The Chinese zodiac would have you think that 2023 is the year of the rabbit. It’s not (well, actually it is) but it’s really the year of AI.
While AI isn’t a new concept, Chat GPT was the buzzword through Q1 2023 and, since then, there has been an explosion in the use of AI, from idea generation and image retouching to original design work based on a few prompts, and on to fully integrated campaigns.
AI technology in marketing and advertising is still in its infancy but whether you’re a fan of it or not, now is the time to embrace it.
There is naturally a buzz of excitement across the globe for the latest technological developments, but we must practise caution before diving in with both feet.
Approach with caution
The IPA’s latest ‘Attitudes towards future AI engagement’ report showed that 74% of consumers surveyed believe brands should be transparent in their use of AI-generated content, and, when it comes to virtual assistants or live chatbots, 75% of respondents want to know when they’re not dealing with a real human. Going further, 72% of those surveyed feel that fully automated, AI-driven marketing campaigns should be carefully regulated.
Such findings led to IPA President Josh Krichefski claiming that while ‘AI provides incredible opportunities for our business…The public are understandably cautious about its use – and increasingly so in some areas. It is therefore our responsibility to be transparent and accountable when using AI to ensure the trust of our customers.”
As worldwide agencies get to grips with ChatGPT, Midjourney and DALL-E 2 artificial intelligence tools, there is a need to understand the pros and cons of the technology. How can we maximise opportunities without compromising on the integrity of the campaigns we have previously sold in to our clients?
Maintaining the human touch
Effective marketing is at the core of the IPA ethos and, on the surface, AI fits the bill. Whether you’re working in account management (and looking to streamline your email workload), graphics (imagery refinement), PR (press-release creation), or strategy (structuring plans), AI could be extremely beneficial. It’s widely seen as tool that affords businesses with a time and money saving prospect. All of this is true. But where does it position you from an ethical standpoint with your clients?
We’ve all dabbled, haven’t we? Can we claw back 15 minutes to get a few ideas for an internal brainstorming session? Can we draft a quick email on a complex topic? Can I write a song for my boss to sing in the weekly stand-up?
The answer to all of this is yes. But when your client invests £X in a campaign, they’re investing in your expertise, not that of a robot. Human engagement is required before your bot can spit out quality options, and it’s essential that you don’t take the copy and paste job for granted.
While AI tools can serve up in-depth research and what, on the surface, appear to be great insights, be sure not to get caught out by rogue or duff information. After all, they may dredge the internet for information in nanoseconds, but they stop short of fact-checking.
While you might have saved 30 minutes tracking down relevant information for your latest campaign, the flip-side could be incorrect stats in your client’s out-of-home campaign. Make sure you fact-check everything your bot dishes up.
The IPA report also found that 61% believe humans must accept liability if the use of AI results in accidents or mistakes. At the end of the day, the client is not going to blame AI technology if their campaign fails – they’ll blame you, because you oversaw it. It won’t be the bot standing in front of the client (not yet anyway!), but yours truly.
We’re running a couple of experiments with our AI assistants. Watch this space for the results, and, until then, back yourself and your team – you have years of experience between you, and that expertise should never be compromised.