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Generative AI may be the magic potion small marketing agencies have been waiting for

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Gartner recently released its list of 7 Technology Disruptions That Will Impact Sales Through 2027. One was generative Artificial Intelligence. Gartner defined generative AI as AI that “learns from existing content artifacts to generate new, realistic artifacts that reflect the characteristics of the training data, but do not repeat it.” In simple terms, it can produce entirely new content, like images, videos, text and code, with very simple inputs.

Generative AI is going to completely alter the marketing landscape, among many other areas. For example, type any combination of descriptors into OpenAI’s DALL·E 2 and AI creates realistic and/or artistic images. In fact, the title image of this piece was created using that technology, by simply typing the phrase: “How generative AI will help marketing teams around the world.” All of a sudden, any firm can become a one-stop creative shop with tools that can increase efficiency and creativity. 

With nearly limitless possibilities, what does this mean for professionals and their job security? 

While new AI tools are changing marketing, they’re not entirely replacing human marketers. At nearly every AI company that I represented at my communications firm, the computer intelligence was there to augment people’s abilities — but not fully supplant it. While the AI’s capacity to make new things possible was unmistakable, these tasks were best executed with an expert’s touch at the end to make final decisions.

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Here are three ways to increase a marketing firm’s range by using new AI tools while still keeping professionals in the creative driver’s seat. 

Foster unlimited brainstorming potential with generative AI

Few things haunt a marketer quite like a blank page, and often the first step is the hardest. That’s where generative AI can come to the rescue. According to a blog by Sequoia Capital, this technology will help users “thrive from a tight iterative creative cycle between human and machine.” These sped-up cycles can be very advantageous early in any initiative. 

If a visually-driven project needs inspiration, programs like DALL-E 2 or Stable Diffusion can rapidly generate images from text prompts. These distinctive works can either fuel new creative ideas, or be the jumping off point for visual artists to build upon. For the linguistically minded, products like Jasper and Copy.ai use generative AI to help get marketing copy ideas flowing. Not only can these increase anyone’s imaginative capacity, but Sequoia believes that generative AI can make workers at least 10% more efficient and/or creative. 

Hack creative brains for new inputs

Beyond simply brainstorming, these tools can quite literally expand business offerings. Now, a company can create visuals to their writing, or enhanced copy to their visual images. This is a game-changer for smaller firms, like the one I run, where I can now add a new dimension to my work. However, people must proceed cautiously. This technology is still in its infancy and needs supervision. 

If someone is generally a visual artist, I suggest using AI-generated content sparingly at first and really paying attention to what the AI comes up with. Or, if a marketer is more deft at writing copy, start by creating images as a way to augment an article, blog or press release. The key is to start small and build while acclimating to how these tools operate. While they may be generating the final product, starting slowly will help users define input processes — thus fostering unique and on-brand outcomes. 

Constantly iterate at speed

One key element of a marketer’s job is to craft foundational brand elements — from written messaging and position to brand logos, colors and more — and constantly tweak concepts on the go. Rowan Curran, a Forrester AI/ML and data science analyst, cites speed constraints as a reason for adopting generative AI. According to his report, “Human-produced content creation will never be fast enough to address the need for personalized content at scale, and in the next year, we expect to see at least 10% of [Fortune 500] companies invest in AI-supported digital content creation.” Like Curran, Gartner predicts that by 2025, 30% of outbound messages from large organizations will be synthetically generated. This means that iterations can happen at much faster speeds.

There’s also an opportunity for companies to unlock new content from unlikely sources. For example, a marketing lead can have their writers create generative AI images, and their designers bring their visual minds to work on AI-assisted copy. All of a sudden, there will be entirely new concepts created by hacking into creative minds traversing unusual media — all unlocked by generative AI.

So, does this spell the end of the marketer? Not quite. Campaigns still require expert oversight at the end to ensure that content is fully within a brand’s ethos and are deployed in the right place and at the right time. However, make no mistake: these processes will soon become fully intertwined with human-powered content creation.

Peter Weltman is a public relations and communications specialist for Man of the World Media.

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