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What’s holding your marketing back in 2024

Cutting to the chase: The fear of AI in marketing is holding many teams and business owners back.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has stirred both excitement and apprehension in many industries. Until 2023, the integration of machine learning into various business operations was a gradual process, steadily reshaping how companies interacted with their audience. But in 2024, the emergence of sophisticated models like ChatGPT, Bard, and their competitors, brought AI to the fore for many who were previously unaware of how much machine learning us marketers rely on.

Fear factor

The unease surrounding AI's potential to diminish the human touch in marketing is a hot topic. It is fashionable, or as we say in marketing — trending — to be against AI in marketing, and claim not to use it at all. This claim, while understandably aimed at signalling virtue, has the capacity to impede progress and stifle innovation.

A copywriter sits on a laptop at a desk writing about AI in marketing. He has long hair, stubble and is wearing a red T-shirt.

Vocalised concern often centres around the notion that AI may replace rather than enhance human creativity and empathy in crafting marketing strategies. I’ll explain why that is not the case by citing marketing operations that have been using AI for years to improve our collective experience.

4 marketing processes that have been using AI for years:

  • Data analytics and predictive modelling Let’s start with the better-known uses of machine learning: AI algorithms extract insights from vast data sets, enabling marketers to anticipate trends and understand consumer behaviour.

  • Targeted advertising and personalized marketing You likely also know that AI algorithms analyse user behaviour and demographics in real time to deliver highly relevant content, maximizing campaign impact and driving conversion rates.

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) This will surprise those who are not neck-deep in the marketing world, and it goes beyond AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants providing personalized customer support, improving satisfaction and retention rates while reducing costs. CRMs also detect problems that require a human to reach out, as well as users who have disengaged and may need extra love and care from the client success team.

  • Email marketing AI enables effective audience segmentation, personalized content delivery, and optimized send times, leading to higher open and click-through rates. As prospects and customers, this is convenient because we only receive communications that are relevant to us, our current situation, and our past behaviour.

AI in marketing: Unfulfilled potential

Given the existence of AI across the business spectrum, one of the biggest potential casualties of this apprehension is the reluctance of many companies to fully embrace automation is the department that’s always cut, squeezed, and wiped out first: Marketing.

While AI in marketing is already delivering and could deliver more to the customer experience and buyer's journey, the trending fear of relinquishing control to AI-powered systems is a deterrent.

Four copywriters sit on their laptops at a desk writing about AI in marketing, listening to their boss who is wearing a bright red top..

I say that those of us in marketing roles should confront the fear head-on and recognize it for what it is — an obstacle to progress, an obstacle to the efficacy of our lead funnels, and an obstacle to customer satisfaction.

Sticky subject

I will pose an unusual opinion: we expect seamless, personalised interactions with the companies we contract. Our own personal service contracts increase every single day. With that rise in companies catering to us, the ways that humanity can afford this luxury involve using AI, or underpaid person-power.

I, for one, prefer the machines over-exploitation of those who could be doing other jobs. The latter builds the expectation of many in lower-cost jurisdictions to remain that, rather than aspiring to do more than trusty AI can.

AI in the future of marketing?

How do we move past the apprehension and embrace AI, with several legal caveats and controls? The answer lies in reframing our perception of AI in marketing from a threat to a valuable ally, and I hope this article has made a small contribution to that mission.

Rather than viewing AI as a usurper of human ingenuity, we could see it as the potential to augment our capabilities, as it has been. Given sensible governmental controls, AI needn’t detract from the human element, AI has the power to amplify it.

I'm sure this article will provoke differing opinions! I'm excited to hear your thoughts in the comments below and enjoy a thoughtful discussion.



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