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AI Marketers: The New Mad Men?

In the marketing arena, where creativity and innovation are paramount, a new contender is emerging: generative artificial intelligence (GenAI). Capable of producing content such as Pixar-style animations, this technology is now targeting the business sector with a focus on advertising.

According to a recent report by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, generative AI is on the cusp of transforming the commerce landscape. As consumer behavior becomes increasingly fragmented across digital channels, marketers are faced with the daunting task of creating personalized campaigns at scale and are looking to GenAI to fill the gap. 

The financial implications of this AI-driven shift are staggering. McKinsey estimates that GenAI could boost annual global productivity in marketing and sales by a whopping $3.3 trillion. Just ask Klarna, the global payments company that claimed it saves $10 million annually by using GenAI for image creation, reducing its reliance on external partners.

AI-Powered Content Production

Kelwin Fernandes, CEO of NILG.AI, explains how his company leverages the technology for content production in four stages: idea generation, production, validation and repurposing, he told PYMNTS.

“You can use AI to generate ideas for your next publications, using your past publications as a reference to produce diverse yet consistent ideas,” he added. “Then, you can leverage it to write content in the same style and tone of voice your brand uses.”

The impact of AI-powered tools on personalized campaigns and content creation is echoed by Garry West, creative director of Imagefix: “AI has moved personalization way beyond basic demographic data. AI-driven marketing copilots use granular segmentation and predictive analytics to deliver very tailored campaigns,” he told PYMNTS.

“Because they can analyze vast datasets of customer behavior, preferences, and purchase history, we’re now able to identify micro-segments with specific needs and desires. This makes our marketing far more focused.”

Gurdeep Dhillon, CMO at Contentstack, a composable digital experience platform, told PYMNTS that he believes that AI will enable companies to able to tailor digital experiences to individual users better and faster than before. “With the removal of technological barriers, marketers will finally be able to achieve the personalized digital experiences they’ve been striving for,” he added. 

The Future of Marketing?

But what does this mean for the future of marketing? Will AI replace the need for human creativity altogether? Not quite, experts say. The first phase of AI’s marketing transformation involves “marketing copilots,” automating routine tasks and freeing up marketers to focus on strategic activities. Platforms like Jasper and Copy.ai enable rapid social media and email content creation, while HeyGen and Synthesia assist in producing studio-quality videos.

As AI advances, it will create brand-aligned assets using customer data platforms, websites, pixels and UTM codes, according to the report. AI copilots will also enhance audience segmentation and campaign planning by analyzing vast datasets in real time

The next phase, the report claims, will see AI-powered marketing agents automating tasks, shifting marketing to a one-to-one, hyper-personalized model. These agents will use audience and preference data to create personalized ads that outperform generic content. Emerging AI agents will handle end-to-end marketing tasks like A/B testing, ad bidding optimization, and content iteration based on performance.

The authors of the report envision a final phase in which AI agents take over marketing duties as autonomous teams, integrating and optimizing tools across all mediums, from market research to performance marketing. Companies will input budgets and goals, and AI will manage the rest, optimizing strategies across channels.

As platforms like Meta and Google expand their AI offerings, the vision of an automated marketing team becomes more feasible. However, Fernandes cautions against potential pitfalls: “Besides all sorts of intrinsic biases around gender, politics, etc., my main concern is organizational culture. There are subtle concepts about your company culture, such as its values, that might not be aligned with an AI. So, letting an AI promote your company may deviate from your core values and culture.”

West also highlights the challenges associated with relying on AI-driven tools, such as data privacy concerns and algorithmic bias: “AI operates by collecting and analyzing vast amounts of customer data to deliver personalized experiences. This raises huge questions around data privacy and security, as breaches or misuse of this sensitive information can have real consequences for customers and businesses.”

Dhillon points out the current limitations of AI in marketing: “Right now, AI is helping to solve the challenge of scaling the marketing team’s ability to create content through generative AI capabilities. What’s missing, though, is the ability to tailor this content to your organization’s brand voice to ensure authenticity and the ability to automate the use of the AI so that it truly can scale to the thousands without tremendous human resource investment. So while AI has helped, there are still blockers.”

West emphasizes the importance of striking a balance between leveraging AI technologies and maintaining a human touch: “At Imagefix, we view AI as a powerful tool that augments our human teams, and we are clear that there is no way they could be replaced by AI. We use it for tasks it excels at: data analysis, pattern recognition, and repetitive tasks. Our teams then have more time to focus on strategy and creative ideation.”

As generative AI promises a new era of efficiency and personalization in marketing, the future of advertising looks brighter and more innovative than ever. The question remains: Will the new Mad Men be a blend of human creativity and artificial intelligence?

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