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AI in Marketing, Today and Tomorrow

Welcome to the world of artificial intelligence (AI), where technology is rapidly transforming the way we live and work. From self-driving cars to personalized shopping experiences, AI is everywhere. In recent years, AI has made significant strides in the field of advertising, helping businesses of all sizes to reach their target audience more effectively & creatively than ever before.

It seems as though AI has been the talk of 2023. From the rise of platforms such as ChatGPT, Midjourney & DALL-E into the mainstream mind, to new integrations with search engines, to talk of tech giants such as Google & Meta developing their own AI technology, everywhere you turn there is a new article or thought piece on AI and what it means for our present & future. Allow us to introduce one more of those into the 2023 AI article canon.

At The Ward Group, we have over three decades of advertising & media buying experience. Our longevity bespeaks our ability to adapt with the times and stay up to date with new and emerging best practices and technologies. We have seen firsthand how new technologies, from the internet to satellite radio, to streaming TV and audio have crept onto the scene and transformed the advertising landscape. Now, AI is poised to have a similar, far-reaching impact. Today, we will discuss some of the ways in which AI is transforming the advertising industry and how it can help clients & marketers alike.

The form of AI that has already seemed to reach the mainstream mind are chatbots. Chatbots are computer programs designed to mimic human conversation. Chatbots can answer frequently asked questions and even take orders. Through strategic use of chatbots, such as the leading platform ChatGPT, opportunities for brands & marketers to increase their productivity, efficiency, and creativity in matters ranging from improving customer experience and content creation, down to drafting emails and other more mundane daily tasks that still take up brain power. At The Ward Group, we have already seen firsthand how chatbots can completely revolutionize your daily workflow and provide unheard of levels of inspiration and ideation.

Continuing the theme of chatbots, another area where AI is making a big impact is in search engines. With the help of machine learning and chatbot integrations, search engines are becoming smarter and more intuitive. For example, in February 2023 Microsoft announced that its search engine, Bing, will soon integrate with ChatGPT. Google announced similar plans to develop its own chatbot tool to integrate with the search engine behemoth. This means that businesses will soon be able to use AI to optimize their search engine marketing (SEM) strategies, while consumer behavior on search engines will also begin to look differently as AI and chatbots infiltrate the search engine experience. Basically, search engine marketers and PPC professionals will have to shift and alter the way they look at search engine marketing as a whole.

Another form of AI poised to revolutionize the marketing world is the use of AI image technology. Leading platforms such as Midjourney, DALL-E and Stable Diffusion allow users to enter a prompt, and the technology spits out an image or piece of visual content to represent the prompt. Think of it like chatbots, but visual. This form of AI is already causing stirs in the world of art, marketing & more. From an advertising standpoint, the technology presents an opportunity for brands and agencies who do not have other creative resources to generate images & graphics they can use in ads.

These are but just a couple of ways AI has already begun to take the world by storm. And we get it. AI is fun and cool. But we would also be remiss if we did not at least mention some of the potential downfalls of AI from the point of view of an advertiser. For one, while AI is a great and powerful tool for quick & easy content creation, the results are still prone to errors. In other words, it is essential that you do not blindly rely on the AI alone to spit out a piece of content for you and call it perfect. Reading for errors and oftentimes completely rewriting passages are crucial when using AI and chatbots for content creation. We have found AI to be outstanding for inspiration that we can then make our own, but those who allow the AI to create content for them will soon find their content stale, repetitive, and sometimes plain wrong.

Additionally, the rise of misinformation presents an early roadblock for image AI platforms. Rules are continuing to be put in place to prevent bad actors from misusing the technology, but there still exists the risk that fake AI-generated content will take a foothold on social media and cause misinformation to run rampant (such as the widely-believed AI generated image of Pope Francis wearing a Balenciaga jacket that recently made the social media rounds).

Overall, despite any early pitfalls, AI is revolutionizing the advertising industry in many ways and presents an unforeseen opportunity to marketers everywhere. It helps businesses of all sizes to reach their target audience more effectively, improving the relevance & creativity of advertising campaigns, and much more. As an advertising agency with over three decades of experience, we are excited to be at the forefront of yet another transformational technology.

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