In a world that seems to operate at the speed of Moore's Law, we have arrived at the exciting intersection of technology and creativity: generative AI. Over the past few years, generative AI—artificial intelligence that creates new content from trained data—has matured to the point where it's not only altering the landscape of marketing but helping marketers focus more on creativity and strategy.
We are in an era where machines can generate poetry, compose music and craft compelling ad copy. However, this isn't a harbinger of the extinction of the human marketer. Instead, it heralds a fascinating recalibration toward the more inherently human aspects of marketing.
AI In Marketing: Revolution, Not Replacement
To appreciate the depth of this shift, consider the fashion industry. Here, AI is being deployed to write product descriptions. In times gone by, a marketer would dedicate hours meticulously crafting product descriptions. Now, with generative AI, brands offer the inputs—materials, style, color—and AI can construct a comprehensive, engaging product description. This automation allows the marketer to zoom out and concentrate on broader, more strategic considerations: the brand narrative, consistency across channels and engaging with their target audience.
A New Approach: Creativity Powered By Strategy
A notable aspect of this shift is how it subtly alters a marketer's approach. I was recently involved with a campaign where a senior marketer was working with ChatGPT. Initially, the marketer began by furiously generating content. Soon, however, she paused. The rapid creation of content was exciting, but she realized she had to slow down and think more deeply about the content's strategic role before proceeding.
This shift in pace was not a delay; it was a moment of evolution. The marketer began to strategically consider the positioning of each message, its alignment with the brand and the emotional resonance it would create. The AI was not replacing the marketer, but instead, it was helping her think more clearly about her strategic decisions.
Brand Voice And Messaging: A Symphony Orchestrated By Humans
When a tech company, for instance, employs generative AI for its social media posts, it must first crystalize its voice. Is it professional and authoritative or is it casual and witty? This decision will guide the AI in generating the appropriate content. Thereafter, the marketer can focus on strategic content deployment rather than manually crafting each post.
Reshaping Marketing Skills And Strategies
What's fascinating is that this technological shift is causing a resurgence in core marketing skills. The focus is now on crafting comprehensive brand strategies, understanding the psyche of their audiences, and making strategic decisions on brand messaging and positioning.
This resurgence is even evident in my professional life. Lately, I've been fielding more calls than usual with clients seeking assistance in crafting more robust marketing strategies. I find it hard not to connect this uptick in inquiries with the increasing adoption of generative AI in marketing.
The Ghost Revolution
A striking facet of this shift is its subtlety. The sophistication of AI-generated content can even elude some AI detectors. To the untrained eye, the content appears human-made, resulting in a silent revolution that is reshaping the marketing world.
This discretion does not imply a compromise in quality or creativity. On the contrary, it is pushing marketers to be more strategic and detailed in their approach, thereby enhancing the overall quality of their campaigns.
Blending IRL Experience With AI
Over the course of my career, I've created strategic planning frameworks to guide messaging strategy, branding direction and go-to-market plans. The key to their success lies in the artful blend of human insight and AI's raw horsepower. Generative AI offers a wealth of ideas during brainstorming sessions, casting a wide net of possibilities from which we can choose.
However, it's imperative to remember that AI is a tool, not a decision-maker. While it can contribute valuable inputs and innovative ideas, the final decisions—the ones that make or break a brand—remain an innately human endeavor. Our intuition, empathy and deep understanding of our audiences and markets give us an edge that AI does not possess. It's this blend of human expertise and AI capabilities that craft a successful marketing strategy, pushing the boundaries of what's possible while ensuring the brand remains grounded in its core values and vision.