The ubiquity of AI in the last year has meant we can’t avoid reading about it and talking about it, but only a small number of companies have started implementing AI in their day-to-day workflows. EssenceMediacom’s Global Strategy Director Rob Dickens has five suggestions for how marketers can start using AI to improve marketing processes.

Last year was the BC/AD moment for AI, that moment in history ever divided between before and after. It broke the Turing Test, outperformed humans on most AP/SAT exams, helped software engineers double their productivity, and enabled consultants using AI to deliver 40% higher quality work. One might be forgiven for thinking these astounding results would translate into a frenzy of mass use, but not so. While half the S&P 500 name-dropped AI in earnings calls last year, a mere 4% of U.S. firms actually used it. 

So why the trepidation? The No. 1 concern for businesses is inaccuracy – it’s just not “there” yet. After all, hype moves faster than infrastructure, and infrastructure is necessary for adoption. But with exponential advancements in deep learning, increased computing power, and better data integration, we’re accelerating out of the “uncanny valley” and into an age of reliable AI. 

Evolution of Midjourney model outputs over one year, with the most recent becoming more realistic

The evolution of Midjourney model outputs over only one year

Five AI marketing opportunities to adopt now

Over the next 18-24 months, Bill Gates predicts AI will achieve wide adoption by the general population, so to help you on your own AI journey in marketing we’ve identified five of the most exciting places to start.

1:1 Personalized assistance

The new mid-funnel is about delivering 1:1, interactive, and frictionless help. Almost every consumer journey is riddled with unmet wants or needs that AI can now address. Want help with your golf stroke? Chris Paul (AKA Perry) can help via WhatsApp. Want design ideas for your kid's room? Interior AI gives you style ideas from just a photo. 

Like Nike’s highly successful fitness apps strategy, these digital experiences do more than create brand value. They funnel sales. The hot new app store might just be OpenAI’s newly launched custom GPT Store, complete with a revenue-share model and other partnership options that have already attracted many marketplace brands like Expedia

Brand personification

The engine for humanizing brand experiences will, ironically, be powered by AI. ‘Digital twins’ built to portray human characteristics of brand mascots, characters, founders, ambassadors or historical figures will allow for new types of stories and brand interactions.

And while you can’t spell personalization without “person,” real people have finite time. A celebrity ambassador would never do 41,690 takes to mention every U.S. ZIP code, but their digital twin has all the time in the world. Beyond reducing production constraints, new types of IP licensing will make way for a more dynamic type of brand ambassador, whether it’s showing up in gaming environments with distinct personalities and contextual awareness, or lending personalized credibility to an invitation for your customers, a boom in brand personification is inevitable.

Advanced contextual targeting

If your New Years’ resolution was to kick your cookie addiction, AI-powered contextual advertising offers guilt-free indulgence. Advances in “Computer Vision” allow for unprecedented and highly nuanced analysis of videos and images, while natural language processing allows AI to decipher written or spoken content with deft precision. 

Using this type of AI targeting is possible today. Yogurt brand Danone won awards for its use of image recognition to scan in-game stats and serve ads only when a gamer’s character was “hungry.” Mountain Dew has also used AI to identify Twitch streamers who had Mountain Dew visible in their stream, triggering a DM message incentivizing the streamer to keep the product in view. With contextual AI products continuing to roll out in mass channels like CTV, podcasts, and social, this is a great place to start experimenting.

Language globalization  

Get ready for AI to bridge language divides, heralding a content globalization epoch on par with the birth of social media. Tools like HeyGen are side-stepping the need for language dubs by automating the translation of not only words, but clones of your exact voice and lip dubbing with deep fake technology. 

It’s not just translation; it's transformation. As fidelity improves so will the breadth of applications starting with ad content localization, but expanding to open up a whole new world of access to international TV shows, movies, and entire new markets for influencers. With Netflix’s especially large bet on international content, expect more foreign shows to roll out in the coming years.

Automated analysis  

AI is rewriting the rules of data analysis offering a shortcut from data overload to insightful clarity. But this isn't just about speed, it's about unlocking compound value by combining new types of synthetic AI data with large proprietary datasets. Coveted data equals colossal opportunity, and with complex automation now within reach, the final step is to connect the pipes and platforms correctly. 

Through our own extensive use and integration of AI tools, we've learned that the best results require complex prompt architecture, meticulous attention to detail, and thorough testing, but the results can change the game. 


The coming year is stacked with an immense playground of AI opportunities to shake up your marketing strategies. Don't just watch the AI revolution – be a part of it.