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The Future of AI in Marketing: A New Layer in the Stack

The marketing world is transforming, and at the center of this change is Artificial Intelligence (AI). As a marketing executive, I recently delved into how AI impacts the marketing landscape, from copywriting to branding and SEO. The core thesis here is that AI is not a replacement for human expertise but rather a tool that augments capabilities, offering a "rough draft" that can be refined for the final product.

The AI-Marketing Symbiosis

The relationship between AI and marketing is not just one of utility but of mutual necessity. On one hand, AI technologies need effective marketing to reach their potential audience; on the other, marketing increasingly relies on AI for data analysis, customer segmentation, and content creation. This symbiosis is reminiscent of the relationship between hardware and software: one provides the capability, the other the utility.

The Copywriting Conundrum

One of the most intriguing applications of AI in marketing is in the realm of copywriting. I’m impressed by Bernard Bado, who uses ChatGPT to generate copy for his Facebook ads. In Bernard’s example the AI doesn't just spit out text; it engages in a dialogue, asking questions about objectives, unique selling points, and character limits, much like a human copywriter would. The result? A draft that, while not perfect, provides a solid foundation for further refinement.

Theodore Levitt, the former Harvard Business School professor and editor of the Harvard Business Review, famously said “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.” The idea, which is at the core of well-known innovation frameworks like Outcome-Driven Innovation and Jobs-to-be-Done, is that effective customer segmentation relies not on easily measurable attributes like demographics or location — much less product features and prices — but rather on a deeper understanding of what the consumer is trying to accomplish.
- Ben Thompson

This is a classic example of a Job-to-be-Done. The job isn't just writing copy; it's writing effective copy that serves a specific marketing goal. AI can handle the first draft, freeing human experts to focus on strategic elements like tone, nuance, and brand voice.

Branding in the Age of Algorithms

Another area where AI is making inroads is branding. Is a tool called Namify that generates brand names, domain availability, and even rudimentary logo designs. Again, the AI serves as a starting point, a way to quickly iterate through possibilities before turning to human experts for the final design. This is a classic example of leveraging AI for what it's good at—rapid iteration and data crunching—while leaving the creative and strategic decisions to humans.

SEO: The New Frontier

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is another domain where AI is proving useful. Text Optimizer, is a tool that generates SEO-friendly text based on a given query. While the output may be "keyword-stuffed," it provides a framework that can be refined by SEO experts. This is particularly important as SEO is not just about keywords but about providing valuable content that serves the user's intent.


What's particularly striking about the current state of AI in marketing is its fragmented nature. Each tool operates in a silo, requiring manual input and transfer of data from one platform to another. I believe there’s a future where these disparate tools are integrated into a cohesive system, capable of taking a single command to generate a multi-faceted marketing campaign.

This vision aligns with Mustafa Suleyman's provocative idea that the next Turing test for AI will involve creating a business and making a million dollars. To achieve this, AI will need to integrate various functions—copywriting, branding, SEO, and more—into a seamless operation, much like how different departments in a company collaborate to achieve business objectives.

AI is neither a panacea nor a threat to the marketing profession. Instead, it's a new layer in the marketing stack, a tool that can handle specific jobs, freeing humans to focus on strategy and creativity. The future is not about AI vs. Humans; it's about AI and Humans, working in tandem to navigate the complexities of modern marketing.

The future is not to be predicted; it's to be understood. And understanding the evolving role of AI in marketing is crucial for anyone involved in the field.

For those interested in diving deeper into the future of technology and its implications, my WTF Journal serves as a repository of thoughts and questions that can guide your exploration. After all, the future is not something to predict; it's something to be understood.