AI has rapidly infiltrated the marketing technology world and any new martech tool without AI is every bit as interesting as cold oatmeal. While marketers have a famous appetite for technology and the uptake of marketing AI is accelerating, there are still a lot of questions, and trepidation around all the new tech. So where do marketers lie on the spectrum of AI panic and elation? That’s what Invoca’s new State of AI in Digital Marketing Report is out to uncover.
After two years of tight budgets, a stabilizing economy and a reduced threat of recession will once again open up budgets and realign strategies to growth. Because of this, marketers will be putting their money where their mouths are when it comes to AI in 2024. Nearly 90% of respondents said that they will increase their investment in AI next year and an equal number said they will have a budget dedicated to AI-powered martech.
Smaller companies will invest more in AI than larger companies with 42% of those at companies with fewer than 1,000 employees saying they will significantly increase their AI investment in 2024 compared to 27% at companies with over 1,000 employees.
Marketers are a confident bunch, and likewise, almost all marketers surveyed (93%) say they have expert or advanced-level knowledge of AI, making it clear that they are very confident in their AI skills.
While it’s great to see this level of confidence among marketers, some of the optimism is likely unfounded as not everyone can be an expert and a leader. Additionally, respondents cited “lack of knowledge of AI solutions” as the #2 barrier to AI adoption, which directly contradicts the lofty level of expertise.
They also feel similarly about their companies, as 87% say that their organizations are more advanced AI users than the competition. If this were the case, there would probably be a massive spike in marketing AI company IPOs and a lot more rah-rah around the industry!
There are plenty of people sounding the AI alarm bells, warning of everything from job displacement to Terminator-esque dystopian scenarios. Marketers, though, are downright sanguine regarding the future of AI. Nearly all respondents say they’re more interested in AI than last year.
However, most also think that not staying current with the latest AI technologies can end up costing them career opportunities in the future. The highest cost of not staying current with AI is the cost of doing nothing.
The most often-touted fear of AI is that it will replace jobs and cause massive displacement in the job market. Despite all of the AI-fueled optimism, 41% of marketers think that AI will replace more jobs than it creates in 2024. A slim majority believe that AI will create more jobs than it replaces.
Marketers all want to be AI frontrunners and have a lot of good reasons to lead the pack, but adopting nascent technology is not without its risks.
Besides the fear of sentient AI robots kicking down their doors, what’s stopping marketers from adopting AI? The biggie is data security concerns. Companies are concerned about how AI tool process and protect their data, and the black-box nature of many AI tools does not inspire confidence. And lack of knowledge of AI solutions is the #2 reason—surprising given that 93% of marketers report being AI experts!
Our adventure with AI has only just begun, and the innovations and changes in our day-to-day that we’ll experience over the next few years will be extraordinary. Will AI’s impact on marketing will be greater than the internet itself? We’ve yet to see, but it’s clear that marketers are looking forward to discovering everything they can accomplish with it.