The Emergence Of AI: How It Will Impact The Future Of Marketing Agencies

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In this episode of The Agency Accelerator Podcast, Rob Da Costa explores how artificial intelligence (AI) can enhance work and team productivity. He highlights examples of AI tools such as Chat GBT and Bard to improve writing skills and how analytical tools can extract valuable data for customer insights and targeting.

Rob predicts key trends in AI integration, including the collaboration between humans and AI to improve efficiency. He also addresses ownership and plagiarism concerns for AI-generated content.

Finally, he discusses what lies in the future for agencies and AI.

Topics Covered In This Episode:

  • History and practical application of AI
  • Rob Da Costa's experience with using AI tools
  • Key trends in the integration of AI into agency life
  • AI tools for marketing agencies
  • Challenges with AI-generated content and copyright ownership
  • How AI is enabling agency teams to move to a more strategic level
  • The need for agencies to differentiate themselves in a world where AI may commoditize certain tasks
  • Top 10 AI tools to use today
  • What is on the horizon for AI


The Rise of AI: "The one thing is for sure, you should be embracing AI." - Rob Da Costa
“We need to make sure we are elevating what we do and having a clear point of differentiation. But we absolutely need to be embracing tools to help us with creativity and content creation, whether that be written text, images or video - because AI is going to make that much, much easier." - Rob Da Costa

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 Full Episode Transcription

I've avoided recording a podcast episode on the use of AI in your marketing agency until I got to a point where I could talk from a perspective of experience, because I've been really using the AI tools in earnest, including to create this podcast. So in today's episode, I want to talk about how AI is going to impact marketing agencies, some of the tools that you can be using, and also I want to allay some of the fears around making people's jobs redundant and exactly how it will impact your business in a positive way. So that's what we're talking about in today's show. And let's jump into the episode. I'm Rob de Costa, and this is the agency Accelerator Podcast. As someone who has stood in your shoes, having started, grown and sold my own agency, I know just how it feels in the ups and downs of agency life. So this podcast aims to ease your journey just a little by sharing mine and my guests experiences and advice as you navigate your way to growing a profitable, sustainable and enjoyable business. Everyone is talking about AI and there's lots being written about it and there's lots of podcasts on the topic.

So I kind of avoided recording an episode until I had a unique angle to talk about and could also share with you some of my own experiences of using AI. Now, working with my clients, some of them are really embracing it and some are kind of scared of it or avoiding it because they believe it will inhibit their creativity or it won't do as good a job as them. But you definitely need to be in the former camp, not the latter camp. And you need to work out how AI fits in your workflow and what it can do for you. And what it can't do for you. So that's what I want to dig into today. Now I thought it would be a good idea to start off with a bit of history because actually when I first had my first job, I did a computer science degree and my first job was working at a company called AI International who were developing object-oriented software. This is back in the early 90s when the promise of AI was just really emerging.

In fact, there are lot of talk around expert systems and knowledge-based systems and how they were going to replace doctors and nurses. And then in the 90s, we moved into the concepts around neural networks and machine learning. And then as we move into the 200s, there started to be more of a resurgence of AI and more of a practical application of the tools. In the 2010s we got into big data and deep learning and now we are in two thousand and twenty s and suddenly, or it appears like suddenly AI is everywhere. And of course, it hasn't really appeared out of nowhere. It's been in development since the 70s in fact, it's just that the practical application is finally getting to market to be able to be used by the likes of you and I in our business. So like I said, while it appears like Chat GBT suddenly emerged on the market at the beginning of 2023 or the end of 2022, it's been a long time in the making and I guess we are still trying to figure out exactly what it can and can't do for us and where it will fit in our business. But the one thing is for sure, you should be embracing AI.

You should be looking at how you can use it and you should be looking at how it can enhance the work that you and your team already do. Now, I think we've all probably played with tools like Chat GBT or Bard and we've realised that it can help us write and I'll dig into that in a bit more detail in a moment. But I also just wanted to discuss some of the other things that it can do for you, such as enhancing your customer insights. So that means using AIpowered analytical tools to extract valuable data and that in turn is going to help you with your targeting and your personalization. It can also obviously help streamline campaign management by automating some repetitive tasks such as creating content and scheduling and reporting. And the key message there is that it's going to create a lot more efficiency in your teams. And finally, it can also help you with customer engagement by using things like Chatbots and virtual assistants in providing customer interactions. And as we learn more about that and more tools come on the market, we'll be able to do it in a really human-like way.

So those people are saying yes, but it's never going to replace the human interacting with the client. Well, of course, it won't, but it will replace some of those initial interactions where they may be able to get their help online. And the chatbots are just going to be a lot smarter about directing them to the specific content based on any kind of natural language that they type in. Now, it feels like almost every day there are new tools emerging on the market as software developers and app developers are quickly learning how to use the AI and creating tools for it. So, of course, we've got writing tools like Bard and Chat GBT, but there are also graphical tools that are helping us create really great images just by typing in like furry cat in a cup and it's producing those images. We've got 3D rendering tools, we've got video creation tools, we've got avatar tools, we've got tools that will help you edit audio and video and written text. The opportunities are endless. They're just limited by our imagination, I think.

Now, how am I using the AI tools? Well, I'm certainly using Chat GBT to help me create outlines for emails and for workshops. I'm using it to help me come up with much better subject lines for emails and topics for workshops. And what I'm not doing is using it to write an email for me and just copying and pasting that in, not because it's plagiarism, but because it's not necessarily going to capture my tone of voice and the personal style that I want to use. One thing that's worth noting is that if two different people in different computers typed in the same question, they will get two different answers from Chat GBT. So we're not just being given the same responses. And the reason for that is because when you have Chat GBT or Bard or whatever open, it's learning about your style and it's creating content that's relevant to your style. So the more it learns, the better it gets and the more tailored to your style it will become. So I'm using it to help me write and help me write faster.

I'm using it to create outlines for presentations and workshops that I'm running. I'm also using it to help me create my podcast much quicker. I'm using a great piece of software called Cast Magic and basically, I can just upload this audio once the podcast is finished and it will transcribe it for me so I don't have to pay for a transcription service anymore. It will also create the timestamp that you'll see in the show notes, it will also write biographies of guests that I have on the podcast, it will come up with some great titles, it will write emails, it'll write social media posts. You kind of get the message. And I would say that I would usually spend 2 hours a week creating all of that for my podcast. Now I can do it in about 15 minutes because of course I still need to edit the content that the AI is creating. But there is a really good practical application for me that is saving time.

Now, I also wanted to talk about some of the fears that people have around using AI because I know just from talking to some of my clients that they are nervous or concerned. They're concerned about copyrights and plagiarism and all that stuff, which I think will come out in the wash further down the line. But they're also thinking, oh, I'm a copywriter and it can never do my job. Well, no, it's not trying to do your job. So I think one of the big concerns a lot of people have is around job displacement. And you just need to remember that AI is not meant to replace human creativity, but it's supposed to augment and complement it. And it means that roles in agencies will start to shift. So our copywriter still has to put great content in to say, chat GBT to get great content out.

So I think we're going to be able to elevate our roles and I think AI is going to create bigger capacity, which means we can deliver more to clients quicker. And hopefully, that means we will become more profitable rather than just the client expecting more. I think it really bangs the drum for why your agency needs to have a really clear niche and a really clear value proposition. Because AI tools are going to make some of our tasks very commoditized. So we need to make sure we are elevating what we do and having a clear point of differentiation. But we absolutely need to be embracing tools to help us with creativity and content creation, whether that be written text or images or video because AI is going to make that much, much easier. And as I alluded to earlier, the second point that a lot of agencies are concerned around is ownership and plagiarism. And this is a bit of a complex one and I think a lot of this is going to emerge over time because traditionally when you write something, then of course you own it and the owner of that copy is a human.

Well, now we're getting AI-generated content. It kind of challenges that thinking and it blurs the lines between human and machine creativity. And of course, at the moment, most copyright laws do not explicitly address AI-generated content, which is leading to legal ambiguities and of course, lots of debates right now around ownership. Now another reason not to just blindly copy the content that AI tools create is because if you are training your AI tool, then there's more human involvement from you and more creative contribution from you. And that means that you're taking more influence in the copyright ownership. Whereas if you were just merely setting up the system and copying it but not actually contributing, then you are setting yourself up for more ownership claims. And I know that is a complex topic which I have absolutely no expertise in. It's just what I'm reading online and what I feel agencies should be doing is they should be writing their internal policies so that their teams understand how and when and where these AI tools can be used and what they should be used for so that we are not just blindly typing, write me a press release on blah blah blah and copy and pasting it, but we are actually giving much more insight into the question we're asking and then editing the content that the AI tools produce.

And so you want to have a policy in your agency that says, this is where we're going to use it, this is where we're not going to use it, this is how you should use it, this is how you shouldn't be using it. I think that's the best advice I can give right now. And I think as lots of debates going on with lawyers and so on, it's going to become more apparent where we stand legally. Now, in this episode, I wanted to include some top tools that you can consider using. And almost as soon as this is published, this list is going to go out of date, but I will put links to all of these that I mentioned today into the show. Notes so number one of course is Chat GBT which is leveraging OpenAI's powerful language model to enhance customer interactions and automate content creation and also enable you to create personalised content. The second tool that's worth mentioning is Adobe Sensei and this is Adobe's AI framework which offers intelligent features like image recognition and content recommendation, predictive analytics to optimise marketing campaigns, and more personalised experience. Then we've got Google Cloud AI and this is Google's suite of AI tools including machine learning APIs such as Cloud Vision for image recognition, cloud Natural Language for sentiment analysis, and Dialogflow for building AI chatbox IBM is also getting in the act with IBM Watson which is providing a similar range of tools to Google cloud AI.

Salesforce has created their Einstein product. So this is built into the Salesforce CRM platform and Einstein is utilising AI to provide predictive analytics, lead scoring, customer segmentation, empowering marketing agencies to make data-driven decisions and optimise campaigns. So that sounds really exciting. HubSpot's getting in on the act as well. Offering similar tools to Salesforce. Sprout Social has introduced their AI-driven social media management platforms to help agencies streamline social media campaigns, analyse audience sentiment and identify content opportunities for better engagement. Number eight on my list is WordStream Advisor and Word. Stream is an AIpowered platform for advertising to optimise paid and social media campaigns, leveraging automation and machine learning to improve targeting ad performance and conversion rates.

So you kind of get a sense of how we all need to kind of move into a more strategic level because a lot of these tools are going to do some of the basic things that we used to do before. Number nine on my list is Hootsuite Amplify and this is employing AI to curate personalised content recommendations for social media sharing, enabling agencies to amplify their reach and engage their target audience effectively. And number ten on my list is Marketo Engage. So Marketo Engage combines AI with marketing automation to deliver personalised customer experience, lead scoring, predictive analytics, helping agencies drive engagement and conversion rates. So of course there are lots more tools that are emerging on the market. And as I said, as soon as I publish there will be a whole bunch of other tools that are going to help marketing agencies. I'm really excited when Microsoft releases their Outlook AI tools and how that's going to help you integrate everything, write replies on emails, and help you create PowerPoint presentations much more quickly. So I think it is really exciting and I'm definitely embracing AI rather than being scared of it and I hope you are too.

As I mentioned, all of the links to all of these tools that I just mentioned will be in the show notes now. It would be remiss of me to not include something around the future of how AI tools are going to help us both in our agencies and in our lives generally because we are definitely just at the beginning of this journey. So here are some thoughts on that. So first of all, I think natural language processing is going to continue to get better and better at interpreting human language. And I think we're likely to see really significant advancements in that area. And therefore the AI tools that we use are going to become much more proficient in understanding context and nuances and user intent in leading to much more accurate and humanlike interactions, which is really exciting. We're going to get more enhanced personalization. So AI tools will continue to refine their ability to deliver a really personalised experience for whoever is using it, which again is exciting.

I think we're going to see more integration of AI in voice-activated devices such as Alexa and in our cars and all the rest of it. So AI tools will integrate more seamlessly with these voice-activated devices, enabling users to access information, make purchases, and interact with brands through voice commands. I think we're going to get more clarity on the ethical and responsible use of AI. And as AI adoption grows, there'll be an increased focus on ethical considerations, fairness, transparency, and I think AI tools will be designed with built-in safeguards to prevent bias, adhere to data privacy regulations, and provide explanations for AI-generated decisions. There's going to be an expansion of AI in automation. So AIpowered automation will continue to transform industries, including marketing, to enable us to automate more complex tasks such as campaign optimization and data analysis and content creation, freeing up human resources for more of that strategic planning and more creative work. The collaboration between humans and AI will get better. Rather than replacing humans, AI tools will increasingly act as collaborative partner.

Human AI collaboration will become more seamless, with AI assisting marketers in generating insights and suggesting strategies and providing real-time recommendations based on vast amounts of data. And finally, AI tools will likely integrate with other emerging technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things. And this integration will enable much more immersive and personalised experiences for consumers and also provide marketers with new channels and data sources. So, it's all really exciting, and I've listed about seven ideas of how AI is going to evolve over the next few years. But of course, there are going to be many other things that we're not even thinking about yet. So I hope you found today's episode interesting and thought-provoking. And in full disclosure, I want to say that I used Chat GBT to create the structure for this episode. I used it to give me the history of AI.

I used it to tell me the best ten tools for marketers and I use it to research what it felt was the future of AI over the next five years. So just go to show how powerful that can be. Now, of course, I could have used the internet to do that, but AI has done it much quicker. And when it listed those marketing AI tools that you can use, I also asked it to give me the URL so I don't have to go and search for each of those platforms, but merely copy them into the Show Notes. So I feel like this podcast production was a good example of how to use AI to create a structure for a piece of content, in this case, a podcast. And now, once I finished editing this, I'm going to put it into cast magic to help me produce all the Show Notes. So there's a really good example of how humans can interact with AI to speed up, to make us more productive and therefore free us up to do more creative work as well. So, hopefully, you are embracing AI in the same way I am.

So if you're watching this as a YouTube video, then please do leave a comment. And of course, if you're listening on your favourite podcast platform, please, please do consider leaving a review, especially on Apple podcasts. I've included a link in the Show Notes telling you exactly how to do that and I'd really appreciate that because, as you know, reviews help me reach more people because the algorithm will show the podcast to more people. And of course, please do share this episode with your friends and colleagues as well. Now, as I said, I will leave the links to all of the AI tools that I mentioned in the Show Notes, but I'm also going to leave a link to my agency, Accelerator Live workshops. These are free workshops that I run every Wednesday morning at 09:00, a.m. UK time. And I'm going to put a link for you to register because we cover everything to do with the challenges of running an agency, so everything from time management to selling to managing a team, and everything in between as well.

So please do join me on a Wednesday morning at 09:00 for the next agency, Accelerator Live. And of course, I will see you next Thursday for the next episode of this podcast.

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