Where Does AI Fit Into The Planning Process?

The only thing spreading faster than corporate excitement around AI is the low-grade anxiety AI is creating within the marketing world. One only needs to take a spin through Fishbowl to reveal our existential fears: “Why is my client asking for our ChatGPT strategy?” “Is AI replacing us?” “Will we have jobs?”

It’s true there’s no shortage of folks exploring all-in-one AI-powered marketing strategy solutions that shortcut human involvement. Need one-click ideas or creative briefs? Done. An endless scroll of potential brand names? Here you go.

But reducing the work to a single prompt misses the point. Brands are investments that pay dividends when built well -- doubly so during a downturn. And strategy is the crux of it all. Our tools might change, but the act of strategy doesn’t.

To that end, here’s a four-step walkthrough on how to use AI to find the magic. Hopefully it sounds familiar and doable.



Forget being first.   We’re months into the AI hype cycle, now past the PR-worthy “firsts.”  The question is: What’s next?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Have ChatGPT act as a CMO or take on an audience persona, then interview them on juicy topics, trends, and problems marketing can solve.
  • Mine for insights by asking about paradoxes in the decisions people make (e.g., “10 irrational reasons people don’t buy EVs”).
  • Use AI as an “obvious engine” to pressure test plans and insights -- e.g., give AI a client’s request and beat the authoritative, competent and perfectly mediocre responses.

The possibilities are endless. Find the most important goals for your process and team.

Find the right tool for the job. Once you have a goal, it’s tool time. While usual suspects ChatGPT, Midjourney, Dall-E are easy to lean on, an array of new specialized tools are emerging daily. -- a continually updated Rolodex of AI apps -- is a great starting point for finding tailormade tools for any strategic task. Test the tools within your workflows and commit to training teams.

Check for accuracy. AI reflects the data it’s trained on. So any underlying biases in the data will emerge in the outputs of AI tools. In strategic work, we should compare the outputs of AI tools to that of existing foundational strategic tools, like surveys, syndicated research or social analytics. Verify your data and use AI as any research tool: informing, but not deciding.

Record the work Prompts are briefs, just in a new form to a new, inanimate audience. So prompts should be just as detailed. Codify prompts and outputs alongside other research and insight tools, citing sources where possible. This ensures the same rigor as “traditional” strategy work and builds credibility for emerging tools.

The tools of strategy will always be changing. AI is the latest, but won’t be the last. The more we avoid shortcuts and instead use new tools to dial up the rigor, we can unlock the creative magic we’ve never seen before.

Next story loading loading..

Discover Our Publications