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Copy is King: The Key Form of Persuasion in Digital Marketing

I'm back from binging on today's tech news - spooked by AI replacing most of the marketing functions which I've loved performing up till now. I'm hearing echoes of the same doomer mentality across the industry. If you, my dear comrade in marketing, with the advent of GPT-4 have considered this a distant reality as well it may make sense for us to start talking about it.

As the digital age advances towards AI, it's tempting to believe that technology will soon replace human creativity in many professions, including marketing, copywriting and other creative fields - it's no longer a conspiracy theory or an irrational fear.

Digesting the news about GPT-4 and Google's Bard being released these past few weeks, I already considered moving my decade of experience in marketing and creativity into a more classical business. Have you?

Let's move our assets to something that's tangible - cafe, consulting services, weed/supplement brands... and do what we always did to make those classical businesses exceptional. Go away and retire until the market figures out vacancies for the next-gen of professionals. After all, it is always best to act quickly to avoid the potential shock when being replaced by technology which can generate at least 70% of my work in milliseconds, with countless variations.

Nah, let's stay. It's not that bad at all.

After consulting with various professionals who are a bit more grounded than me, I realised that my suspicions were unfounded (at least for now). We're taking the easiest target for replacement by AI - copywriting, and making an argument why copy (and all that follows) has and always will remain king in marketing.

Lived experience

At its best, copywriting is an art form that can move hearts, change minds, and inspire action. This is because of the lived human experience by the author or author collective - something that is impossible to feed into an algorithm. Therefore, understanding the concept of human lived experience outlines the limit of machine learning and its application in the real world.

Human superpower

George Lois, arguably the most prolific, well-known and loved advertiser from the golden age of marketing, teaches that "if you think people are dumb, you'll spend a lifetime doing dumb work." I understand this as a reference to the fact that a marketer has no choice but to view people as extremely smart because what other beings can understand, interpret, and feel an element in an image in less than a millisecond?

That being said, Gary Vee likes to say that content is king, and this is mostly referring to audiovisual media distributed on social media platforms. And if we avoided the context of marketing psychology, he would be right, but I'd like to think that copy is king because it forms the actual value statement, which is an essential practice that turns personal blogging into marketing communication.

The copy plans the visual; the visual catches attention and suggests a feeling; the copy forms the message and generates direction. It begins and ends all marcomms effort - that's why copy is king.

Copy as a prerequisite to action

Copywriting is essential because behind every great digital marketing campaign lies a text script and an author who created it. From the catchiest ad slogans to the most engaging social media posts, every word is carefully crafted to grab attention and hold it.

But it's not just about grabbing attention. Great copywriting is about persuasion. It's about understanding your audience and crafting a message that resonates with them on a deep emotional level. It's about inspiring them to take action, whether that means making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or sharing your content with their friends.

And that's something that machines simply can't do. AI can analyze data, optimize ad placement, and generate basic copy. However, it cannot capture the nuance of human experience, the subtlety of emotion, or the power of persuasion that comes from a skilled writer.

An essential cornerstone in marketing

Consider your favourite ad campaigns. Every second of footage is accompanied by a text script that sets the stage, creates the tone, and delivers the message. From the famous "Got Milk?" ads to Nike's "Just Do It" campaign, these ads became cultural touchstones not just because of the visuals, but because of the copy that accompanied them.

Copywriting is an art form that can move people to action, change the course of history, and inspire the world. In the world of digital marketing, it's the key to success. So the next time you're crafting a marketing campaign, remember that behind every great ad is a great copywriter.

let's misbehave,



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