By Lenox Lizwi Mhlanga

If you are a marketer and have not heard about ChatGPT, then you must be living under a rock. The game-changing Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology is touted as an industry disruptor, and that includes the marketing profession. It is not a surprise that tech giant Microsoft is planning to invest US$10 billion in OpenAI, the owner of ChatGPT. They can foresee the vast potential of the technology in the future of their business.

Are artificial intelligence tools such as ChatGPT assets or threats to the profession? It’s not as if we have not used AI tools before. The technology has been growing in influence and impact in the areas of monitoring trends, analysing and reporting market data and in research, outreach, and content creation.

What is Artificial Intelligence and how is it Changing the Marketing Landscape?

IBM defines artificial intelligence as a technology that leverages computers and machines to mimic the problem-solving and decision-making capabilities of the human mind. Specific applications of AI include expert systems, natural language processing (NLP), speech recognition and machine vision.

The Business Insider asks of us to think of AI as a machine-powered version of a human’s. These machines can interact with humans in a way that feels natural, and just like humans, they can grasp complex concepts and extract insights from the information they’re given.

Artificial intelligence can understand, learn, interpret, and reason with far greater speed and accuracy than humans. Its ability to process large amounts of data quickly and accurately makes it the perfect tool for analysing patterns, creating predictions, and solving complex problems.

In marketing, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is useful because it enables marketers to automate mundane tasks, improve customer experience, and gain valuable insights through predictive analytics and machine learning algorithms. As we have seen above, AI can help marketers increase efficiency by automating processes such as data analysis, content creation, lead generation, and customer segmentation.

Marketing teams are already using conversational AI to revolutionise customer outreach and design contextual messages delivered through chatbots. In fact, ChatGPT is a like chatbot running on steroids! Customers have simple sales queries and they appreciate prompt responses. Chatbots are the perfect tool to supplement customer service agents, delivering immediate satisfactory results no matter where the customer is situated. Customers no longer have to fill forms, rummage through cluttered inboxes and scroll through a sea of content to find customer service contacts to resolve their queries.

AI also helps marketers personalize their campaigns by leveraging real-time customer data to create highly targeted campaigns that are tailored to each individual customer’s needs. By leveraging AI technologies, marketers can gain an advantage over their competitors in today’s ever-evolving digital landscape.

The Benefits of AI in Marketing & Advertising

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has transformed the way businesses approach marketing and advertising. AI can help marketers to automate segmentation and the targeting of their audiences, personalize communications for each user, and deliver real-time insights into customer behaviour. It can automate mundane tasks, provide data-driven insights, and optimize processes to unlock maximum potential for your business.

AI also helps marketers to better understand customer needs by analysing customer sentiment. This allows them to create customized campaigns that are tailored to the individual needs of each customer. AI can automate processes such as A/B testing or optimization of campaigns for better results.

In short, AI is transforming the way businesses approach marketing and advertising by providing them with a powerful tool that can help them reach their goals faster and more efficiently. The Challenges Posed by AI to the Profession

Artificial intelligence also poses some serious challenges for the marketing profession. AI-powered marketing strategies can increase the accuracy and efficiency of campaigns, but they can also bring up ethical issues and data privacy concerns.

“Security risks of identity theft, fraud or counterfeiting increase because of innovations in Generative AI as they enable very realistic photos and images, so just think of the escalating risks of identity theft,” cautions Cindy Gordon, writing in Forbes magazine.

It is important for marketers to understand these challenges and be aware of how AI will affect their work in the future. Exploring the ethical implications of using AI in marketing, as well as addressing data privacy concerns when employing AI strategies, should be top of mind for marketers.

How Can Marketers Prepare for an AI-Driven Future?

With AI-driven automation taking over many of the manual tasks, marketers need to prepare for a future in which AI plays a major role. This means upskilling and staying ahead of the curve in order to remain relevant in an increasingly automated world. By understanding how AI can improve efficiency and effectiveness in their campaigns, marketers ensure that they are well prepared for a future dominated by AI technology.

Leveraging AI to Unlock Potential

There are fears out there that AI will see humans being replaced by machines, or robots. Well, was the same when industrialisation brought about automation. Look at what happened; there was re-alignment as created new jobs and skill sets. After initial resistance, people embraced the changes.

For marketers to remain competitive and achieve long-term success in today’s fast changing landscape, it is vital that they become familiar with these powerful tools. As more technologies continue to emerge and become integrated into marketing practice, it is wise that professionals ride the AI revolution and not resist it. We should embrace the fact that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming how businesses operate and achieve their goals.

Lenox Mhlanga is a consultant communications specialist and thought leader with over 22 years of experience in the field. He is an active member of the Marketers Association of Zimbabwe. He has worked with The World Bank and blue chip companies, as well as, public and civic institutions in Zimbabwe and the region. Contact him for counsel and training on mobile: +263 772 400 656 and email: lenoxmhlanga@gmail.com