AI Task Framework: What I’d Outsource To AI And What I Wouldn’t.

This is the second post in a series of five on AI. In my last post, I introduced an AI task framework to be more intentional about why and how we use AI in our jobs, businesses, or organizations. In this post, I’ll give some examples based on my previous career as an ad copywriter.

AI Framework Template for AI Use Click on the image to download a PDF template.

As an ad copywriter, some everyday Tasks and Goals included:

  1. Fill out timesheets detailing what I worked on each day to bill time to clients and projects to get paid.
  2. Research a client’s business and industry to demonstrate knowledge of their unique challenges and opportunities.
  3. Create ideas for campaigns and individual ads to sell to a client and publish to help meet their marketing objectives.
  4. Write social media ad copy for social media marketing to generate engagement and conversions for a client.

(1.) I could see outsourcing my timesheets to AI.

I envision an AI assistant that Extracts (AI Function) file use logs from programs like Microsoft Word, Categorizes (AI Function) by job number, and Creates (Level of Thinking) a spreadsheet listing client, job, and time. I could review and adjust it before submitting.

After thinking of this AI outsource example, I discovered that Microsoft is adding this capability. Copilot for time entry creates time entries for team members without navigating through forms or filling details with dropdowns, generating first drafts for users to modify and confirm for timesheet submission.

The Level of Thinking in this example is Applying a process to Create a suggestion for my time entry (AI Capabilities). It doesn’t require creativity or imagination and I maintain final human judgment on accuracy (Distinctive Human Skill). By tracking job numbers no Copyrighted or Proprietary data is used. Human impact is positive. Everyone I knew hated doing timesheets. What we loved was coming up with ideas (Legal & Ethical Use).

(2.) AI could help with some aspects of client research.

AI could Answer Questions (AI Function) like “What are the current challenges and opportunities in the ice cream industry?” An open system like GPT would give me general answers based on open sources from the internet that may or may not be the most current, accurate, or relevant.

AI is Understanding (Level of Thinking) on a cursory level (AI Capability). To contextualize this understanding to your client and judge for accuracy (Distinctive Human Skill) you need proprietary data from paid databases like Mintel, your client, or your own research. Your personal experience with the client or industry is an added Distinctive Human Skill.

You could outsource this to AI by uploading proprietary data into an AI model Summarize and Ask Questions. (AI Function). But you’re uploading Copyrighted/Proprietary material without permission (Legal & Ethical Use). Mintel forbids input into AI systems and clients are adding AI restrictions to contracts to protect their data training LLM models a competitor could use.

Some are developing Closed AI versus Open AI systems that run locally storing data on their computers versus the cloud. The ad/PR agency network Publicis is investing in its own internal AI built on proprietary data. When available this could be a great way to quickly get up to speed on a business and industry.

How much I’d outsource depends on my previous experience. If it was a new client or market I was unfamiliar with I may worry how much I’d Understand (Level of Thinking) or Remember (Level of Thinking) if AI did it all. In an in-person meeting would I be able to recall or accurately contextualize information on the fly?

(3.) AI could help with some parts of idea generation.

I would outsource some brainstorming to AI, not idea formation, but AI could give me more material for ideas by Answering Questions (AI Function). Let’s say my client wants to sell water bottles to 25-34-year-olds. I could ask “What do 25-34-year-olds who work out look for in a water bottle?” and “What are current trends with 25-34-year-olds who work out?”

With these prompts, GPT via Copilot Created (Level of Thinking) a list of alternatives (AI capability). From the list, I put together a feature “one-hand operation” with a trend of “functional fitness.” Then I Asked for functional fitness examples. From that list, I put together a humorous image or video scene of a young woman easily sipping out of her Owala with one hand while swinging a heavy Kettlebell with the other. This formulated an original solution (Distinctive Human Skill).

Evaluating AI responses and knowing what to Ask (Level of Thinking) comes from knowledge of the client, problem, market, target, and trends to discern the best and identify AI hallucinations. I’d also use my domain expertise of what concepts are good Remembering (Level of Thinking) from my long-term memory of 17 years of creating ideas for clients (Distinctive Human Skill).

I wouldn’t have AI write ad copy or scripts directly. If it isn’t mostly Created by a human, it can’t be copyrighted to sell to your client or to protect them from use by competitors (Legal & Ethical Use). I’d also check my agency and client for specific restrictions on AI. Your Knowledge (Level of Thinking) of the client and humans (Distinctive Human Skill) is better at Creating (Level of Thinking) less generic more human copy and scripts.

(4.) AI could help in parts of social media campaign creation.

AI could help brainstorm content Answering (AI Function) “What kind of content do 25-34-year-olds who work out like to see on social media?” I’d Evaluate (Level of Thinking) AI’s best, most accurate suggestions (Distinctive Human Skill). One was “personal anecdotes.” It reminded me of an insight I read in a Mintel report about unused home workout equipment.

I combine this with the text “Peloton brings the motivation of a community to your home.” This gave me a visual idea of unused home workout equipment. I could mockup the social idea using AI to Generate (AI Function) the image. I’d ask “Create an image of an unused, dusty, stationary bike in a basement with a lonely looking guy” (Level of Thinking). This image would help me sell the idea to the client.

Generated with AI (DALL-E 3 via Copilot Designer ∙ June 25, 2024 at 1:33 PM

After approval, my art director and I would consider Copyright issues. Using AI-created artwork for commercial use is unsettled due to sources for training data. Adobe Firefly claimed to be copyright-compliant, but revelations about training data may put Firefly users at legal risk. A trusted photographer may be best to ensure compliance (Legal & Ethical Use).

We’d also consider that the medium sends a message. Does an artificial human and image support Petoton’s message of genuine human connection? I’d weigh the risk of uncanny valley. When tech gets too close to human people get an unsettled feeling. That creepy feeling can be transferred into negative feelings about the brand. Toys R Us and Under Armour have faced backlash for using AI generated video in this way (Legal & Ethical Use).

I also can’t help but think about the human impact. I’ve worked with so many talented creators who add to my ideas with their expertise. If we all decide to use AI instead, photographers, models, illustrators, designers, and writers lose their livelihoods. Levi’s faced a backlash after announcing they’d use AI generated models (Legal & Ethical Use).

Creating content variations (AI Capabilities) is a tedious part of social media. AI could help Generate (AI Function) variations to fit different platforms. I could ask “Write this copy ‘Peloton brings the motivation and community of a gym to the convenience of your home’ in 10 different ways.” I could also tell it to write to a specific length for each platform’s character limits. This type of AI outsourcing is happening. Meta Ad Manager is adding Text Variations and social media management software like Hootsuite with OwlyWriter AI.

Going through this AI task exercise makes me hopeful.

Breaking down my ad job into tasks and making intentional decisions on what to outsource to AI has made me hopeful. It reminds me of our human agency. It helps me visualize what Ethan Mollick describes in his book Co-Intelligence. Instead of replacing all human tasks, we can use AI as a Centaur (division of tasks) and a Cyborg (intertwined alternating subtasks).

Once you decide what tasks to outsource you need to know how to ask AI to get the best results. In my next post, I’ll dive deeper into prompt writing.

This Was Human Created Content!

Generative AI Has Come Quick: What’s Out, What’s Coming, and What to Consider.

A table of Generative AI tool options.

ChatGPT was released to the public six months ago and quickly became the fastest application to reach 100 million users. OpenAI reached this milestone in just two months compared to TikTok’s 9 months and Instagram’s 2 ½ years.

The result of this enormous attention is that the world has quickly become aware of the advanced capabilities of generative AI. As of March 2023, 87% of consumers had heard of AI and 61% somewhat understood what generative AI is and how it works.

ChatGPT generates text from text prompts through a chatbot, but that’s not all generative AI can do. The popularity of ChatGPT also brought attention to OpenAI’s image generation tool. DALL-E 2 generates images from text prompts through a chatbot.

A table listing and describing generative AI integration in major software platforms.
Which generative AI tools will you use for digital and social media marketing?

Despite the mass attention, AI tools have been around for years.

I first wrote about AI in a 2019 post “Artificial Intelligence And Social Media. How AI Can Improve Your Job Not Steal It.” In it, I talked about how AI was being used in algorithms, automation, machine learning, natural language processing, and image recognition.

That post also talked about how AI was used in chatbots to simulate human conversion, in predictive and prescriptive analytics, and in content generation. Examples included Patern89 which has been using AI to analyze content combinations and placement for optimization since 2016. Another example was Clinch which has used AI for content automation and personalized dynamic ad content across channels for years.

Since ChatGPTs release, there’s been a race to integrate generative AI.

The race began with ChatGPT being added to Microsoft’s Bing search engine. Then Google announced plans to integrate its generative AI Bard into Google search. Other platforms quickly announced integrations with OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard such as Salesforce, Hootsuite, HubSpot, and Adobe. Microsoft and Google are even integrating ChaptGPT and Bard into Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace office software for writing, spreadsheets, and slides.

Yet they’re not the only options. Other generative AI tools include Jasper.ai and Copy.ai, for writing, and Midjourney and Stable Diffusion for image generation. Tools like Synthsia generates videos with human avatars and professional voiceovers from text prompts. Other examples of generative AI are summarized below.

  AI content generation tool uses:

  • Content research/Data collection
  • Brainstorming/Idea generation
  • Copywriting/Copyediting
  • Summarizing/Note taking
  • Image (photo/illustration) generation
  • Video clip/Podcast clip generation
  • Transcript generation/Automated post prep
  • Ad/Post variation generation
  • Video generation
  • Podcast/Voice over generation
  • Presentation generation

Generative AI tools come with new skills and considerations.

A new skill with these next gen tools is prompt writing. Prompts are the natural language used to ask a generative AI tool to produce something. More descriptive specific prompts produce better results like prompts that describe the tone of writing or style of an image. Yet be mindful potential of copyright issues with prompts to create text or an image in the style of a famous person without their permission.

A new consideration is the data set from which you train AI. Generative AI tools like ChatGPT are trained on data from the open internet. This is what makes it so powerful, but this is also what can lead to copyright issues and sometimes create bias or incorrect results.

Other AI tools like Jasper.ai allow you to train on a specific dataset. For example, a brand could upload all its previous materials to establish a brand voice to write new copy. Adobe’s Firefly draws from Adobe’s stock library and tracks creator images used to ensure copyright compliance.

With the explosion of AI comes limitations and cautions.

Despite the mass adoption, this technology is in its early stages. There hasn’t been a lot of testing. Regulations, laws, and professional standards have yet to be developed. HubSpot suggests the following limitations, cautions, and warnings in using generative AI tools.

  Cautions when using generative AI:

  • AI can’t conduct original research or analysis.
  • AI can get things wrong so you must fact check.
  • AI doesn’t have lived experience and human insight.
  • AI doesn’t ensure quality, strategy, and nuance.
  • AI can contain biases that are not caught by filters.
  • AI can have plagiarism and copyright issues.

Despite these cautions, alarm over societal harm, and escalating calls for regulation, the AI race is on. Even while companies, government, and scientists raise concerns, companies continue to integrate AI into mainstream products and services. Below is a sample of what’s been released or announced thus far.

Examples of Early AI Content Generation and Automation Tools in Major Platforms.

Platform Tool Function
Hootsuite OwlyWriter AI Generates social media captions from URLs in different tone or voice, content ideas from prompts, auto recreation of top posts, and calendar events copy.
HubSpot Content Assistant Generate copy for blog posts, landing pages, emails and other content from idea to outline and copy generation.
ChatSpot Conversational bot that automates CRM tasks including status updates, managing leads, finding prospects, generating reports, forecasts, and follow-up drafts.
Salesforce Einstein GPT Auto-generates sales, service, and marketing tasks, content, targeting, messaging, reporting and personalization across channels.
Adobe Firefly Generate images, fill, text effects, and recolor from text prompts plus create content, and templates and edit video with simple text prompts – some inside Creative Suite.
Sensei GenAI Automates tasks, optimizes and generates content and content variations across channels in Adobe’s Experience Cloud marketing platform.
Canva Magic Write Generates copy, outlines, lists, captions, ideas, and drafts from text prompts.
AI Image Generator Generates images from text prompts and various styles and aspect ratios.
Meta AI Sandbox Tools that generate multiple versions of text and backgrounds, plus autocropping creative assets for various ad formats on Facebook and Instagram.
Grammarly GrammarlyGo
Generates writing and revisions relevant to tone, clarity, length, and task via text prompts in documents, emails, messages, and social media.
Microsoft Microsoft 365 Copilot Generates tasks, content, documents, presentations, spreadsheets, emails, reports, summaries, updates across Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Teams via text prompts and Business Chat.
Google Google Workspace Bard Generate drafts, replies, summaries in Gmail, drafts, summaries, proofs in Docs, images, audio and video in Slides, auto analysis in Sheets, and notes in Meet.

Do Consumers (Your Customers/Target Audience) Want AI?

Another consideration with artificial intelligence is the value consumers may put on human generated content and transparency in the use of AI. I began this article by saying that 87% of consumers are now aware of AI. In fact, 4 in 5 of them are convinced that it is the future.

Yet knowing something is the future and wanting that future are different things. The same consumer survey reveals that 3 in 5 (60%) are concerned or undecided about that future. What people are most concerned about is that AI will change what it means to be human.

As marketing communications professionals we need to stay up to date with all these technology advancements. We should use the latest tools to improve our profession and results for our business or clients. But we should also ensure that new technology is used responsibly and transparently.

Over 77% of consumers say brands should ensure biases and systems of inequality are not propagated by AI-based applications. Over 70% believe brands should disclose when they use AI to develop products, services, experiences, and content.

You Decide How To Best Use AI.

At its best, AI can help with the mundane, repetitive tasks of social media and digital marketing management. At its best, AI will enable you to focus on higher level strategic thinking. At its best, AI will not replace humans, but enable us to be more human.

It’s been 6 months since generative AI was brought to mainstream awareness. Companies are rushing to integrate this technology into everything they do. While we wait for regulations, laws, and professional standards to catch up, let’s use our own judgment in deciding when, where, and how best to use it.

This Was Human Created Content!