BOSTON—“CMOs are redefining the baselines for speed, efficiency, customization, and quality for a wide range of marketing tasks with generative AI, and they see opportunities for it to future-proof their business,” said Jessica Apotheker, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) global CMO. A new BCG report has found that most CMOs are already seeing positive results, with 93% reporting positive or very positive improvements in how they organize their work and 91% reporting a positive or very positive impact on their efficiency.
The report, titled How CMOs Are Succeeding with Generative AI, is based on a cross-sector survey, conducted in 2023, of more than 200 CMOs across Asia, Europe, and North America.
“The last big disruption to marketing was the transition to digital consumer journeys in the early 2000s. Today, however, the disruptive power of generative AI is changing the role of marketers and marketing itself,” said Apotheker, a report coauthor.
BCG research indicates that CMOs are overwhelmingly optimistic and confident about the power of generative AI (GenAI) to enhance productivity and create competitive advantage. When asked to select the words that best describe their feelings about GenAI, CMOs chose optimism (74%), confidence (71%), and curiosity (63%). Just 35% selected the word worry, and 11% selected anxiety.
Some 70% of respondents said their organizations already implement GenAI to address a wide range of marketing challenges, and another 19% said that their organizations are testing it. The greatest focus area is personalization, with roughly two-thirds (67%) pursuing efforts there, followed by insight generation (51%) and content creation (49%). The CMOs expressed overwhelming confidence that GenAI can make a wide range of operational tasks faster, less risky, and more efficient. It can also reduce the time employees spend on tedious tasks, freeing them to spend more time on value-added work.
Most of the CMOs surveyed feel that Gen AI will future-proof their business, with 84% reporting that they plan to launch new products and business modes enabled by GenAI technology. Half of the CMOs see GenAI as a tool that will enable them to accomplish both simultaneously.
Most CMOs surveyed (81%) believe that regulation of generative AI is necessary, and 77% believe that their company will be subject to regulations within the next two years. A vast majority of CMOs(94%) report that their organizations have implemented responsible AI programs to mitigate the numerous risks of unmanaged AI, including proprietary data leaks, copyright infringement, biased outputs, sophisticated fraud, and shadow AI, a situation that arises when people use external tools without proper guidance and supervision.
The speed at which companies derive benefits from GenAI tools can quickly create haves and have-nots in an industry, meaning that inaction is not an option. The report outlines four recommendations for CMOs to gain a competitive edge:
“It is now a given that GenAI will drive disruption and innovation for CMOs. We have entered a generational change in marketing,” said Nicolas De Bellefonds, global leader of AI and Software at BCG X, BCG’s tech build and design unit, and a coauthor of the research. “Agility, innovation, and responsibility will set apart the CMOs who embrace GenAI successfully—and they will gain significant competitive advantage over those who don’t.”
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