Modern Marketing Reckoner 2024: Bohemian Rhapsody

Music, especially classic rock has been a huge influence. And I end up looking for similarities between music to the happenings of the media ecosystem. Here I go again (Hello, Whitesnake). 

Before the 2018 movie, Queen was perhaps best known for the pub anthem – I want to break free. Legions of listeners, young and old, jived to it for ages. Ask any Queen fan albeit, this was one of their okay-ish works. Perhaps their seminal piece was Bohemian Rhapsody, which blended various musical genres – ballads, hard rock, opera and a reflective coda. Who would’ve thought that Scaramouche, Fandango, Galileo, FigaroBeelzebub and an incantation of ‘Bismillah’ could all be woven into a lyrical and musical, once in a generation masterpiece! It influenced a series of musicians and bands that came later. 

The massification of AI is also one such generational shift that is set to influence tectonic changes around nearly every aspect of our being. Media and marketing will be no exception. The advertising industry has till now looked at AI like a boogeyman and a blessing; in equal measure. 

There’s trepidation about the loss of jobs in an industry that’s already reeling from multiple challenges. There’s also worry about the slew of misinformation and logistical challenges AI could bring which potentially harm brands and mislead consumers. 

And then there’s excitement about possibilities – on how AI can bolster human ingenuity. There shouldn’t be much doubt that an increasingly intertwined future awaits us – one where human understanding of consumers/challenges is suffused with optionality powered by AI. 

We can see this playing out already. Much has been written and spoken about the Coca-Cola AI commercial. However, one inspirational AI driven communication was the one done by Orange for the FIFA Women’s world cup. Check it out on YouTube. The ad busts a few preconceptions – around women’s football not being exciting enough and more pertinently for this write-up – AI is not the enemy. Juxtaposing AI with insights when done right can create magic. 

Over the last decade, across geographies, digital has subsumed larger importance than most other media channels. India is no exception – 2022 was a watershed moment where digital Adex surpassed 50%. I’ll thus talk of a few AI led emerging trends now, largely centered around digital marketing and advertising. 

  1. AI led creatives – The need for multiple images, backgrounds and copies can be seamlessly managed. There’s a whole bunch of tools available – from basic CHAT GPT wrappers to Midjourney. Expect a proliferation in usage in the near term on both ends of the spectrum.
  2. Run creative messaging tests at scale/predict efficacy – AI tools today allow to test hundreds or thousands of ad copies and creative variations quickly and automatically. And improve speed to market and campaigns efficacy both. 
  3. Hyper personalization – Digital has been powered by machine learning for over 20 years now. Targeting by cohorts, geography, previously exhibited behavior etc. among many other dimensions. Think of all of this being dialed up a notch now – Rather than just language, imagine ad creatives getting transformed based on user motivations. User A might see content that emphasizes discounts and value, while User B may see a speed communication. There can be innumerable dimensions that can be created vs a limited pool of content pieces that brands had to historically work with. 
  4. Optimize budgets and performance – AI is your best friend in optimizing ad campaigns for higher ROAS and to adjust advertising budgets automatically to hit the desired KPIs. 
  5. Social Media Monitoring – There already exist tools that perform this task, however, using AI-based tools is guaranteed to fetch better results. Once can also better understand the performance of competition and respond accordingly. Another social media use case can be Influencer marketing optimization – AI algorithms can analyze influencer performance metrics, audience demographics and engagement data to identify who’s doing well or not.    
  6. Customer Support – AI-powered chatbots have made it increasingly possible for companies to provide real-time customer support to their consumers. Customer support will become more democratic vs it being the purview of only scaled organizations.
  7. Cross channel attribution modeling – Conversion and sales to specific touch points across multiple channels, providing a holistic view of consumer journeys can be facilitated by AI.

It is contingent on all marketing teams to stay updated on emerging trends and maximize. The tools are already available, teams need to learn to use them to propel growths. Speed in learning and harnessing these changes can be a strategic differentiation. By the time this article grows to print, there will be 4-5 additional use cases that would’ve been conceived given the pace of rapid development in this space. 

Closing the note with another Queen classic that sums up these fantastical changes and speed – Don’t stop me now, (Don’t stop me now) ’cause I’m having a good time, I don’t wanna stop at all!

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