April 20, 2024

Generative AI is not the future of marketing, it is part of its present

Artificial intelligence AI
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Now every day, and in about half of all the meetings and conversations I have, generative AI comes up.

But GenAI isn’t just a talking point, and it’s not just changing marketing in some theoretical future, it’s now becoming part of everyday marketing practice.

That’s why I wanted to share some examples of GenAI/IA by seeing them up close and in use right now. No hyperbole, no looking ahead, no Twitter anxiety: “you’re falling behind if you’re not using these 1,000 GenAI tools right now”; just a few practical examples of its current use in marketing and brand strategy, media, creativity, production and measurement to provide a personal perspective on the state of the nation.

Current applications of AI in marketing

1. Audience segmentation, category and brand research.

One startup I spoke to last week uses large panels of synthetic consumers to generate market research, brand health reports, segmentation studies, pricing, and category entry point analysis—technical, arduous work that would typically take weeks. , but now it can be done overnight. . They say it is already 90% accurate compared to equivalent analysis using real humans analyzing real human data. Basically, it is able to determine the “model share” of any brand from various dimensions. Marketing Week’s Mark Ritson talked about synthetic data and the academic work on which it is based last year, but the practical application of that theoretical academic work is starting to emerge.

Another startup, Voop, has created a wonderfully simple consumer insights tool using GenAI to instantly analyze and summarize consumer insights in voice or text, as well as suggest next steps and actions. It’s still in beta, but when you see it, you’ll be struck by a wide range of different practical applications depending on your position in the industry.

2. Strategy and information

Another company, Briefly, is a GenAI platform that is already helping marketers at several Fortune 500 companies, including Dell, write faster and create better internal briefs. Consider Grammarly for marketing summaries.

In the next stage of the strategic journey, Strat.GPT is a tool created by the strategists and engineers at Jellyfish, my employer, as a co-pilot of the brand strategy. It’s helping us with a lot of our live creative launches and campaign briefs right now.

Jellyfish’s Strat.GPT Tool Helps Develop Creative Proposals

It’s especially good for helping our strategists gather audience insights and generate pitches. Personally, I have tried to push it to generate new communication platforms for clients; It’s still not as good as humans at this, but, given a strict mandate, it does a pretty good job of generating creative ideas that our creative humans can surpass.

3. Creative development and production.

Brandtech Group, owner of Jellyfish, has its own GenAI platform called Pencil, which our creative people across the group are using to help produce paid social ads faster and in larger quantities, and with twice the short-term performance on average . It’s already been used in over $1 billion of ad spend across 5,000+ brands and over a million ads, including for the Deckers Group portfolio, where it can correctly predict the best-performing social creative from the new ads it generates for brands like Ugg.

Paid social ads for Ugg generated with Brandtech’s Pencil tool

A little further up the marketing funnel is Gravity Road’s work for Hotel Chocolat’s Velvetiser product, which relied heavily on GenAI in both the development of the creative concept and its production, where GenAI merged with the process. CGI. The resulting TV ad was the first with the help of GenAI to earn a maximum star rating of 5.9 in System1’s testing methodology. It was the highest score the company has ever seen for a TV commercial in the home appliances category (perhaps because chocolate ads tend to evoke more emotions and therefore score slightly higher on average). and is in the top 0.3% of ads evaluated globally.

Hotel Chocolat’s AI-assisted TV ad received top marks based on System1 creative analysis

4. Media

It’s been a source of much annoyance to people on the major digital platforms, who have been using AI for some time, who have never had anything like the headlines that people now using GenAI have been getting recently. But AI has been part of Google’s advertising bidding processes for years, in addition to fully powering newer products like Performance Max.

Similarly, Meta’s Advantage+ uses AI to eliminate manual ad creation steps and automate the generation of a large number of creative combinations. So the practical reality, for many billions in global ad spend, especially in the performance space, is that AI already plays a major role in its delivery, albeit with little fanfare.

5. Measurement

Data company Creative

Their analysis of $1.3 billion of ad spend last year (conducted at a scale that could not have been done without AI) resulted in the alarming statistic that 50% of digital advertising budgets go to creatives that do not are “platform-appropriate.” . It’s a statement that should make us all pay more attention to whether 100% of our ads conform to basic platform best practices, and a little less attention to whether the top 0.1% get a Lion in Cannes.

AI is now helping to improve creative testing and measurement, with platforms such as DAIVID and Realeyes having models trained to predict the likely human response to ads in terms of attention, emotion and memory, enabling creative testing at scale. that would be profitable. prohibitive with human respondents.

AI blending into the background

Therefore, GenAI and AI are already being implemented in almost all stages of marketing and brand strategy, media, creative, production and measurement, by brands of all types and sizes. A wide range of marketing use cases already exist (and I’ve only scratched the surface here).

And depending on the speed of adoption of tools like these in the marketing world, it could soon become so ubiquitous that it could simply fade into the background, as new technologies often do: it will become completely normal, even uncomplicated. Or, as Benedict Evans recently said in an interview with Contagious, “AI will just be software.”

Now, I’ve never been a technology obsessive. In fact, historically I have been more interested in what doesn’t change (human nature, our brains, our motivations) than what does change (the tools we use to create and distribute communication).

I rarely make predictions, but it appears we are witnessing a major platform shift for our industry, in some ways that are becoming clear now, but in others that will only be revealed in the coming years.

Let’s not throw away what we know about what works: let’s incorporate it into the technologies we are developing.

Billions are being invested in GenAI startups, and many of them are in marketing. People, both in their daily lives and in their work lives, are adopting these technologies. Marketing people are probably adopting them faster than non-marketers, as they always do, so we need to be careful not to overestimate the speed of overall adoption from the speed of adoption by marketers. marketing specialists.

But it has clearly started to change things in our daily work, and it’s doing so largely by helping people do some of their most repetitive jobs faster, helping to save time and money.

What’s not so clear is whether as much is being used to help people do much better things: more actionable information, smarter strategies, more impactful creativity, more effective (and not just more efficient) marketing. It is in our hands as marketers to make sure that is the case if that is the future we want, because investors and many of the AI ​​experts and engineers will naturally be less concerned than we are about the quality of output as aim. I suspect they are often less aware of what quality means than today’s professionals. So let’s not throw away what we know about what works: let’s incorporate it into the technologies we are developing.

Shaping future roles

No one can know exactly how this will affect our work lives. It will be a source of excitement and opportunity for some, uncertainty and anxiety for others, and probably a combination of both for most. I suspect that many will have the feeling that something is happening to them that is moving forward, out of control, causing them anxiety and excitement about the future.

The Account Planning Group (APG), on whose committee I sit, is creating an AI working group to help shape the future of AI for planners and strategists, analyzing the consequences and opportunities, taking advantage of the enthusiasm but also, hopefully helping to alleviate some of the uncertainty, to help ensure that brand strategists feel like they can shape GenAI in their roles, not have GenAI shape them. And as president, I will soon call for people to get involved and work together in a spirit of competitive collaboration.

While the outcome will be primarily aimed at the small advertising strategy and planning community, we hope there will be useful learnings for everyone in the marketing world at large. And perhaps it will inspire other parts of the industry to lead similar initiatives to help people cope with change, both positive and negative, as all change always is.

And after that seriousness, here’s something a little more fun.

May I introduce you to TomAI, my digital twin, with whom anyone can have voice or text conversations?

Tom Roach’s AI alter ego, TomAI

Created by a startup called Twise, co-founded by former BBH colleague Joakim Borgstrom, TomAI is really a fun experiment at the moment, but you’ll find that it knows a lot of the things I do, as it’s been trained on everything. I have written. Ask him anything you think the real Tom might know a little about. Maybe ask him for strategy book recommendations, to explain performance stagnation, or his favorite effectiveness case studies. As with almost all AIs, he makes mistakes, and as with almost all marketing humans, he mispronounces Les Binet (like Lay Binay).

In the future, I hope you can have all of those conversations and meetings I mentioned above simultaneously while I monitor and fine-tune your responses and brand strategy advice from a beach somewhere. It’s still not up to par with that, but watch this space.

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