In 2001, to publish a newspaper ad, you had to produce a film (similar to the polaroid film) of the approved design, print out a colour guide and physically take the film and colour guide to the newspaper house. To break a Pan-Nigeria radio campaign, you had to courier materials to the various radio stations across the country. If it was a campaign that needed to break immediately, you had to fly down to deliver the materials physically.
Today, with the advancements in technology, you can break a campaign from the comfort of your living room. Ad materials are now shared electronically via email and WhatsApp. Client presentations involved driving and sometimes flying to physically meet. There was no other way to present. Today, not only can we meet with clients virtually, we can share our screens and everybody can see the presentation from wherever they are. COVID-19 lockdown may have been responsible for the quick rise in virtual meetings, but it was always going to happen as businesses seek more efficient ways of doing business. These are just a few examples of how technology has impacted the marketing communications industry.
Some years ago, we started hearing more and more about AI.
Artificial Intelligence became part of the global lingo years back; and even though different aspects of marketing like programmatic advertising, modelling and predictive analysis have been using AI for a while, it took the launch of Chat GPT and other generative AI tools for the industry to be really awakened to the fact that AI is here to stay, and is not just a passing fad. With this realization has come lots of concerns especially in the area of job losses, ethical issues and originality. My view is that as technology replaces jobs (humans), it also creates other jobs and opportunities. People tend to think about AI as more of a threat to jobs. However, AI offers tremendous help in areas like consumer journey analysis, audience measurement, precise targeting, fraudulent ad detection, highly optimized and personalized content. As with any concept or idea this profound and life-changing, there are pros and cons. On the flip side, there are concerns about the originality of communication and connecting with the audience on a deep, emotional level. There are also ethical issues and potential biases. Despite these initial challenges, AI is an enabler; an ally, not a foe.
AI is not necessarily a replacement for human intelligence. It is complementary to human intelligence. The real power of AI is in how we as humans and as an industry utilize it. The keys to unlocking the full potentials of artificial intelligence in marketing communications are human intelligence, creativity and design thinking. As Marcomms professionals, we need to identify our peculiar challenges and leverage AI technology to create bespoke solutions. He who wears the shoe knows where it pinches. We need to drive the adoption and usage of AI for our brands and campaigns for maximum measurability and impact
“The keys to unlocking the full potentials of artificial intelligence in marketing communications are human intelligence, creativity and design thinking”
Gone are the days when tech matters were left solely to the IT department; the MD/CEO could not be bothered. Today, technology strategy is a key component of the overall business strategy and that is right up the alley of the CEO. If technology is the biggest disruptor of business, then CEOs must understand and drive the digital transformation strategy.
Despite the tremendous power of AI and technology generally, nothing is more powerful than the human mind. AI itself is a product of the human mind. Agencies and businesses in general need to embrace AI technology and incorporate it into the overall business strategy to unlock growth and profitability. The world is changing fast; it’s adapt, pivot or die.
.Adefowokan is the Managing Director of Maximedia Global Communications Ltd