Consumers and marketers see a role for (responsible) generative AI in customer experiences

Consumers and marketers see a role for (responsible) generative AI in customer experiences marquee

In less than a year, advances in generative AI have made it a transformational force in creativity and work, redefining the way consumers, schools and businesses think of everything from image to text generation. While organisations must address valid public concerns, including ensuring transparency into when generative AI is used to create content, there's also a lot of excitement around this emerging technology.

With a simple text prompt, generative AI empowers experts to do more, faster, while helping less experienced users accelerate their learning curves to ideate, create, learn and understand, often in ways we never imagined. Generative AI has tremendous potential to help creatives and marketers accelerate content creation, but the value doesn’t stop there. Marketers and customer experience professionals will also be able to type in phrases like “create an audience segment for professionals aged 25-34 who are fans of football,” and get a target marketing campaign segment in seconds.

To understand how generative AI is changing both what customers expect and how brands deliver experiences, Adobe conducted a series of studies between February and May 2023, in each case surveying over 2,000 consumers and 498 customer experience and marketing professionals across the United Kingdom.

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Here are the primary takeaways from our research:

People are bullish on generative AI in their lives as creators and consumers. Over a third (39 percent) of all surveyed consumers believe generative AI will enhance their personal creativity, and the number rises as consumers get younger: 55 percent of Gen Z consumers say generative AI will make them more creative. And when it comes to their experiences with brands, 62 percent of global consumers say generative AI will improve their customer experiences, with seven out of ten millennial (72 percent) and Gen Z (70 percent) consumers expressing similar optimism.

Consumers want companies to use generative AI to improve experiences — responsibly. When it comes to the most important things companies should do when using new generative AI technologies, consumers ranked responsibility #1, with 23 percent prioritising actions like having guardrails in place to encourage responsible use. 13 percent of consumers said it is most important to use generative AI to improve customers’ experiences and prioritise actions that would enhance employees’ experiences, like making work easier and more efficient. 7 percent of respondents said the most important consideration for companies adopting generative AI is that they use it to make the business more financially successful. Only 15 percent said companies should not use generative AI at all.

The Adobe-founded Content Authenticity Initiative (CAI) is one example of an industry-led guardrail. With more than 1,500 members, CAI advocates for open global standards and technologies including Content Credentials, which provides a digital “nutrition label” for content, empowering consumers to see exactly how generative AI content was made.

The majority of marketing and CX pros say they’ll use generative AI in their future work. Nearly eight out of ten (79 percent) say they’ve used some type of generative AI tool, with 57 percent trying conversation bots and 44 percent tinkering with image generators. Nearly all (94 percent) of these professionals believe their companies will use generative AI in their future work.

Generative AI will help boost efficiency and make customer experiences more personal. Marketing and customer experience leaders believe generative AI will help in a broad range of ways: Nearly nine out of ten (88 percent) say it will help them do better work – and as many say it will help them create better (89 percent) and more (87 percent) content, do more work (85 percent), and enhance their ability to use creative tools (84 percent). On the experience side, similar percentages expect it to help them better personalise customer experiences (89 percent), identify new audiences (88 percent), reach the right customers (87 percent) and better identify new customer journeys (87 percent).

Generative AI can expand access to sophisticated digital experience tools. Asked about the most important ways their companies should use generative AI, marketing and CX leaders ranked improving the quality of their products and services #1, making their customers’ experiences awesome #2, and making their work easier and more efficient #3.

Generative AI will have a big role in content. While marketing and CX professionals see emerging generative AI tools as offering considerable potential, their top three expectations all involve content, with generating content faster ranking number one, optimising content #2, and generating more content #3. In each case, generative AI will be critical to reimagining and streamlining content supply chains, enabling brands worldwide to meet customer content demands that have continued multiplying by 2X, 5X, and 10X factors.

Marketing and CX pros have valid concerns. While most marketers are optimistic about the benefits of generative AI, some worry persists. They rank the quality of information, copy or images (#1), lack of transparency over how models were trained (#2) and copyright infringement potential (#3) as their top concerns.

Taken as a whole, these research findings suggest that generative AI has a bright future with both consumers and brands. Most customers and brand professionals are ready and excited to see generative AI improve products, services, and experiences — now it’s up to brands to harness this technology to deliver on both the possibilities and expectations.