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Experts discuss the prospects of AI in advertising and marketing

The panel discussion at GroupM’s sixth edition of BREW on ‘Generative AI & the future of creativity i.e. AI Revolution’ provides insights into how Gen AI is transforming the landscape of advertising and marketing and why and how to use it.

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Pranali Tawte
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Generative AI

Generative AI (Gen AI) is redefining how brands engage with consumers, create content, and drive campaigns. From crafting persuasive ad copy to generating eye-catching visuals and even personalizing customer experiences, Gen AI has become an invaluable asset for marketers looking to connect with their audience on a deeper level.

The panel discussion at GroupM’s sixth edition of BREW on ‘Generative AI & the future of creativity i.e. AI Revolution’ provides insights into how Gen AI is transforming the landscape of advertising and marketing, and why and how to use it.

Panelists:

Sumeli Chatterjee, Head - Integrated Marketing and Experiences ,Coca-Cola Company

Dalbir Singh, VP Global Partnerships, Seedtag

Sidharth Singh, Category Manager ,Mondelez International 

Amin Lakhani, CEO - South Asia, Mindshare

Tushar Vyas, President of Growth and Transformation, GroupM, South Asia (moderator)

Why use Gen AI in marketing?

Sumeli Chatterjee, Head of Integrated Marketing and Experiences at Coca-Cola highlighted the three key drivers in marketing. 

One is culture, one is community and one is commerce, and the content sits at the heart of it.

She explained that social and community insights drive the culture, while the community is supported by the media ecosystem, ultimately leading to commerce.

Outlining the dual purpose of Gen AI, she said, "One is to obviously drive the efficiency which can scale up the thinking, which can actually do stuff faster, swifter, and better. Secondly, it is not a question of AI competing with humans, rather it empowers and extends the boundary of imagination."

Referring to AI as a ‘new shiny toy that marketers are eager to explore’, she emphasized the need to not just focus on the rewards but also on planning for risks.

She highlighted the importance of preparing organizations and teams, particularly through machine learning, to take the leap into AI.

Chatterjee said, “The purpose of this is also to focus on how do we do it the right way that is also authentic, but it's also scaling up the vision of what we are trying to do forward.”

While using AI, Chatterjee explained that marketers should keep in mind a few things:

  • It's essential to acknowledge that AI, like any technology, has both strengths and weaknesses. AI systems can encounter technical issues and breakdowns. Understanding this is vital before launching an AI campaign in any capacity, whether in media, content creation, or amplification.

  • AI operates on logic, but its unpredictability can introduce biases. To address this, there should be absolute transparency among all involved parties, including companies, media partners, and solution providers. They should be proactive in identifying and mitigating potential issues, even those that may not have precedents due to AI's evolving nature.

  • While the excitement around AI is understandable, it's crucial to focus on measurability. Many in the industry get caught up in the potential without fully understanding the measurable impact on the business. Establish clear metrics and KPIs to assess the effectiveness of AI-driven campaigns and ensure they align with business objectives.

Combination of tech and creativity 

Sidharth Singh, Category Lead Marketing at Mondelez, emphasized that the primary goal of marketers is to establish a deeper connection with consumers. He highlighted that concepts like ‘tech for culture, for good, empathy at scale’ became prominent with the evolution of digital media.

He believes that the ability to gather signals from consumers allowed marketers to serve them better and acknowledged that these concepts have been both enabled and constrained by the available technology and tools of the time.

He highlighted the vast potential for marketers in 2023 compared to a decade earlier. He believes that the marketing landscape has seen tremendous growth in terms of innovation and cutting-edge work. The application of empathy at scale, previously limited by technology, is now becoming an integral part of marketing strategies.

He believes that Gen AI will significantly enhance the marketer's ability to understand consumers, process data, and deliver imaginative content and solutions at scale. 

He said, "Now with Gen AI coming in, it's a leapfrog from where we were and the possibilities are endless."

Reaching the right audiences in the right context

Dalbir Singh, VP Global Partnerships at Seedtag, highlighted the significance of contextual advertising, noting that it has a long history that predates the use of cookies for audience targeting. He also emphasized that while it's not a new concept, contextual advertising has reinvented itself in the digital age.

He highlighted the critical role of AI in modern contextual advertising. He explained the limitations of merely using keywords for audience targeting. For example, he illustrated how the keyword ‘natural beauty’ can have different meanings depending on the context.

AI is not just keywords, it's image data, it's natural language processing, it's semantics, and it's sentiment analysis.

Highlighting the key characteristic of AI, he said, “AI is always learning and processing data.”

He explained that this dynamic learning process allows AI to adapt to changing contexts and audience behaviors.

He suggested brands critically examine what AI and contextual AI mean to them as it's not just about using these terms but understanding their practical implications for targeting the right audience in the right mindset.

He explained the importance of targeting audiences with the right mindset with an example of how serving an ad for a fast-food brand during a gym playlist might not align with the audience's mindset.

He also highlighted that contextual advertising provides scalability while ensuring brand safety and privacy. According to him, it answers the industry's concerns about future-proofing in a post-third-party cookie world.

Implication on skill sets

Amin Lakhani, CEO - South Asia, Mindshare highlighted that the classic debate of man versus machine is reignited by the rise of AI and it emphasizes that the choice to embrace AI is essential, as consumers have progressed.

Additionally, he highlighted three key areas within people transformation:

  • Agencies need to lead change management efforts to secure future success. Adapting to evolving consumer needs is crucial.

  • Recognizing that talent is a fundamental element of success, efforts should be focused on upskilling existing talent to meet the evolving demands of the industry.

  • In a rapidly changing landscape, it's essential to bring in diverse skill sets to address the current and future needs of the industry. New skill sets are becoming increasingly vital.

He concluded by emphasizing on the importance of talent, and the need to diversify skill sets in the marketing and advertising industry to stay competitive and meet evolving consumer demands.

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