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Is Adopting AI a Must? Insights from Propel Digital Marketing CEO Chris Castillo

Is Adopting AI a Must? Insights from Propel Digital Marketing CEO Chris Castillo

Bethenny Carl
👋 Welcome to another interview by Website Planet, today featuring Chris Castillo, CEO & Founder of Propel Digital Marketing.

Propel Digital Marketing is a boutique SEO and Web Design agency specialized in Search Engine Optimization and Web Design services that helped generate over 10M in additional revenue for their clients and has ranked businesses in the toughest niches.

Recently, they’ve also ranked a small local medical clinic above large well-established medical authority sites, including Healthline and Webmd using their data-driven SEO strategies.

Chris discussed why marketing agencies may not need to adopt AI now (but they will have to eventually), and why your approach should be quite different from what most companies are doing. It all comes down to three main challenges with AI adoption, and we will learn exactly how Propel is tackling them.

Let’s dive in.

Do you really need AI now?

Currently, there is a significant shakeup in the marketing and, more specifically, the SEO industry. But it’s not unique to just our industry.

The advent of AI has changed the landscape of a lot of industries. Online marketing and SEO, however, is an industry that has been especially subject to major changes. Search engines are increasingly incorporating AI systems into their algorithms and processes, and marketers are increasingly adopting the use of AI to remain competitive. But most of them are doing this all wrong…

Marketing agencies don’t necessarily need to adopt AI, but they risk becoming less competitive as other agencies increase efficiency, reduce costs, and possibly improve their outcomes to clients. I say “possibly” because the way in which AI is used is incredibly important. Like a hammer is to a carpenter, AI is a tool that if not used responsibly can end up being a waste of time or even destructive to desired outcomes.

Give a hammer to a layman and he might build you a birdhouse.
Give a hammer to a carpenter and he can build you a house.

The same applies with AI – it is a tool that must be used with training and experience. The larger risk is in losing a competitive edge through not capitalizing on efficiency gains you can generate by using AI to streamline or even automate entire systems. But automation and AI are both areas of technology where most businesses lack experience and education.

The barriers to successful AI adoption

Currently, the online marketplace for AI tools is spinning out of control – with a new AI tool coming out almost on a daily basis. Hence, the current methods for solving the problem of leveraging AI have become confusing and time consuming because it’s hard to know what tools to use and how to best use them. There are also no best practices established around the use of AI, which further adds to the confusion and lack of adoption. As a result, the way in which most businesses are adopting AI is limited to using Chat GPT.

📊40% of companies surveyed by IBM are stuck in the exploration and experimentation phases, hindered by barriers such as hiring employees with the right skillsets, data complexity, and ethical concerns
The main challenge is experience and education. As someone who has spent many, many hours experimenting with AI I know first hand that using AI takes a certain skill that many refer to as “prompt engineering”.

The automation of systems can also be quite complex and technical. Software such as Zapier and Make allow you to automate systems using AI, but the use of these tools can be overwhelming for those who have never used such tools before.

Another challenge lies in content creation with AI, which is a very common use-case in the marketing industry. Using AI to create content is an important part of online marketing. But there are risks with using AI generated content as Google clamps down on “quality content”. Copy can also very easily lose the “human touch” which results in failure to connect with the target audience.

Other barriers to successfully adopting AI include:
  • limited AI skills and data complexity
  • Ethical concerns
  • AI projects that are too difficult to integrate and scale
  • High costs
  • Lack of tools for AI model development

A better way to use AI for content creation

Given that most are looking to AI for creating content, we recommend always incorporating a human editing step in the content creation process. This is how we are utilizing AI in our agency’s content creation processes.

💡Instead of 100% automating the entire process, Propel streamlines a large portion of it using AI, after which a human editor reviews the copy to polish it up.

Looking ahead 5 to 10 years, what new technologies and trends will have the most significant impact on the issues we talked about?

Large Language Models (LLMs) will continue to improve exponentially. Just like computer chips grew exponentially in capability in the past, AI will do the same but likely at a scale that will trump the development of computer chips.

As AI technologies develop, we will likely see a shift in the way people search online and therefore how we all market businesses online. That “new way” is still to be determined, but I’d wager that AI will continue to play a major role in what that future looks like.

Your marketing team needs AI training, not just tools

Because of a low barrier to entry, there are thousands of people creating content online around how to utilize AI. The amount of content and education is not lacking whatsoever. Look for content from reputable sources, and start getting your hands dirty by experimenting with AI yourself.

I think it would be wise for any business owner to dedicate resources into learning more about AI and how people are utilizing it. New possibilities are opening up literally every day right now. And some of those new opportunities can actually help you build a more successful and profitable business. I think it’s wise to get curious and start experimenting with AI sooner rather than later, as things are not going to slow down anytime soon.

Where can we go to learn more?

Website: https://propeldigitalmarketing.ca/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/propeldms/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PropelDMS

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