What a difference a year (or even a few months) makes.
Just last January, I drew a cartoon showing a couple marketers (as legless avatars) standing in a virtual world under a banner that reads, “welcome to our brand experience in the metaverse!” One is saying to the other, “I’m sure consumers will show up ANY minute now.”
The breathless excitement around all things Web3 —from NFTs to crypto to blockchain to the metaverse — is quieter now. But the Generative AI hype train is full steam ahead.
From startups to marketers at large CPG companies to VC, the pivot to AI is whiplash-inducing, even compared to the last few whiplash years.
As Y Combinator alum Aaron Harris observed:
“We’re seeing billion-dollar valuations for companies peddling products based on generative artificial intelligence algorithms with less than a million dollars of revenue and no proven business model. Not long ago, the same behavior was held up as a cautionary tale about the excesses of VC over Web3 … Now we have a whole new era of exuberance on our hands.”
That’s not to say that generative AI isn’t transformative. Or even the start of what Bain partner Manny Maceda described as “an industrial revolution for knowledge work, and a moment where all our clients will need to rethink their business architectures and adapt.”
But AI and Web3 are ultimately both tools, not a replacement for our strategy. It’s how we learn to use them to further our strategy that matters, not the hype bandwagon itself. AI and Web3 tools alike are ultimately means to an end.
At last week’s ANA Media Conference, someone asked P&G CMO Marc Pritchard how marketers should think about AI when figuring out “what’s hype and what’s substantive.” I like his response:
“Don’t talk about the algorithms. Don’t talk about the technology. Don’t talk about AI. Talk about the outcome you want. What are we trying to achieve?”
Here are a few related cartoons I’ve drawn over the years: