Analytics, B2B, Customer Experience, Engagement, Offer Optimisation, Brand Strategy, Creative Efficacy, Media

The Gen AI Drizzle Becomes Torrential

By Posted 19 Feb 2024

If you think Gen AI is moving fast now, standby. Stripping away the rhetoric, this is the year well-regarded, marketing services and consulting vendors will be rolling out transformative solutions that swap current functions in marketing for Gen AI and with it, less instinct for more reasoning.

For a generation, the media decision, that is, where to place ads has benefitted from advanced analytics and artificial intelligence. There is still lots to be done but for now, the obvious gains have been mastered and monetized.

Meanwhile, what to say in marketing communications (distinctive, brand storytelling), for all but a few organizations, remains largely the product of gut instinct. Sometimes the intuition comes from two quick focus groups, sometimes the brand owner’s personal beliefs and often a creative pitch.

In 2024, vendors will launch Gen AI solutions that quicken the journey of bringing science and process to the rational and emotional content of marketing communication.

Who is safe?

In the marketing ecosystem, most secure are the true creatives.

Fifty years ago, my grandfather, Daniel Grogan worked in an underground coal mine laying railway tracks. The mine entrance was around five miles underground from the coalface. If you called Daniel a “coal miner” he would correct you, “No, I work at a coal mine,” he would say. “The coalminers are those folks swinging picks and shovels and operating machines at the coalface.”

It is like that in advertising. Collectively, folks working in creative agencies are referred to as “creatives” but really, the true creatives are just those few, gifted magicians that encase the marketing proposition in fairy dust to produce art and sometimes, behavioral change.

Their powers are greatest when brand building although, they have an important role in performance marketing. (That is, unless you want to just do price.) The weakness and the opportunity in the marketing communications process is, that true creatives are entirely dependent on a quality brief – “the freedom of a tight brief.”

The true creative magicians are safest because Gen AI is based on clean, objective data and algorithms and while Gen AI might be able to mimic and emulate emotions, its capability to elicit emotion is presently generationally behind mankind.

Who is vulnerable?

Most vulnerable to Gen AI are also from creative agencies. At risk are the folks involved in strategic planning and producing creative briefs. Those roles will be consumed in a single gulp by Gen AI. For example, if you have a marketing plan with time specific objectives and targets and a quality research brief, proposal, and findings, then generative AI can produce a word-perfect creative brief.

Best of all, the point at which the relay baton is most often dropped, that is, the risk of misinterpretation at handover from the researcher to the client, to the strategic planners, to the true creatives is eliminated and the usual time lapse is eradicated. Also, some creative agency folks have an aversion to data emersion which Gen AI does not.

The use of Gen AI for improving the creative brief is a relatively incremental step however, what comes next is truly frame breaking. That is, the Gen AI interpretation of the creative brief.

For brand storytelling the hero protagonist is the brand. But what of the plot? Forethought® has applied Gen AI to draw from the past successful work and research findings to produce concept art that provides stimulus to the true creatives for pinpoint creativity.

Core to the Gen AI input is the scientifically derived category behavior drivers – rational and emotional. Gen AI transports the science into the creative brief and concept art. The work the true creative now performs is based on validated drivers of behavior and not the intuition of the weakest link.

What should the CMO do?

Immerse yourself in Gen AI. This is not like the rise and rise of social media that was left to the new kids and the interns. Gen AI is transformative to processes, inputs, and outcomes. Expect to see the CMO skill set change. Many CMO’s have a marketing communications focus (the one P marketer) which will continue to be important however, the application of Gen AI will create a revised set of winners and losers.

Gen AI is a frame breaking change in marketing communications. Expect the Gen AI drizzle to become torrential.