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The Role of AI in Marketing: Insights from Our Community


July 11, 2023


July 11, 2023

The buzz about artificial intelligence (AI) has been steadily growing for the past few years, and recently, it’s been one of the most hotly debated topics throughout the marketing industry. As AI continues to dominate marketing news—and our LinkedIn feeds—there doesn’t really seem to be consensus on the role of AI in marketing. 

Will machine learning disrupt our lives to unlock new levels of growth and productivity? Or will it eliminate the need for our feeble human brains altogether? We’re all eager to know what marketers are thinking about the potential risks and rewards of AI, including: 

  • What is the role of AI in marketing? 
  • How will AI technology change our lives and work? 
  • What does AI actually do? And what tools are most useful?
  • How are digital marketers using AI in their day-to-day workflows?

To understand the current state of AI in the marketing world, we surveyed our community—including in-house and freelance marketers—how they’re using AI, what their favorite tools are, and how they expect the technology to change how they work.

Although the respondent pool was too small to be statistically significant, we observed a few trends:

  • Most marketers are experimenting with AI.
  • Writing and content creation is currently the main AI use case.
  • Marketers have varying opinions on how AI will change their day-to-day lives.
  • ChatGPT is the most used AI tool.
Graphic showing the 4 themes from our role of AI in marketing survey

Most Marketers are Experimenting with AI

Of the people we polled, 75% said they currently use AI technology to support their marketing efforts. The respondents reported using a variety of AI tools to complete tasks across the marketing spectrum—we’ll dive into the specifics a bit later in the article. 

So what about those who aren’t experimenting with AI marketing tools? Most cited that they just haven’t had a chance to explore their options yet or lack the time needed to properly research and implement AI resources. However, many expressed that they plan to explore AI when the time is right.

Graphic showing that 75% of marketers are currently using AI to support their efforts

For people that haven’t taken the plunge into AI, there’s often a strong sense of FOMO, with one person sharing, “I don’t know a ton about it and I’m worried about being left in the dust.”

Regardless of whether they’re currently using the technology, nearly all marketers we surveyed said they expect AI to change their day-to-day work in the next 6–12 months. The top use cases mentioned included the ability to generate creative assets without a full design team, streamlining workflows for greater time efficiencies, and automating time-consuming marketing tasks, like writing and competitive research.

AI Copywriting is the Leading Use Case in Marketing

Our survey found that marketers are interested in using AI tools for a range of marketing tasks, but writing is the top-ranking skill respondents are looking to hand off to the bots.

People surveyed said they were most interested in using AI for copywriting, followed by landing page optimization, SEO/keyword research, spreadsheet automation, research, visual creative production, and SQL/coding.

It’s important to note that 60% of the sample population self-identified as marketers with a writing focus, so it’s likely the areas of interest align with their professional capacity.

When we asked marketers to describe how they’re using AI technology at work, they gave varied responses, though 81% of the open-ended responses mentioned copywriting or content creation.

Graphic showing that 81% of respondents use AI for copywriting or content creation - 2023 survey by Right Side Up

Specifically, they're using AI technology to write blog headlines and SEO posts, proofread copy, research keywords, write email subject lines and copy, write ads, repurpose content into social media posts, and write landing pages and lead magnets.

Here are the non-writing use cases they mentioned:

  • Idea generation and research
  • Blog topics
  • Social media ideation
  • Find answers to questions
  • Find synonyms for common words, phrases, and jargon
  • Competitor analysis
  • Other uses
  • Chat
  • Applying for jobs / tailoring resumes to open positions
  • Visual asset creation
  • Ad images
  • Audio transcription
  • Task and project deliverables management

Some marketers are even relying on AI to cover nearly all written content, with one person saying:

“We use ChatGPT-4 and Jasper AI to write the first draft of almost every blog post that isn’t a thought-leadership piece, and every social media post. Since I lost my content marketer last year, it’s hugely improved my workflow.”

The takeaway from these answers is that marketers are interested in and exploring AI for a variety of work tasks, but particularly for ones that are often held up by writer’s block. But it’s always worth mentioning that although AI can help with content creation, summarizing, and editing, it requires human intervention to incorporate the right voice/tone and brand or product-specific information.

AI hasn’t—and probably won’t—replace writers, but has turned some of their work time from ideation and creation into editing and refining.

Marketers Don’t Agree on the Day-to-Day Impact of AI

From what we’re hearing in industry circles to the survey responses we received, it’s clear that there’s still a divide on the future of AI in marketing. Some people that took our survey believe AI is a pivotal game-changer for marketers and expect its impact to be “profound,” while others think it’ll only impact their day-to-day work “marginally.”

In between those two extremes, the rest mentioned some combination of efficiency, streamlining, and productivity:

word cloud showing the reasons why marketers use AI

Because of the immense potential (and risks) of AI, there’s not a singular path forward for widespread adoption in marketing. Like other tools we’ve seen emerge over the years, marketers will likely pick and choose the specific applications that work best for their individual business goals and workflow. But before that can happen, it appears that marketers need to get a better grasp on the possibilities of AI, as well as all the tools currently available (for cheap or free).

ChatGPT is the Most Popular AI Tool for Marketing

We’ve all heard of ChatGPT. But is it the most cited AI tool because it’s the best? Or because it’s the most well-known and serves as an easy entry point for many people?

We don’t fully have the answer to that chicken vs. egg conundrum, but what we do know is that when we asked what AI tools marketers have used to date, a staggering 92% of the open-ended responses were ChatGPT. So regardless of how and why users got there, it’s clear that ChatGPT is leading the AI gold rush right now.

Several people said they haven’t ventured beyond ChatGPT yet, but those that have tried other AI resources mentioned the following, in no particular order:

  • Copy.ai - to write better marketing copy and content with AI
  • Midjourney - to generate images from natural language descriptions (prompts)
  • Frase - to optimize SEO content
  • Jasper - to generate blog posts and marketing copy
  • Grammarly - to help you write mistake-free
  • Quillbot - to check grammar and paraphrase content
  • Surfer - to optimize content for first-page ranking
  • Google Cloud - to streamline workflows within your Google tools
  • Einstein - to turn Salesforce customer data into business insights
  • Adcreative.ai - to generate on-brand creative that bring conversions
  • Beautiful.ai - to create professional presentations

Just because ChatGPT is the most popular tool now doesn’t mean it will stay that way forever, so don’t be afraid to explore other tools in your AI explorations. 

Tip! If there’s a task you don’t enjoy, or something you need simplified, search for AI solutions to solve that problem. For example, beautiful.ai helps you create stunning presentations without needing extensive design skills or a design team. Midjourney generates images from written descriptions. And Podium is an AI tool for podcasters to simplify editing, writing show notes, and more. 

Our Prediction for the Future of AI: Buckle up, this is only the beginning

New AI tools are popping up seemingly every day. And some will disappear just as quickly. The role of AI in marketing will continue to evolve—rapidly.

As these AI offerings grow, marketers will adopt new tools, streamline workflows, and find their preferred tech stack. AI will serve certain purposes and fulfill distinct functions within every team and organization, but it’s not likely to replace our jobs and end the marketing industry as we know it.

Should we be scared about how AI will change our marketing work? Probably not (although we can’t make any promises about the likelihood of iRobot coming true). Can we find efficiencies with AI and tap into greater growth potential? Almost certainly. It’s just a matter of vetting and choosing your tools cautiously to meet your specific needs.

Looking for marketers who know how to leverage AI? Contact us at growth@rightsideup.co—we’d love to help you solve your most pressing short- or long-term challenges.

It all started with a journalism degree from Boise State University, but no desire to work in a newsroom. The year was 2006. Magazines were the only real freelance path, but incredibly hard to break into. So Amber did what anyone would do...take an administrative job. Then get an unusable master’s degree in holistic health studies that ignited a love for research. Then take a sabbatical. Do yoga teacher training. And finally, actually be a writer. A decade later, one adtech giant, three tech startups (two in cannabis), and several large career progressions including head of content and head of marketing, she now serves as a fractional content strategist and writer. Amber lives in the UP of Michigan, and spends as much time as possible outdoors.

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