How marketers can prepare for AI’s impact on creative work

“95% of what marketers use agencies, strategists, and creative professionals for today will easily, nearly instantly and at almost no cost be handled by the AI,” said OpenAI founder Sam Altman. The prediction sent marketers into a frenzy. Altman’s statement may not be all hype, so it’s important marketers prepare rather than panic.

“You can't overreact. You can't let fear guide you,” said Paul Roetzer, founder and CEO of the Marketing AI Institute. But Roetzer doesn’t think Altman is overhyping AI. Rather, Altman is emphasizing preparedness. “Push aside the fear and anxiety from all of this and just do the next step to move you forward,” said Roetzer.

The next step is education and experimentation. Changes to marketing will be a “gradual slope, not a cliff,” Roetzer said, leaving time for marketers to boost AI literacy.

That means taking AI courses, listening to podcasts, experimenting with ChatGPT and other tools, and making sure those tools are on your mobile device and ingrained in day-to-day processes. Because 95% of marketing jobs aren’t necessarily going away, but they are changing.

“Do I think 95% of what marketers and advertisers do is going to be done by machines in the next few years? No. Do I think 95% of what they do will be AI-assisted in the next three years? Absolutely,” Roetzer said.

Marketers struggle to prioritize AI use cases. Roetzer advised starting with ChatGPT rather than getting overwhelmed by emerging tools. Using ChatGPT daily for even a couple of months will help gain competence.

Wil Reynolds, CEO and founder at Seer Interactive, echoed this, suggesting marketers start with basics like building a custom GPT to solve a problem. He recommended identifying checklist tasks—repetitive tasks that could potentially be automated such as building spreadsheets and scheduling emails—and using AI to automate them.

The first tasks that will become automated (or already have) involve data-driven or generative processes, said Roetzer. AI will produce images, video, audio, and language, as well as handle media buying and scheduling. People in these areas need to know how to use AI.

AI literacy is a career attribute. “I run an agency,” said Reynolds. “I might hire somebody who came in right out of college that can show me three or four really cool custom GPTs over someone who’s got three years of experience” but isn’t familiar with AI.

Reinforcing skills AI can’t do is also important, like critical thinking and question-asking skills, Reynolds said. “ChatGPT is going to be able to take my thoughts and say ‘here it is’ back to me. What I really want is another person to help me think things through.”

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