to be a human replacer, it’s going to be a human plusser. And like Jim Collins said, “When used right, technology becomes an accelerator of momentum, not a creator of momentum.”
Our job is also to add that human touch and clever twist to every project. We’ve been talking about humanizing digital for years, and this is just another case of that being necessary. One of our core principles is, “Make Meaningful Connections,” which means with our clients, our partners and our marketing solutions. We will never not need human connection as people. So our job, as AI becomes more powerful, is to remember to be more human. Be more creative. Be more strategic.
We will be the shepherds of machine learning. AI sherpas, if you will. Like the person at the supermarket who checks your ID at self-checkout when you’re trying to scan some booze (not that we’d know anything about that–we have a friend). Becoming the AI whisperers, the princesses and princes of prompts, is going to be the next evolution. The boost AI can give our creativity is and will be complementary and empowering in ways we can’t yet imagine.
It’s true, it won’t always be a plusser. In many ways it could be a replacer. Like we mentioned, it might replace some marketing and agency tasks or roles. But those roles will most likely adapt into different roles with more creative and strategic tasks. And then they’ll adapt again.
It could also be that in two years (or one year, or three years, or six months), it’s going to turn marketing completely on its head. If it does, though, we’re going to be here for it, holding it by the ankles and shaking the change out of its pockets. For now, though, we’re going to stay endlessly curious and completely open while we play, tinker, experiment and help shape what comes next.
In summary, what we think we know about AI is:
- You can’t spell creative digital performance marketing without “AI,” and we wouldn’t dare–embracing it is the only way forward.
- Change is coming and it’s coming fast. Hug it hard.
- You gotta out-people the robots–be more human, creative and strategic.
- And lastly, it’s always best to live by this favorite adage of ours, “You better tech yourself before you wreck yourself.”