Welcome to the dawn of a new age. We are the first generation of humans to live in a world where Artificial Intelligence (AI) will become omnipresent across all aspects of our lives; transforming how we work, how we play and how we evolve as a species.
Given this context, it is inevitable that as we begin to apply AI to our businesses, expectations will grow around disruption, systemic changes to operating and service models, and the potential for mass unemployment.
The marketing industry would appear to be an early casualty when it comes to job losses. Initial trials have demonstrated AI’s growing ability to automate tasks that have traditionally been exclusively human endeavours, for example writing advertising copy and selecting appropriate images. However, this assumption is superficial at best.
AI will disrupt, but its impact will be positive in terms of the efficiency of the process and the effectiveness of outcomes. However, it will not be able to work autonomously.
For the foreseeable future, AI will only ever be as good as the human minds that direct and curate its outputs. In this regard, it will operate as a ‘co-pilot’, helping to create unlimited iterations on ideas originally formulated by people.
New skills will be needed for our human teams to utilise this technology and maximise its outputs. For marketing, we will need to develop an AI programming language based on English and not computer code, but still with specific technical directions that help transform the blueprint of a campaign into advertising material.
Humans will work with AI across the marketing process, from sourcing relevant information that informs our strategies and briefs; to concepting, finished artwork, production, media planning and buying, campaign optimisation and reporting.
Traditionally at every stage of this process, there are times for human ingenuity and times for human labour.
The reality of AI is that it will free up human labour to the benefit of human ingenuity. In effect creating more time for ‘thinking’ and relieving us of the burden of ‘doing’.
Processes will consequently speed up, a critical dynamic in the era of real-time marketing. We will also be able to personalise messages on a scale never before possible.
The advertising you are exposed to will be more refined to your tastes, both in terms of message, but also in a myriad of micro-optimisations at a level of detail previously inconceivable; this includes considerations such as which colours or sounds to use based on your preferences, mood, and likelihood to engage.
This disruption will be incremental. It will take time to develop, test and learn how best to use the technology and upskill our people.
With the benefit of hindsight, soon we will look back at the progress we have made with many of the changes appearing revolutionary when compared to what preceded them.
CEO of The Marketforce Group, Adam Marshall FAIM
The constant throughout this period will be the requirement for the marketing industry, as well as all other industries impacted by AI, to continue to evolve techniques, tools, and human skills.
Human training and development will be as important as technological advances and should be prioritised alongside the application of AI.
Our business is already changing rapidly thanks to AI, improving performance across all metrics as well as allowing us to develop new service offerings that expand our reach and connections to clients.
The new dawn of AI is the most exciting period in advertising since the mass adoption of the internet or the launch of broadcast television; it promises to be a bright day to follow.