The marketing industry has undergone a seismic shift. And it will undergo more change in the next few years.

If we look at the introduction of social media—using computers to reach customers—you had to fill your computer and social media pages with content daily to keep customers connected to your business. You had to hire a social media manager to create organic posts or employ an influencer to persuade customers to buy your products, a tactic that harkens back to the early days of influencer TV: Madge with Palmolive, Bill Cosby with Jello Pudding, and Flo with Progressive. Today, we opt to hire someone who is willing to give up all their personal privacy to create a digital brand that engages a large following. Bermuda has influencers, but the island’s size requires them to reach a broader international audience to achieve scale.

In terms of audience reach, social media marketing has surpassed newspapers, radio, and even television. However, we are now at a crossroads. Why does a business need a social media manager when we have AI? In the right hands, AI eliminates the role of a social media manager and the production. Early testing of ChatGPT and other AI services has given CEOs a crystal clear view of the immediate future: you can ask the robot to provide the service at little or no cost. The services are available and active today. The future looks to mass industry adoption and profitable business models to recognise AI's measurable success.

Without a social media manager, some immediate problems stare companies in the face. If AI is now writing the company story and distributing it through social media channels, who is interacting with the human customers? The convenience of AI saves on labour costs and taxes and changes the brand. Imagine an independent plumber signing up for a subscription to AI marketing—social, web, and advertising all in one. The plumber will have to rely on AI analytics to make informed business decisions. That owner cannot confidently know how his business is making an impact on his community. AI does not talk to people; it interprets information and gives responses.

Moreover, outside of social media, the CEO has to grapple with AI deciding if his website, and therefore the business, should be presented to customers. If you use Chat GPT or other AI search tools to ask a question, it responds with an answer, not a business, unless it is prompted. For example, a customer asks, "Who sells the cheapest shoe in Bermuda?" AI can analyse all available stores and prices, then name the shoe, the business, and its location to collect; no options are presented because the prompt asked for a definitive answer. Obviously, you can substitute "shoes" with a lawyer or accounting firm and see the problems it creates for a company. The AI determined the business opportunity or sale.

Question: How will businesses compete to get AI's attention?