• August 15, 2023

Nearly 9 in 10 Marketers and Communicators Have Already Experimented with AI

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Marketing and communications professionals are rapidly embracing and experimenting with artificial intelligence, especially generative AI, in their work, The Conference Board reported recently.

The Conference Board's research found that 87 percent of marketers and 85 percent of communicators have used AI or experimented with AI tools for at least one application, while 68 percent in marketing and 60 percent in communications are now using AI at least sometimes in their daily work.

"There is no doubt that new AI applications will transform the workflow in all areas of the marketing and corporate communications disciplines," said Ivan Pollard, leader of the Marketing & Communications Center at The Conference Board. "We should embrace it, look for the upsides, and focus on those places where our human genius is augmented by the power of machines. We work in an industry renowned for its innovation, and we will keep driving forward powered by the insights and adventure."

For marketers and communicators, AI serves primarily as a productivity tool, freeing up time for strategy and creative work. The top applications of AI in marketing and communications include summarizing content, doing the legwork/inspiring thinking, producing and personalizing customer/user content, conducting research, improving customer service, writing press releases, and writing speeches.

Among these professions, 82 percent expect productivity will improve with the further adoption of AI, compared to just 4 percent expecting productivity to deteriorate. Most marketers and communicators also expect AI to enhance learning and development, as well as financial results. Half of respondents say AI will help in future product and services innovation, with just 16 percent expecting it to have a negative impact.

The research also found that mid-level/junior marketers are at the forefront of adopting AI in their work, ahead of senior marketers, positioning them to shape the adoption and evolution of AI within their organizations. Meanwhile, senior marketers are the most optimistic about gains in innovation, work quality, and creativity

Marketers and communicators are more divided on the long-term impact of AI in their fields beyond boosting productivity and business results. Among the report's findings are the following:

  • Feelings are positive overall, but more tempered, on how AI will impact work quality and creativity. In both areas, slightly more than four 10 expect improvement, while almost three in 10 expect deterioration. "For marketers and communicators, a critical question has been AI's impact on creativity and quality of work," said Denise Dahlhoff, a senior researcher for consumer research at The Conference Board and author of the report. "Our research suggests that there's reason for optimism. If AI is used to inspire and augment, not replace, human ideas, the effect might well be synergistic and help elevate overall creativity."
  • Marketers and communicators are largely pessimistic about how AI will impact job availability. Just 4 percent expect the number of jobs to rise, compared to 40 percent expecting a decline. Likewise, 22 percent expect negative effects on team culture, compared to just 16 percent expecting improvements.
  • Widespread recognition of potential dangers calls for cautious AI use and greater risk management. Misinformation/lack of accuracy and legal uncertainties are the top concerns in both marketing and communication. Other worries include data security and the need to upskill. As AI regulations and best practices develop, the level of concern is likely to decline, though, the research found.

"This important research...points to the abundant opportunities and challenges of AI," said Diane Schwartz, CEO of Ragan Communications. "It makes clear that both communicators and marketers need to embrace AI carefully and with an eye toward protecting the integrity of their brands and messaging."

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