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Laura Jahn is the Senior Manager of Integrated Marketing at Humane Society International, where she raises funds to help protect abused and neglected animals around the world. She’s also a freelance writer whose combined experience as a consultant and on-staff nonprofit marketer make her uniquely positioned to understand messaging needs from both the nonprofit and consultant perspectives.

Allow me to introduce myself. I’m an elder millennial who loves direct mail and still writes my to-do list with a pen and paper. I am not an early adopter. When iTunes originally came out in 2003, I thought, “this won’t catch on—there’s no CD art!”

So those who know me well were surprised by my interest in AI for marketing. The truth is, I was entirely motivated by fear.

As a direct marketer and copywriter, I felt like my job and my talents were threatened by AI, but after experimenting with the technology (mostly ChatGPT and MidJourney), I’m feeling surprisingly inspired! Here’s why…

Your Job is Safe 
Give yourself some credit. You know what your target audience responds to more than a computer does. And while AI can learn preferences based on your inputs, it will always require a human being in the mix to ensure the content is, well, human.

I’ve experimented with AI for several use cases including, generating a social media campaign strategy, email fundraising appeals, and acknowledgement thank you notes to donors, and I was stunned by how good the output was. But each experiment was far from perfect. AI systems mirror the society that created them which means they reflect and reinforce societal biases.

What AI can do is get the ball rolling. I wasn’t staring at a daunting blank page, I was staring at imperfect content that I could edit and mold into my version of perfect.

And let’s be real: As long as AI requires our clients and coworkers to provide articulate, unambiguous text inputs and human editors to get their desired outcome, I think all of the writers and designers out there have job security.

To me, the most exciting thing about AI is that you’re limited only by your imagination! (and, of course, the reference data programmed into the AI platform, but mostly your imagination). AI is making creative resources more accessible to the average creator and smaller scale organizations, which means they will be less restricted by budget, time, and resources when developing assets for their campaigns.

AI is a Tool in Your Toolbox 
AI is here—it’s up to us how we use it. Beyond generating our actual creative assets, consider how you or your organization could use it for first drafts of emails, memos, presentation, and report summaries, allowing you more time to do the actual copywriting or designing yourself.

Keep AI in mind as you and your organization vet service partners. Ask them if and how they’re utilizing AI, and what ways they foresee AI impacting their industry in the future. For instance, photo and media library platforms are already utilizing AI facial and object recognition to apply photo tags to images, which could save your organization hours of staff time.

Just like any new, relevant technology, knowing how to maximize its effectiveness will help you keep a competitive edge. For more information, join me on June 15, at the DMAW Creative Day, including AI 101: Generating Creativity, Content and Opportunity.

Robin Perry, Vice President of Lautman Maska Neill & Company and I will cover what AI is and its limitations, how to write a prompt to effectively generate content using AI, and harnessing AI to jumpstart creativity. Register online for DMAW Creative Day.