fifty-five was founded in 2010 by former Google executives who understood and anticipated the potential of data in brands’ marketing strategies.

GenAI : Where Brand Marketers Need to Upskill for the Future

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Generative AI (GenAI) was one of the most talked about technologies in 2023. We saw it support Google searches, streamline A/B testing efforts, and even play center stage in last summer’s SAG-AFTRA strike. With the ability to automate repetitive tasks and streamline processes, GenAI is becoming an invaluable tool in marketing – and its potential as a game-changer in this field is no longer an abstract, but a reality.

While the benefits of leveraging GenAI are becoming increasingly evident, a new survey by Funnel, with participation by fifty-five, revealed 64% of marketers are concerned about AI taking their job in some capacity, and the vast majority (91%) are concerned that AI tools will affect their pay and/or marketability. Analytics (49%), media buying (42%) and SEO (61%) are the top three areas of concern for marketers. However, by treating GenAI as a teammate and not a competitor, marketers can be more productive and effective in their jobs.

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Looking back to the late 80s and early 90s when computers became commonplace in offices, many employees initially feared job loss – but, the reality was different. Instead of reducing teams, the accessibility of computers led to an expansion of roles and the emergence of new job opportunities as the capabilities of computers and the skills of workers evolved.

GenAI is poised to help with most marketing tasks from content creation and brainstorms to data analysis and SEO enhancements, making it a powerful tool to augment jobs, but not replace them. It’s important to remember that what makes a well rounded marketer isn’t just an accumulation of technical skills. The uniquely human skills – applying context, coming up with creative ideas, critically evaluating information, etc. – are what truly set us apart from AI. At the heart of every sound decision lies the human lens, sifting through data and finding the most valuable insights.

As GenAI continues to evolve, marketers will still need to monitor the AI model’s functionality and ensure the AI-generated content is accurate. AI is a tool, and it belongs to us to make sure we use it in the most effective way.

Before the upskilling journey

85% of marketers are planning to update their skillset due to the advances of AI. However, it can be daunting to know where to start the upskilling process as GenAI is inherently catered to specific business siloes or problems. Before you can begin to upskill, there are three things you need to do first:

  • Start by acquiring a deep understanding of the business

Whether you’re at a marketing agency or working on an in-house marketing team, it’s important to have a deep understanding of the business and to understand which AI solutions are most relevant to the business needs. Once you know what’s relevant for your business, compare your current capabilities to what’s needed to leverage the AI solutions, and begin your journey there.

  • Learn to speak the same language as the data science team

 In order to use GenAI to the best of your ability, it’s important to partner closely with the data science team that is responsible for creating and maintaining AI models. In the past, marketing and data science have been siloed, but as AI bleeds into every sector of the business, learning to speak the language of your data science team can go a long way in creating a mutually beneficial relationship. Gaining a base understanding of which models are used for which use case, as well as the strengths and limitations of each, will be immensely beneficial in demystifying AI.

  • Learn the “old ways”

 Many of today’s applications are designed with low/no-code to enhance usability. While today’s programmers are less reliant on SQL and Python – favoring natural language processing (NPL) – a good data marketer will need to have a basic understanding of the backend of the AI they’re using to ask the right questions and understand the answers that the model generates. It’s important to immerse yourself in the tools that collect data to understand where the data is coming from and how you can apply that to your campaigns.

During the upskilling journey

Once you’ve set yourself up with a solid foundation, you can start to upskill yourself. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to upskilling, these are three strategies all marketers can leverage to begin upskilling today:

  • Learn to structure a query the right way

 This goes back to learning the old ways. When it comes to GenAI, outputs are only as good as the questions asked and data you give it. If you want GenAI to be a beneficial tool in your marketing tool box, you need to understand prompt engineering. Punctuation, grammar, and sentence structure can all affect the responses you get from GenAI.

  • Don’t be afraid to experiment and fail

 The best way to understand how AI can help your marketing efforts is to experiment with the technology. Try different queries and see how GenAI responds with changes. Fact-check answers from the AI model against manually calculated answers to gauge the model’s accuracy. What’s different, and what’s the same?

  • Share knowledge with teams outside of marketing

 Each division of marketing will have slightly different use cases for GenAI. For example, the media buying team might use GenAI to help them understand where to place bids in real time, while the SEO team might use GenAI to generate or optimize website content. Sharing these learnings across broader marketing teams is imperative to learn and gain new skills.

Including GenAI in Your Marketing Toolkit

GenAI can be an extremely powerful tool to expedite repetitive tasks and help with idea generation. However, the importance of human expertise in marketing cannot be overstated. AI is trained on models with strict guidelines and rules, and the result of adhering to these guidelines perfectly is often robotic and inhuman. This will improve as the technology matures, but human intervention won’t go away.

As the landscape evolves, companies will also begin to establish well-defined internal policies and safety measures. At fifty-five, we’ve been actively engaged in comprehensive research and due diligence of how we select and approve of AI tools. We’ve even extended our commitment by offering consulting services to assist businesses in developing a “greenlisting approach” for vetting this new technology. Marketers should have a strong understanding of how companies are defining their AI policies and recognize this technology’s evolving nature.

Over the next year, marketers who learn to integrate GenAI into ongoing initiatives will amplify their productivity and demonstrate their value through AI-driven reporting. It has never been more important for marketers to invest in upskilling themselves to ensure success in leveraging the capabilities of GenAI.


Rodolphe project lead at fifty-five. fifty-five was founded in 2010 by former Google executives who understood and anticipated the potential of data in brands’ marketing strategies.