What generative AI means for marketers

Wednesday, 14 June, 2023

What generative AI means for marketers

New research from Salesforce shows that Australian marketers see time saving as a major benefit of generative AI use — with an estimated six hours a week clawed back through deployment of the technology. Despite the transformational potential, marketers are also wary, noting a need for human oversight and training as critical to successfully utilise the technology.

Salesforce surveyed 342 Australian marketers as part of its Generative AI Snapshot Series and found that 71% are currently using generative AI. An additional 14% plan to use it very soon, totalling 85% of marketers using or about to use the technology.

Demonstrating a level of confidence, only 18% say they don’t know how to safely use generative AI (compared to 39% globally). Those concerned are worried about its accuracy and report a need for human oversight, as well as proper training and trusted customer data, to leverage the technology effectively at work.

Marketers say generative AI is transforming their role

Marketers using generative AI are already targeting the basics, like content creation (74%) and copywriting (73%). But many see a wholesale overhaul of their work on the horizon, with 66% saying generative AI is a game changer. Respondents cite reasons for this, including its ability to transform how they analyse data, personalise messaging content, build marketing campaigns and build/optimise SEO strategy.

With generative AI, Australian marketers also say they expect to save time and be able to focus on more strategic work:

  • 86% say generative AI will eliminate busy work.
  • 87% say generative AI will allow them to focus on more strategic work.

In fact, they estimate generative AI will save them close to six hours per week — the equivalent of over a month per year at work.

“Generative AI is completely reshaping our world and revolutionising how marketers work,” said Leandro Perez, Chief Marketing Officer, Asia Pacific, Salesforce.

“Marketers looking to reap big productivity gains need to focus on getting their data in order by unifying their first-party data sets and leveraging trusted AI innovations to ensure safety and accuracy.”

Marketers report accuracy and quality as top concerns — they say trusted customer data and human oversight are required to use generative AI successfully at work.

Accuracy and quality depend on data. However, 67% of Aussie marketers say their company’s data is not properly set up for generative AI — despite 79% saying trusted customer data is important for the successful use of generative AI at work. This is a sentiment echoed by experts.

“Data is fuel for AI — without high-quality, trusted data, it becomes ‘garbage in, garbage out’. AI pulling from data sources that are irrelevant, unrepresentative or incomplete can create bias, hallucinations and toxic outputs,” said Clara Shih, Salesforce’s CEO of AI.

Many (76%) marketers also believe generative AI’s lack of human creativity and contextual knowledge is a potential barrier to successfully using generative AI in the workplace. As a result, 78% of Aussie marketers say human oversight is needed to successfully use generative AI in their role.

Marketers need the training to realise the potential of generative AI

While Australian marketers are excited about the opportunities of generative AI to transform their work, some feel unprepared to take full advantage of it, with more than one in five marketers saying they don’t know how to get the most value out of the technology.

And while 68% of Aussie marketers believe generative AI training programs are important for them to successfully use generative AI in their role, 69% say their employer does not yet provide generative AI training.

Image credit: iStock.com/wildpixel

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