AI to Overhaul 95% of Marketing Tasks

The Gist

  • Sam Altman’s bold prediction. Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, asserts that artificial general intelligence (AGI) will dramatically transform marketing, with 95% of tasks currently performed by marketing agencies, strategists and creative professionals being handled by AI.
  • Marketing and AI integration today. While Altman’s vision seems futuristic, the integration of generative AI into marketing tasks is already underway.
  • Concerns and challenges ahead. Despite the potential of generative AI in revolutionizing marketing, there are significant concerns related to data privacy, cybersecurity, intellectual property protection, authenticity, brand standards adherence and potential job loss.

Goodbye, marketing. Hello, AI. Or AGI.

OK, that’s totally dramatic. But it’s kinda what a top executive in the generative AI space says.

Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, says this in the new book, “Our AI Journey”:

“Oh, for that? It will mean that 95% of what marketers use agencies, strategists, and creative professionals for today will easily, nearly instantly and at almost no cost be handled by the AI — and the AI will likely be able to test the creative against real or synthetic customer focus groups for predicting results and optimizing. Again, all free, instant, and nearly perfect. Images, videos, campaign ideas? No problem.”

“Our AI Journey” by Adam Brotman and Andy SackForum3

Altman’s response came to the question by book authors Adam Brotman and Andy Sack about the impact of artificial general intelligence (AGI) on marketing: “What do you think AGI (artificial general intelligence) will mean for us, and for consumer brand marketers trying to create ad campaigns and the like to build their companies?” (Hat tip to the Marketing AI Institute for reporting this earlier. BTW, while we’re giving credit, CMSWire had Brotman, former chief digital officer of Starbucks, on our CX Decoded podcast). 

The book is available through a subscription model, with new chapters being made available upon completion.

Is Marketing Over When AGI Appears?

Say it ain’t so. Pretty much all creative marketing work is handed over to AGI systems in the future? OK, maybe not. Now, we’re being dramatic. After all, Altman did leave a 5% wiggle room for marketing tasks handled by agencies, strategists and creative professionals.

And, keep this in mind. Altman was talking about artificial general intelligence, which he says is about five years away. Phew, if you’re a marketing agency, right?

However, we all know marketing’s at an inflection point because of AI, particularly generative AI, made mainstream with the debut of ChatGPT in November of 2022. And a good chunk of our own marketing tasks have already been delegated to our generative AI friends. (We see those emojis your marketing team uses in those bulleted lists for LinkedIn posts. We know what you’re up to; and so are we, btw). 

But here’s the deal: Marketers have gotten great at implementing AI into their daily workflows, as long as they remember things like maintaining brand standards and brand voice.

We also know this: there’s arguably no technology that’s changed the game for marketers and customer experience professionals this fast. (I was impressed as a newspaper editor in 2002 when we could post PDFs to the internet).

Sure, we haven’t seen many of the generative AI replaces jobs headlines in a while. Or how customer service agents are no longer a thing, but we know generative AI does have the power to shake up customer service teams.

Look at what the Marketing AI Institute points out: “In one example this past week, Klarna, a huge payments company, just revealed its AI assistant now does the jobs of 700 employees. The AI assistant, powered by OpenAI, handles customer services chats. It chats with customers to do things like resolve service requests in different languages and manage refunds and returns. Klarna says that in just 1 month, the assistant is already doing the work of 700 full-time agents. So far, it’s conducted 2.3M conversations — a full two-thirds of all the company’s customer service chats.”

Powerful. But, boy oh boy. Ninety-five percent of marketing creative work? That’s a big number, Mr. Altman.

Even Paul Roetzer, who runs the Marketing AI Institute and is one of the leading marketing and AI thought leaders, is somewhat left for a loss of words when it comes to what Altman says is next for AGI and marketing.

“It’s a hard thing to wrap our minds around,” Roetzer said in his blog on Altman’s gigantic statement on generative AI and marketing.

Related Article: Generative AI in Marketing: Smoothing Creative Operations

Potential Marketing Wins With AGI

We admit: We love these kind of headlines. And they need to be covered because Sam Altman is the Warren Buffett of AI. When he speaks, we listen. When he’s fired and rehired, we grab some popcorn.

Marketers would be smart, however, to dig more into AGI and its future potential. The Google DeepMind report, “Levels of AGI: Operationalizing Progress on the Path to AGI,” is a good place to start.

Here are some takeaways from that report for marketers:

  • AGI’s Near-Term Relevance: The report underscores that aspects of AGI are becoming relevant in the short term, especially as large language models demonstrate capabilities that hint at AGI characteristics that could impact consumer interactions, content creation and data analysis methods.
  • Evolving Definitions of Intelligence: The diverse interpretations of AGI highlighted by Google DeepMind suggest that what we consider “intelligent” behavior in machines is evolving, potentially affecting the tools and platforms marketers use for engaging customers, personalizing content and making data-driven decisions.
  • Risk Assessment and Management: Google DeepMind outlines AGI and associated risks and the potential ethical and societal implications of using advanced AI technologies.
  • Human-AI Interaction Paradigms: Google DeepMind discusses how AGI advancements will unlock new human-AI interaction paradigms, which could disrupt how we deliver customer experiences, from using AI as a tool or consultant to more autonomous AI agents that provide personalized services. 

What’s Happening Now With AI in Marketing

However, this is 2024. What’s the pulse of AI in marketing now? CX and marketing professionals are finding victories with this technology. McKinsey reported the top use cases for generative AI: Marketing and sales dominate with tasks like crafting first drafts, personalized marketing and summarizing documents. Product/service development involves identifying customer trends, drafting technical documents and creating new designs.

OK, but 95% of marketing tasks for agencies, strategists and creative professionals potentially vanished? We don’t know about that one, Mr. Altman. After all, digital customer experience practitioners told us in the CMSWire State of Digital Customer Experience 2024 Report they have plenty of reservations about diving into generative AI.

We asked them: Does your organization have any concerns regarding the risks associated with generative AI?

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