Technology Learning AI

A three-step method for marketers seeking to harness AI

By Mark Figliulo | Founder and Creative Chairman

May 16, 2023 | 5 min read

The proliferation of powerful AI is revolutionizing the ad industry. But in order to be used effectively, writes Fig founder and creative chairman Mark Figliulo, the technology must be deployed and leveraged strategically.


Data is the fuel which powers artificial intelligence and machine learning. / Adobe Stock

The marketing industry has long been one defined by transformation. So to me, as a creative leader, it’s no surprise we are bearing witness to another transformation: the rise of AI.

There is currently a gap between AI and specific creative expertise. There are too many AI tools out there that are merely being used like copy machines – too many people recycling the same dataset, which can lead to inauthentic, ineffective, boring or even harmful results. AI can enhance creative work, but only if it’s used carefully.

There are three layers to keep in mind when incorporating AI into creative work. Ultimately, it’s the strategists and creatives who should be teaching the machines how to work better. We must become data companies. If we can manage that, we can control AI, prioritize storytelling and usher in a new era of creative work.

Layer one: Developing a creative data platform

Five years ago, while other agencies were looking at datasets that focused on how consumers react to communications, Fig focused on refining a brand’s story by creating the right technology to deconstruct and understand the communications in a brand’s category. We decided to develop a creative dataset, leveraging AI. It was bred from pixels and audio – the stimuli that consumers most naturally respond to.

Creating specific AI tools built for advertising, as we did, will help drive the future of work for our industry. AI assistants will be essential for understanding the factors that inspire consumers to like or buy products, and agencies will need to incorporate more creative data into the decision-making process.

Layer two: Gathering the right data

Through the use of currently available AI tools, Fig had a ton of real data in the form of words, pictures and sounds. We started to collect campaigns and deconstruct them manually using analytics. We then organized a team of engineers, data scientists and analysts, and things took off smoothly from there.

We now have a creative data platform called StoryDataTM. It analyzes entire categories, brands and campaigns automatically, which in turn enables us to make faster and better creative decisions. It also makes it easier for us to measure those variables that lead to great creativity, such as meaningfulness, brand identity, emotion, differentiation and so on.

As technology continues to evolve, our industry will need to increasingly rely on creative datasets and AI to generate targeted campaigns for clients. Datasets can enhance personalization, which can then improve the customer experience, leading to higher degrees of engagement. Right now, there’s an opportunity for our industry to embrace AI in order to unlock value in our strategic decision-making and creative output.

Layer three: Humans in the loop

AI models need proprietary data in order to learn the art of advertising - and therein lies the opportunity for creative agencies. The technology itself doesn’t know how to build brands – that takes human experts. The future won’t be a battle between people and machines, it will be a battle for which companies know how to use the machines. One of the challenges moving forward will be identifying those marketing professionals who can competently wield AI.

It’s time we all start learning how to leverage AI in order to create more powerful and effective creative work. Change is already in the air; is your agency ready?

Mark Figliulo is the founder and creative chairman of Fig. For more on the latest happening in AI, web3 and other cutting-edge technologies, sign up for The Emerging Tech Briefing newsletter here.

Technology Learning AI

More from Technology

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +