AI Marketing: Q&A with R/GA’s Michael Olaye | Industry Insights | All MKC Content | ANA

AI Marketing: Q&A with R/GA’s Michael Olaye

By Peter Kenigsberg

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is making a solid case for the marketing term of the year. AI has captured the attention of marketers worldwide for its potential to create efficiencies, build meaningful connections with consumers at scale, and introduce capabilities previously thought unattainable.

We'd be remiss not to cover this trending topic at the 2023 ANA In-House Agency Conference from June 12 to 14 in Orlando, Florida. There is no better person to help our audience make sense of AI marketing than Michael Olaye, SVP and managing director of strategy and innovation at R/GA. Recognized by Ad Age as one of the leading authorities in AI marketing, Michael is educating clients on how generative AI works and how it may fit into their marketing strategies. He's doing more than talking about AI; he's using it; Michael created his profile photo above using AI.

No stranger to in-house marketing, Michael's 20-plus years of industry experience include time as the group chief technology officer at OLIVER Agency, where he designed, built, and ran bespoke in-house agencies and ecosystems. It makes Michael the perfect choice to speak at the In-House Agency Conference and give targeted advice to in-house leaders on practical applications of AI marketing.

I sat down with Michael as he prepared for his presentation at the In-House Agency Conference to discuss the future of AI marketing, use cases for in-house teams, and his excitement to be a part of this year's agenda.

AI is one of the most exciting technologies being discussed today, but few companies are using it in their marketing strategies. What are some of the easiest and most immediate ways to make use of AI in marketing?

Chatbots today are providing an easy way for brands to bring added value to their digital services for customers today because these AI-driven chatbots are so much more advanced than what we were using just a few years ago, with their ability for natural language conversations to hold on to conversation context and assumption responses.

AI also allows brands to use predictive and personalized marketing strategies more effectively by analyzing customer data and then using the insights to create highly tailored content, offers, and recommendations to each individual's preferences and behavior. In addition, present and future trends can be easily identified through AI and its ability to analyze data and find patterns and behaviors.

That's what makes AI so amazing, the ability to start small and scale as the need arises. But AI marketing is not without risk, especially when it comes to copyright protection. Do you believe this will limit AI's marketing applications?

In the short term, publishing creative work created through generative AI is challenging because of all the IP issues of ownership, either as the owner that's copied or as the creator, because right now, ownership protection is not guaranteed for each type.

Image and media owners are now training generative AI off their data only. Brands like Shutterstock provide generative AI solutions to help manage risk by guaranteeing that the image/asset generated is protected via their IP. We can expect to see more of this sort of answer coming.

Some artists, such as Grimes, have recently started to lease out their IP for revenue generation by permitting the use of their assets for use through generative AI, such as their voice or image.

Clearly, the future of AI marketing is being written as we speak. Let's focus on how in-house marketing and advertising teams can put AI to good use. Why is this an especially powerful marketing tool for in-house teams?

AI can help marketing teams work more efficiently, make better-informed decisions, and drive more significant business outcomes.

AI is a potent marketing tool for in-house marketing and advertising teams because it can automate routine tasks and processes by analyzing large amounts of data quickly and accurately and providing valuable insights into consumer behavior and preferences.

Marketing teams can also use AI to optimize their campaigns and improve the effectiveness of their messaging, resulting in better engagement, increased conversion rates, and enhanced revenue - which can be achieved through assisted AI in personalized marketing by segmenting customers and targeting them with tailored content and offers.

The ANA recently released their 2023 edition of The Continued Rise of the In-House Agency report. Eighty-seven percent of survey respondents listed cost efficiencies as the top benefit of having an in-house agency. Knowing this and the fact that 47 percent of in-house agencies have budgets of less than $5 million, how can in-house agencies justify the cost (talent, training, tools, etc.) of adding AI to their marketing toolkit?

The truth is, AI is here to stay, and it will reduce headcount, create brand new roles, and increase productivity in some parts of how in-house agencies operate. A great example is that of a prompter. Just a year ago, this role was non-existent, which is a role that, today, should be considered a significant role in any company looking to use AI creatively. AI Prompters are the new "hot" skills entering the market.

Conversely, talent needs to be trained and upskilled to effectively use AI to support their roles across a broad spectrum from finance to creative. Finally, we need to start creating new ways of solving old problems through the latest tools and approaches that AI has unlocked.

Excellent point, the evolution of roles at in-house agencies will be worth following to see how they make AI a more integral part of their marketing strategy. Last but certainly not least, what is the number one reason to attend the 2023 ANA In-House Agency Conference?

A great reason to attend the 2023 ANA In-House Agency Conference is to grow knowledge of what is happening within the industry through insights and best practices shared by its leaders and experts. There's also an excellent opportunity to meet and network with peers and share experiences, trends, and innovations. This is true for those working directly in-house or partnering and collaborating with in-house teams.

Well said! Thank you, Michael, for your time. We look forward to having you at this year's conference! To join us at the 2023 In-House Agency Conference, being held from June 12 to 14 in Orlando and virtually, register here.

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

Peter Kenigsberg is a director of brand and media at ANA. In his role at the ANA, Peter supports the marketing organization area, which includes in-house agency, marketing procurement, production management, agency relationship management, and marketing operations. Prior to joining the ANA, Peter was an account supervisor at CDM New York, acting as the agency of record for two of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies. Peter has an M.B.A. in Marketing and a B.A. double major in Pre-Law and English.