Apparently, in the time I have left on this planet, I’ve got 42,594 hours of work remaining. If I translate that into the number of words I’ll likely write, it equates to just over twenty-two million.
If, however, I was destined to be replaced by a robot, my digital replacement would doubtless have a considerably longer lifespan and be able to crack out ten times as many words.
The difference? My words would be researched, engaging and written from the heart. The robot’s would be based on predetermined structures, big data and devoid of any heart (or personality).
I say this with a fair degree of assurance, because I firmly believe that while artificial intelligence (AI) can replace many a worker (research suggests 46% of manufacturing jobs are currently at risk, for example), it simply isn’t up to the task of marketing.
That doesn’t make marketeers elite or in some way ‘better’ than the professions that suffer from high redundancy rates as a result of digital transformation – it’s simply because the level of creativity required is too great for a robot workforce to subsume.
Here’s three reasons I believe robots will never fully invade the world of marketing:
1. Marketing requires a sense of humour
Computer code can make you laugh, but only if it follows a set formula for a joke. And, as funny as such jokes are, they’re not particularly creative.
The best marketing is the marketing that sticks in your mind. It elicits an emotional response from the audience, be it sadness, anger, happiness or downright, raucous laughter. In my opinion, the latter is the most powerful when it comes to brand recognition.
Think about the last advert you saw that made you howl with laughter. It will have been devised, written and produced by humans – not some ethereal digital entity.
2. AI can’t break the rules
No matter what people say, artificial intelligence is still governed by set rules and procedures, and while it might be able to bend the rules a little, it isn’t capable of breaking them entirely.
There has always been a great deal of debate surrounding the importance of abiding by the marketeer’s handbook (particularly when it comes to writing), but few in the profession would argue against the benefits of regularly breaking the rules in order to engage as wide an audience as possible.
3. Most businesses wouldn’t trust AI with their marketing
When you hand over a marketing project to an external consultant or digital marketing agency, you’re effectively giving them the keys to your online presence and the way in which your business presents itself to the outside world.
Ask yourself this – would you rather do that with a bunch of experienced human beings with whom you’ve had the chance to become acquainted, or with a robot with whom you simply can’t build a rapport?
The answer is fairly obvious, isn’t it? Because marketing deals with so many subjective elements of a business (design, copy, web persona, etc), leaving it in the hands of a highly advanced software application would be undesirable for most modern, energetic businesses.
Marketing isn’t alone in being perfectly placed to stand up against an over-proliferation of AI-driven technology. Indeed, the above points could just as easily be attached to any industry where creativity plays a significant role.
Hang on… isn’t that every industry?
Be careful with those robots, guys. I deeply love technology, but there are certain traditions that simply shouldn’t be disrupted too aggressively.
Mark Ellis is a freelance writer who specialises in copywriting, blogging and content marketing for businesses of all sizes. Mark’s considerable experience at director level and deep interest in personal and business success means he’s ready to comment on anything from freelance writing to workplace dynamics, technology and personal improvement.