With the rise of AI in marketing and in particular the emergence of machine learning – where algorithms learn from behaviour and adapt – there is understandably a nervousness in the industry that we will be replaced by machines. But can an algorithm really take our jobs?

The reality is that yes, there will be jobs that an algorithm will do better. The advanced computers we have today undoubtedly will do certain functions faster, more efficiently and more accurately than we can ever hope to. And we may well see certain roles disappear as a result.

But let’s take a step back and consider what jobs these will be. Ultimately, algorithms are very good at maths and use complicated equations to work out what to do next. As a result they are restricted to carrying out the kind of jobs that few of us in the creative industry really aspire to – we do them because they need to be done but we’d probably describe as mundane and repetitive as they require very little imagination. The focus is very much on the right brain activities. But we know that in order to do great marketing you need to engage the left brain – the creative side – as well as the logical, mathematical right side. And as such we should be viewing AI in marketing as a huge opportunity rather than as a threat.


Using AI to elevate us


We should, as marketers, embrace AI and allow it to do all the functions of our jobs that are repetitive, that algorithms are made for – they will, as I said, do it far better than us anyway. But we must then use the time this saves us to elevate our marketing activity with the highly creative, inspiring ideas that only we humans can provide. The rise of data marketing has been incredible for the industry in terms of what we can now do, but it has also created a lot of labour intensive jobs that leave little time for creativity. AI can change this. It gives us the opportunity to enjoy all the benefits of data marketing while also having the time to inject some much needed creative insight into the campaigns we produce. Great marketing needs imagination, it needs a human spark to fulfil its potential. We are, after all, talking to people and it will always take other people to make that all important emotional connection. A computer that is good at maths simply will not be able to do this.


A rallying cry


There is of course a danger that as the use of AI spreads, brands and marketers will become lazy – they will simply allow the algorithms to churn out campaigns that will probably get some results, not great results, but something. If we allow this to happen then we could all be in danger of losing our jobs. We need to step up, show how AI can elevate us as marketers, how it can help us do what we do far better than before and create campaigns with real vision and creativity, campaigns that inspire people, surprise and delight them. We should view the arrival of AI, not as a threat to our jobs, but as being our time to shine, our time to work harder, faster and stronger as marketers. Who’s with me?


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