By Alyssa Ermish
Whether you work in the fast-paced marketing world or you’re just an average person trying to scroll through your favorite apps, conversations regarding AI seem inescapable right now — and that’s not likely to change anytime soon.
When our children and grandchildren take their history courses, our current era will more than likely be regarded as a period of great instability. With political, economic, and social turmoil, the conditions are ripe for culturally significant change as many in C-suite positions try to find novel ways to cut costs and discover the next fresh trend that can both save money and drive better results.
Unfortunately for us all, the current buzzword is AI. Much like Boston Dynamics’ Spot, instead of a fascinating and promising technology propelling us into a brighter future, it appears to be threatening to kick us off the cliffside to plummet towards a dystopian hellscape. Increasingly, the question on executives’ minds seems to be: “How many of our writers, graphic designers, and project managers can we replace with AI?”
With that in mind, we know that we won’t be the first or the last ones to present an argument against a total reliance on AI — but from a community manager’s point of view, here are just a few of the reasons I think you shouldn’t (and can’t!) ditch your creative team members for artificial intelligence.
1. AI Doesn’t Know How to Be Funny
Whether your content strategy relies on irreverence and humor or avoids it as much as possible, what memes and pop culture-reliant posts make abundantly clear is that AI chatbots and programs aren’t up to par.
AI makes decisions and generates content based on large samples of prior work created by real people, never creating anything truly original. Of course, the same could potentially be said of humans, but an AI certainly can’t pinpoint timely pop culture moments as they happen and create a meme template on its own.
AI lacks the context surrounding images to determine the emotions or references they hold. More importantly: Whether you’re working with AI-driven language processing tools or image creators, we are still the only thinking minds that can understand the nuance, timing, and culture that affects us.
A generation’s absurdist humor driven by disillusionment, the cultural anxieties reflected in our art and comedy, and coping mechanisms like dark humor are all well beyond the reach of AI tools. Though these programs’ shotgun-like approach may inadvertently strike the right note with us from time-to-time, they’re far and few between and still more outlandish than they are relatable.
2. AI Just Isn’t Human Enough
As I write this, please know that I am in fact prepared to fistfight my copyeditor over this statement: There is such a thing as “too perfect” and “too proper” in writing.
Humans are sublimely flawed creatures visually, physically, logically, etc — and as much as we might strive to change that, we know well that over-perfection can quickly veer us into the uncanny valley. Whether we’re staring into the cold and unblinking eyes of robots like Hanson Robotics’ Sophia or reading the too-perfect, sometimes nonsensical, and overly superfluous writing that ChatGPT spits out, we’re quite good at spotting things that aren’t human in the right ways.
With all that being said, don’t make the mistake of dismissing AI language tools entirely — ChatGPT can’t replace a good team of writers, but it can give them a list of buzzwords for inspiration, point to weak language, and introduce phrases that can boost click-through-rates. Writers still have a story that needs to be coherently arranged and edited — whether the final product includes a content strategy, ad campaign, rebranding, script, or book — and AI can sometimes help expedite that process.
3. AI Can’t Replace UGC or Creator Content
As we like to remind our clients at WideFoc.us, relatability is vital when conversions are on the table — and one of the best ways to find relatable and reliable content is through your audience.
By sourcing from real people, you often get honest opinions — which helps build your brand’s reputation and makes your content and campaigns infinitely more clickable. According to Tint, 62% of consumers report that they are more likely to click on content like ads, websites, social posts, or emails when customer photos are featured. Additionally, consumer content has been seen to decrease ad cost-per-click by 50% and increase web conversions by 29%.
Though AI image generators like DALL-E 2, Midjourney, and even Canva may be able to create flashy and surreal imagery for your brand that catches user attention, if it’s not utilized appropriately all it will create is more impressions without any significant ROI.
The way we think about AI-created images in five years will likely be akin to how we view clickbait titles and graphics now — though it has its place and there are clearly compelling things we can learn by using it, it’s quickly going to wear out its welcome with audiences and lose its effectiveness for your brand even faster.
4. AI Can’t Provide Quality Customer Interactions
Any of us who have ever had to interact with an chatbot or phone bot know how frustrating it is to solve a problem when no real person is readily accessible. It’s not just bad for your consumers, it’s bad for your business — and worse for your brand image.
Sprout Social reported that in 2021, 37% of Gen X consumers, 60% of Millennials, and 58% of Gen Z consumers used social media for customer service. You may be able to rely on ChatGPT to help write content, and it can monitor your inboxes for time-sensitive messages and comments, but when it comes to an authentic reply, you’ll want a person to smooth things over.
Sprout also found that when brands take too long to respond — or don’t respond at all — 36% of consumers will share their negative experience with friends and family, 31% won’t complete their purchase, and 30% will buy from a competitor instead. In just a short amount of time, that can add up to a major loss in revenue.
5. AI Is Lagging
AI as it exists now relies on previous work from real people to create a database of information. From there it can make fairly accurate predictions on behavior — but if anything original or outside of that data collection is introduced, it’s not likely to know what to do next.
Boiled down plain and simple? This means AI doesn’t have the ability to be agile and pivot strategically when algorithms, news cycles, company crises, and apps change over time. It also means that your marketing can unwittingly start to become repetitive and stale.
What may have worked for another brand may not strike the right tone with your audience and can actually set your progress back — unfortunately, a computer program would have no way of knowing any of this.
In short, there are just too many things that creative teams — like ours at WideFoc.us — can do that programs can’t. Ultimately, the executives who understand that AI is an efficiency tool for their teams — as opposed to something that allows them to forsake their workforce altogether — are the ones who will find success as the digital marketing space continues to evolve.
Whether you need in-depth analysis, culturally relevant meme posts, customer service and real-time monitoring, or a comprehensive influencer strategy, there’s just no true replacement for the real deal. Contact us for a free strategy session to see how your brand can utilize these strategies and come out on top during the recession without unnecessary layoffs.
Alyssa Ermish is a community manager at WideFoc.us with a passion for written language. Armed with her knowledge of the latest trends in the digital marketing space and her chameleon-like ability to match her writing to the tone your brand needs, she is the cross-stitching, sticker collecting, social media junky you didn’t even know you were looking for.