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AI: Is it the end for marketers, or just the beginning?

Dire Predictions about AI

If you’ve been following the news about Chat GPT and other AI platforms, you’ve likely heard dire predictions.

“AI will be the end of us all!”

“The robots are taking over!”

“AI will make creative work obsolete!”

At Asher, we certainly have some concerns about how these technologies will affect our industry and society as a whole, but we’ve also discussed some of the potential upsides.

A photo of the Asher building modified using generative AI to add colorful robots, a hot air balloon, water, a jet ski, and a large cake.

Here’s a recap of the conversations we’ve had to bring clarity to the hype.

Addressing the truth

First, it is absolutely true that AI is a threat to marketers in that it can do some things that, until recently, were reserved for human brains and hands. However, AI’s real utility is in generating content amalgamated from common knowledge. In other words, AI might compete with some lower-level tasks, but it can also be a great replacement for some of the busy work that has traditionally consumed marketers and creatives, leaving more time for the differentiated work that represents our best thinking. In our eyes, the real threat is that businesses will settle for mediocre content, but, when clients want something more unique, AI can allow us to get a running start on content creation and focus on things that aren’t easily duplicated or automated.

evolution, not revolution

It’s also important to note that AI represents an evolution, not a revolution, in the tools available to marketers. AI is certainly unique in several ways, but there have been countless innovations that could be perceived as endgames if you were to take the most pessimistic view. For example, Canva has made marketers less dependent upon tools traditionally reserved for well-trained designers, but it hasn’t made those designers obsolete. Actually, it’s called even more attention to what makes those designers irreplaceable. And even Canva was an evolution more than a revolution. Those of us with a little gray hair remember when Microsoft Publisher was the bane of the creative suite.

How to use AI

So, how are we using Chat GPT and other tools currently? The answer varies depending on who does the work, but we are proceeding cautiously, optimistically, and in the interest of experimentation. This includes using Chat GPT as a thought-starter for some copywriting, taking image and voiceover generators for a test drive, using AI coding tools to make web development more efficient, and–as we have for some time–using AI to ensure our clients’ messages reach the right audiences via programmatic advertising. However, AI is still in the early stages, so our work is still primarily produced without aid from AI, based on each client’s unique needs and the unique challenges of a given project. In short, AI is just another tool in our toolkit.

One last note: all of this is inevitably going to change and it’s very likely that AI will become more important to our work moving forward. One of the great things of being in business for nearly 50 years is it gives us perspective. We’ve seen prior apocalyptic predictions pass without proving terminal to the agency and the industry, and we’ve always emerged a little stronger. So, if the robots do try to take over, we’ll be well equipped to go to battle.

More of our thoughts

An apt metaphor for Asher’s 50th anniversary, all the things our team has accomplished and the people who have made it all possible.

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