PR and marketing pros must not get sidetracked by the emergence of AI – it’s a tool to exploit but not to worship

The human and social powers of Industry 5.0 are already making the technology innovations of the Industry 4.0 revolution to take a back seat. Hyper-personalisation is one of the strongest assets of Industry 5.0 and its humanisation of smart tech will prevent AI from taking over PR and marketing.

Generative AI is now frequently used for content creation but will always fall short of the most powerful content creation tool – the human brain and PR and marketing pros must not forget this!

In this article, Jamie Kightley, Head of Client Services at IBA International, highlights that PR and marketing pros shouldn’t become side tracked by the AI boom and forget that people are the creative driving force behind B2B sales.

The majority of industries have been impacted by AI, causing the AI market to skyrocket to $100 billion. Many do not expect this growth to slow down any time soon with the market predicted to reach $2 trillion by 2030. The bulk of the Mainstream Media (MSM) being focused on ChatGPT, often ignoring how many industries have been positively impacted by AI applications such predictive maintenance in aviation and fraud prevention in banking and mobile payments.

The new dawn of PR is here

Meanwhile PR and marketing pros are becoming self-absorbed with keeping up with generative AI to fully understand the impact it will have on their industry. According to a recent Prowly report, 67.8% of PR professionals have already adopted AI into their workflows and 53% said they’re happy with their current PR toolset with AI included. However, the full impact of AI on the future for PR and marketing professionals is still unknown.

Lessons can however be learnt from other industries such as the manufacturing industry. Where by the end of 2022, 72% of manufacturers had implemented Industry 4.0 and its disruptive technologies such as IIoT, AI, and digital twins but now the power has shifted back to the humans in manufacturing operations with Industry 5.0. PR and marketing is also having its own PR 5.0 epiphany.

From digesting trends to shaping strategy – industry experts have their say on AI

Some of the big PR and marketing players have been looking at the impact of AI in the sector. A recent Cision webinar had a panel of experts assess the use of AI in PR activity and highlighted its ability to help digest trends and shape strategy so often lacking from a PR agency’s repertoire.

HubSpot found that 48% of marketers’ top use for generative AI is for content creation. But another HubSpot report on AI Trends for Marketers, done to gauge the state of AI adoption across marketing and its CEO’s conclusions, had some caveats on usage and were very much in line with ours:

“AI will never replace human creativity and connection. Lived experiences and opinions will never be able to be generated by a machine, and an employee can’t be mentored and managed by AI. … AI is a great tool for marketers to use, but would be useless without human knowledge, strategy, and implementation.”

The content creation tick list: views of a human and written by a human, because it will be read by a human!

The most effective content creation and thought leadership content will come from companies that exploit industry pain points. This is reinforced by research – 72% of marketers see relevant content creation as the most effective SEO tactic, so focusing your content on hot topics and industry pain points will peak the interest of consumers the most.

There’s no doubt that AI is getting smarter but it is still a long way from providing that personalised human element to its content creation. The most effective content is the views and opinions of a human, created by a human, with understanding that it must be fit for consumption by a human and address their pain points and issues. So it must be around a topic that is within the industry at that moment.

Hyper-personalisation to meet buyers at the right time

One of Industry 5.0 key elements is hyper-personalisation and its ability to be tailored and targeted towards individual consumers and we’re seeing it reflected in B2B buyer behaviour and the mental cues that are influencing the latest approaches to PR content creation and delivery. This is evident in a McKinsey survey which found 71% of consumers expect a personalised experience and 61% are frustrated when they don’t have a personalised experience. This all points back to the strengths that can be gained through adopting Industry 5.0 to unlock the power of hyper personalisation – a core component of 5.0.

Mental cues can be identified by looking at key pain points within the target industry and how the product can resolve these issues. These mental cues need to be woven into all brand marketing for consistent messaging. Reinforcing the importance of cognitive resonance in the sale and buying process to become more recognised and trustworthy among consumers and get your organisations message repeatedly trusted and valued.

When end-readers have personal experiences, such as those specific industry pain points or issues that come from a deep knowledge of their subject, it must be written from a human perspective to ensure it gives the consumer a personalised experience. And that’s before you even factor in that for earned media placements, where the copy will also have to get through a journalist pair of eyes or their peer review committee, all who will know the subject too. This level of personalisation can’t be achieved by a robot – even if they are trained with the words of an individual subject matter expert.

The human touch is the mainstay of PR 5.0

For the foreseeable future, large ticket B2B purchasing decisions will continue to be made by humans. In order for technology to compliment and not replace content creation, the most prudent PR and marketing professionals will apply the humanising lessons learned from other industries as they adapt to PR 5.0 amid the AI-boom.

Head of Client Services at IBA International | Website | + posts

Jamie Kightley is Head of Client Services at IBA International, a B2B PR agency serving global technology clients.

Jamie has over 8 years experience in the PR industry and is responsible for designing, planning and implementing social media and public relations strategy for the company’s business-to-business clients, spanning North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific.