Seeing as we create Artificial Intelligence solutions, it’s rather obvious we’re keen to talk about how helpful AI can be. But we’re going to take a bit of an about-turn for a moment and be a little more critical about the use of AI in marketing. Or, to be more specific, despite how claims that AI creates brilliant content it won’t be replacing copywriters anytime soon
We’re going to take Bryan Walsh’s recent article over at Axios as a reference point here. Bryan wrote about AI in the advertising sector, along with his experience in using neuroflash to generate subject lines for a newsletter. It’s a good article and it raised some valid points which we’ll critique.
First, AI is great as a support tool, automating the grunt work in finding patterns and understand masses of data. When you’re looking at buyer behaviour to spot trends or upsale opportunities, AI has a great role to play. With AI you can shorten lead times from analysis to discovery, giving you more time to create compelling content around timely offers for your customers.
And that’s the key; after analysis comes creativity. For which a good marketer or copywriter will utilise over a Century’s research and knowledge amassed by the likes of Claude Hopkins, building a structured message which brings punters to the door. This is where AI solutions claiming to create content fall down. It doesn’t use all that research done over decades. And Ai simply doesn’t yet have the ability to be original in thinking either.
“AI in Marketing is like a Satnav”
In Bryan’s article he tested an AI platform to see if it could come up with a slogan for his Axiom newsletter. He provided 150 words describing the newsletter along with some keywords and set the platform to work. The top result he received was “From the future to you,”, followed by “Future-focused in a flash”. And with all due respect to Bryan, those are terrible suggestions; they’re utterly meaningless guff.
Bryan does mention Rory Sutherland of Ogilvy’s comment about the use of AI in marketing, where he compared it to your car’s satnav; “Great for directions but you don’t allow it to drive the car.” I’ll mention Drayton Bird here for a moment too. One of the greatest exponents of copywriting, Drayton said, “artificial intelligence will never kill thinking. Even worse, because it tries to think for you it stops you thinking.”
Writing good subject lines and copy is well within the means of most people. Using AI to find patterns in buying behaviour or click-thru analysis in A/B tests would be invaluable to most marketers. But allowing AI to be anything more than a suggestion tool for copy is foolhardy. And for that reason, we believe AI won’t be replacing copywriters anytime soon