The Marketers’ Community event: Unleash the Power of AI drew a crowd of 120 to Heroic Productions in Bloomington. Now this is summer in Minnesota when workplace and professional events and attendance tend to seasonally slow quite a bit. We can only conclude that our business and marketing community feel a sense of urgency to dissect and understand what AI could mean for them. As we look to how humans have historically adapted to technology — like the internet and social media — similarly the advent of AI finds us on a spectrum of fear-based questioning to a curious whole-hearted embrace.
A Conversation About AI
Because technology is personal, any individual in the room might be anywhere on a spectrum of comfort with AI; yet when it comes to business applications and AI, marketers and conveners are facing leadership roles and need to embrace AI. The event’s deeper AI focus was to help people – in leadership roles and as participants in a business setting – have a productive conversation about AI.
Tim Brunelle, AI early adapter and panel discussion lead, noted the importance of hosting these conversations in person and that being present and bringing your curiosity make a difference. Mona Askalani, IT leader at General Mills, spoke about the benefit of cross-disciplinary teams joining in; and Heather Boschke, marketing strategist and founder of Vogel Ventures, and Garrio Harrison, partner and CRO at Stoneford Partners, cited ways they demystify AI with their clients and collaborators by showing them small, specific, and direct applications that undeniably create efficiencies and solve problems.
AI and All the Themes
The engaging discussion ebbed and flowed around themes of collaboration, policies, data, ethics, uses, effectiveness, and risk. Collaboration looks more communal than ever to solve for a company’s approach to AI (Tim). Start with your current data and employee privacy policies and build from there, embracing what’s open and set guard rails for what’s not shareable (Mona). Is your data clean? AI cannot solve for bad data (Tim). Beware that AI has demonstrated it can creatively problem solve in a way humans didn’t anticipate. When it comes to ethics, there will always be superheroes and villains who will use power for good or not so good (Heather). So many uses! AI is a thought partner, a tool to help you nurture relationships, a cure for the blank page, a streamliner, a silent librarian, or a business coach (Garrio and Tim). And check out AI’s effectiveness: it has the power to increase personal productivity by 40% and deliver quality that is 80% better (Heather). Protect your trademarks and beware of bias that AI inherently carries (Mona), and mitigate risk by being intentional – is the content you’re seeking to share something you’d email? (Garrio).
Exploration of these themes felt relatively comfortable in a room full of marketing genius. Like a collective small exhale that we’ve got this… or we at least have some sort of plan to get started with AI understanding as it applies to us personally and in the professional work we do, which will impact consumers and society. Embracing AI can be a path to prosperity, and ethical decisions and preferences can be voiced and enabled along the way.
The Human Experience
We must all take social responsibility to continuously learn about AI and its rapidly changing potential. Current stats tell us that 73% of people don’t know they’re being served something that’s AI-generated. To not lose the human experience – and to fight for it when warranted — we have to stay engaged and process the nuances and stark contrasts of AI vs human. Who’s with the creators of the world who don’t want to see their work reproduced in bizarre ways that suck the joy? Who’s with Eugene Levy who shivers at the idea of seeing an AI-generated Schitt’s Creek? These are the kinds of questions we’ll be fielding in the world of AI. Best ready ourselves for the conversation.
— Event recap provided by Jen Gilhoi of Sparktrack, who covers events so event hosts and attendees can continue the event inspiration beyond the event itself. Find her on LinkedIn @jengilhoi or online at sparktrack.com. The summary captures the spirit of sharing and the themes of the event in a quick, digestible way so that attendees can refer back to it and take action; it also allows the host to archive what was shared and build on that for future events and use in marketing promotions.