Growing investment in AI talent and applications

Chief Marketing Officers are setting their sights on generative artificial intelligence (AI) to transform the marketing industry. An impressive 80% of top creative positions are preparing to integrate generative AI more extensively by 2026. The objective? Achieve unique and compelling results that distinguish their brands in a competitive marketplace. 

Generative AI offers a suite of capabilities that automate and improve creative processes, amplifying productivity and allowing marketing professionals to allocate their time to more strategic and quality-focused initiatives. This surge in adoption reflects a broader trend whereby businesses are keen to leverage cutting-edge technology to streamline operations and foster innovation.

Impact of generative AI on organic search traffic

Experts predict a shift in how consumers interact with online content, predicting a 50% or greater decline in organic search traffic to brands by 2028. The rise of generative AI is influencing how users discover and engage with online information. 

As AI-powered search engines become more adept at delivering precise and tailored responses directly to user queries, the traditional click-through to websites may diminish. 

This trend signals a transformative period for digital marketers, who must rethink strategies to maintain visibility and engagement in an evolving digital ecosystem where direct interactions with brand websites could become less frequent.

Adjusting marketing strategies due to AI in search engines

With rapid AI advancements, users may find their search experiences becoming more streamlined and efficient, potentially reducing the number of websites they visit. This evolution presents a challenge for brands reliant on search engine optimization (SEO) to drive traffic to their sites. 

In response, brands are compelled to reassess and diversify their marketing strategies. Exploring alternative channels becomes imperative to ensure visibility and engagement in a milieu where traditional SEO might not yield the same results. Brands are motivated to innovate and adopt a multi-channel approach to reach their audience to remain competitive and visible in the new AI-transformed digital environment.

Need for AI guardrails

The projected decline in organic traffic points to the pressing need for marketing leaders to implement AI guardrails. These protective measures are key for preserving the integrity and effectiveness of digital marketing strategies in the face of AI’s rapid advancement. 

AI guardrails refer to a set of ethical guidelines and best practices designed to make sure that AI applications are transparent, fair, and accountable. As generative AI continues to influence consumer behavior and brand interactions, these guardrails will help companies navigate potential challenges, maintain consumer trust, and mitigate risks associated with AI-driven distortions in market visibility and brand perception. 

Marketing professionals are being called upon to adopt these guardrails proactively, safeguarding their strategies against the disruptive forces of AI while optimizing the technology’s potential to enhance customer engagement and drive business growth.

Generative AI adoption cuts both ways

Marketing teams can leverage AI to generate innovative content, design ideas, and personalized marketing strategies rapidly, which would have taken much longer to produce manually. This acceleration allows marketers to focus on more strategic, high-level tasks rather than getting bogged down in routine, time-consuming work. 

However, as AI takes a more central role in creative processes, there’s a growing debate about the authenticity of AI-generated content. The question arises: can AI truly replicate the human touch that resonates with audiences? As marketers increasingly rely on AI, striking the right balance between leveraging AI for efficiency and maintaining the authentic, human-driven creativity that consumers value becomes a key consideration.

Association with disinformation

The ability of AI to produce content at scale raises the risk of spreading inaccurate or misleading information. For marketers, the challenge is twofold: ensuring their AI-generated content is accurate and trustworthy, and navigating a marketplace where consumers may be skeptical of content authenticity due to widespread AI use.

This environment necessitates a heightened focus on verifying and validating AI-generated content to maintain consumer trust and uphold brand integrity. As generative AI evolves, marketers must remain vigilant in distinguishing between genuine and AI-generated content, ensuring that their use of AI supports truthful, reliable communication with their audience.

The rise of AI-Free brand differentiation

Brands are beginning to recognize the value of positioning themselves as AI-free to stand out in a saturated market. By 2027, projections indicate that 20% of brands will embrace this approach, using their lack of AI integration as a key point of differentiation. 

This trend is part of a pivot whereby companies are reacting to technological advancements while actively shaping their brand identities around the absence of AI. Such a stance can appeal to a segment of consumers who value traditional or human-centric experiences over those mediated by AI, offering a unique competitive edge in a tech-heavy landscape.

Consumer trust and authenticity

With 72% of consumers expressing concerns about AI’s potential to spread false information, there is a palpable sense of skepticism towards AI-driven content and interactions. This concern stems from broader issues related to digital misinformation, where AI’s ability to generate convincing yet potentially deceptive content is alarming. 

Brands that choose to distance themselves from AI tap into this consumer apprehension, positioning themselves as bastions of authenticity in an increasingly digital world. They offer transparency and human touch as antidotes to the impersonal and sometimes dubious nature of AI-generated content, aligning their brand values with the desires of consumers who prioritize genuineness and reliability.

Negative views on social media and AI integration

Consumer sentiment towards social media is increasingly fraught, with more than half of the respondents holding negative views. This skepticism extends to the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) in social platforms, with 70% fearing that such technological advancements could further degrade their online experiences. 

Concerns range from the spread of misinformation to the erosion of genuine human interaction, reflecting a broader anxiety about the encroachment of AI into personal and social spheres. 

As AI becomes more sophisticated, its ability to mimic human behavior or generate content indistinguishable from that created by humans raises alarms about the authenticity of online interactions and the trustworthiness of information shared on these platforms.

The “Acoustic” strategy for brand differentiation

In response to these growing consumer apprehensions, a segment of brands is adopting what’s termed the “acoustic” strategy, which emphasizes human-centered experiences and interactions. 

This approach seeks to differentiate these brands from their AI-reliant counterparts by highlighting their commitment to maintaining a human touch in their services and communications. Focusing on authenticity and personal connection helps these brands better resonate with consumers who seek real human engagement in an increasingly automated world. 

AI risk mitigation tools

With the growing integration of artificial intelligence (AI) in marketing, 60% of marketing chiefs are gearing up to implement content-authenticating technology and leverage user-generated content by 2026. 

Content-authenticating technology will help against the proliferation of AI-generated misinformation, helping brands verify the authenticity of their content before it reaches the audience.

User-generated content, inherently perceived as more genuine and less susceptible to AI manipulation, offers a way for brands to engage audiences with materials that resonate with authenticity and human touch.

Tim Boesen

March 20, 2024

6 Min