Navigating the 1st Year of the genAI Revolution in Marketing

Navigating the 1st Year of the genAI Revolution in Marketing
Photo by Mike Kononov / Unsplash

As I am about to "close the books" for 2023, I look back at how much of my work was impacted by AI over the last months.

My personal journey in utilizing AI for marketing has been eye-opening, and I’ve listed below 3 learnings that you could consider too.

genAI: The Iceberg of AI Applications

Often, when we think of AI in marketing, our minds go straight to generative AI - the flashy, headline-grabbing aspect of the technology made famous by chatGPT or Bard.

2023 taught me that AI in marketing is like an iceberg.

What’s visible - generative AI - is just a fraction of the story. The bulk of AI’s benefits lie beneath the surface, in the form of Machine Learning (ML) applications, and most of them are not new to this year. These ML algorithms are the workhorses powering predictive analytics, personalized media delivery or human emotions understanding. I’ve relied heavily in 2023 on AI applications that detect smiles, frowns, brand distinctive assets, or even digital ad dimensions compliance.

This is the backbone of AI’s effectiveness in marketing, offering highly useful insights and driving fast decisions far more impactful than that voice cloning application that was released in October this year…

Visual GenAI >> Text-Based GenAI

Let’s face it. I got this wrong. I was always afraid that text GenAI would kill my blog and make life miserable for all those who write. The real game-changer of 2023 is Visual GenAI, not Text.

Visual AI creates with speed a representation of ideas and abstract words. It can generate surprises. At first, we made fun of it - showing six fingers on some hands - but with time, it’s easier and easier to learn prompts and be shocked by the results.

It has changed creative processes and workflows. Creative ideas now get faster visualization, storyboards have more dynamism and color, and concepts are closer to final execution than ever.

Visual GenAI is an incredible tool for storytelling, brand building, and delivering thoughts and metaphors to others.

Just the Beginning: The Digital and Physical Interplay

Lastly, it’s crucial to recognize that we are just scratching the surface of AI’s potential in marketing. You still have time to adapt and learn if your business is not entirely digital. This period is a grace window for integrating AI into your marketing strategy.

But if I look back, the most rewarding moments of the year for me were all physical. The year-end dinner with my team, the mid-year team-building event, the numerous speaking engagements, and those highly successful internal workshops. There is little AI in all of them, though the AI topic was on everyone’s lips. At no moment we thought we would replace the physical connection with AI.

And if you want to mix the two, have a weekly all-hands genAI session. Our team did it, and we learned a lot from each other. Together with AI, not against AI.

I am curious how will the AI Revolution continue in Marketing in 2024.

“Most people overestimate what they can achieve in a year and underestimate what they can achieve in ten years.” - Amara Law/Bill Gates.