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AI and Creativity Are Key Trends to Watch, Says CMO Survey

Marketers are doubling down on their commitments to both creativity and technology, according to the Marketing Trends of the Decade report released by the team at the CMO Survey. The report commemorates the Survey’s ten-year anniversary. It highlights 15 of the most prominent trends picked up by the survey since its inception and points to another eight that will dominate in the future.

Producing marketing magic today begins with technology-driven insights that augment, amplify, and ultimately improve human creativity.

Two of the survey’s trends have particular significance for marketing leaders seeking to leverage technology and creativity as a source of growth and differentiation.

Marketing will expand adoption of AI and machine learning

It comes as no surprise that technology adoption is diverse and widespread among marketers. Half of the CMO Survey respondents have adopted AI tools to drive personalization programs or to enable predictive analytics. Spending on social media, mobile marketing, and marketing analytics has likewise increased since the CMO Survey team began asking about them.

Respondents expect the upward trend in technology adoption to continue for social, mobile, and marketing analytics. Data and analytics in particular will get a boost as marketing leaders use data to drive decisions and fuel the AI and machine-learning solutions they expect to implement.

What can get lost in the discussion of technology’s rising share of marketing spend, however, is the “why.” The marketing organization of today is central to generating customer-centric growth. Technology has been heralded in that context for the way it can help marketers reach more customers more quickly.

So far overlooked is the role that technology, and AI in particular, will have in revolutionizing one of the key, differentiated activities of marketing: the creative process itself.

Marketers still value creativity

As a core business capability, technology exists for marketers within a function that continues to place a high premium on human insights and creativity. When the CMO Survey team asked respondents what skills they most need on their marketing teams, the first and second most common responses were martech platform experience and creativity. In other words, marketers place a premium on talent that is “whole-brained,” able to balance left- and right-brain thinking with performance and creative worldviews.

When the CMO Survey team asked respondents what skills they most need on their marketing teams, the first and second most common responses were martech platform experience and creativity.

Persado sees the priority status of tech and creativity as a sign that the two will increasingly catalyze each other to drive marketing excellence. Producing marketing magic today begins with technology-driven insights that augment, amplify, and ultimately improve human creativity.

“The narrative has always been binary around the human vs. machine,” said Persado Chief Content Officer Alex Protopapas. “As in, ‘you can use technology up to a certain point, but certain activities—like conceptualizing, coming up with new ideas, being creative—can only be done by human experts.’” Protopapas went on to note that this binary is outdated. “There’s no human vs. machine battle. It’s the meeting of the two that will change the way ideas are born. The goal isn’t to replace human creativity but to enhance it, make it more sophisticated, and take it to the next level.”

Marketing leaders have a key role to play in that fusion. A recent McKinsey survey of 200 CMOs found that marketing leaders capable of integrating data insights with creativity grew at an average rate of 10%. That’s twice as fast as the average rate of growth of the S&P 500. McKinsey calls these leaders “integrators.”

Read More: Persado’s CMO Cheat Sheet for Improved Marketing-C-Suite Communication

Technology and creativity are the driving trends for marketers and show no sign of slowing. Getting the most out of them requires good people, good tools, and good partners with deep experience.

The fusion of technology and creativity to drive business impact is already happening. Persado’s machine learning platform and team of client specialists marry data and creativity to help marketing leaders drive growth for their businesses. Persado clients see a 76% average increase in conversion lift for campaigns that use Persado technology.