Marketing AI for use in marketing

GenAI can put powerful tools in the hands of marketing, but they’re only as good as the knowledge and expertise of the person using them because they can cause big headaches.

Andy Marken

GenAI can put powerful tools in the hands of marketing, but they’re only as good as the knowledge and expertise of the person using them because they can cause big headaches.

AI marketing
(Source: Catalina Chiarava, Pexels)

“Never theorize before you have data. Invariably, you end up twisting facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” Sherlock Holmes, “Sherlock Holmes,” Warner Bros., 2009

Remember a few years back when VR was going to change the marketing world? Well, the industry has embraced a new solution, and it’s going to not simply change marketing, it’s going to end the marketing world as we know it. In the process, it will launch a new, more efficient, more effective, more satisfying marketing universe. Yes, it’s going to be cool, but no one is certain what shape it’s going to take, how much support it’s going to need, and how much responsibility it’s going to have.

The new marketing solution is AI, which may be open or closed, working beside or leading you, making you a valued member of the management team or superfluous. If that sounds scary, confusing, unsettling, and fantastic, that’s because it is. 

AI has been around for years, but it has only recently become an important and confused/confusing part of business/marketing discussions. That’s because people who know far more about generative AI than we do (and will want to know) know it is destined to be the repository of all human knowledge and culture. In fact, Werner Vogels, Amazon’s chief technology officer and head of Amazon Web Services, says AI is becoming more culturally aware and will help marketers develop more nuanced and accurate results.

It’s going to be vital for marketing to understand the opportunities, nuances, and benefits because, according to media investment firm GroupM, the worldwide ad spend this coming year will be $936 billion. And while your firm’s budget may be “a little” smaller, spending it wisely and effectively will be important.

The biggest challenge, according to the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), is that marketers are a long way from knowing how to manage, use, and secure their data throughout the programmatic ad-buying supply chain. CEOs and CMOs are the organizations’ team members who have to be the driving forces in the use of AI, according to the Marketing AI Institute. However, their global study shows that marketing departments has the least understanding on the usage, measurement, analysis, and management of the AI marketing tools and systems they will have to rely on and use. As a result, CMO needs to drive the integration and use of best practices across internal teams and external agencies.

The ANA found that 98% of marketers are using AI. However, only 22% of marketers have formalized/ongoing training in the tools/systems that can be used, have generative AI policies established, and have no guardrails and safeguards in place to protect the brand’s reputation and the vast amount of private personal data that will be accumulated and used.

AI marketing
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ChatGPT (AI-assisted writing) and Dall-e (AI-created images) can be very good marketing/advertising tools, but they can also be disasters for firms that use them without understanding their target markets and content channels. ChatGPT and Dall-e are not the alpha/omega of marketing AI, but rather tools almost at the end of the marketing processafter the organization has gathered as much personalized, private, and proprietary data about the target customer—the information/entertainment the person uses and why.

It may sound boring, but understanding the ever-changing regulations surrounding privacy and having strong data security measures in place—and constantly tested—are necessary to ensure that the most valuable asset the company has, personal customer data, is kept secure. It is difficult to wrap your mind around the volumes of data you can gather about your competition, products, communication channels, and individual/specific customers with GenAI tools. As a result, strong security measures are vital. 

It probably goes without saying, but also make certain your marketing database (company/product/prospects/customers/media sources) is developed using licensed model tools that are uniquely yours and not simply fair-use/scraped data. Err on the side of caution, because the regulations, tool producers, and data sources are still very fluid—and sometimes not in a good way.

It’s going to be increasingly important because advertising is big business. 

Great writing/visuals are perhaps the most beautiful things we can create. The big issue, though, is that if they don’t click with the right consumer, they are simply nice marketing pieces that were wasted. Admit it. If you’re in a marketing position in your firm/agency, the reason you’re there is you get a kick out of  creatively crafting an ad and seeing it spread across the country and around the globe. If it just happens to resonate with your prospective customers, so much the better. When it doesn’t, back to the writing/visual crafting stage.

All of the work before and after that magical point is simply drudge work. Generative AI can almost make all the preparative and follow-up/analysis as fun… almost.

We realize “everyone” has downloaded and begun to use ChatGPT because… well, because it’s the one “everyone” is talking about, and besides, if you don’t begin studying, testing, working with it, you’ll be left in the dust of the competition.

The maddening rush is already delivering what AI and marketing experts predicted—a tidal wave of mediocrity and content that lacks accuracy or quality. Organizations and marketing executives/teams need to slow down and gain a well-founded perspective of the strengths/weaknesses, pros/cons, benefits/drawbacks of the AI tools—the GenAI tools you’re considering using.

Digital content media—social media, streaming, etc.— is steadily increasing in popularity with marketing and consumers, while linear media has shown a slow decline.Traditional/linear marketing efforts—broadcast, print media, OOH (out of home)—are now less than a third of global marketing investment. It’s getting very little AI attention/assistance because digital media provides the in-depth and diverse data that GenAI tools need to work efficiently and effectively.

Don’t get us wrong, the broad reach of linear marketing/advertising will continue to play a vital role for general product/service categories: CPG (consumer packaged goods), pharmaceuticals, retail, automotive, insurance, and no, we didn’t forget everyone’s favorite ads… lawyers.

(Source: Pixabay, Pexels)

But marketers also have to look beyond their “comfort food” advertising venues of SEO (search engine optimization) and social media. There are tens of thousands of horizontal and vertical social media sites out there, but only a few rise to the top as most effective for your advertising dollars. In fact, some have shown a marked decrease in value. TikTok and YouTube are projected to be the platforms that will have the strongest marketing investment gain this year because they not only reach an increasingly broad market nationally and internationally, but they also enable marketing to test and hone their visual and verbal marketing messages.

The confidence in Facebook’s metaverse has decreased significantly in recent years as the virtual marketplace has fallen short on its ability to deliver and retain consumer interest. At the same time, the controversies surrounding several social platforms have significantly impacted the perception of the companies and the audiences they seem to attract.

The constant monitoring and measurement of the media platforms considered and used are not only necessary but also increasingly easier with GenAI tools that are modified and tailored to align with the company’s marketing and advertising philosophies and objectives.

The front-end work done on AI guidelines/rules that are closely aligned with the company’s reputation allows marketing/advertising to diversify their media investments and more precisely assess the impact of their present marketing efforts while monitoring new opportunities.

Short-form and long-form video have become increasingly important to marketers because they capture audio and visual attention.

One of the new opportunities we feel many marketers are overlooking because of preconditioned images from the past is long-form video—advertising-supported streaming services. Streaming is not your father’s television. Instead, it is a very selective/targeted advertising opportunity for marketers to reach a very specific audience with a precise set of messages that blend with the prospective customers’ wants/needs/beliefs in a very complementary environment. 

The services now have the data that allow them to determine which segment of their audience will be attracted to specific storylines as well as how and why the project attracts/resonates with them. At the same time, this in-depth, personalized data enables marketing to craft messages that will not only not be invasive to them, but will best resonate with them and their interests. Best of all, in our opinion, is that you’re not buying an ad slot at 8 pm on Wednesday, but rather an opportunity to reach the individual with a very personalized message when she/he wants that specific entertainment… regardless of the day or hour.

Most marketing today doesn’t measure its success in terms of tens of thousands of folks reached, but rather in the tens, hundreds, maybe thousands of people who need to or want to buy the promoted product/service. That, if for no other reason, is why GenAI tools can and should be understood and used by today’s marketers.

Yep, carefully selected, fully understood, and carefully/cautiously used, GenAI will address the major challenges facing marketing today. GenAI tools can prove to be excellent tools for some of the less desirable but necessary marketing tasks such as managing/monitoring campaigns and results, as well as analyzing volumes of data to determine where the best results will accrue. 

Oh yeah, and GenAI can help write/create the messages people want to read/see.

Jumping into ChatGPT, Dall-e, and other creative GenAI tools may look like fun and show you’re so “with it,” but they’re really the dumbest and most dangerous moves you can make for your company and your possibly abbreviated marketing career. Approached properly, marketing AI can enable you to measure and profile your communications/advertising options that will provide you with better measurement and insight into your brand’s customers and prospects awareness, consideration, and purchasing intent.

We’re far from being persuaded by AI promotional messages that say using their products/tools will help you reduce your staff and workload, but rather, how it will now make it possible for you to analyze your markets and see customer patterns in the overwhelmingly large datasets and turn those insights into positive and measurable actions/results. In other words, it can provide a more refined and stronger marketing strategy, improved ROI, increased sales, and better market penetration.

Now that’s real marketing fun.

Of course, Sherlock Holmes had to add his snide two cents when he said, “Well, now we have a firm grasp of the obvious.”

Despite his super-sleuth observation, it’s really cool to efficiently and effectively deliver personalized messages and experiences to the broadest possible audience.

That’s probably why Holmes added, “It’s a matter of professional integrity!”