Marketers are incredibly stressed right now—there’s a large volume of content that needs to be created for their website, emails and social media channels, to name a few, and all that content needs to be consistent with their brand voice. The content should also be sensitive to the larger social context of, to put it nicely, the mess that was 2020.
According to research from Dynata, almost two-thirds of marketers(64%) report that COVID-19 increased the importance of language when connecting with customers, and 30% of senior marketers say that their CEO pays more attention to what they’re saying now than before the pandemic. Gabrielle Stafford, VP of Global Marketing for Groupon, spoke to me about the conversations she had with C-suite leaders about the appropriateness of two subject lines.
“If you think about the scale of emails we send globally — we’re talking billions a month — the fact that our C-suite are scanning subject lines to ensure that we’re being appropriate is testament to how important language has become for us,” explained Stafford.
OK, so, we need content that’s sensitive but still in the brand’s voice. Tall order, but it’s doable, right? Yes, but it’s much harder than you might think.
The breakneck pace of the current news cycle makes staying sensitive hard. A few months ago, you may have used the fire emoji to announce a hot sale to potential buyers, but you’d never do that now after seeing the red skies in California.
Being sensitive is tricky, but it’s also hard to create the amount of content a company needs. A full 82% of marketers struggle to create enough high-quality branded content because they don’t have enough time, money or people. In addition, 51% say they’re unable to create consistent messaging across all channels, at scale and aligned to their brand — that’s more than half!
It’s clear that marketers need a lifeline. Fortunately, AI is here to help. More marketers are turning to AI to help them overcome their content challenges. In fact, 73% plan to invest in AI to support marketing over the next 18 months.
“When you operate at the scale we do globally — across eight or nine languages and 13 or 14 markets — the only way you can consistently do this is by using technology and automation,” said Stafford.
Global brand are embracing AI-powered copywriting to solve exactly this marketing stumbling block. You might be surprised to learn that 37% of the marketers who are bringing in AI are planning on using it specifically for copywriting. AI presents an understandable fear of the unknown — can computerized software really create content that sounds human and write in a brand’s voice?
“Handing over such a visible part of our brand expression to a machine definitely felt uncomfortable for some,” said Gareth Jones, Global CMO at FARFETCH. “The key has been to provide strict tone-of-voice guidance and more human supervision at the start.”
Most marketers agree with Jones — 53% believe that tech in marketing should have human oversight, which is true. You can’t just turn on a machine and walk away. Human oversight, especially in the beginning, is crucial to success. Humans must teach the machine how to behave for it to use its vast analytics capabilities to teach us what’s working.
It’s clear that marketers are in a tough spot. If they’re going to churn out high-quality content that’s in their brand voice and sensitive to everything going on in the world, they’re going to need to partner with AI. Fortunately, AI is easier than ever to implement. The key is to start small with a single aspect of marketing, establish a good system and then expand. Before you know it, your entire team will be breathing easier.