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By Jenni Baker, Senior Editor

March 30, 2023 | 9 min read

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The rapid growth of AI has spurred an explosion of creativity – but how can marketers power up their creative flair and avoid a compliance nightmare when experimenting with new tools?

The rapid growth of AI has spurred an explosion of creativity.

The rapid growth of AI has spurred an explosion of creativity

“AI is not optional. It is vital to have an opinion, to get involved and to begin thinking about the ethics of it. Brands that ignore it will become obsolete, so get comfortable and start experimenting. It’s the only way to survive,” explains Tracy Wood, founder and director of Renegade Agency, who says we’re rapidly moving towards a future where artificial intelligence (AI) is infiltrating every aspect of our lives. Disruptive businesses will use AI to storm the market and marketers who aren’t engaged in this topic will be left behind.

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This is bigger than the information age, says Wood. Marketing as we know it no longer exists, she says. AI is vast, it’s all encompassing and it’s immediate. As AI becomes a key part of marketers’ everyday toolsets, service offers must immediately adapt to commercially address this. A word of advice, she says: “Go to Google and type ‘prompt engineering courses’ because the better, more descriptive and precise you can be, the better outcomes you’ll get from these tools.”

In the second of a two-part mini-series, titled AI Asks, Wood was in the hotseat to answer a series of questions generated by ChatGPT as part of The Drum’s Deep Dive on AI to Web3: the Tech Takeover. We turned the tables on the AI to tell us the top questions marketers want to ask about its potential for marketing, then we invited some top human experts to give us the answers. Watch the video interview, AI Asks: creative flair or compliance nightmare?, at the top of this page.

Creativity & customer experiences

The ability of AI to enable fluidity between systems and audiences when interacting with big data, making decisions and serving content that customers want to interact with is already transforming the media buying landscape in terms of targeting and creating more relevant customer experiences.

“You can marry your CRM data to your customer data platform (CDP) to your product information management (PIM) and to user behavior to create unique and useful personal experiences,” says Wood. “If you produce these experiences, you can get people to freely give over their data in exchange – the golden egg of marketing.”

With this greater demand for customer experience, we’re going to see “an explosion of creative” and Wood is hopeful that it will see more demand for marketers’ capabilities. When consumers are willing to give away huge chunks of their private life in return for rich, personalized experiences, it’s important that brands can offer them high value content in return.

The ability to optimize content and targeting is going to be “the game changer”, she says. “Traditional targeting is now irrelevant. AI can crunch and apply trillions of data points to create a highly personalized experience. So you create a segment of one – which applies across all sectors, from medical to retail and beyond.”

It’s also enabling marketers to respond to market changes in a huge way and enabling creators to visualize the outcome they want before they spend loads of time generating different ideas for campaign visuals. “It’s going to speed up creative, which means that we can do more creative and keep audiences delighted,” she says. “The applications are vast but don’t panic because marketers will not be obsolete; those who do not use these tools will be obsolete.”

It’s why Wood advises that all marketers simply need to be “a very good prompt engineer” as, she believes, that is the role of the future and that generative AI will be laced into everyone’s job role, pointing to online prompt engineering courses and resources to help marketers upskill in this space.

Responsibility & regulation

But there are still ethical concerns for brands to be wary of – especially given Ray Kurzweil’s prediction that technology will surpass humanity by 2045.

“AI has this really bizarre presence, and we know from research studies and experiments that people don’t respond well to robots – no matter how good they are,” says Wood. “In fact, the better they are, the creepier the experience so there will be a coming need for regulation.

“We are going to need to think of new guidelines and new ways, just like we have an ‘accept cookies’ button, we need to be able to acknowledge that we’re interacting with an AI. That becomes particularly important when we’re talking about emotive topics and subjects like suicide prevention, health, medical, financial and psychiatric advice. Those things are really important to differentiate.”

Each time brands interact and experiment with these tools, it’s important to step back and ask some ethical questions around the need for using generative AI to communicate with certain individuals and how the information can be processed in such a way that will benefit them and wider society.

Going back to basics

AI is going to literally blow apart the models as we know it – but “what AI cannot do is be human,” says Wood. “Those decisions, that emotive understanding, that instantaneous recognition of something that is like me or not like me, or how I feel about something, those are things that AI cannot do and that is where the marketer’s role will start to play the biggest part.

“It’s learning not just from one person but from billions of data points across all of humanity. But the difference is, AI doesn’t have the special bits of humanity that make a real difference. It’s very good at processing information but not very good at decision making. That is where humanity will fit alongside this new technological landscape.”

As more marketers start to explore the potential of AI and personalization tools when engaging with audiences, the basic questions of marketing will remain the same – why are we using these tool sets? What are we trying to achieve? Why are we doing this? Who is the audience? What do they want?

“It’s about learning to look through all these tools that will eventually merge into big giants, and assessing where your and your customers’ needs are best met,” says Wood.

Watch the video above to hear from Wood as she explores the creative explosion brought about by AI, the importance of CX and more.

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