by | Jun 9, 2023 | AI

AI is No Silver Bullet

It was almost twenty years ago when I sat in the office of a CMO who was raving about the prospects of marketing automation. He was speaking about two vendors that he was considering and how excited he was that all of his marketing would be automated. This was the early days of marketing automation and soon his level of excitement seemed to permeate the B2B marketing landscape. The pervading belief was that marketers now had a solution that they could deploy that would improve their success.

However, beliefs do not always turn into reality and while marketing automation can be a useful solution when used properly, like most everything else, it is not the silver bullet that will address all of marketing’s challenges.

I reach back to the early days of marketing automation and the buzz that surrounded it as I see much of the same thing happening today with artificial intelligence (AI). It seems that every day there is a new post, a new application, a new use case that has marketing, sales and customer success professionals worked into a frenzy that finally this will be the thing that makes us successful, makes our jobs easier and will be the silver bullet.

ChatGPT’s Perspective

Rather than take my word for it, I went to ChatGPT to see if it would agree or disagree with me about AI being a silver bullet, see the response for yourself:


I would agree with the first and last statement, “it is important to approach AI as a strategic tool and not solely rely on it as a silver bullet.” And it is this concept that many are failing to grasp as seen in this post from our good friend Ann Handley at MarketingProfs.


While the short sighted thinking is a cost savings, the long term implications is that customers will stop paying for a lack of quality and go elsewhere. Why? Because people are not machines and want to engage in personal content and stories, not in gibberish. 

Embrace the Hype . . . Carefully

How to AI

It may seem counterintuitive for me, the co-founder of an AI-enabled consultancy to be writing against the perils of AI. I of course believe in what AI can do, but I believe that there must be the proper application of these solutions to help brands get the most value from them.

With that in mind, here are a few ways you can embrace the hype without joining the throngs of those who believe that AI is the answer to all of their problems.

Have a Plan

Two months ago Generative AI posted on LinkedIn that in one week there were 200 AI tools released. Just in one week! This is a deluge of technology and tools and I see many who are trying to keep up with it all and end up in a proverbial game of whack-a-mole.

Before taking the plunge into the AI deep end, have a plan for how it will be deployed, what problem it will help solve, what is the governance policy for its use within your organization. Defining your strategy first, will help guide and direct what you choose and how you use it and as a result will improve its value.

Go Slow

I get it, you want to be the cool kid that has the trendiest outfit and latest tech gadget. But going slow can pay dividends and help work out any potential kinks in the process of deploying these solutions. As an add-on to the first point about planning above, do not be in a rush to embrace AI, be methodical and purposeful in the approach and ensure the outcomes are getting you closer to your growth goals.

Stay Human

One of the more disturbing and at times amusing things about AI are the robotic and clinical content I now receive in my inbox and my LinkedIn feed. There is nothing remotely human about it and it quickly finds itself in the trash folder.

Engaging your customers at every stage of the customer lifecycle is more than just sending out messages and content. It is tailoring that content to them and looking to build some kind of connection (even in a B2B context).

Summing it Up

While many brands are using AI for content generation, do not be one of those brands that was highlighted by the Washington Post, be a brand that understands that good content can be produced in draft form by AI, but does require a human to adapt so that it relates to other humans i.e. your customers. 

Our world is changing fast and there are days when you can feel like you are falling behind. I can assure you that a lot of the hype will stay and some will fade, but above all, your path to growth will not be found in the latest technology or AI solution, but in how you develop a meaningful relationship with your customers.

Carlos Hidalgo

Carlos Hidalgo

Carlos Hidalgo is the co-founder and CEO of Digital Exhaust, a data-driven, AI-enabled consultancy. Carlos serves his clients as an advisor, consultant, and teacher to ensure they have meaningful engagement with their customers at every stage of the journey and are able to mature and create sustainable growth.

AI, Humanity, and Nature

Humanity vs. Nature I’m going to ask you to indulge me for a few minutes. My intention is to offer an interesting perspective of the juxtaposition of humanity and nature. Alan Watts, a British writer, speaker, and interpreter of Eastern philosophy, often explored the...

The importance of digital exhaust.

Your Ideal BuyerJust this week I was involved in a conversation on LinkedIn that was started by my good friend James Carbary. His post was as follows:  ❌ “Create for your ideal buyer”✅ “Create with your ideal buyer” The point here is that if you are going to create...

Why You May Need Less Content for the Buying Journey

Customer InsightsThroughout my career, I have worked with many marketing and sales teams to develop and implement an always-on, customer-centric demand-generation program. With each program I have developed, there is one thing I will not budge on – it all starts with...

Getting Back to the Basics

This is a football.In July 1961, legendary football coach Vince Lombardi kicked off the Green Bay Packers training camp. The previous season, the Packers had made the NFL Championship game and lost the game in the 4th quarter. With the sting of the previous season's...

Growth Maturity and Why it Matters

Why is growth maturity so important?As my children grow into adulthood, raising their families and building their lives, I can't help but reflect on the transformations that have happened in each of them. My youngest son, in particular, was ultra-curious, often...

Success Elements of Marketing-driven Growth (Part 3)

Explore how successful companies align marketing, sales and customer success at every stage of the customer journey.This is the third part of a three-part series on the success elements of growth.Part 1  Part 2I recently spoke to a CMO who said, “We have to be more...

Success Elements of Marketing-driven Growth (Part 2)

Here's how customer-centric content, lifecycle engagement and defined processes help drive organizational growth.This is the second part of a three-part series on the success elements of growth.Part 1While marketing does not stand alone in driving organizational...

Success Elements of Marketing-driven Growth (Part 1)

The biggest limitation to growth for most organizations is the lack of a defined framework and process on how to grow. This is the first part of a three-part series on the success elements of growth.One of the things I enjoy the most about my job is how much I learn...

Getting more from generative AI.

Over the last few months I have seen numerous posts and stories about the use of AI by marketing and sales.With the democratization of these tools, it is no wonder that so many organizations are adopting them to improve.  However, the question that must be asked is,...

Customer engagement: Moving from value creation to value expansion

Many companies do well in creating value for their customers, but the real key to sustainable growth is found in expanding value.Customer engagement is essential to the growth of any business, yet so many companies fail to do it effectively. This could be due to messy...

Chatbots: We are your growth agents!

A Brief History of Our Chatbot FriendsDid you know that chatbots have been around for decades but are only now becoming mainstream technology? Thanks to exciting advances in artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing (NLP), and machine learning (ML) in...

Meaningful Customer Engagement

Meaningful Customer EngagementAbout twelve years ago I was in a meeting with one of my clients and we were speaking about their approach to customer acquisition. As with many such meetings, there were whiteboard diagrams, initiatives posted to the wall, and...