Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and The Future of Marketing

AI and the future of marketing

AI won’t replace you. The people who learn how to master AI will.

You may have recently read that AI is changing the future of marketing. You may have also read that creatives will be replaced by robots and fancy AI art programs. This may or may not be true, depending on how creative the marketer is and how good they are at their job.

For the past two years, Ruby Media Group has invested in AI marketing, from training to procurement of tools. As a leading AI-marketing agency, our clients benefit from exclusive access to these tools, often before they are available to the public.

At Ruby Media Group, we believe the journey into AI and ML is a collaborative process that expands creativity and unlocks new possibilities. This knowledge should not be hoarded, it should be shared. The best output comes from the best input, and that is where you come in. Together, with the right prompts, we can create generative output beyond what the two of us together could ever create. This can be used as a starting board for brand ideation, website enhancement, or PR campaign ideas.

Should marketers be scared that they will be replaced by robots? Absolutely. We were. That is why we have spent the last two years investing time and resources in Machine Learning (ML). Every time I use an AI marketing tool and the output is better than what I could create, I am motivated to perform better. The truth is, your entire career as a marketer is at risk if you do not rise to the task and to this challenge. There have been several times when these machines have been better than I am at writing marketing copy.

I am in daily competition with the robot. So are you. 

I learn from the output to make my input even better. As a marketer, I am in a race against the machine. If I do not get better, the machine can and will replace me, and all marketers. This is why we must rise to the task. I am not naive enough to think that human intelligence will surpass artificial intelligence. The only way to beat the machine is to leverage the machine.

So what stops marketers from learning?

Fear. Fear that they will be replaced. But their fear of replacement is the very thing that will actually lead to them eventually being replaced. If you do not get past your own fear, you will find yourself obsolete in a very short period of time. Once you get over the fear, you will see that AI can assist you in mundane tasks. It can bring you closer to your clients in a collaborative journey and build trust. If you do not do this; your clients will move on with AI tools, with or without you. This is not a threat or speculation; it is a promise and an inevitable truth.

This is why the smartest agencies are developing their own AI marketing software in-house to compete against the rising threat or outsourced AI marketing tools.

It is time to be honest with yourself.

The robot is better than you. Once you realize that, your marketing career can begin again. Until you come to terms with this, you will continue to decay as a practitioner, similar to old links that rot and are not replaced with new ones.

Clients need leaders in digital transformation to take them through this journey. We have risen to the occasion. If you are ready to start your road to digital transformation, Ruby Media Group will lead you, the same way we did 15 years ago at the start of the social media wave.

Better. Together.

We do not fear robots. We fear being replaced by them. And it is that healthy fear that keeps us in business.

For example, I recently showed a client an example of AI sales copy for a cold email. The client was blown away once he realized how much time he saved and how good the results were. I shared this story with another agency owner who said, why would you do that? Why not tell the client you wrote the sales copy? And this, my friend, is where things start to go downhill.

This trickery and forgery are what got marketers here in the first place. How can you claim transparency if you can’t even be transparent with your creative generations vs. what a machine generated? And why are you so prideful that you can’t admit that a machine could, in some instances, be better than you?

Arrogance is what is keeping you from mastery.

Your refusal to admit your shortcomings is what is keeping you stuck. Until you can come to terms with your strengths vs. weaknesses as a digital marketer, you will lose to those who are not afraid to admit their shortcomings. We are not a full-service agency. We don’t claim to be. I am not a sales copywriter.

So if a robot can write output that can add that capability to our agency, I am glad to welcome that robot to our team to help our client achieve their end goal of more business and an increase in sales. Until you learn to become friends with the bot, you will stay frenemies with the bot, and you will lose.

The robot is better than you, but the robot doesn’t want to replace you. The robot will replace laziness, stagnation, and poor creative thinking. The robot will replace arrogance and dinosaurs. But for those of us who are training in this creative marathon, we won’t be replaced.

We can’t be replaced. Because we are training for the future. And that future starts with truth, trust, transparency and collaborative generation.

It ends with sneakiness, black hat tactics, and claiming brilliance that was never yours to begin with.

The journey into AI is a psychological one.

AI will beat down narcissism. Narcissists want to believe they are better than everyone else and everything else. Narcissistic marketers will soon find themselves unemployed and out of business. I can’t tell you how many times it feels like I have been punched in the face when AI rewrites my work and the output is better than my own. This feels jarring. It feels unimaginable. It hurts. It stings. But I get back up again and try to be better. I realize that I am no longer competing against other agencies. I am competing against machines. And until you realize that too, your agency is on a path to decay.

READ: Is AI making the creative class obsolete?

Do you think that more adoption of AI and automation will lead to oversaturated markets so that entire business models will shift?

The pandemic rapidly accelerated the shift to digital transformation. AI and automation can lead to oversaturated markets, similar to social media at the start of the wave many years ago.

Every market will eventually become oversaturated with tools once it reaches the point of no return on a bell curve and then the market will become commoditized. What matters is high level consulting and strategy. That cannot be commoditized- and AI can’t replace that- but AI can enhance it with access to data and insights for competitive business intelligence that gives someone a leg up on competitors.

Entire business models will shift.

In fact, they have to shift, or you risk becoming obsolete. Those who overly rely on one at the expense of the other will make a mistake. IE- a business that scraps their marketing and PR department and replaces it with robots and AI tools and automation is making a mistake- you still need humans to interpret and analyze the data AI can provide.

What value can marketers provide who are trained in AI?

AI image generation tools require extensive usage and time to get usable results. This is time that has to be calculated into billable retainers.

The mistake many agencies are making is they are calculating the cost of the software subscription (ie- monthly subscription, upscale image license) but not the number of hours it takes to get one usable image.

At the end of the day, consumers want access to AI marketing tools that save them time and money. But they don’t necessarily want to spend their own time to do the heavy lifting. This is where an AI marketing agency can step in and be tremendously valuable.

An expensive tool that sits on your shelf is shelf ware. You must know how to use the tool to find value; this is where the AI marketing practitioner will come in and be tremendously valuable in the future.

How will AI change marketing in the future? 

Marketing agencies will either invest in a world class AI/ML tech stack and offer clients access to all of the top AI copy/ art tools or the marketing agency will create their own in-house AI marketing tool and charge clients for access to this tool monthly on top of the cost for the campaign.

The marketing agencies that will be in the greatest demand will be those who have invested time and resources in training talent on how to use AI/ ML for creative campaigns.

This will require an extensive investment in a new AI marketing tech stack. Because it is still in the early phase, it is hard to know which of these tools will be the unicorn or winner of the pack, so the challenge is that can mean investing in all of them in the beginning (which is what our agency has done) and is quite expensive to do.

AI accelerates the volume of output and generative process. 

As a result of this, client expectations will change and may result in wanting to see a greater volume of output before making final decisions on ad creative.

AI-powered marketing is accelerating, but I do not believe the demand for talent trained in AI marketing has surpassed the available talent for these roles. More training and certification are required.

The hustle culture mentality of Silicon Valley has also morphed from wanting to be a “girl boss” creating your own AI tool or SaaS. It is now “sexy” to create an AI tool.

However, there is a difference between the glorification of a job title and excellence in the job.

Running scripts from Open AI GPT-3 is not the same as training and cleaning your own data/ corpus. Too many people are claiming to be experts in AI, without having a true understanding of LLM or ML or the implications of training data decisions on society.

This can come with very serious and dire consequences if we are trusting people to make decisions that potentially impact the future training of algorithms at mass scale. If we want to see AI go in a different direction from the big tech/ social media censorship path, more people need to be trained to be able to change the direction to avoid the same mistakes.

For a viable future, we need more data scientists teaching people the right vs. the wrong way to create sustainable AI models for vs. the get rich quick overnight model that is glorified on social media.

Many of these AI startups fail because they promise unsustainable things, including unlimited runs, unlimited generation, and not accounting for server and hosting costs. Hard costs must be factored in from the start, not as an afterthought.

The business model of AI SaaS is severely lacking. Midjourney is a perfect example of this. Our agency is currently paying for a tool that is run by unpaid volunteers on a Discord channel. That is not a sustainable SaaS model, and is certainly not a great way to scale to enterprise.

Enterprise accounts want enterprise support.

There is a division between traditional business principles and tech.

Even if the technology is great, if the support can’t match it, there will be constant churn. Regardless of how good the AI is- churn is churn- and this is why developers of these tools need to collaborate with entrepreneurs who understand customer success.

Unfortunately, the creatives get lost in their visionary tech and forget that tech without paying customers is tech that will eventually go out of business.

An agency could be testing a tool like Midjourney for the first time. This could be their first entry into AI generative art. If they are turned off by Discord and a lack of support and the onboarding flow is too difficult, it could severely impact their impression of AI tools.

The barrier to entry must be easier for mass adoption to occur.

Can digital marketing be replaced by AI?

No, AI will not replace digital marketers. It will replace the tedious aspects of digital marketing that can and should be done by machine learning.

Will AI replace digital marketing?

Your job as a digital marketer is at risk if you refuse to learn and acknowledge the new paradigm shift. AI copywriting tools and AI-generated art like Dall-E or Midjourney can help your marketing team create unique designs for your content marketing strategy. Essentially, the mastery of AI marketing can be your digital weapon.

Only a skilled practitioner will know which tool to pull out and what prompts will be necessary for the best output. The more you learn, the more you will have to offer clients for each use case. Your job is at risk if you become so arrogant as to think that “machines will never replace me.” By this I mean that, machines will only replace those who fail to learn how ML can be used in marketing. It will not, however, replace strategic marketing. But it will replace you if you can’t keep up with the conversation of how your organization can leverage ML and AI.

Do you think automation and artificial intelligence is a good thing for creatives in the job market? 

Yes. It is actually a great thing. AI will create a plethora of new job opportunities including:

  • Data scientist
  • Machine learning specialist
  • AI prompt engineer

Marketers who know how to use these tools will be in extremely high demand, more so than competitors who are left in the dust and use antiquated technology. AI will change corporate decision making around data intelligence and how resources are deployed and allocated on future advertising campaigns based on data analysis.

In particular, neuroverse talent will benefit the most from AI, and companies should hire, grow, and retain neurodiverse talent for these roles.

Neurodiverse employees/contractors are extremely creative, and empowering them with the tools to create a vision is a competitive advantage. Ruby Media Group is committed to working with neurodiverse talent, and we equip our team members with access to the latest AI tools.

How will AI marketing affect content creation as we know it today?

CMOs who refuse to invest in digital transformation will become irrelevant and will quickly be outpaced by competitors who leverage machine learning. Are you prepared for the future of marketing? Stay up to date with AI insights powered by Ruby Media Group.

What are the barriers of early adoption in AI/ML?

PR will be the last adopter of AI tech because it lags behind virtually every other industry when it comes to tech adoption.

AI will play an important role in the martech stack. The greatest challenge to the survival of these tools is not the tech- bur rather- the founders. Too many founders innovating in the AI space believe their tech is so revolutionary that traditional business norms do not apply to them. You can have the best tech in the world, but if you have no customer support and zero customer success, it won’t matter. In my opinion, that is what will drive the market into the ground- ego- not the tech.

Founders need to get out of the way and hire front facing teams for customer success who are trained in traditional enterprise SaaS sales and who can deal with all demos- for ex- do you think Baby Boomers are going to want to waste time onboarding a new AI tool on Discord? No. They want someone to do it for them and make it as easy as possible- as it stands now- they have made it as difficult as possible. Perhaps because they want it to be some collective social experiment- but social experiments do not drive predictive MRR.

AI founders can learn a lot from the Figma growth chart. Unfortunately. too many of these founders are launching tools and asking for a monthly subscription fee for tools that are still in beta and have numerous issues.

Yes- the tech is cool- but you know what is even more cool? Paying for something that works without server issues and bot failure.

What mistakes are marketers making with AI?

Only present your best work.

Marketers must learn how to reign in the output so they are not overwhelming clients with endless possibilities for new directions. This requires traditional management consulting and strategic skills.

Knowing what to present is equally as important as knowing what to keep out. Those who present everything will find themselves in a losing position.

Output does not equal strategy.

Strategic input is required for maximum output. That can only be achieved with collaborative client participation in the AI generative process and creative journey. The prompt output can serve as a starting point to guide future discussions on what the client likes and envisions for their brand in the future.

Make it your own.

I always tell clients, there is an art to PR. The same is true for AI; there is an art to prompt generation.

Never use the rendered output and generation as is without further editing. The editorializing and the work on the rendered image are what separates a true marketer from an amateur prompt hobbyist.

The fundamental principles of advertising and PR remain the same: your output should remain on-brand. Regardless of the technology, the traditional principles of branding still apply. Marketers will struggle with this aspect the most. Now that you have a creative robot on hand generating output at warp speed, it opens up and endless sea of possibilities for brand ideation. The challenge will be creating output that stays on-brand and within brand guidelines; and that job requires traditional brand marketing paired with the use of assistive AI technology.

AI PR and Marketing tools should only be used as assistive technology.

AI will bring in a new creative renaissance for creative professionals, but the key is to be open to utilizing the technology in the first place.

AI will not replace you. If you learn how to master the technology, it can actually make you irreplaceable in the agency world. The most innovative digital marketing agencies will be at the forefront of this technology to expand capabilities and productized services. However, the learning curve can be steep, and it requires extensive investment in training, research, and expanded legal compliance.

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Not every potential client will discover AI and say, “yeah, this is what I need!”

People turn to solutions when they have problems.

The daily marketing campaign problems that arise are largely invisible to you as the client because you are shielded from the internal issues that arise from legacy systems when working with an agency.

You don’t know what you don’t know.

An agency is not incentivized to let you know that AI tools can maximize creative output by 10x. That is a threat to their very existence that has worked up until now.

So, why would you, a client say, that’s what I need?

Well, you wouldn’t, because your agency is telling you everything is fine.

Everything is not fine. There is a better way.

And to some extent, that may be true. But do you want to get by with being just “fine” if things could be better? The biggest threat to your business is that you trust the wrong consultants around you. If consultants are threatened by tools that threaten their very existence, they are not incentivized to propose the application of these tools to you. In fact, they are incentivized to do the very opposite, to make sure you work on legacy systems and with legacy methodologies. But that does not benefit you, the end user, in any way.

It keeps you stuck, and it keeps the agency happy. But you should want more for your business. The longer you fear new technology, the further behind you will become. Eventually, you will lose to your competitors who have the early mover advantage in the AI space.

Don’t get left behind.

THE FUTURE OF AI MARKETING

Will AI replace marketers?

Josh Bluman, Co-Founder of HoppyCopy, stated in an email interview with RMG that many advertising and digital marketing agencies are already using AI.

“A ton of the content that agencies are producing for their clients right now is already generated using AI, whether their clients know it or not. But as long as the content is curated by someone skilled in the craft, does it matter? Our take is that as long as agencies approach it transparently and ethically, the end result is more important than the method.”

“AI has made huge leaps over the past couple years, but there is still room for improvement. For some tasks, it’s better and faster than humans, and for other tasks, the AI is best when a human is working on it. For example, while AI can do a phenomenal job creating fully usable direct response marketing copy, to create content that is truly unique, it’s better when the AI content is curated by someone who understands what makes good marketing copy and when the AI is given a unique perspective to write about.”

TL; DR: Marketers will still have an important role to play in the future of marketing.

What unique information and input can you feed the AI? That is what matters most to make the best marketing content, said Bluman.

Fine tuning will apply to the methodology in addition to the vertical. For example, fine tuning for press release writing in B2B SaaS will differ from fine tuning for a restaurant opening.

We are not there yet, but the future could include fine tuning on a very granular level, and ultimately, I predict that the winners in AI will be those who fine tune to their audiences needs.

We are currently in the stage of generalist AI- the future will look more like specialist AI, where the generations are fine tuned to the vertical on a micro vs. macro level.

Bluman concurs and added that, “As AI services evolve and the market matures, you will start to see more AI tools fined tuned for specific use cases – whether that is email marketing, blog writing, or social media, which will significant impact the quality of the content generated.”

After you have identified you want to hire an AI-enabled marketing agency, what should you look for?

Read our next article on artificial intelligence in our special 3 part reporting series on AI in Marketing.

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Date last updated: December  3, 2022