Our industry already has a credibility problem.
Do we really think AI is the answer?

These days, you can’t discuss marketing—or anything really––without the topic of AI coming up. Most of the articles and posts I’ve seen reference how to utilize AI in your content creation and tend to suggest you’re behind the curve if you’re not already on board. Sure, I’ve dabbled. And yes, it’s a fascinating tool that we’ll all grow to depend on. But let’s slow down a bit and think about what we want to accomplish before we hand ChatGPT the keys to our ad agencies and marketing departments.

People already don’t trust marketing.
Let’s face it––trust has always been a scarce commodity in the world of marketing. Many years ago, a survey commissioned by the 4As revealed that more people trust Congress than they do advertising. While I haven’t seen an updated survey, I doubt much has changed since then. Sure, the situation might improve, but for now, AI as a content creation tool appears to be more of an aggregator of existing material. Having more of the same won’t do much to boost our industry’s credibility.

Quantity, not quality?
Every digital marketing how-to article begins with “start with great content.” But they quickly move onto channels and tactics as though starting with great content is a no-brainer like remembering to pack underwear for a trip. But think about that for just a minute. How many things have you seen online lately that have made you say, “wow, that’s some great content”? If you’re like me, that number stays close to zero. I hear you thinking, “yeah, but with AI we’ll have time to CREATE great content!”

Allow me to burst your bubble.
This isn’t my first technological revolution. It’s not even my third. The original promise of technology was that it would free us to do work that was more creative and conceptual. What I’ve witnessed is not better work, just more of it. Timeframes are compressed and we end up producing more and more marginal work on shorter and shorter schedules. I’m still waiting on that paperless office.

Defining Our Industry’s Goals
So, what should be our industry’s primary goal? Let’s take a cue from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. First, let’s be brutally honest: our ultimate goal is survival, both as an industry and as individual businesses. We’re in a constant race to stay ahead, to find that competitive edge. We’ve fallen head over heels for Chat GPT because it gave us an instant boost in productivity.

But here’s the catch: in this race to the bottom, are we sacrificing creativity and originality for efficiency? In the past, we’d see a brilliant campaign and say, “That’s genius! I wish I had thought of that.” Today, we’re optimizing content to appease algorithms. AI may seem like the logical endpoint, but I believe we can aim higher.

While AI is a powerful tool that can enhance our productivity, let’s not lose sight of our industry’s overarching goal––to thrive creatively and ethically. We need to find a balance between embracing technological advancements and preserving the authenticity of original ideas and quality thinking. Only the latter has the potential to set us apart in a world saturated with re-generated content. It’s not just about the destination; it’s about the journey, so let’s be sure the path we take aligns with our values and aspirations.