Is 2023 the Year AI Takes Over Marketing?
If you’ve kept up with advances in the marketing, automation, or even entertainment industries, you’ve probably heard about AI platforms like Lensa and Midjourney gaining popularity. You may have even seen the artwork and selfies created using these generative artificial intelligence systems – with images ranging from cute and cartoonish to eerily realistic.
Hate it or love it, the capabilities of AI have made it into the mainstream. As popularity surges for AI-based tools, it’s crucial for marketers to understand the potential of this tech and avoid possible roadblocks in implementation. To fully understand how far AI will be integrated into businesses in the future, we must ask ourselves one important question: “Is 2023 the year AI takes over marketing?”
A Brief History of AI
While many AI tools have exploded in popularity over the last year, the platforms underpinning them have been under development for a long time. In fact, the idea of artificial intelligence is far from new. Ideas about creating machines capable of learning have been around for centuries.
In 1863, English writer Samuel Butler wrote an article titled “Darwin Among the Machines.” In it, Butler put forth the notion that evolution also applies to machines and speculated that they would one day become conscious and eventually supplant humanity. This was also a theme in his 1872 novel Erewhon; Or, Over the Range.
The concept of thinking machines may have been around for a long time, but it was not until the mid-20th century that technology advanced far enough for us to start exploring the field of AI. This marked the first steps toward the digital tools that are now beginning to dominate the discussion.
One of the most notable points in the history of modern AI came relatively early in the development of modern computing. Noted cryptographer Alan Turing published his landmark paper, Computing Machinery and Intelligence, in 1950. In this paper, Turing argued that if a machine could carry on a conversation with a human being (via a teleprinter) that was indistinguishable from a conversation with another human, then it was reasonable to say that the machine was “thinking.” This concept was developed into the “Turing Test,” which has been commonly referred to as the benchmark for judging computers’ ability to “think” independently.
You may have seen these tests depicted in popular sci-fi movies, where distinctions between humans and machines are only distinguishable through a Turing test. Most notably, the popular 1982 sci/fi action film “Blade Runner” based the Voight-Kampff test in the film on the test developed by Alan Turning.
By the 1990s, algorithms began appearing as working forms of machine “thinking” behind the scenes. These programs have since grown and refined with the ability to take in and learn from new data constantly. Now, the technology appears in many different uses and applications. For example, while you may not associate the algorithm that populates your Instagram feed with a robot that can write entire essays, the underlying technology is fundamentally similar.
The Current State of Artificial Intelligence
Today, a wide variety of free and paid tools bring AI-powered generation to all areas of creation. Automatic image editing software like Lensa can alter selfies and render them in various styles, while writing tools like Jasper tout their ability to create everything from blog post drafts to scripts for YouTube videos. In fact, AI not only has the ability to aid in the creation, but it can also manufacture original renderings, as shown in the image below.
The potential for this technology is leading to exponential growth in this industry, and it shows no signs of slowing down. A recent report by Fortune Business Insights predicted that the AI market would experience a massive 20.1% Combined Annual Growth Rate (CAGR), growing to a staggering $1394.30 billion by 2029. Another report predicted that the AI market would experience a CAGR of 32.9%.
This unprecedented growth obviously represents a scope far beyond private hobbyists. Business licenses are one of the most common ways in which AI tech is monetized. Companies can pay for a service that allows bots to perform essential functions, from creating images to answering social media DMs.
The Dark Side of AI Creation
These developments are not without some backlash, however. The New York City Department of Education made headlines this January by banning ChatGPT on all DoE networks and devices. ChatGPT is a popular AI-powered chatbot that can create relatively natural, colloquial-sounding writing in response to human prompts. The concerns raised by the NYC DoE cited the potential for “negative impacts on student learning” and “concerns regarding the safety and accuracy of content” created by the program.
Other, deeper concerns have been raised as well. Ethical issues regarding the process by which some AIs learn have been called into question. Photo-editing app Lensa has come under particular scrutiny for using art created by humans without permission — all to fuel the program’s creative abilities. This has opened many debates about the nature of creativity and art. But regardless of the philosophical side of things, the marketing potential for these tools cannot be denied.
As the strength of AI lies in its ability to analyze data at a much faster rate and provide outputs than humans, many fear its incredible ability might be a double-edged sword for our own progress. The more AI is used, the more it improves. When more inputs are provided, more outputs can be produced. Therefore, it’s not a stretch for cautious observers to note that AI may one day leave the rest of us obsolete.
How Is AI Becoming Integrated into Marketing?
On the upside, the potential value of AI technology to the world of marketing is fairly straightforward. Effective marketing relies heavily on the ability to produce consistent, high-quality content. But creating that content — whether blogs, videos, graphics, or social media posts — is a time-consuming process. Implementing your marketing strategies will take less time (and money) if computers can effectively handle these tasks. For example, some sources claim that AI writing tools can save up to 50% of the time it takes to create blogs.
This concept is far from theoretical. Marketers in all industries have already adopted various AI-enhanced tools to augment and streamline their processes. Many tedious tasks, such as transcription, can be handled by platforms like Whisper, developed by OpenAI (the same company behind the NYC DoE-banned ChatGPT bot). These tools are not limited to simple processes like audio transcription, however.
AI has revolutionized how marketers approach their campaigns and strategies. AI-driven automation techniques allow marketers to recognize customer preferences, target specific audiences, and develop more effective campaigns. AI technology also makes tracking and measuring customer engagement easier, allowing marketers to make smarter decisions about their marketing efforts.
As these tools advance, so do their usefulness and output quality. Still doubt the effectiveness of these tools? An AI wrote the previous paragraph!
How Effective Are AI Content Creation Tools?
Machine-generated content has already taken such a hold on the marketing community that identifying it has been one of the primary focus areas in recent Google Analytics updates. In fact, Google Search Advocate John Mueller even said that, according to Google Analytics guidelines, automatically-generated content was considered spam this past year.
Of course, what counts as automatically-generated content is far from simple. Different levels of AI assistance can be used. On the most basic level, almost all of us use some form of digital text-editing software, from comprehensive services like Grammarly to built-in programs like the ubiquitous spell-checking and autocomplete software that pervades all computer (and smartphone) typing applications.
However, these helpful tools are a far cry from the full AI experience. Imagine typing a one-sentence prompt into a fully-automated system that can spit out a fully conceived draft in seconds. With current advancements, this type of AI functionality is a reality in marketing and content creation.
The Long-Term Outlook
Ultimately, the question is not whether these tools are simply useful. Experts are both concerned and excited by the bigger picture: Have AIs developed to the point where they can effectively take over marketing from humans?
The simple answer is no. That’s not to say that these tools are not incredibly useful or even transformative, but as things stand, these tools serve as just that: tools for human marketers. Even fully-generated content from sophisticated AI writing bots still requires a careful human eye to capture mistakes and edit uncanny or nonsensical writing.
As tools develop and technology becomes more sophisticated, AI will continue to play a greater role in marketing and beyond. Whether these systems fully replace human marketers remains to be seen. In the meantime, AI-powered programs can be a powerful resource for any company when leveraged correctly.
What the Future of AI Means for Your Business
Someday, you may be able to simply pay a subscription fee for a robot that will handle all of your marketing needs based on your business model and sophisticated machine learning. But that day is not today. Whatever the future may bring, robots have not yet completely taken humans out of the picture.
Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t experience the benefits of automation, regardless of your industry. Like any other tool, AI is most useful in the right hands. Expert marketers have found ways to use AIs and other technology to save time and create efficient, effective strategies, meaning they can do more for you and your business.
At Joseph Studios, we pair cutting-edge technology with our team’s expertise in market research, intelligence and analysis, customer profiling, writing, and design to create and implement an effective marketing strategy for any business.
Want to learn more about how tech-empowered organic marketing can transform your company? Schedule a free consultation call with our team of experts today!