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  • Alison Haley

The importance of the human touch in Marketing

The rise in curiosity in Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been pretty meteoric, this year, and it’s very easy to simply get caught up in its allure and be swept away by it. Who hasn't dipped their toe into the shiny water to see what it can do? Yes, it can crunch numbers and analyse the latest trends with precision, and create quick responses but, to me, as a marketing professional, I see a fundamental issue with it. While this evolving technology seems to be cutting your work-load in half and is quite an intriguing novelty, there's something that AI can't reproduce - the human touch.

As a freelance marketer, deeply committed to my customers' success, I feel it's important to shed a little light on the invaluable benefits of the human touch and why it's indispensable even today, in our digital age.

Understanding your Unique Story

Every business has its story - a mission and purpose that goes beyond profit margins or market share. Unlike AI, a freelance marketer, with years of experience, and human insight, can dig deep into the heart of your business, fully understand what it is you're aiming to do and craft relevant content that your audience can relate to. This emotional connection simply can't be replaced by lines of code.

Building Authentic Relationships

Everyone has heard the adage: "people buy from people" and this really does ring true today. Human relationships are still built on genuine connection, trust and empathy. A freelance marketer invests time in understanding your industry and your customers, engaging in conversations, and building lasting relationships. AI can automate responses, but it can't reproduce the sincerity and authenticity of a human conversation, whether on Teams, on the phone or face-to-face. Only personal interactions can create trust, making your customers feel valued and understood.

Creativity and Innovation

At the heart of all marketing is creativity. While AI can analyse past data and predict future trends, it can't brainstorm innovative ideas or bring personal creativity to your campaigns. A human marketer can think 'outside the box', come up with unique ideas to help meet your goals, and they can breathe life into your marketing, making sure your brand stands out from the crowd.

Understanding Emotions and making Smart Choices

People are complicated and their feelings can't be boiled down to an AI algorithm. A freelancer can pick up on subtle emotional cues from your feedback and be able to change marketing strategies accordingly. Understanding human emotions enables your messages to be written in a way that really connects with your audience – addressing any concerns and promoting your company as something different to the others. If you pride yourself on a personal service, why treat your customers like numbers?

Individuality and Personal Style

AI certainly has its perks - it's fast, good at analysing data and it (generally) has a good understanding of what you ask it for but it's not always right and has some quite rigid traits that are instantly recognisable. Looking at it from my professional perspective, I've seen quite a few social media posts, web (and even press) articles, this year, that are obviously AI generated, written with little individual personality and a lack of imagination. As part of a judging panel for a recent industry Awards programme, I was really disappointed to realise that some entries had been generated by AI and were simply "going through the motions" - if you want to stand a chance of winning an award, you need to be authentic.

The Effect on Future Knowledge?

As we know, AI can generate content very quickly and, it may be argued, without the person asking the question having any prior knowledge of the subject. What does that mean for the future? Will the need to learn anything about a company or product disappear? Will experience and logical problem-solving count for anything in the future? These are questions that can't be answered while AI is still in its infancy but, long-term, if AI does take off, will the need for companies to employ people to think for themselves become a thing of the past? Food for thought.

How do I use AI? It's important to stay ahead of the curve, so like most people, I have been keeping a close watch on the development of AI and I've even found it to be useful for a few aspects of my work. For instance, if I'm in a hurry to meet a deadline, I have found AI is better than Google for finding out an answer to a question and it's very handy if I need another way of saying something, rather than consulting my beaten-up Thesaurus. However, I'm not a fan of the AI "tone". It's quite awkward and cumbersome. I believe that creativity should be free-flowing and I am able to adapt my style of writing and design to each job I'm working on - and am dedicated to learning about new subjects. That said, I believe AI has its place so I have added it to my tool-box.

While AI undoubtedly has its merits, the human touch in marketing is irreplaceable. As a freelance marketer, my commitment is to blend the power of technology with genuine human understanding, experience and feeling. There's definitely a place for AI to work efficiently but it will always benefit from being connected to the human touch.

Contact me. I would be delighted to hear your views. How do you use AI? What do you like about it? What do you hate about it? What are your thoughts on the future of AI in business?

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