The Future of Marketing: Innovation vs Automation
The Automation Age has arrived and the world is about change forever. While AI is offering new solutions every day, it does raise questions about the nature of work and where the human element remains relevant.
With many knowledge-based professions ripe for automation, it’s time for marketers to consider if we’re sacrificing our biggest asset.
Does AI Understand Your Brand Voice?
AI is dropping jaws and blowing minds every single day. The advent of ChatGPT (as well as Bard) and their integration into our daily lives has caused a monumental shift in how we view technology and the possibilities it offers.
However, the praise goes hand-in-hand with the caveats - and marketing is the perfect sandbox to test AI’s limitations.
AI Doesn’t Understand Feelings
One major shortcoming of AI is its lack of emotional intelligence. A brand is more than the sum of its products and services - it’s a living, breathing entity with its own personality and voice.
This is because a brand is a group of people sharing a common goal under one banner. AI sees the banner, but cannot grasp the human force driving it.
Marketers understand that a brand’s voice has a level of human insight that AI currently lacks. As human beings, we don’t simply relay information to one another - there’s an emotional connection that underpins all of our communication.
For example, the word “Okay” can have a million different meanings, depending on the subtext. Can AI pick up on those nuances? Or does “Okay” simply mean Acceptable/Good”? It can generate the word, but it still can’t understand what it means.
Now try to explain the meaning of Just Do It.
Generation is Not Innovation
The fact that AI takes existing data and renders it as relevant information to you is one of the greatest technological advances of our time. Looking for the best way to express a thought? AI will scour our collective digital landscape in order to bring you the top results.
This can be hugely advantageous to a brand’s copywriting and communication capabilities in terms of timings, but it’s not a positive move towards creating innovative, original content.
The problem is this: It’s already been said and done before. Simply taking AI’s services at face value means you’re rehashing what already exists. You’re using another brand’s voice and simply quoting the best in the business is a surefire way to keep them at the top of the food chain.
And, while some sectors will benefit from having repetitive and mundane tasks and messages automated for the best possible results, repeating someone else’s content is never going to result in impactful, insightful content that stops a reader's scrolling in their tracks.
How Brands Can Utilise AI
One thing’s for sure - AI can’t be ignored. From what we know so far, AI offers a vast amount of benefits in terms of productivity and speed.
Every day, there are new revelations about the capabilities of AI, and what this means in terms of the way we approach our operations. We’re all keeping a very close eye on developments, and that includes (obviously) the big players.
Big Companies Aren’t Sold Yet
For the moment, big brands are not placing their advertising strategies in the hands of AI, and with good reason - AI is nowhere near ready. Emotional intelligence and human innovation are still the biggest assets to a brand’s voice and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon.
Somewhere between pure logic and random chaos lies the searing human truth that really sells a brand to its consumers - and that can’t be achieved artificially. AI might have experience scouring the Internet, but it has no experience as a human being.
Bottom line: A soda commercial written by a machine that’s never had the opportunity to sip an ice-cold drink on a hot summer’s day just won’t be quite the same.
Using AI as an Innovation Tool
At its best, AI is currently on-par with a great personal assistant. Need some ideas to get you going? Have at it. Just don’t entrust your entire strategy to an assistant - you’re still the expert and they have a lot to learn.
Besides, anyone who thinks that marketing can be fully automated probably has a very low opinion about the purpose of marketing, or simply doesn’t understand its real power. And we all know what happens to a business that doesn’t truly value marketing as a means to achieve ROI.
A tool is only as good as the person using it - we’re just in the process of figuring out the kinks and possibilities. It’s best to remind ourselves that no one knows for certain what’s to come. And that’s “Okay”.