AI Fundamentals and How It’s Shaking Up Marketing

April 27, 2023by Hiebing

For those of us who hear the term “artificial intelligence” and are immediately on guard for Skynet and their Terminator shenanigans – don’t worry. Terminators aren’t real… yet.

There does, however, seem to be a rapid rise in conversations about AI lately – and that’s because AI is shaking up every corner of the internet and everyday life. Since the public launch of ChatbotGPT from tech company OpenAI last November, everyone has speculated about how artificial intelligence is going to revolutionize the world – for better or worse.

For many organizations – as well as the marketing agencies that support them – AI provides technological solutions to various aspects of work in the marketing world. From gaining a more comprehensive understanding of the target to gleaning data-driven insights that inform strategy, AI has the potential to optimize campaigns, personalize CX and so much more.

Artificial intelligence is already revolutionizing the field of marketing and transforming the way businesses engage with customers and make decisions. So, what exactly is AI, and what is it doing for marketers worldwide?

What is AI?

AI is an incredibly complex concept to dive into – defining it, even more so. Its impact is already expanding rapidly throughout various industries due to its ability to process vast amounts of data, learn from it, and make decisions based on the analysis. But what is it?Currently,artificial intelligence can be broadly categorized into three different classifications: narrow AI, general AI and strong AI.

Narrow AI:

As the name suggests, narrow AI is focused on performing a specific task learned from a specific data set, like speech recognition or image classification. The truth is, this type of artificial intelligence is familiar and has enhanced our lives over the past few years.

Consider some common examples of AI-powered virtual assistants that aide us daily: Where would we be without Siri setting reminders with a simple voice command or without the power of Alexa adding needed household items to our cart? What would a modern 21st century household be without the power of recommendation engines like those used by Netflix and Amazon?

Narrow AI has enhanced our lives in numerous ways by automating tasks, increasing efficiency and improving accuracy within certain industry silos. We will likely see narrow AI continue to evolve, with improvements in things like generative AI, alongside the rise of the next iteration: general AI.

General AI:

General AI, also known as artificial general intelligence (AGI), is the area of artificial intelligence research that is unfolding before us. This research aims to create intelligent machines, capable of performing any intellectual task that a human can do. In other words, in the journey of where we are with AI – this is the rapidly approaching destination.

While we are not yet at the stage of creating fully functioning AGI, ChatGPT is an example of generative AI – a stepping stone toward full AGI. As a primarily language-based model, general AI systems can generate text based on patterns and associations learned from large data sets. Its responses are produced algorithmically instead of intellectually. Although ChatGPT can generate text that may be useful for certain tasks, it is important to exercise caution and critical thinking when using AI-generated content as it is prone to making mistakes as it evolves and learns.

Even if AI isn’t at the point of delivering 100% accurate, truthful or useful results, its certainly effective at giving you a start to whatever problem you’re trying to solve. The potential this technology has is already making vast and far-reaching waves – and is on its way to advancing into its next phase: strong AI.

Strong AI:

Strong AI is true AGI come to life – also referred to as artificial superintelligence. Don’t panic – we still don’t mean Terminators. Strong AI is currently a hypothetical form of AI that is theoretically capable of achieving a level of intelligence that surpasses human intelligence. Strong AI systems would not only be able to perform a wide range of tasks, but would also be able to reason, learn and adapt like humanity.

While some may worry about this version of AI replacing us in a not-so-distant future, others would argue that AI cannot replicate human attributes important to tasks we perform every day.

Take, for example, a sunset. We’ve all seen one and marveled at the majesty of the colors and the deep sense of awe it can inspire. AGI may be able to see a sunset but would not contain the emotional intelligence to give purpose to the overarching intention with which we watch a sunset.

As we consider the stages of evolution to AI and where we currently find ourselves on that journey, the reality is that AI is already pushing boundaries and limitations in this ever-changing, real-time marketing arena we find ourselves in.

How is AI changing marketing?

We’ve entered the assisted computing era, where independent thinking is going the way of long division – a relic of past processes replaced by a technological aid to reach a solution. We can’t out-machine the machines, but they can’t out-humanity – humanity. So, where does that leave brands and marketers on this AI journey?

AI, specifically generative AI, is already disrupting average work and forcing marketers into a state of enhanced human creativity – taking the work from ordinary to extraordinary. According to ChatGPT itself, AI can augment an advertising agency’s creativity in five major ways:

1. Data Analysis – With the ability to process vast sets of data, companies can leverage AI to gain smarter insights into things like consumer behavior, preferences, buying habits and social media trends. This information can be used to create more targeted and effective ads.

2. Personalization – Utilizing this data can lead to campaigns that are tailor-made to the individual consumer and can algorithmically increase the likelihood of engagement. AI can also lead to a more personalized customer service experience with tools like chatbots for an overall cleaner CX.

3. Content Creation – Generative AI is barely scratching the surface in the ways it can innovate ideas for marketers in this space. Platforms like ChatGPT, Bard, Dall-E, Midjourney, etc. have the ability to generate millions of real content assets, descriptions and keywords within minutes. This shakeup stands to be the most disruptive in the marketing world – with the biggest intellectual property challenges to overcome.

4. Optimization – Ad campaigns can use AI to optimize performance in real time by adjusting targeting, creative and messaging based on real-time data – not to mention generating data-informed keywords to improve SEO so that consumers can more easily find branded content.

5. Efficiency – Much like the narrow AI we use daily, generative AI is already automating repetitive tasks like data entry and analysis – freeing up marketers to focus on the more creative tasks at hand.

If marketers think of generative AI as a way to start from one instead of zero – a way to go wide before going deep – cutting through the noise and reaching consumers will be more effective than ever.

What does this mean for the marketing world?

So, where does that leave the marketing world at large? AI is shaking up marketing from a largely reactive discipline to a proactive and data-driven one – and it’s paving the way for new and innovative approaches to every discipline within the marketing world.

Leveraging unprecedented insights into consumer behavior and preferences to deliver a better customer experience, as well as jump-starting creative sectors, is just the tip of the iceberg of what this technology can do for marketing on a global scale.  

All in all, AI isn’t just a fad – it’s plugged into many facets of our lives already and will continue to evolve at a rapid pace. Lean into it. Absorb it. Dive in and learn from it. And if you’re intimidated by this space (or perhaps still fear the almighty Skynet), don’t be – realms we might not have thought possible are just on the horizon.

Interested in fueling your marketing strategy with the latest AI evolutions? Subscribe to our blog for our upcoming series in the ever-evolving world of AI and its impact on different disciplines in marketing – or email Nate Tredinnick at to set up a call.

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