Artificial Intelligence (AI) is no longer a thing of the future for marketing. It’s here now, and it’s going to rock your world. AI is already being used to segment ad placement and personalize ads on an individual level. AI is even being used to generate original creative content, such as a trailer for the horror movie Morgan, recently produced using IBM Watson.
Creativity as a Competitive Advantage
At the recent B2B Marketing Exchange conference, James Taylor, founder of the C.Shool and noted keynote speaker on creativity, discussed how AI is being integrated into the marketing process and how it will impact marketers. AI will be used to automate many of the routine marketing tasks that now take up so much of our workdays.
Will some marketers lose their jobs due to AI? Sadly, yes. How can marketers remain relevant in the age of AI, and continue to make meaningful contributions? One word: creativity.
According to the World Economic Forum, creativity will be the third most important job skill by the year 2020, after complex problem solving and critical thinking. In 2015, creativity was rated as the tenth most important job skill.
You may have heard of augmented reality. Augmented creativity is now a thing, too. It’s the combination of AI and human creativity blended together to quickly and effectively produce creative content. AI alone can create, but when guided by a human, it produces much better results. AI can beat most people in a game of computer chess all by itself, but when guided by a human, AI has a much better win/loss ratio. The human touch will help marketing organizations get the most out of AI, and provide an important role for marketers in the future.
A Five-Phase Creative Process
James Taylor has found that while most marketers say that creativity is required for their jobs, only about half of them consider themselves to be creative. Only about a 10% of them feel that taking training to be more creative would be beneficial. There seems to be a gap here.
Taylor espouses a five-phase process for improving creativity:
- Preparation: This is the research phase, in which information about the problem is assimilated.
- Incubation: In this phase, the information gathered in the Preparation phase is set aside, and allowed to sink into the subconscious. In our busy world, it can be hard to find time to do this, but it pays dividends.
- Insight: Here, the creative light bulb goes on and we have insights about many potential solutions to our creative problem. Without Preparation and Incubation, fewer Insights are generated.
- Evaluation: Insights are evaluated at this stage to find the best candidates for further development.
- Elaboration: You’ve heard the saying that creativity is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration? In this phase of the creative process, you sweat to build out creative approaches to the best insights.
Tips For Keeping Your Creativity Fresh
The time spent free associating instead of thinking in a linear fashion improves the quality of creative. Set aside some time to let your mind wander, so it can assimilate the information you gathered in the Preparation phase of the creative process and generate creative insights.
Before you go to bed at night, ask yourself what problem you are trying to solve or what creative solution you are trying to develop. Keep pen and paper handy so you can write down your thoughts the next morning in case you have some insights overnight.
If you find yourself creatively stuck, engage in physical activity for a while to get your creative juices flowing. Walk the dog, go for a bike ride, or hit the gym.
Cut down on coffee to gain more insights
According to Martha Fahra, neuroscience professor at the University of Pennsylvania, stimulants work fine in the Preparation phase, but during the Insight phase, a relaxed mind generates more creative ideas.
Get in a good space
Your environment has a big influence on how creative you are. Natural settings, especially near water, stimulate creativity. Have you ever wondered why you get so many good ideas in the shower? It’s the water! Learn more about the surprising science of how being near, in, on or under water can make you happier, healthier, more connected and better at what you do in Wallace J. Nichols’ book, Blue Mind.
Find a partner to bounce ideas off of. Pick somebody who has different skills or knowledge than you, and understands the creative issue you are trying to solve.