How I Turned My Italian Holiday into a Crash Course on AI for Marketing

OK, I’m a nerd. I’m currently on vacation visiting family in Italy, and I decided to take a robust AI for Marketing certification course and make time for hands-on-keyboard learning of the leading technologies. In doing so, I’ve found myself practicing what I’ve been learning to help elevate and grow the various businesses of my relatives here. Who knew you could prompt Chat GPT4 with English prompts to create marketing messages, offers, taglines, and then ask it to translate them into Italian? Well, I did, and it was amazing. Not only was I able to help them in their marketing efforts and deploy copy and image testing and optimizations that enhanced their immediate sales and drew in new customers, but we also felt closer than ever. I think they finally understood what I’ve done for a living these past 35 years. 😊

What I love about learning AI is that it is a great leveling moment, helping all businesses no matter the size of staff or budgets. Writing this post, I’m recalling the early days of the internet, of Google search, of social media, programmatic, affiliate, retail marketing, account-based marketing, and even of cable TV’s entry into the marketing ecosystem back in the 1980s. At each of these moments, I found myself excited to deeply learn and quickly deploy each of these then-new approaches to gain a competitive advantage, disproportionately grow my brands, and outpace our competition with reduced spend and smarter strategies.

I’ve always been excited to bring my teams along for the ride with me. I guess if I hadn’t followed my passion in marketing leadership, I would have been a teacher. This is an amazing time in our field.

If you are a marketing manager or director, you can become our future leaders more quickly by learning and leading in AI in your organizations. Don’t be afraid of it. Jump in with both feet, and you will easily be able to methodically demonstrate the exponential benefits of AI strategies & tactics to your executive leaders and your organizations.

If you are a marketing leader, VP+, or CMO, don’t abdicate the deep learning and the building of your practical abilities to others. This is a game-changing moment. I’m finding that marketing execs and CEOs that I speak with daily, who themselves are humble enough to learn AI from the ground up, are the ones who are already far outpacing their peers.

It surprised me to see in the recently published 2023 State Marketing AI Report that despite CEOs, Boards of Directors, and CMOs stating that AI is a priority, CMOs themselves fall behind in AI understanding, confidence, and usage. It was further disheartening that of the nearly 1,000 respondents to this study, only 9% were CMOs, while 23% were CEOs. Remember, this was the State of Marketing AI report. https://www.marketingaiinstitute.com/2023-state-of-marketing-ai-report

I’m not saying that you should tackle your AI learning journey while in Italy on vacation; I know I’m a bit nutty in that regard, but find the time, make the time. Your teams and your executive leadership will be looking to you for transformational leadership in this area.

The study recommends 5 Essential Steps:

  1. Focus on education and training.
  2. Create an internal AI Council. An example given was vmware, which started with an AI Council of 2 people and grew to over 60 in just a few months.
  3. Develop Responsible AI Principles and Generative AI Policies.
  4. Conduct an AI impact/exposure assessment for your teams.
  5. Build your AI roadmap for testing in use-cases one by one and then scaling each successful piece along the way.

As a reminder, you can pilot AI tests for many use cases that will demonstrate efficiencies, marketing initiative performance, revenue growth, and deliver strategic competitive advantages. You can start with easy and highly definable use case pilots; then you can graduate to using AI to tackle higher value strategic problems, which will generate even stronger returns when operationalized across your organization.

Let me know if you are starting to deploy AI pilots to:

  • Accelerate revenue growth.
  • Create personal experiences.
  • Enhance decision-making.
  • Generate more/better leads.
  • Grow audiences.
  • Improve efficiency & performance.
  • Shorten sales cycles.
  • Improve marketing ROI.
  • Optimize pricing.
  • Predict outcomes.
  • Strengthen customer loyalty.
  • Reduce churn.

And there are so many more use cases.

Remember to break each of these down into cleanly testable elements with clearly definable objectives. You should be able to deploy each micro use-case test in less than a quarter. Include your teams in an AI use case determination and prioritization workshop of your tests and get them excited to be part of the marketing transformation of the business and of their own personal skill sets.

One final thought that I’d like to share from my AI certification & practice journey is that although many people are concerned about the loss of jobs due to AI, to me, it is clear that we can automate some tasks, but it will free us all up to have time to truly innovate and strategically create new solutions. We marketers are all creative spirits; AI learning, adoption, and scaling will free us all up to soar.

What are your thoughts? What AI use case pilots are you currently deploying?

DM me if you want to chat further & collaborate.

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