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Stay relevant while living in a post-digital world

Updated: 5 days ago

Giuseppe Stigliano posing for a photo in mono slightly smiling in a suit jacket and pin stripe shirt

I recently listened to Giuseppe Stigliano's fascinating talk about the business implications of AI as part of my 'Next MBA'. One thing that really struck me (while sweeping the donkey's yard - it's the only time I get to do professional development while doing something else!) was how we're progressing from a physical to a digital to a virtual world, blending them all together - hence now being post-digital.


Inside of a BMW car showing the black interior with a steering wheel, dials and electronics

Guiseppe gave an example of how his nine-year-old son wanted him to buy him a BMW. A little young to be driving a BMW, after a bit of further digging, it transpired he wanted a BMW as part of his Fortnite game. As an older generation, certainly, my experience of wanting a BMW would be owning the physical car, driving it, smelling that car smell - just everything that brings. Having a BMW in a virtual world gives him more accessibility to own a BMW in a different way for much less cost, but then his interaction with it is very different to mine.


How does a brand continue to engage and position itself to such a diverse user base?

One way is to use AI to achieve hyperpersonalization and efficiency. I wrote this article using Co-pilot to give me examples of research around regenerative AI from Giuseppe Stigliano, and I think it's done pretty well. I like giving Co-pilot authoritative sources to check, and then I go on and do further reading that is much more specific to what I need, saving me so much time.


I think several in our community have AI fatigue, especially as our conferences are full of AI sessions. This year, I'm chairing the ALPSP Conference Programme Committee, and we had lots of really good submissions - many with an AI focus. It's just the sign of our times about what is front and centre of many people's minds. AI is scary, and progression is far exceeding our expectations, but it is better that we learn to embrace it, even if incrementally, rather than being left behind.


The Terminator movie poster with Arnold Schwarzenegger dressed in a black leather jacket, sunglasses and holding a gun as a robot

I think people forget AI has been around since we have had computers. Amazon recommending items to us or Netflix recommending programmes we might like is all AI, so it's nothing new.


Like most technology, adoption at some point explodes when made more accessible to the masses...and it learns. Skynet comes to mind as I write this...(for those not of my generation/movie knowledge, as I learned when Emma in the team proofread this for me, Skynet is an AI computer system that was turned on and took over the world - it decided humans were bad, and we needed to be exterminated - hence the Terminator film franchise.)


Talking AI, let's talk about the difference between Generative AI and Regenerative AI.


Generative AI is like a creative machine, learning from data examples and patterns to create new content. This is where AI will create a picture, video or type of content based on the instructions you give it. The more detailed those instructions, the more specific the content produced.


Have you ever looked at the eyes of an AI-generated image of a person? Canva's example here of a scientist in a lab is scary!


AI generated image with a person in a lab wearing glasses


AI generated image with a person in a lab wearing glasses with AI eyes




















Regenerative AI takes generative AI one step further. Like living organisms, it continues to adapt and evolve based on feedback, but evolution is quicker.

Regenerative AI looks at data and feedback to improve. If you have AI creating content, regenerative AI will analyze feedback and efficiency and make adjustments to improve output.


The impact of AI in marketing


Now, as a marketer with 25 years under my belt, I understand how impactful AI is - whether good or bad. It can help us do so much more - all that work that was unrealistically expected of us might actually be possible. But then, does that mean there will be fewer marketing experts or maybe more diverse skill sets with different people who aren't marketers? And is that because marketing isn't often seen as a valued profession. Do publishers have less editorial staff with technological advancement over, say, the past 15 years, or are there more now than before with editorial teams with people of varying skill sets?


Regenerative AI is a transformative force that revolutionizes customer engagement. Use it to help with hyperpersonalization at scale, efficiency gains, and unprecedented creativity.


Hyperpersonalization at scale


Imagine a world where you have no creative constraints. Where you can make the right offer at the right time for the right person with more cohesive (rather than disjointed) communication. This is where hyperpersonalization comes in.


Marketing campaigns that once required months of design, insights and research and customer targeting can be rolled out in days/weeks with at-scale personalization and automated testing. The generative AI productivity gains across the global economic marketplace estimate an annual contribution of up to $4.4 trillion.


Current uses of generative AI consist of off-the-shelf pilots integrated into existing workflows. Generate copy and images in less time, personalize campaigns, and respond to and learn from customer feedback. Improve speed and quality of briefings, leading to ~80% faster delivery to market.


Boost creativity and innovation


Regenerative AI helps marketers experiment, execute, and learn faster. Campaigns that traditionally took months can now be ready within minutes. These new horizons help us not only to think outside the box but even reshape the box. Giuseppe Stigliano emphasizes the importance of turning “what if” into “what’s next” using AI-driven creativity.


Integration and differentiation


How are you exploiting AI tools in your marketing? Many already are, and without feeling shame about using technology to help them do their jobs quicker and better. Why should they? We've been adopting technology for years - as long as we remain transparent and ethical i.e. I used Co-pilot to generate research for this article. We have no problem using spell checkers and tools like Grammarly - surely that's AI? In fact, is Grammarly regenerative AI as it is learning and evolving?


Now, it's about differentiating ourselves through the interoperability of our data and systems. We're then able to advance unparalleled customization with better capabilities.


Top 10 tips for embracing AI in marketing


  1. Embrace AI as a collaborator and not a threat: how can you capitalize on AI and help you do what you do, but better? It's not there to replace you, it's there to improve your capabilities, efficiency, data analysis and knowledge

  2. Be curious and continue to learn: stay up-to-date with AI trends and news. Continue feeding your knowledge with webinars, sessions and knowledge-sharing

  3. Become a data skills expert: improve how you understand data and manage it. Do you need to collect so much data that you're never really going to use? Use AI to extract data and make better decisions

  4. Combine automation and creativity: get help automating tasks but continue adding in the creative flair. Free up more time for creative thinking

  5. Enhance your soft skills that AI can't replace: develop your skills around communication, empathy and relationship building. Weave in emotional intelligence and adaptability

  6. Understand AI algorithms: learn more about what common AI algorithms are (e.g. decision trees and neural networks). As well as what their strengths, weaknesses and ethical implications are

  7. Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate: continue to work closely with data specialists and your IT/development experts. Bridge the gap between marketing and technical teams

  8. Personalize customer experience: use AI to create content you can build on and tailor further, and use the recommendations and interactions to improve engagement. Better understanding user behaviour and preferences

  9. Test, adjust, test, adjust: do A/B testing to ensure your content is performing and adjust. Optimize your campaign performance based on real-time data and feedback - I bet you've already been doing this?

  10. Adapt and be agile: our marketing industry is evolving at such a rapid pace. Be open to trying new things, and STOP doing what is not working. You can always go back to what worked better before - you've just validated that it worked!

Conclusion


Change is here, in fact it's always happening. Search is going to become more conversational, so the more information you can give it to be more specific and help it learn, the better results you will have.


Think of AI like a horse. Trying to beat a horse in a running race would be physically impossible. However, ride that horse, and you can get to your destination quicker together. Train that horse further and you can achieve so much more.


Of course, who knows what that horse will look like in the future, but for now, it's a horse as we know it today!


Try using different tools in your work. Search and try a tool, and if you don't like it or it doesn't work, try a new one. Last year, while I was Chair of CILIP Cymru Wales, we had Phil Bradley and Professor John Naughton talk about AI - these talks are still very relevant today. Make sure you check them out. Phil is doing a live demo session with CILIP on Wednesday, 15 May 2024 - make sure you register.




Looking for support? Book a meeting with Lou and let us know what you need.



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