The Future of AI in Marketing Is Here


Tomorrow’s Communicators Take On Today’s Hot Topics

Boston University communications student Summer Brainin considers the role of AI in marketing as she looks ahead to her own future.

In the first of a series of marketing blogs by Ananta’s 2023-2024 interns, we ask tomorrow’s communicators what is on their minds today. We believe it is important to mentor future communications professionals, and just as important that we listen and learn from them.

Say Hello to ChatGPT: The Future of AI in Marketing Is Here

By Summer Brainin

Whether you have fully integrated AI into your daily workflow, or are too scared to even utter the word “ChatGPT” out loud (especially to a client), you can’t deny it’s a hot topic. While the idea of AI is very intimidating to many people, it’s being fully embraced by others as an exciting new opportunity. The reality is that AI in marketing, as in most industries, is evolving in both perception and in practice. The future of AI is certainly here. It is an increasingly popular tool for writers, designers, coders and others to fuel their efficiency. So why are some of its staunchest allies and our most brilliant innovators so cautious about endorsing it? 

The Rise of ChatGPT 

ChatGPT, which is owned by OpenAI, has seen incredible growth since its launch in November 2022. Despite its success, ChatGPT has not been completely embraced by the tech community. It wasn’t that long ago that tech mogul and billionaire Elon Musk had a stake in the company. Now he seems to have distanced himself, noting that ChatGPT doesn’t align with his previous vision. It seems odd that Musk is disassociating with the company because of its rapid growth. Musk has a well-known interest in cutting-edge technology. Yet, he is quite vocal in expressing his concerns that AI is not safely regulated, going so far as to describe it as a risk to civilization. 

Although Musk is among a significant contingent in the tech world who have strayed away from ChatGPT, investors have paid close attention to its success. ChatGPT quickly became the fastest-growing app in the world, reaching one million users shortly after its launch. It quickly surpassed such rivals as Microsoft and Google, who have been creating their own AI services. 

Many colleges and universities are also addressing the use of AI, establishing their own codes of conduct. In my own experience as a student at Boston University, I have noticed that just as many of my professors encourage the use of AI as those who discourage it. 

Can Marketing Agencies Accept AI? 

Seeing ChatGPT’s growth rate got me thinking: Is creativity a thing of the past? Or can ChatGPT be used effectively as a spark, an igniter of original ideas? Most communications professionals take great pride in coming up with creative ideas or brilliant strategies. Would they lose their motivation if the robot outshines them from time to time, or if their clients were perfectly happy with less creative, but more cost-effective AI-generated work? When a service like AI enters the picture, it can feel pretty scary. We wonder, will our jobs be taken away? Will our value as creators be diminished? 

If you spent your entire career generating content or doing research, and now it is being performed by a computer program, you might question your place or marketability in the job market. Consider the writer’s strike. Even as a deal seems near, questions about the role of AI are holding up a resolution. AI is a very complicated issue for creators, emotionally and professionally.

Of course, new technologies disrupt industries all the time. This is nothing new. But AI has the potential to totally upend marketing communications. Rather than jump ship, tune out or completely ignore the fact that AI is out of the bottle and can’t be put back in, I think the advertising industry should focus on the kind of benefits that don’t strip away creativity. Client research can become more streamlined with the help of AI, which will give you more time to be creative! You will also have fast access to better data, which will make you more competitive. And there is no denying that clients love reliable data, especially when it comes to ad spend. What’s more, small agencies with tighter budgets could use AI to generate labor-intensive reports. At the end of the day, all the data in the world is useless unless it is understood and used by humans to move projects forward. 

Despite its significant benefits, AI simply collects information that already exists. It doesn’t come up with that new amazing idea. It is still up to us, as creators and marketing specialists, to take the information AI generates and use it to come up with groundbreaking or novel ideas that take us to the next level. 

In the ad industry, especially, original creative ideas are what set agencies apart from their competitors. AI is also not capable of emotional intelligence, nor does it have the emotional capacity to understand the needs and wants of clients. Often, an agency-client relationship requires nuance, and AI is not able to provide that as well as humans can. Benefits and drawbacks aside, as we move forward into the future of AI, it should not be feared, as it can be a helpful tool to supplement our skill sets. Humans also have one thing AI is not able to fully replicate: empathy. 

Although an AI service may be able to read articles and understand the concept, it will never be able to have the empathic relationship shared between two people. From my reflection, that is what sets human advertising apart—our innate ability to understand the wants and desires of others.

Just for Fun: What Does ChatGPT Think of Our Blog?

We loved Summer’s blog, but wondered what ChatGPT would suggest we do to make it more popular with search engines. Within seconds, it provided us with a laundry list of best practices:

  • Identify some relevant keywords and incorporate them strategically in the copy in a way that sounds natural
  • Optimize the title
  • Write a concise meta description
  • Use header tags
  • Include internal and external links
  • Write description for images (“alt tags”)
  • Share on Social
  • And more!

Good job, ChatGPT!

Now that we know how to make our content more attractive to robots, how about humans? We then asked AI to make our copy more engaging. And you know what? We like Summer’s version better. Hands down! ChatGPT certainly turned out a few good phrases, but there was just something off about it. 

Of course, we would never use exact content generated by ChatGPT, which is what you find below.

Unlocking the Potential of AI in Marketing
As Generated by ChatGPT 

Have you ever found yourself at the crossroads of technology, torn between the allure of AI's capabilities and the apprehension it can invoke? It's a conversation we can't escape, and rightly so, because the future of AI in marketing is unfolding before our eyes.

AI: Friend or Foe?

AI, that enigmatic force, has the power to revolutionize the way we work, think and create. For some, it’s a beacon of exciting opportunities, while for others, it looms as a daunting, intimidating concept. The truth is, AI in marketing, much like in every industry, is evolving both in perception and practice, and it’s here to stay.

The Ascent of ChatGPT

One fascinating example of AI’s journey is ChatGPT, brought to life by OpenAI, which skyrocketed in popularity after its launch in November 2022. Yet, its path to acceptance in the tech community hasn't been without its twists and turns. Not too long ago, tech mogul Elon Musk was associated with ChatGPT. However, he has since distanced himself, expressing concerns about AI’s regulation, even describing it as a potential risk to civilization.

Despite such reservations, ChatGPT’s success hasn’t gone unnoticed. It rapidly became the world’s fastest-growing app, amassing one million users shortly after its launch, outpacing even tech giants like Microsoft and Google, both of which are busy crafting their own AI offerings.

AI in Academia

Even in academia, the AI debate rages on. As a student at Boston University, I’ve witnessed a divide among professors—some enthusiastically endorse AI, while others approach it with caution.

AI in Advertising: A Creative Spark or an Overcast Sky?

As ChatGPT’s star continues to rise, it prompts a question: Does AI spell the end of creativity as we know it? Can ChatGPT be a muse, igniting a fresh stream of original ideas? Advertising professionals, who pride themselves on crafting ingenious strategies, might wonder if AI could potentially outshine their creative brilliance. Will clients favor cost-effective AI-generated work over creative human input?

The introduction of AI can be unnerving, sparking concerns about job security and the perceived value of human creators. Imagine a career spent generating content or conducting research, now being replicated by a computer program. This complexity around AI’s role in the creative process extends to emotional and professional dimensions, as exemplified by the ongoing writer’s strike.

Embracing AI: A Path to Progress

Innovation disrupts industries—this is the norm. AI, however, possesses the potential to reshape marketing communications entirely. Instead of shying away from this undeniable reality, the advertising industry should focus on the opportunities that amplify creativity. AI can streamline client research, freeing up valuable time for creative pursuits. It provides swift access to richer data, enhancing competitiveness and satisfying clients’ hunger for reliable insights, particularly in ad spending decisions.

AI’s Strengths and Limitations

Yet, let’s be clear: AI excels at gathering existing information but doesn’t birth brilliant new ideas. That responsibility still falls on us—creators, marketing specialists—to elevate groundbreaking concepts generated through AI.

In the realm of advertising, original creative ideas set agencies apart. AI lacks emotional intelligence and the capacity to truly understand the intricacies of client needs and desires. Agency-client relationships thrive on nuance, an aspect where AI falls short compared to human interaction. Benefits and drawbacks aside, as we journey into the AI-driven future, it’s not a force to be feared; rather, it’s a valuable tool to complement our skills.

The Unique Human Touch

Humans possess an intangible quality that AI can never fully replicate: empathy. While an AI service can grasp concepts from articles, it will never replicate the empathic connection shared between two individuals. This, I believe, is what makes human advertising special—the innate ability to understand the deepest wants and desires of others.

What do you think? How do you plan to use ChatGPT in your work? 

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