So, it seems like you can’t go anywhere on the web right now without seeing articles and videos about AI-powered content creation. From the extreme advocates proclaiming that “The singularity is near!” to the opportunists bellowing, “Get rich quick and never work again by using these secret unlocks for (insert AI platform here)!” all the way through to the doom-and-gloom reapers on soap boxes crying, “The end is nigh! Repent! Repent! Skynet is becoming self-aware!”, everyone has a take on the situation.
Am I wrong? No? Okay, so have we seen this before? Yup. Throughout my career, I’ve noticed that every single time a disruptive technology hits, people freak out and proclaim the end of the industry or the beginning of utopia. If I have learned anything from this, it’s to not bury my head in the sand, ignore the hype and investigate the actual usefulness of any given technology. I have always believed that technology is neither good nor evil. It’s a tool. How it’s used determines the result, and that comes down to people.
So why have I been so quiet on tools like ChatGPT and MidJourney? Well, because I’ve been playing with them (along with the majority of our team at WiredViews) in order to learn what is possible.
Now that I have some experience with them, how do I feel about the evolution of AI as a digital marketing tool? Well…I think AI is the future of digital marketing. I mean, it's no secret that AI has the ability to perform complex tasks at lightning speed, and it's quickly becoming the go-to tool for businesses looking to automate their marketing efforts. But, as a fellow marketer, you might be wondering, "Will AI tools replace me?" In my opinion, the answer is no.
AI will not replace people, it will augment them. Don’t get me wrong, I think it will shift some professions around at first, but overall, it won’t. Think of it this way. Remember when the web and web design truly took off, and traditional print designers were either retiring or desperately trying to adapt their skillset to the Web?
What happened there was actually pretty cool. Yes, many people chose different professions, some retired, some adapted and got pretty good at it, and over time the next generation of designers started to merge print concepts and digital concepts to build a MUCH better web experience. And they were natives of all of it. Who do you think brought things to the web such as typography, grid systems, careful font selection, and stunning visual layouts? Disruptive? Yes. “End times?” Not even close.
So let’s just keep in mind that the goal of AI in digital marketing is to make our jobs easier and more efficient. It can take on the tedious, repetitive tasks that we'd rather not do, freeing us up to focus on the more creative aspects of our jobs.
Think about it: would you rather spend hours sifting through data to create a targeted ad campaign or spend that time brainstorming new ways to engage your audience? With AI, you can have the best of both worlds. The AI takes care of the data crunching while you focus on creating compelling content and brilliant ideas.
But don't think that AI is some magic solution that will solve all your problems. The truth is, it’s only as good as the data it's given. Garbage in, garbage out. If the data is bad, the AI's output will be bad. This is where human oversight comes in. As marketers, it's our job to ensure that the data fed into the AI is accurate and relevant, and that’s why I keep telling people, “Get ready to coach AI right alongside people.” AI is like a really smart junior employee who needs to be guided by someone with experience on how to direct its talent to the best results. I personally think you will see on job descriptions things like, “Must be able to effectively communicate concepts to other team members and AI-based tools in order to produce results.” I know it’s something that I am adding to job descriptions for WiredViews.
The way I see it, the future of digital marketing is a collaboration between humans and AI. We bring creativity and strategic thinking, while AI brings speed and efficiency to augment our abilities. Together, we can create campaigns that are not only effective but also efficient.
And from an agency perspective, why is that important? Well, most people pay a premium to work with an agency for a few reasons. They are looking for incredible results, delivered in a stunningly beautiful format, and accomplished in near-impossible timelines. (I can almost hear my fellow agency friends laughing at “near-impossible.”)
Here’s the thing…as people become native to AI technologies, the perception of what a near-impossible timeline is will shift. Brands will expect more work done even faster, and those who adapt will survive. The question that I pose to my fellow marketers is this: Would you rather be a sherpa who guides your clients through the transition and advises them, or the person thinking you can fight the change and prevent it from happening? I believe it’s up to us to play the role of the experienced guide, just like we always have for our clients.
So, I would encourage you not to fear the “rise of the robots” in digital marketing. Embrace it. Use it for good. Question it, experiment with it, and let the possibilities inspire you. It’s a tool, and whether it’s used for evil or good is up to us.