Published on November 6, 2023, 1:15 pm

TLDR: There is increasing tension among CEOs regarding the potential of generative AI in reducing the size of their marketing teams. While some CEOs believe in leveraging automated tools to achieve more efficient outcomes, the majority of CMOs do not intend to reduce team sizes and instead see generative AI as a way to enhance productivity. It is important for CEOs to collaborate with their CMOs and conduct trials to understand the capabilities and limitations of generative AI before making staffing decisions. Four steps are recommended: assess current usage, create a tracking system, schedule regular updates on generative AI usage, and continuously adapt strategies as new advancements arise.

I spend a significant portion of my time engaging with chief marketing officers (CMOs) from startups and young companies. Through these conversations, I’ve come to realize that there is increasing tension within the C-suite regarding the potential of generative AI.

Many CEOs believe that by leveraging automated tools, they can reduce the size of their marketing teams while achieving more efficient and effective outcomes. Surprisingly, some of these top executives are even considering broader cuts across various departments. In fact, a recent survey revealed that 49% of CEOs believe that most or all of their own job responsibilities should be automated or replaced by AI.

However, the majority of CMOs I work with hold a different perspective. A survey conducted by Norwest in April 2023 discovered that 81% of marketers have no intention of reducing their team sizes due to generative AI. Furthermore, 22% of those surveyed plan to actually increase headcount because they believe that gen AI can enhance the productivity levels of their marketing teams.

It is important to acknowledge that gen AI is not an immediate solution, at least not yet. We are still in the early stages of understanding its capabilities and limitations. There are key considerations such as its impact on employee morale and retention, copyright infringement concerns, bias amplification risks, and data privacy issues.

As a piece of advice for CEOs, it is crucial to collaborate with your CMO before making any staffing decisions. Together, you should conduct focused and measurable trials using generative AI tools. The insights gained from these tests will allow you to shape both your organizational design and marketing strategies.

Now let’s discuss four concrete steps that can optimize your investment in generative AI and drive positive business outcomes:

1. Assess Current Usage:
Begin by evaluating how generative AI is currently being utilized within your marketing team. You might be surprised by its wide-ranging adoption across areas such as content production, corporate messaging, product messaging, organizational design, image generation, presentation slides, and meeting summaries. Over time, you can identify patterns and determine which tasks should remain with the marketing team and which ones can be allocated to generative AI tools. This will enable your staff to focus on more strategic work.

2. Create a Tracking System:
Establish a system for tracking generative AI use cases within your organization. This can be as simple as creating a spreadsheet or database where marketing leaders contribute their insights and experiences. Date-marked inputs on the tools used, best/worst use cases, query hacks, and other considerations can be recorded in this shared repository. It serves as a platform to exchange lessons learned among colleagues and CMOs within your organization.

3. Regular Updates:
To keep up with the rapid evolution of technology, it is essential to schedule regular updates on generative AI usage. A monthly or quarterly cadence allows for ongoing discussions and knowledge sharing. The reports provided by the CMO should address pertinent questions regarding the impact, effectiveness, and potential improvements of using generative AI tools.

4. Continuously Adapt:
Remember that generative AI technology is ever-evolving. It is crucial to stay agile in adapting your strategies as new advancements arise. Embrace a culture of continuous learning and improvement based on the insights gained from implementing generative AI in your marketing efforts.

By following these steps, you can optimize your investment in generative AI, drive positive outcomes for your business, and ensure that your staffing decisions align with long-term growth objectives.

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