What do Einstein, Darwin and AI have in common? You’d be forgiven for thinking it sounds like the beginning of a bad joke. In fact, all three were mentioned in presentations at the recent MII DMX Conference. Although the speakers were as diverse as the topics they covered, one of the emerging, recurrent themes was the need for marketers to be adaptable to change. Below are three quotes relating to change, can you recognise who wrote them?  

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”  

“It is not the most intellectual or the strongest of species that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able to adapt to and adjust best to the changing environment in which it finds itself.”   

“Change is inevitable, but growth is optional. We can either resist change and stagnate, or embrace change and evolve.”   

Give up? The first was Einstein, the second Darwin and the third was Bing AI Chat, specifically requested for this blog (Bing write a quote about change). The impact of these quotes and their success or failure as advice is subjective. There are many layered factors at play. Do we attach more significance to Einstein’s quote since we are aware of his established credentials, or do we marvel at the ability of AI to ‘learn’ from the reams of data available digitally, and deliver a quote which seems to emulate something we’ve heard before? (Author John C. Maxwell may have something to say about Bing’s ‘inspiration’.)  

Setting aside, for now, the potential legal and copyright implications of AI-generated content, it is clear that a tidal wave of change is coming on the horizon. As Marketing professionals, we are used to keeping up with and getting ahead of, the latest trends, technologies and best practices in our fields. From product innovations to social media strategies, from legal requirements (GDPR anyone) to market demands, adaptability has been, and will remain, the key to surviving and thriving.  

Stha Banks, GBG Mid-Market, UK & Ireland, Meta put things in perspective when she spoke about using VR Training as a tool, particularly during Covid-19 lockdowns. She shared statistics which showed that Johnson and Johnson saw 23% higher test results from those studying with VR compared to traditional methods. Novartis too was reaping the rewards of embracing a 3D way of working. They saw their research and development scaled up drastically when compared to their previous use of 2D models.   

As Michael Wu, Chief AI Strategist, PROS put it; “Don’t get busy dying, get busy living.” His sentiments were echoed by the other speakers of the day including Brian Sheehan, Digital European Media Group Director and Fionnán Sheahan, Ireland Editor, Mediahuis. They shared how their colleagues in Belgium partnered with Froomle, an AI-driven self-learning recommendation engine, to increase audience engagement via hyper-personalised online experiences. Froomle was originally created in partnership with researchers from the University of Antwerp, Netflix, and Apple, and the platform is being continually tested by academics and data scientists. Utilising this tool, Mediahuis in Belgium saw an exceptional increase in engagement and loyalty from consumers.   

In another panel discussion, Trev Keane, MD, Epic Global Agency and Russell Vickers, CEO, Future Mobility expanded on the growing emergence of opportunities in the esports and transport spaces. Esporting events now have viewing figures in their millions, attracting major sponsorship deals and loyal brand appreciation. While growth in the transport arena has been driven forward, not only through innovations but also through new legislation. Russell elaborated on the planned introduction of Air Taxis in Ireland and his interesting view that he is seeing car companies become tech companies while air companies become car companies. This narrative of change and adaption continued to weave itself as a familiar thread throughout the day.   

Elsewhere Conor Jones, Senior Director, LCS UKI, Google shared some insights into Performance Max, a new goal-based campaign type that allows advertisers to access all of their Google Ads inventory from a single campaign. He predicts that in the very near future, we will see two-thirds of advertising budgets being automated by AI. This can free up our time as marketing professionals, to focus on more strategic decisions while the AI optimises our goals and uncovers insights and trends along the way.  

Joy Neville, Former Grand Slam Winner, and Current Elite IRFU Rugby Referee spoke passionately about her personal experience of change throughout her career. She reminded us of the importance of the personal touch using traditional methods when she spoke of “the power of a letter”. Following the 2011 Women’s Six Nations Championship, it took a letter sent to a newspaper to affect long-needed improvements in funding and facilities. The dichotomy here is that Joy went on to share that the biggest positive impact of the improved resources came from the data analysis made available to them. The power of the old combined with the new. The ability to adapt, the opportunity to learn. These remain the fundamentals of moving forward.  

Peter Cosgrove, Managing Director, Futurewise closed the day out with a riveting discussion on the future of work and how storytelling will always remain relevant. In the past, we told stories around a campfire and even now, thousands of years later, those skills are just as important as ever. Peter shared the example of someone in a large company who tried to implement change through internal emails with spreadsheets of data. There was a lack of consistency and accountability in purchasing equipment across regions which was costing the company money. This information was duly collected, collated, and distributed. But for some reason, these detailed Excels weren’t inciting anyone to feel or see the need for change. So, this enterprising individual took it upon himself to visit every facility and collect a pair of gloves from each one with the price tags still attached. The size, quality, and cost of the gloves varied so much from one region to the other, it was clear from a glance that there was a problem. The glove display did its job, it told a story. Sometimes the data alone is not enough, you need to understand the human element behind the decision-making process. As Peter so eloquently put it; “Everything that counts cannot be counted. We can only measure the measurable.”  

So where does this leave us? Overall, the potential impact of AI and digital transformation in the field of marketing is immense. It has the potential to revolutionise the way we interact with customers and create value for our brands and our bottom line. As we continue to see advancements in technology, it will be interesting to see how we leverage these tools to drive results. The important takeaway we got from the experts, is that through all this adaption and change we can’t lose sight of the importance of creating meaningful connections with our audiences. We need to think digitally while understanding people. Every business has a story to tell, what is yours now? And maybe, more importantly, what does it have the potential to become?  

MII would like to sincerely thank our sponsors and our speakers and of course our members for being a part of this transformative, educational, and inspiring event. We’re already looking forward to next year!