Let’s make this really simple.
There are really only three components to the CORE mechanics of marketing and sales.
- There’s the copywriter, the first person who generates the marketing storyline
- There is the medium through which that marketing will be disseminated
- And then there is the buyer who will consume what the copywriter created, through whatever media.
Basically, every single one of the previous upheavals in the marketing world have always been about the medium changing.
From direct mail to TV, from TV to the internet, from internet to social media, on to 10-second video clips. And so on and on. This will of course go on.
I guess as far as the direct response business is concerned, direct mail was the first big wave, the advent of the internet was the second, and now the nascent third groundswell seems to have the hallmarks of AI written all over it.
And as with every major sea change, there are those who welcome it and others who are deeply suspicious. For me, it’s just important to see the phenomenon for what it truly is.
Be that as it may, right now there is a white-hot debate around whether artificial intelligence can aid or assist, or even originate sales copy that converts.
Can essentially computer generated, human-mimicking copy be able to convert? Will it make the copywriter’s work easier or faster? Will it make people lazy and expect too much? Will it eventually replace the human element in copywriting entirely?
Lots to say about that from all sides of the argument.
But in my mind, the most important component is still, and will always be the buyer.
And unless things get really crazy out there, it’s always going to be the human on the other end, making the ultimate decision of whether or not to buy the product. Programmatic buying may make sense in the ad world, but consumers kinda like having that feeling of choice – real or not, matters very little.
Therefore, the examination of AI should closely follow the examination of the mind and behavior of the buyer.
Can AI really mimic the movement of the heart and soul of the buyer enough to move them with copy generated using AI copy tools that are by definition artificial… and therefore incapable of the same?
For that reason along, how could AI ever be able to elicit that same reaction and emotion, with no human input at all into the process? Which is obviously the MAJOR skill all good-to-great copywriters possess.
That is the big question.
I think that for now the answer is clear.
AI tools will continue to develop and assist copywriters to come up with ideas and develop them further, but as long as it’s only a human that can edit copy and to make it, only a human can edit it based on human testing… and so on,
As long as it takes a human to evaluate whether the copy matches the buyer’s emotions – yes, those all-important wants and needs that we’re trying to fulfill – copywriting as a profession will stay intact.
The third wave is here, yes, but so far it’s just a mild swell. It’ll take a lot more to shake the foundations of marketing, deeply rooted in psychology that’s been developed over thousands of years, if not longer.
Here’s the other thing: there are things that machines do exceptionally well, and there are things that humans can do exceptionally well, even exclusively. That’s not about to change, no matter what hair-raising advances there may be in store for AI enthusiasts.
Humans may be able to mimic machines and machines are indeed starting to mimic humans, but the usefulness of that is, as of now, still largely up in the air.
So for now, the third wave is but a mere sprinkle. However, it’s probably a good idea to probe generative AI just as we would the mind of a budding copywriter, or indeed the mind of a buyer.
Let’s dig deep into the AI tools out there and see what we can find (more to come on that!). See you at PromptBase.com and other interesting hangouts!