AI is being talked about (and written about) everywhere. It’s definitely an exciting time for marketing, but for busy executives and employees, it is also downright overwhelming. A new tool hits the market weekly — if not daily — and everyone wants to be the first to try the next shiny thing.
Before trying one more new fancy platform, you should create an AI policy for your marketing team. Why? An AI policy ensures human oversight is exercised and there is consistency with what is being used.
If you already have a marketing AI policy, great! Now is an excellent time to review it.
“There is going to be competitive pressure to cut corners and overstep ethical boundaries. That makes it essential for firms to create very clear policies for their employees around the responsible use of AI technology.” —Why Every Company Needs Responsible AI Policies—Now
Still not sold? Consider this: Everyone already uses AI in some way or another within your team. An AI policy will help manage not only what tools, but how they are being utilized. This is important because you want consistency within your team and in your output.
Making sense of AI’s role in marketing through your AI policy
Having an AI policy is the blueprint for how your team or organization uses AI for marketing activities.
Your policy should include:
- Transparency surrounding AI-driven marketing decisions. Don’t be afraid to own the fact that your team and organization are using AI. This section should include how you use the tools and how you communicate with other team members, clients and prospects when AI is used.
- Ethical and responsible AI usage. Here is where you outline the importance of human oversight. No AI-created piece (writing, software tool or otherwise) should be released to the public without going through a human review process. Robots are one-sided and base their response on many different data points. It is up to us to review and ensure the material is inclusive, free of bias and error.
- Compliance with relevant regulations. Data privacy is essential. How is your team and organization protecting your customers (and prospects) privacy? Make it clear you are following all the important regulations and are thoroughly vetting the tools you are using to ensure they too, are compliant.
- Risk mitigation. Let’s face it, bad things happen, even to those of us with the best intentions. How are you keeping your company and customers safe? What steps should be taken to mitigate as much risk as possible? This could mean an extra layer of a review or establishing certain people or roles that approve everything before it goes public.
- Consistency in AI implementation across marketing efforts. Rules need to be established around which tools can be used, how they are vetted and who makes the final call. Everyone on your team and within the organization should be working off a list of approved AI tools; it should not be a free for all.
It’s quite a tall order for one policy to handle, so we also recommend having a designated person to manage it and review it annually.
Feeling unsure where to start? For help creating your internal AI policy, Workable has a free template that can get you started. And for external policies, The Marketing AI Institute has released “The Responsible AI Manifesto for Marketing and Business,” available under a Creative Commons license so you can copy, paste, and get on with your responsible AI usage!
Human oversight must be a guiding principle in your AI policy.
The most important part of your AI policy? The human element!
Need a personalized email campaign? There’s an AI tool for that. Need an SEO program that will reach your target audience? Yeah, AI’s got that too. And social campaigns, and website copy, and video, and….well, you get the picture. All these new AI marketing tools can really help your team produce some content quickly.
But, is AI good enough to use as-is?
During our time investigating and researching AI, we ran into a few recurring themes, one of the most important being human oversight. All these great tools are creating content and programs (and wherever else you ask them to do) based on a specific data set or sets and the prompts you give it. The output tends to be one-sided, not necessarily free from bias and often sounds like it was written by a robot (go figure).
According to Forbes Council Member, Erin Hutchinson, the use of consumer data “requires a delicate balance between engaging smart, predictive technologies, such as ML and AI, and honoring the ethical standards that build trust between brands and customers.”
Not just encouraging, but requiring human oversight when using AI tools is a critical part of your AI policy and will ensure your team is putting out content that you are proud of and that fits your audience and message. Taking a pause to thoroughly review AI output also ensures you are staying compliant, not accidentally insulting someone, and most importantly, mitigating risk.
Humans meet robots. Robots meet humans. You will work together at all times.
Good marketing (and marketers) are consistent
Before you try one more new AI marketing tool, take a pause and ask yourself: How are we managing all these platforms internally? Is there any contral over what is being used by the team?
As marketers, we understand how important consistency is for creating successful collateral and programs, as well as reaching our audience. It also applies to our internal processes and tools, even AI — hence why an official vetting and approval process is a must for your AI policy.
All hail consistency!
The glimmer of a new AI solution being introduced through your inbox, social media or that article you’re reading makes it so tempting to try it on that project you are currently working on. We get it. Our recommendation is to set up a system where all new platforms are vetted internally by one or a few team members. They can fully research, review and test AI tools to ensure the ones your team is using are the best for your projects and clients. The vetting process can also include a quick “how-to” for using AI within your organization.
When your team is all using the same tools (and applying that human oversight mentioned above), the output being created will meet expectations and perform in a way that aligns with your brand.
Why transparency is currency
Let’s take a moment to cover transparency and why it’s important. In marketing, one of your ultimate goals is to establish trust. How is this achieved? By being honest with our clients and prospects, for starters. This means clear communication and transparency about what our organization is doing or the tools we use, including AI.
We even asked ChatGPT (who we have fondly named Charlie) its thoughts on AI policies, and it also brought up the importance of being transparent: “By emphasizing transparency in an AI policy, marketers commit to disclosing how AI technologies are employed in areas such as customer profiling, targeted advertising, personalization, and campaign optimization. This transparency helps build trust with customers, as they can better understand and evaluate the factors influencing their interactions with a brand.”1
What does this mean for you and your team (not to mention your organization)? It means spilling the tea on how AI tools are being used. Everyone is using them, so there is nothing to hide. Being clear about when and how your team applies AI goes a long way to establishing trust inside and outside your company.
The power of disclosures
Charlie (our robot friend mentioned above) reminded us that marketers can and should use disclosures to ensure transparency in our use of AI tools — achievable by including clear explanations in privacy policies, offering opt-in/opt-out options, notifying customers about AI usage, providing insights into algorithmic transparency, using plain language explanations, providing regular updates, and offering contact information for customer inquiries.2
Keep your toolbox clean
We’d bet that your team is already using a bunch of AI tools to get their work done. We’re also willing to wager that it might be pretty easy to spend a whole lot of time trying every new platform or plugin, and if you work in marketing, you know time is a precious commodity.
By establishing a vetting process, you can ensure your team isn’t wasting time using the wrong programs or spending too many non-billable hours trying out every shiny new toy. Have your team submit the ones they are curious about using to your designated AI policy person. Then, they can test, decide if it’s a worthwhile or credible investment, educate the rest of the team, and add to your list of approved AI tools.
Bonus tip: Make your AI policy easily accessible
Our recommendation is to have an internal and external AI policy. There is no reason to hide the fact you have a few robots on your side. By being transparent, your organization is more trustworthy to both your employees and your clients and prospects.
Internal AI policy
When working on your internal AI policies, there are two things you’ll want to do (once it’s drafted). First, you’ll want to get everyone to sign off that they’ve read it, and second, you’ll need to post it somewhere, such as an intranet or other easy-to-get-to-spot, so it can be referenced when needed.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to have a formal discussion when you put your policy into action, as well as ongoing awareness and education about AI. A leadership role should lead this conversation to drive home that this is a top-down, all-company matter.
External AI policy
Now that you’ve got your AI policy in place, it’s time to start working on that marketing content. Even with all the tools in the world, your workload can still be overwhelming. Don’t sweat it! Content Matterz is here to help! Reach out today, and we can join forces with you (and your robot friends), to create some stellar marketing content.
- ChatGPT May 12 Version, prompt: “please explain transparency in the context of a marketers AI policy.”
- ChatGPT May 12 Version, prompt: “Summarize how marketers should use disclosures for their use of AI.”