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AI in Marketing: Friend or Foe?

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We need to talk about the elephant in the room.

AI is unavoidable these days. From chatbots answering customer queries to algorithms crafting targeted ads, AI promises to revolutionise the way we reach and connect with audiences.

But, hold on a second. While a lot of agency owners fear being left behind if they don’t adopt any and all AI technology as soon as possible; let's take a breath and consider the bigger picture. AI is a powerful tool, but it's not a magic bullet.

Don’t Discredit Consumer Connotations

Here's the thing: consumers are savvy, (seriously, this isn’t news). A recent study by Brandt found that over half of Australians are uncomfortable with AI-generated brand ambassadors. That's a big chunk of your potential customer base feeling a bit icky about faceless, formulaic interactions.

On the other hand, AI excels at handling data and crunching numbers. It can analyse vast amounts of customer information to identify trends, personalise marketing messages, and even generate content ideas (although as Oliver S. Rod Sobral points out in Creative Bloq, human creativity will always remain the secret sauce).

Addressing Content Landfill and Overproduction

It’s important to remember not every AI tool is suitable for every agency, and the kind of work they do. We’re already facing a content landfill problem; and churning out more AI content for the sake of it isn’t helping.

According to Digiday, more than half (52%) of core creative assets produced by global Fortune 500 brands across 2023 were never used or activated. And the cost is a little eye-watering – about $25 million in spend wasted annually. We can only imagine AI generated content has just a little to do with that, so we need to be careful in generating content simply to play keep-up with competitors.

To put it really bluntly? In these stages, AI is still largely recognisable to the average Joe – and whether that matters to your or your clients? Well, only you can answer that.

So, what does this mean for your agency?

Let's explore some real-world implications and benefits of using AI in your marketing and branding magic:

Content Creation: Feeling swamped by the content beast? AI tools can help research topics, generate outlines, and even suggest headlines. This frees up your team to focus on the strategic aspects of content and inject that all-important human touch.

Targeted Advertising: AI can analyse customer data to identify target audiences with laser precision. No more throwing marketing spaghetti at the wall and hoping it sticks. Get the right message in front of the right people at the right time – not just by targeting traditional demographic groupings of location, age and occupation; but using AI to find people based on similarities of ideas, outlooks, and personalities.

Customer Service: Chatbots powered by AI can answer simple customer inquiries around the clock, freeing up human agents for more complex issues. Happy customers, happy life! (Or however that saying goes).

But remember, AI is a tool, not a strategy.

Here's how to ensure a healthy balance:

Focus on the "Why" Before the "How": Don't get caught up in the  AI hype. Before implementing any AI tool, ask yourself: "How will this help us achieve our marketing and branding goals?" In other words, is it simply a shiny new toy, or can it actually help YOU?

Human Oversight is Key: AI is great at following instructions, but it can't think critically or understand brand nuances. Make sure human oversight is built into your AI workflows.

Don't Forget the Magic of Storytelling: At the end of the day, people connect with stories. AI can help with the data, but your team's creativity will craft the compelling narratives that truly resonate with audiences.

By embracing AI as a teammate and using it strategically in conjunction with human expertise, your agency can unlock a whole new level of effectiveness. This isn't about AI taking over, it's about humans and AI working together to create powerful customer experiences and build lasting brand loyalty.

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