The infusion of generative artificial intelligence (AI) into nearly every aspect of daily life truly needs no introduction. With this explosive growth, marketing agencies have found themselves racing to keep up with, integrate, balance and maximize AI’s functionality and value. I recently joined a Business as Unusual workshop with Anders Mortensen, agency managing director at Google, hosted by the 4As, on how and why agencies can embrace the rapidly changing landscape of AI. Here are three takeaways that I found most useful.

Establish guiding principles 

Adhering to a set of guiding principles for responsible AI is essential to ensure companies leverage new technologies ethically and legally. A thoughtful governance can improve transparency, reduce inherent risks involving bias and privacy, and maximize an agency’s impact within societal and ethical standards.

Google's own AI principles can serve as a starting point for agencies seeking to define their own foundational “AI core values" in an effort to drive and inspire future work. Some of Google’s AI guiding principles that resonated alongside HDMZ’s own core values include the following:  

  • Be socially beneficial
  • Avoid creating or reinforcing unfair bias
  • Be accountable to people
  • Uphold high standards of scientific excellence

Ride alongside the paradigm shift

AI is driving profound changes in the marketing world. More than ever, consumers are inundated with choice; audience journeys are increasingly complex, and brands must adapt in real-time to create content rapidly, anticipate new contexts and platforms, and execute quickly with fewer resources. Thankfully, AI holds the key to meeting this challenge. Effectively used, AI can quickly identify customer needs and values, suggest personalized experiences, and iterate formats across digital channels. 

Behind the scenes, AI can also help marketing communications agencies enhance agility by increasing operational efficiency. Case in point: Mortenson related that global professional services company, Accenture, projects that marketing agencies who integrate AI will enhance marketing efficiency by up to 50 percent and boost marketing ROI by up to 30 percent. In fact, for companies already employing AI, the technology has streamlined operational efficiencies by simplifying time-intensive tasks such as image reformatting, content inspiration, SEO asset generation, image searching, and more, freeing up time for marketers and designers to focus on strategy and storytelling. 

I find Mortensen’s next statement electrifying: “AI doesn’t diminish a designer’s contribution. It elevates their ability to focus more on what they love, and invest more empathy and creativity into their craft.” In other words, we live and love our craft; AI just gives us more room to thrive.

One inspirational example of this is the TextFX project, a partnership between Google and Grammy award-winning rapper and scholar, Lupe Fiasco. If you haven’t yet checked this out, it’s a must-see: watch the Google Lab Session: Rapper x Large Language Models

Approach AI with curiosity

What will AI be like in the future? How can agencies prepare now to meet those demands? The potential impact is impossible to scope. Much attention has been given to the need for competent “prompt engineers,” those tasked to create text-based prompts that can be correctly interpreted by generative AI tools. However, for agencies, the real key to success will continue to be the ability to understand the bigger picture, define and communicate the true problem, and evaluate and iterate solutions to reach the best outcome. 

As LLMs (large language models) become faster and more cost-effective, agencies will be poised to identify and leverage new and interesting applications that simplify and elevate everyday work. At HDMZ, in addition to experimenting and continually learning about innovative ways of doing business, we're investing in our team's education and identifying new opportunities to harness generative AI. More importantly, we’re applying our insights to explore new horizons in content, formats, audiences and ideas.

In conclusion, allow me to quote the helpful and insightful synopsis generated by ChatGPT, in honor of this tool’s value and potential: “The AI-driven future of marketing offers immense potential for marketing agencies and the brands they serve. AI is not a replacement for human creativity; rather, it's a powerful tool to amplify it, allowing marketers to tell more compelling and relevant brand stories in an increasingly complex and dynamic world.”

While HDMZ recognizes that AI can never be a substitute for human creativity, we are excited for the possibilities it holds across the whole spectrum of our services. We’re committed to using AI responsibly, creatively, ethically—and always with a personal touch.