The Oxford English Dictionary defines Artificial Intelligence (AI) as “The capacity of computers or other machines to exhibit or simulate intelligent behaviour.” The first example of AI was developed in the 1950s when academics at the University of Manchester wrote a checkers-playing programme to run on the Ferranti Mark 1 machine. Today AI is increasingly becoming part of life as the science behind advanced web search engines such as Google, Alexa’s ability to understand human speech and Tesla’s self-driving abilities.
Is there a role for AI in the marketing department of the future?
There are doom-mongers who believe we are heading for a future where the role of humans in marketing will become redundant. A recent study by Phrasee (a brand language optimisation consultancy) found that AI is playing an increasing role in marketers’ technology investment, with 63% saying they would consider investing in AI to generate and optimise copy – up from just 36% of respondents in 2020.
Bernard Marr, a strategic business and technology advisor, and Forbes Magazine contributor agrees and makes a case for the use of AI in marketing saying it makes your marketing, often one of a company’s biggest expenses, more efficient.
“In the online age, we’ve developed the ability to learn a great deal about who is or isn’t interested in our products and services. With content-based marketing, AI lends a hand by helping us work out what type of content our customers and potential customers are interested in and what the most efficient ways are to distribute our content to them.”
But is AI able to create quality content?
Empathy, compassion and storytelling are all attributes that machines can't emulate, at least not yet. These limitations mean that AI produced copy often needs rigorous editing, formatting and tweaking to match a client’s tone of voice.
Mike Harrison, Inbound Marketing Director at Essential, feels that AI’s priorities will be to create content that appeals to Google, not to consumers,
“Whilst AI makes us more efficient, increases output and saves us money, it not only removes the human aspect of the content we create, but it depletes content of insight and makes us lazy as marketeers. The reality is that AI is writing for AI: what do I mean by that? AI writing performing SEO content for Google and not for real human readers.”
Using AI for basic copy such as instructions and documentation may be possible, but its lack of understanding and human touch will be the main barrier to its widespread adoption for more nuanced marketing.
Is there a role for AI in SEO?
There are some positive signs that AI could be a useful tool for SEO. It could easily be programmed to suggest keywords and spot link opportunities.
There’s no questioning that the use of AI in Chatbots is a business game-changer. Their ability to answer customers’ frequently asked questions improves efficiency and customer service.
The other area that will benefit from the use of AI is analytics. With data now becoming the key backbone to any successful marketing campaign, the ability of machines to quickly and efficiently analyse data will be invaluable.
How will AI play a part in the marketing role of the future?
There is no doubt that AI will form part of the marketing mix in the future but to what extent is it still to be discovered?
The traditional copywriter role will inevitably change as AI becomes more sophisticated and more useful. Writers and marketers will likely spend less time on the technical tasks of customer analysis and forecasting and more time on the creative. Adoption of AI may also see copywriters spared from writing basic copy, freeing up their time to concentrate on creating engaging, complex messaging.
While it seems, in reality, the limitations of AI is still making it more of a hindrance than a help for content creators, current predictions state that AI will end up bringing many benefits and creating more jobs than it destroys.
Those marketers and copywriters who are willing to accept this and take steps to understand how AI will work in the modern marketing mix will be best prepared for the future.