Generative AI may be yet another phenomenon being compared to teenage sex: everyone’s talking about it, only a few know how to do it, they all think everyone else is at it and so pretend they are too but 2024 will be the year most marketers get their first real piece of the action, with creative leading the way.
That is according to a number of industry experts, including WARC, whose Marketer’s Toolkit 2024 is designed to help marketers navigate the challenges and benefit from the opportunities in the coming year.
WARC maintains that GenAI has already crossed the threshold from promise to practical deployment, overhauling media strategies and audience targeting, with brands looking to capitalise on the emergence of accessible GenAI tools to experiment with creative development.
Nearly three-quarters (70%) of respondents to the Marketer’s Toolkit survey plan to unlock the potential of AI in their marketing, 12% of which will look to adopt the technology wherever they can and over half (58%) describing themselves as “cautiously progressive”, actively testing and evaluating Gen AI in marketing.
Most (48%) plan to use GenAI for copywriting, followed by summarising large texts (46%), competitor and category analysis (45%), customer insights (42%), predictive insights (38%) and asset creation (33%).
Only 8% of marketers said they are not planning to use GenAI at all in the coming year.
However, such opportunities come with potential risks including brand safety, copyright, sustainability and agency remuneration.
Mondelēz global senior vice-president of consumer experience and digital commerce Jonathan Halvorson said: “The question is, how do you build AI into a scaled organisational competency? That is the obsession of every single day, every single week for the next 18 months. Because it’s a race you have to win.”
And, speaking exclusively to Decision Marketing, Growthcurve CEO and founder Mulenga Agley believes the new IPA and ISBA guidelines – unveiled last week – will give marketers a clearer understanding of how AI can and should be used within the advertising and marketing industry.
He added: “The new year will be all about building strategies and running experiments within this framework to boost business growth – leaning into systematic experimentation to unearth novel avenues for retention and monetisation.
“The growing interest in enterprise AI confirms a fundamental growth marketing principle: understanding where genuine value can be delivered. The fact that enterprise AI can potentially streamline back office functions, enhance customer support, and optimise engineering processes is compelling from both a growth and profitability standpoint.”
However, Agley maintains that the human element – intuition, experience, and strategic foresight – still plays a pivotal role in decision-making.
He explained: “While all marketers bank on data for most decisions, we also understand and respect the nuances that human judgement brings to the table. Marketers alike should embrace a more experimental and data-driven approach, coupled with human intuition, to not only make things which look cool – but offerings which provide genuine value to customers.”
Meanwhile, OMG UK chief product and technology officer Sean Betts reckons that marketers will need to start thinking more about their strategy around GenAI as enterprise level applications of the technology begin to emerge.
He continued: “It’s OK for marketers to not know what that looks like at the moment – but we need to be comfortable embracing the uncertainty that a groundbreaking technology like GenAI brings.
“In 2024 people will still be inventing new applications and use cases for the technology and marketers should remain agile and embrace this. To paraphrase Steve Jobs – the art comes in balancing what to focus on and what not to.”
Betts believes the key to unlocking the power of GenAI in marketing in 2024 will be a fine balancing act between navigating the uncertainty around new innovations and not wanting to restrict experimentation.
He concluded: “The new IPA and ISBA guidelines will help marketers find their footing with the technology, and highlight the importance of transparency and ethical understanding of AI in the year ahead. This means practising ‘responsible experimentation’ and ensuring that new marketing strategies are both forward thinking and ethically grounded.”
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