More Than AI: The Essential Human Element In Marketing, Branding and More – The CMO Whisperer’s Friday Fast Five

It’s Friday Fast Five time. Here’s five articles I’ve identified as being ones all marketers, CMOs, business leaders and so on need to read and why.  


  • More Than AI: The Essential Human Element In Marketing, Branding And Copywriting

Source: Forbes  

Why you need to read it: Well, it is about AI, which is THE elephant in every marketer’s room the world over. But it’s not just because it’s about AI, you need to read it for it provides a not-so-gentle reminder that AI is not a magic elixir that will cure any and all of your marketing woes. At least not yet.  

What you need to learn from it: Well you can jump ahead to the TD;LR below but the plain and simple truth is AI is a tool. It is not a replacement. Will it replace some things, some jobs, etc.? Of course. It already has. However, when it comes to using it for marketing and advertising and especially creative, it is a tool and it is to be used like any other tool in marketer’s arsenal.  

TL;DR: “Artificial intelligence (AI) has undeniably revolutionized various aspects of our lives, including the field of marketing, branding and copywriting. With its ability to analyze massive amounts of data, generate content and automate tasks, AI has become an invaluable tool for many businesses. However, despite its remarkable capabilities, there are fundamental reasons why AI alone cannot fully replace the human element in these domains.” 


  • Direct Mail Benchmark Report reveals 89% of marketers have increased or maintained direct mail investments in the last year

Source: The Daily Sentinel  

Why you need to read it: Because this is all about a medium than many have forgotten all about yet is still highly effective: direct mail. Admit it, in the digital age you hardly ever think about incorporating direct mail into your overall marketing mix. It’s time to, at the very least, consider doing just that.  

What you need to learn from it: On the surface you could surmise that the 89% referenced in the headline were already using direct mail so no big deal, right? Well, hold that thought for according to the report 70% of marketers report that direct mail performance has improved, up 5% from 2022 and 91% of respondents report that direct mail integration positively impacts campaign performance. 

TL;DR: I will cut right to the chase here: Do not make the mistake of automatically bypassing even the notion of using direct mail as part of your overall mix. The last time I checked consumers are human – be they of the B2C or B2B variety. And we humans like to hold something physical in our hand sometimes as opposed to living solely in the digital realm.  


  • Audio Ads Outperform Video For Attention And Brand Recall, Dentsu Study Finds

Source: AdAge  

Why you need to read it: Earlier this year Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer of Procter & Gamble, said the brand has a renewed commitment to partnering with the radio industry. Evidence of this was the fact that P&G increased its radio ad spend last year 43% to $235 million. Why does this mean you need to read this article? Because any time P&G does anything, it’s worth understanding the why behind it.   

What you need to learn from it: Results from the study showed that 41% of audio ads generated correct brand recall in follow-up surveys, compared with 38% for other advertising, mostly video. Audio ads had an average impact on brand choice metrics of 10%, while other ads had an average impact of 6%. 

Click here to read the full article. 

TL;DR: Stop thinking audio ads are from the 1950s and 1960s. The fact is, audio advertising, including podcast advertising, is enormously effective with a significantly lower CPM.  


  • JC Penney Repositions With New ‘Make It Count’ Campaign

Source: Media Post  

Why you need to read it: Even if you are not in the retail world, you can learn from an iconic, 120+ year-old brand is doing, especially when said brand is investing $1 billion. There are fundamental lessons that apply across the spectrum of marketing and advertising that are agnostic of industry.  

What you need to learn from it: Carl Byrd, vice president of creative and brand synergy for JCP, said something very provocative in the article, referencing the fact that his new direction came as a result of “extensive corporate soul-searching” within the brand. While that may sound like typical corporate speak, he also made reference that the brand spoke to customers; something far too many brands do not do, which boggles the mind.  

Click here to read the full article. 

TL;DR: In the digital age it is quite surprising, if not downright shocking, to see a brand invest so much money into remodeling physical locations. JCPenney is doing just that.  


  • The Importance of Creating a Five-Star Customer Experience

Source: Newsweek   

Why you need to read it: 81% of customers say a positive customer service experience increases the chances of them making another purchase. 88% of buyers say experience matters as much as a company’s products or services. What more reason do you need to read this?  

What you need to learn from it: While it may sound obvious to some, the writer reminds us all that to deliver on the five-star every customer wants, and quite frankly, expects – all departments with an organization play a role.  

Click here to read the full article. 

TL;DR: “As you try to give customers the best possible experience, don’t forget how much emotions can factor into buying decisions. Features and the technical ability to move seamlessly through the experience to complete a transaction are only one part of the equation. How you make the customer feel with your tools, processes, or services is the rest.” 

The most effective ads boost sales and drive long-term growth. They do it by making people feel more – building positive associations with a recognizable brand.  

Click below to learn how System1 predicts sales and growth impacts by measuring emotion, letting you make ads that entertain for commercial gain.