The Role of AI in Marketing A Conversation with Katie Robert 16

AI-driven versus Artisanal

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30% of jobs, 80% of jobs, 100% of jobs. AI will take all the jobs. These are the headlines we read every single day. Worry about AI. Your job is not safe.

“As person skilled at AI is more productive than a person who is not” – Chris Penn

“By 2030, activities that account for up to 30 percent of hours currently worked across the US economy could be automated—a trend accelerated by generative AI. ” McKinsey & Company

We’re all scared to lose our job to AI soon, right? AI is going to make processes more efficient. AI is going to take repetitive tasks. AI is going to run your life.

I don’t know. I have a different perspective on this. I agree that AI is going to do all this, and more. However, I also feel like there will be space for those that choose not to let AI run everything for them.

The best example I can give is Amazon versus Etsy. Amazon, in this example, is the AI-driven store where processes are efficient, prices are low, and they deliver goods within hours. Etsy is the artisan shop where prices are higher, goods are hand-made, and delivery happens with the item is ready. I’m aware that Amazon has a small business, curated good section, and that some Etsy shops operate like Amazon. But for the sake of this post, let’s pretend we don’t know those things.

Let’s explore the pros and cons of AI-driven versus Artisanal. Also, if anyone can suggest a better word than artisanal, I’m all ears.


In this example, goods are mass produced by Amazon and hand-made to order on Etsy. If you think about the marketing you do there are going to be cases where mass produced things are good. There are also going to be cases where you want something hand-made. If you are running ads and trying to test a lot of variations and adjust bids and targets, AI is good choice. However, if you’re developing a piece of thought leadership content meant to demonstrate your authority and brand voice, using AI is not the right choice. You will want something hand-made, or “artisanal”.


There is no doubt that over time, AI can save money due to the efficiencies. If you buy something from Amazon, you can find goods that are low in cost and delivered for free. If you’re purchasing from Etsy, you’re likely to pay higher and foot the bill for shipping. This is a tough one – as the saying goes – you get what you pay for. Maybe you need a high volume of things created for your marketing and you have budget constraints. On the other hand, maybe you need only one or two pieces that are specifically tailored to one audience. In that sense, spending more money of the customization could be worth it.

Customer Service

When it comes to customer service, you will find people that only want to deal with chatbots and people that only want to deal with other people. When you reach out to Amazon, you’re not getting a person. You’re getting an automated system first. With Etsy, you’re reaching out directly to the shop owner who will talk to you and answer your questions.


Sometimes, you need it now. You need it yesterday. In that case, AI is a good option. Amazon can deliver to you within a few hours, sometimes faster. If time is not an issue, something hand-made that takes longer can work.

Here’s the point – I can imagine a world where both options have space in our industry. There are companies that will want to cut costs, make processes more efficient, and offer convenience. There are also companies that will opt out of being AI-driven. They will continue to hand-craft and customize their products and services. Both can exist. Both examples are valid.

When I think about “will AI take my job?” – the answer is at some companies, yes. But at some companies there will be a place for you to do things by hand. You have to make the choice which direction you want to go and what customers you want to serve.

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