If search marketing is going to significantly change, possibly reducing the organic traffic generation potential of search engines (Google, Bing, Baidu, Yahoo, etc.), what will that mean for content?
Will there be any value in creating content beyond basic brand and product information? Should you be waiting until a machine can make everything else for you? What’s the point of content creation if there’s little chance for traffic generation?
You’re probably worried that people won’t need to make content anymore because AI could potentially do it faster, better, and more creatively than people can, but you’d be 100% wrong.
While I’m a huge AI and science fiction fan, everything AI knows is really just what we know. It aggregates content, finds patterns, and learns… but if you let it run wild it will create things that are unidentifiable and therefore unknowable, making content confusing and worthless.
Just look at the picture at the top of this page… it’s not bad, but why is there a two-headed, blurry-faced writer on top of the typewriter?
AI can create content, but it can’t create YOUR content.
Not to say that you won’t use it to help in the creation of information surrounding your company and brand, but the guidance and curation of content is still solid in human hands.
What will happen is a rapid expansion of your ability to create more content with higher quality, in mediums you may have never considered before.
To date, content marketers and marketing departments in general have been limited by their access to the people needed to make more and better content.
Known as “creatives,” your standard design-oriented marketer is harder to understand than traditional, copy- and analytical-based marketers.
They’ll advise marketing and management professionals on the stylistic elements of branding that they themselves can’t explain very well, and can’t technically justify using the same methods as paid media (that being, “spend these resources and get this much money in return”).
This confusion between creatives and marketers has made “good” content generation difficult and restricted… and that’s where AI comes in.
AI simply breaks down this barrier to communication, essentially integrating the creative and marketing processes into a single, cohesive mechanism. It doesn’t eliminate the need for creatives either, it actually supercharges their abilities.
Here’s how the relationship between creatives and marketing professionals works right now…
The marketing professional creates a strategy that requires a variety of marketing methods, platforms, and advertisements. Each activity will require a myriad of creative materials, including graphics, videos, banners, webpages, animations, articles, ebooks, etc. He or she then assigns tasks to content creators and creatives to design the materials.
What happens next is a tornado of tasks, re-quests, responses, revisions, redrafts, do-overs, arguments, fist fights, accusations, firings, rehirings, reorganization, and the list goes on and on. Those last few don’t happen EVERY time, but you get the idea.
It’s a TON of work with a TON of touchpoints. It’s complicated and messy and it can take forever. It’s the reason why you hear so many stories online about the “solo guy in a basement who creates everything himself and becomes a millionaire in six months.” Way more of those stories than, “a group of grandiose marketers work together in record time to do anything.”
The solo guy won because he wasn’t distracted by outside input and literally had to create everything himself. He had no money to hire anyone or the necessary knowledge and experience to manage them very well anyways.
All he did was his best to create everything using his existing skills and minimal resources.
What this led to was a simple, consistent, cohesive campaign of concepts and creatives that all shared the same voice, narrative, and style. It arose out of necessity, not design.
That’s what the best marketing campaigns have: a singular vision executed consistently.
Does the marketing campaign have to make sense? Polar bears drinking soda on an iceberg.
Does it have to be factual in any way? When you’re REALLY hungry, you should eat a chocolate bar with some peanuts in it.
Do you have to deliver on your promises? Any insurance provider claiming that “customer service” is what they really shine at (e.g. all of them).
No, it’s just a dumb little “something” repeated 5 million times. That’s what works in marketing.
So, if all Mr. Basement Millionare did was execute a simple vision consistently, why can’t entire teams of people do even better, especially when they have more money, time, personnel, directions, connections, experience, etc.?
They can’t because there are too many touch-points in the process. Too much coordination. Too much input. Too much ego. Too many objectives are made by too many people, each with their own reasons for making the decisions that they’re responsible for making.
What if there wasn’t an entire team working in marketing? What if it was just one person’s vision? The only way to achieve the Basement Millionaire-affect is to be (or employ) one Basement Millionaire responsible for executing one vision.
Does that mean that marketing should ideally be executed by a single person? The short answer is: yes. The longer answer is that it will de- pend on the size of the company and the scale of the project.
The best art is created by the artist who is the closest to their medium. It’s the clearest communication one person can give to another when it comes to an envisioned image/feeling/ experience. The right art, viewed by the right viewer, at the right time provides an almost psychic connection.
Good marketing is art. It’s a single vision communicated singularly. How could that possibly be executed by more than one person, much less an entire team?
It can’t! It needs to be done by one… but how could a single person execute so much work themselves? You guessed it… AI.
AI will do for marketing what Computer-Aided Design (CAD) did for engineering. CAD replaced manual drafting of mechanical design. When was the last time you sketched an image, much less tried to draw a vision you have for a complicated, mechanical design that communicated perfect scale, measurements, and dynamically moving parts using a pencil, paper, and a calculator? It’s hard.
Now imagine a program that allows you to create 2D or 3D designs in minutes for designs that originally took hours, days, or months. Engineers became much, much more productive, and a single engineer could command a much, much higher pay rate by themselves.
The same thing is going to happen in marketing. Rather than a room filled with specialists trying their best to execute complex campaigns across multiple platforms using a compilation of techniques, you’ll have one person who can accomplish it all in a way that feels seamless, faster than ever before.
This is going to be the dawn of the true Marketing Professional. Someone who can work with owners and executives to create campaigns so fast, so effective, and so on-point that even thinking about how things “used to be done” will cause growth in conference rooms around the world.
They’ll not only be master strategists, but they’ll also be wizards of AI automation and content creation.
Will they actually do every aspect of the process themselves, probably not, but they’ll be trusted to execute campaigns in real-time without referencing their team or outsourced professionals.
Similar to an accounting department where one top-level executive is expected to know everything and be able to calculate, adjust, and update any aspect of the accounting system on the fly, so too will marketers be responsible. They won’t just be expected to strategize, they’ll be expected to do.
No more sending out instructions to a graphic designer to ideate concepts. No more calls to your paid media specialist to aggregate data to create reports and identify trends. No more content outsourcing to create the pieces needed to execute a campaign. Just one person will be expected to know and coordinate everything.
Again, they won’t be actually doing everything, they’ll still need high-level professionals for that.
Remember, this is a article series is about content, not marketing (it’s both technically, but the word “content” is on the cover). For that reason, we’re going to talk about the top-level content manager, rather than the other marketing managers in this speculative organizational structure.
There already exist several top-level content marketing positions out there. These include the Chief Content Officer or Director of Content Marketing, but those aren’t the positions I’m thinking of.
In order to manage the “content of the future,” companies will need someone who doesn’t simply create content campaigns, manage content creation, and coordinate the content strategy with the overall marketing strategy.
No, this person will need to manage all information within an organization, or at least any that could impact marketing or customer service.
This is in addition to content creation, but that function will take a backseat to organizationally-derived information databases that will be used to power your company’s AI. This system will be called the Organizational Knowledge Interface (OKI).
A new role will need to be created… I call it the Human Content Aggregator (HCA). Each company will need an HCA. Their primary role will be managing and growing the database that drives the OKI. This will require as much detailed data as possible about the company’s products, production practices, customer service, history, owner information, mission, principles, results, etc.
In the next article we’ll explore how and why each company will have an OKI.