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By Maria Greaves, Assistant editor - branded content

May 22, 2024 | 5 min read

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In part two of our ‘Eye on AI’ series, we dive into how marketers are being freed from digital debt and can ‘do more with less’ by embracing the capabilities of generative AI.

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Digital marketers need to find innovative, creative ways of storytelling that meet their audience where they ae most engaged / The Drum

Business leaders say they’re twice as likely to use AI to ‘increase employee productivity.’ So, what’s the true potential for generative AI to make marketers more efficient? And how can they get the most out of their everyday AI companion and be empowered to achieve more?

Drowning in digital debt

Digital marketers face a paradox. They must find innovative, creative ways of storytelling that meet their audience where they are most engaged, while also staying on top of the daily emails, chats, and meetings. The very tools meant to streamline communication and operational efficiency have led to information overload, with 68% of workers struggling with the pace and volume of work.

Generative AI tools are poised to help pull us out of this digital debt. Microsoft Advertising UK’s regional vice-president Ravleen Beeston explains why: “AI tools can give us back the greatest gift of all – time. Time to do more strategic tasks, time to experiment with different solutions, time to spend with your client, time to think differently and get creative.”

And the data is clear: 85% of generative AI users say it helps them focus on their most important work, and crucially, 83% say they enjoy work more.

Synthesizing information and sparking creativity

Generative AI tools are sparking marketers’ creativity, enhancing efficiency and improving productivity. As James Thomas, global chief technology officer at dentsu Creative, explains: “Generative AI makes you more creative in an agency – it doesn’t replace creativity. It’s another tool in your tool kit. We can leverage AI to visualise ideas and concepts with lightning speed, while the clients are in the room. That would have taken weeks and months to do previously.”

For example, when the user provides a URL, Copilot in the Microsoft Advertising Platform can generate ad copy recommendations or image-based assets based on the website content.

Democratizing business potential

Today’s digital advertising landscape is overwhelming, with fragmented channels and fast-evolving online consumer behaviors. Brands need to advertise across multiple devices and formats to reach consumers wherever they may be while still accurately measuring outcomes. For small and mid-size businesses who often deal with cost challenges, skills shortages and competing priorities more acutely than larger enterprises, generative AI tools are leveling the playing field.

For example, customers who leverage Performance Max campaigns through the Microsoft Advertising Network can use generative AI to create multi-channel campaigns across search, shopping and audience placements that optimize for conversions and maximize return-on-investment (ROI).

In this sense, as Beeston highlights, generative AI is set to “fundamentally transform how businesses operate, how they innovate, how they engage with customers.” And those who shift their mindset from ‘human versus AI’ to ‘human with AI’ will reap the rewards of its ability to democratize their skills and capabilities.

Getting the best out of your AI companion

Generative AI tools are just that – tools - and marketers need to learn how to use them properly to optimize their value. One way to do this is through prompt engineering.

“You can give anyone a guitar…but it doesn’t mean you know how to play it or use it well,” and it’s just the same with AI tools, says Thomas. Workers need to learn how to unlock their potential. And a collaborative approach is key.

For example, dentsu Creative has set up a global AI Center of Excellence infrastructure across its organization, building generative AI prototypes and full products, while protecting client data.

But good collaboration is a two-way street, a back and forth building on what’s come before. Which is why Beeston concludes: “AI is a co-pilot, not an autopilot. It’s there to augment human capability, not replace it. Regardless of your field and what you’re creating, human input is essential.”

Catch up on part one of our ‘Eye on AI’ article series and stay tuned for part three where we explore the industry evolution and how AI is enhancing partnerships.

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