Originally posted on LinkedIn by Cyndy Hunter, VP of Client Strategy.
None of us can escape GenAI; we must embrace it judiciously. Although marketing is one of the major functional areas where AI can be applied to amp up productivity, it’s only in its infancy. Equally as interesting is how AI can be applied in day-to-day operational tasks across organizational functions or how it can be applied to facilitate deeper data-driven insights into the company. Today, it can still be a productivity drain as we all try to keep up, experiment with tools and solutions (paid and free), discover what CAN change today, and dodge some of the laughable and frustrating pitfalls as we navigate adoption.
Today, human intelligence must be liberally applied. I personally hope that doesn’t change.
Drawing on my own Gen AI experiences, and the collective experiences driven by our internal AI corporate initiative, here are a few key predictions and considerations around the use of AI that marketers should keep in mind today:
For over a decade, modern marketing has always been related to expertise in digital channels, the latest martech, and evolved knowledge of personas, segmentation, social selling, and more. GenAI is forcing a re-definition of the term. Using AI doesn’t mean we, as marketers, can skip the knowledge required (otherwise how will we know if the information we’re getting is on track?), but it will add a new layer of complexity in understanding how to best leverage AI to drive even greater results.
Today, we must continue to experiment, build new skill sets, and study the results. Above all, we practice transparency in the way we are leveraging and utilizing AI.
GenAI can cause complacency when it comes to expectations of quality. We have seen examples of use in content, for example, where proficiency in prompts is lacking (or non-existent), and whatever AI ‘spits out’ is cut, pasted, and published without an original thought. Turning a critical eye to AI’s output, and understanding whether what is written is worthwhile, insightful, or even correct is the responsibility of the creator. Please don’t fall into the trap of thinking AI is going to do your thinking for you. For our company, the quality of the work is one of our core values (and something I take pride in), so while AI may help—it’s not the sole proprietor.
The day will come when AI can solve real-world marketing challenges. However, right now, it just may be making the job harder. If we think about how difficult it is to stand out and be heard given how much content and information is available (and our tiny attention spans), how many competitors exist, and how difficult it is to hit people with the right information at the right time, it’s about to get a whole lot worse and more cluttered. There is hope though! We expect some of the most useful advances to come in the areas of data analysis (given it’s clean!) and personalization. But, if like me, you’ve been getting sales emails where AI has decided I live somewhere I don’t live anymore, personalization has a long way to go.
Aside from getting individual tools to work flawlessly, one of the biggest challenges surrounds integration. Great marketing relies on integration, but today much of the AI capabilities are very siloed—they don’t fit into a complete process, but rather they are piecemeal and focused on specific (tiny) aspects of what we do every day. We guess that this will be the next bastion to solve. Though the world of AI still seems very new, it might be time for consolidation already— time for some good M&A activity amongst the AI toolsets to solve the integration issue and truly address the way marketers work (and maybe a dose of some good old fashioned VOC work for all you AI products out there!)
Data privacy and security is also top of mind. Maybe we are ultra-sensitive given our expertise in cybersecurity marketing—but as a services business, this must be prioritized because we owe data security to our clients. As part of our initiative to study ways to utilize AI, we immediately put an AI Policy in place. If you don’t have an AI policy at your organization, we recommend that you create one—and make sure it’s understood and practiced.
Finally, address the skills gap and training: The need for upskilling marketing teams on how to best utilize and capture the value of AI is important. At Magnetude, we have prioritized our marketing experts taking the time to investigate and vet specific AI tools. We are fortunate to work with SMEs who have the in-depth knowledge to evaluate the benefits and limitations.
Take a strategic approach to adopting AI. You know the drill: Crawl, walk, run. Yes, it takes a time investment to stay on top of all the changes, learn new ways of accomplishing work, and understand what AI should be used for and what it shouldn’t be trusted to perform. Take some courses, talk to peers, read what the analysts and universities are looking at, join the active communities on Slack… there’s no dearth of information.
We’re interested in what people see out there in the world of AI—the promises (and traps)—and you know me, I love a great epic fail story for a laugh. Weigh in!
The idea that AI might one day be just another one of our ‘smarty’ colleagues seems unfathomable. It certainly will never have its own personality, brilliant insights, or wonderful sense of humor. And it will never care about the work. But it does feel exciting to think of all the areas where it will make work faster and easier. What’s your experience? How are you feeling about all this change?