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AI: A marketer’s friend or foe? A prediction on whether AI will replace creative teams.

Updated: Apr 5, 2023

It’s impossible to engage with any community-based platform without hearing about new developments in generative AI technology and its impact on businesses across all industries. It’s an exciting time for innovators, there is so much possibility for automation, expansion and creating efficiency. But It’s also confronting and a little scary. I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking what does this mean for the future of creatives, marketers and my career? In this post, I’ll explore the pros and cons of AI in its current state, predictions for how AI will impact the future of work and whether AI could or should replace creative teams.

The current AI landscape

Generative AI has taken great developmental leaps in the last 6 months. OpenAI’s language model ChatGPT-4 recently passed the bar exam with a 40% improvement in its score since the previous model ChatGPT 3.5 took the exam. Not only did it pass, but it also beat 90% of lawyers to land in the top 10 percentile (OpenAI, 2023). That is an exponential improvement compared to what we’ve seen in AI technology over the past 100 years. As well as improving its written language capabilities, the new version of OpenAI’s language model can now understand and interpret visual inputs. You can show it a picture of different ingredients and it will tell you what recipes you can make with them (Forbes, 2023).

It can form connections between inputs to create outputs. It can generate ideas.

Canva an online design and publishing tool has also released a text-to-image AI image generator tool where you can “Simply type your text prompt: A panda riding a bike through a city with depth of field and watch your words and phrases transform into beautiful images you can use on any of your creative projects like presentations or social media posts" (Canva,2023). This is accompanied by its AI-powered content general tool “Magic Write” designed to produce copy based on prompts provided by the user.

So, what implications do these new tools and technologies have for creators? Well in short, If you’re not experimenting with ways to utilise AI, you’re already behind.

Pros for creators and marketers

· Speed to market through the cut down in time completing primary research

· Increased automation that reduces internal busy work and frees up more time for creative thinking.

· Capacity to scale fast ~ generative AI has the ability to produce variations on copy and images meaning that creative elements could be created 10x faster than a creator on the tools.

· Templating processes to create efficiency and consistency. Great for start-ups moving into the scale-up phase of business who need to get their processes in order to create quality assurance and consistency across their business.

· Great for informative or instructional type scripts such as pre-populated responses from a chatbot on your website.

Cons for creators and marketers

· Businesses jumping the gun early and slimming down their marketing teams by relying solely on AI. This isn’t a sensationalised futuristic hypothetical designed to scare you, this is happening right now. Just last week we had a team member join the company I work for after being made redundant because of AI.

· AI doesn’t yet understand points of differentiation, brand, tone of voice and all the factors that come together to create engaging content. The content it creates is broad and general in nature. It’s a great jumping-off point but should not be published anywhere before going through a process of editing and QA.

· AI predictions and analysis can sometimes be wrong and therefore create a challenge for marketers in vetting its responses and fact-checking.

Advice for those starting out their career in marketing or creative services

As AI continues to develop and become an integrated tool in the future of the creative service industries, more value will be placed on uniquely human skills such as strategic thinking, problem solving, creativity and interpersonal skills such as leadership and collaboration. For this reason, I believe that the group that will be the most impacted by the adoption of AI will be those starting out in their careers in creative services or marketing. Junior roles in these fields typically start out administrative in nature, executing tactical tasks while they learn the ropes. These tasks will be the first to be automated with AI to create efficiencies and cut costs.

My advice to those starting their career or looking to future-proof their career in marketing is;

  • Have a few different skills in your arsenal. Learn UX, social media fundamentals, video production and stakeholder management. The need for these skills isn’t going away anytime soon.

  • Learn as much as you can about psychology. Great communication stems from having a great understanding of people. If you understand people, you can understand how to engage them no matter what the hottest platform or channel of the month is.

  • Develop your creative thinking skills so that you can harness the potential of technologies like AI and use it to use advantage instead of having it work against you.

Can and should AI replace creative teams?

A caution to businesses looking to slim their creative teams in favour of AI: by definition AI is intelligence demonstrated by machines, as opposed to the intelligence of humans (Merriam-Webster, 2023). It imitates humans, it is not human. It does not understand what it is like to be human. It cannot connect with humans the same way humans can connect with each other. For this reason alone, we cannot rely on it to do the job of understanding and connecting with audiences, which at its core is the very purpose of creative teams. What businesses will require from their creative teams is exceptional creativity and innovative thinking and AI will completely disrupt businesses that are comfortable with mediocrity.

“If you can pick anyone and I’m anyone, then you’re doomed and you’re more doomed than ever” – Seth Godin, CEO of Akimbo

We need our creatives to do the complex work of identifying problems to solve, crafting new and exciting ways to get the message out and upskilling to understand these emerging technologies and how to utilise them to their full potential. To stand out and provide value we’ll need our creative teams more than ever in the years to come.

For now, AI is all head and no heart which is why it shouldn’t replace humans doing the important work of connecting with and understanding each other.

And just to ease my own worries about a future AI takeover, here’s my daily question to ChaTGPT.

Follow my Instagram @ideas_oasis for more content designed for creatives, innovators and those aspiring to become one.


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