AI in Digital Marketing: Real-World Applications at Velir
In the dynamic world of technology, AI has transitioned from being a mere buzzword to a transformative force deeply integrated into multiple facets of our organization. As both a tool and a creative collaborator, AI is revolutionizing everything from content creation to marketing, asset management to development, and everything in between.
As the adoption of AI continues to grow exponentially, we conducted an internal survey across our 250+ Velir and Brooklyn Data Co. Team members to understand both how our teams are using AI in their work and everyday lives, and to also identify where we see AI presenting opportunities for our clients. The findings not only opened our eyes to the vast potential of AI but also shed light on the challenges that come with it.
We uncovered the following key insights:
AI Increases Staff Productivity and Efficiency
Technology is increasingly being recognized as a linchpin for productivity, automating the mundane and amplifying the complex. "ChatGPT has been a game-changer for me, especially when I'm stuck with writing communications or simplifying complex ideas," one team member revealed. This sentiment captures the essence of AI as a tool that doesn't just do work, but enhances it.
Developers are also experiencing a productivity revolution. It isn't just about speed; it's about making the coding process more intuitive and less error-prone, allowing developers to focus on problem-solving rather than syntax errors.
But the productivity gains are not confined to the tech-savvy. "I've found ChatGPT incredibly useful for task management. It helps me prioritize my week, creating a schedule that keeps me on track," shared a member of the Experience Design team. The tool serves a dual purpose—aiding in creative and administrative tasks, thereby streamlining workflows across the board.
"I use ChatGPT to generate ideas on tackling problems, sometimes even asking for step-by-step guides to ensure I'm not missing any obvious steps," a team member added, highlighting AI's role in problem-solving and thoroughness.
"In Photoshop, I've also tested extensions to images -- the opposite of cropping, like extending the background using Generative AI, which works okay," shared a team member involved in creative projects.
AI's role at Velir is multifaceted, contributing to our adaptability and success by enhancing our capabilities across departments. Its versatility is not just in the tasks it can perform but in the challenges it helps us navigate, making us more agile and innovative.
There are Limitations and Ethical Considerations to AI
While AI is a transformative force at Velir, it's essential to acknowledge its limitations. Our team members know AI is not a magic bullet, especially in areas requiring nuanced human judgment. "AI isn't beneficial with designing wireframes or strategy right now. It still can't compete with real people making strategic decisions," one team member pointed out. This sentiment underscores the need for a balanced view of AI, recognizing its capabilities and limitations.
The issue of authenticity is another significant concern. "Photos, videos, blogs, articles, news stories—almost any type of media we put on a site can be generated but can easily be faked. So, authenticity is harder to come by," said another team member. Bias and discrimination in AI are also pressing concerns, particularly in HR and recruitment. "I tend to be wary of other tools that support hiring and recruitment since their ability to mitigate bias relies on having a diverse data set," one team member noted. This caution extends to other areas as well. "Ethically using LLM and generative AI, particularly in public-facing or mission-critical use cases, can cause plausible but erroneous responses or propagate biases," another team member added.
Aside from that, the accuracy of AI-generated information is only sometimes reliable. "I have queried ChatGPT for help with queries in challenging scenarios, but thus far I have received incorrect answers," said a team member. Another added, "I did run into issues with hallucinations with ChatGPT, and it always sounds right, by design, so these are hard to spot." These experiences serve as a reminder that AI tools are as flawed and complex as the humans who make and use them.
Approaching AI with optimism and caution allows us to augment human expertise responsibly while staying vigilant about its limitations and ethical implications.
Opportunities and Challenges Presented by AI for Clients
In client engagement, AI has the potential to revolutionize digital experiences by offering personalized interactions and data-driven insights. Our team has proposed an innovative approach that integrates an optional AI-powered search interface on websites, known as the Large Language Model (LLM). One team member highlighted that with this idea: "We could utilize an LLM trained on website content as an optional search interface."
With this interface, visitors can search conversationally, much like they would when discussing a search topic with a family member or a friend. Furthermore, the team member suggested, "We could conduct data mining and discovery on client customer data to support marketing initiatives, such as building models that we can query with APIs to help drive personalization on the website."
An interface like this would allow users to customize their website experience further. Additionally, by harnessing data from various sources, our clients would have the opportunity to create a unified view of their customers. A unified view would provide valuable insights into customer preferences, enabling them to choose the most effective methods for customer engagement.
Implementing AI is not just about having the right technology but also the appropriate infrastructure and staffing. "If clients want to use their own corporate data to drive AI, they'll need to have a data team and a data integration system," warned a team member, emphasizing that "there's a lot to educate them on to develop and support it." This sentiment was echoed by another respondent who cautioned against the aim to 'use AI' without adequate data or infrastructure, stating, "I think it's a mistake to say the aim is to 'use AI' because so many organizations don't have the data or infrastructure available, or it's just not relevant to them."
Challenges like data protection and trustworthiness serve as significant hurdles. "Protection of Intellectual Property and end-user data," one respondent succinctly put it, encapsulating many concerns around data security. Another team member highlighted the dilemma of investment choices in AI, stating, "Trying to figure out exactly where to invest in AI that will add the most value to their organization vs. chasing it as a shiny object."
Despite the challenges, AI's transformative power is undeniable. One of our team members optimistically noted, "AI offers the potential to streamline workflows and reveal insights that could take a human workforce months or even years to uncover."
If you're considering integrating AI into your business, know that the landscape offers rich opportunities for digital transformation but presents its own challenges. At Velir, we're committed to ongoing education and responsible experimentation as we integrate AI into our operations and would love to explore the ways that AI can help you and your teams deliver data-driven digital experiences that move the needle and make an impact.