Human Again: A Marketing AI Case Study (Part 1)

Human Again: A Marketing AI Case Study (Part 1)

An oft-quoted article from the BBC in March boasted this headline: “AI could replace equivalent of 300 million jobs.” Is this something to be worried about? Or is this highly efficient tech PR? As marketing leaders who understand the possible implications AI could have on our industry, we were compelled to verify or disprove these kinds of sensational claims, particularly as they relate to digital marketing work. Marketing is one of the fields that could face the most radical changes in an AI “takeover.”

In its infancy, the campaign had a few simple goals:

  • Verify the actual efficacy of AI tools in the digital marketing field
  • Determine the value of real human touch in marketing 
  • Generate PR buzz with an AI tools-related case study
  • Give our team an opportunity to engage with and gain proficiency with new AI tools

To align with these goals, we used a large language model, or “LLM,” to take the lead in the planning and development of the campaign, to see if this was a productive use case.

LLMs like OpenAI’s ChatGPT or Anthropic’s Claude are currently the most commonly accessible form of usable AI to the general public and have driven the most speculation due to their surprisingly articulate responses (at least, at first glance). These AI models do not “think” like humans do and are merely “taught” by millions of samples like articles, books and comments to produce the best possible output based on input. That said, there’s no question that these models have taken this concept to dizzying heights, and people are rightfully wondering how this will affect jobs and human labor as a whole.


To begin, we gave the LLM a general introductory prompt:

create a digital marketing campaign for the company "Elevate My Brand". focused on the value of human relationships and the human touch in marketing.

It responded with:

Here is a suggested digital marketing campaign for the company "Elevate My Brand" focused on the value of human relationships and interactions:

Campaign Theme: "Real Connections. Real Results."

Pillars of the Campaign:

  1. Authentic Human Interactions: Highlight how the company prioritizes real, personalized interactions and relationships with clients and customers. Show images and stories of the team meeting with and engaging with clients. Discuss how tailored, customized solutions are developed through a collaborative process. Key message: "We nurture meaningful relationships to understand your needs."
  2. Personalized Service: Emphasize the customized, concierge-level service provided to each client. Explain how no two clients get the same stock service. Discuss how the team gets to know each client's unique challenges, voice, and goals to develop a personalized roadmap for success. Key message: "You get personalized guidance and support every step of the way."
  3. Community and Togetherness: Build a sense of community between the company, clients, partners and customers. Share stories and examples of successful client campaigns and projects. Highlight testimonials not just from clients but from partners, influencers, and others who have worked with the company. Invite engagement through comments, shares, likes. Key message: "Together, we achieve great success."


  • Share posts and stories reflecting the campaign themes on social media platforms with hashtags like #realconnections and #elevatemybrand. Engage with commenters.
  • Feature case studies, client testimonials, and behind-the-scenes images and videos with personalized messages on the company website and in email newsletters.
  • Run online contests and giveaways that require people to like, share or comment on posts, and tag a friend to help build community.
  • Sponsor local community events to increase real-world connections and engagements. Meet and mingle with people in person.
  • Consider a referral program to turn clients into partners who want to spread the word about the value of the services.
  • Influencer engagements: Work with influencers who genuinely believe in the power of relationships and making real connections. Have them experience and share what it's like to work with the company.

Does this look like an effective digital marketing campaign highlighting the human touch for the company? I'm happy to provide any other suggestions or ideas. Just let me know.

This was certainly an encouraging response with a slew of suggestions that could build out a full campaign. That said, the suggestions themselves were surface level, and overall the campaign felt like a standard digital marketing campaign structure, overlaid with the prompt like a MadLibs. The plan is missing a unique activation and uses mostly common denominator executions. Suggestions like the online contests and local community events seem entirely off the mark.

To give the LLM one more chance, I prompted:

Give me three other options for this campaign

To which it responded:

Here are three additional digital marketing campaign options for "Elevate My Brand" focusing on human relationships:

Option 1: "Partners in Growth"

  • Theme: Success through true partnership and collaboration.

  • Pillars: 1) Mutual support: Stories of how client and company support each other. 2) Shared victories: Highlight joint successes and wins. 3) Lifelong relationships: Discuss long-term client partnerships and friendships formed.

  • Tactics: Video testimonials, case studies, behind-the-scenes. Referral program. Co-branded social contests.

Option 2: "The Power of People"

  • Theme: Celebrate the combined power of multiple meaningful relationships.

  • Pillars: 1) Stronger together: Examples of partnering with complementary companies and influencers to achieve bigger success. 2) Network effect: Discuss how the company's broad network of relationships benefits clients with exposure, connections and opportunities. 3) Ripple effect: Examples of how one relationship or partnership led to another. Discuss the momentum of people coming together.

  • Tactics: Event sponsorships, co-promoted social media contests, influencer collaborations. Recommended partner program. Success stories promoting other businesses.

Option 3: "Relationships Built to Last"

  • Theme: Proven ability to build enduring relationships and lifelong partnerships

  • Pillars: 1) Long view: Discuss commitment to long-term vision and success for clients and partners. 2) Sustained support: Highlight long-term client and partner relationships, some spanning many years. 3) Loyal community: Share stories of clients and partners who continue to work with the company again and again because of the lasting value.

  • Tactics: Loyal client spotlights, timeline stories showing long-term partnerships, "Member since" badges, loyalty program offering rewards and perks for long-term relationships.

These options aim to highlight relationships and human connections from different angles like developing partnerships, tapping the power of networks, and building loyalty for the long run. Please let me know if any of these campaign concepts appeal to you or if you would like any alternative options. I can provide more details for any of the suggested options.

These suggestions weren’t any more helpful for an actual unique execution but did provide some useful copy concepts that had potential to mold how we spoke about the executions, and how we might frame it.

Ultimately, I settled on the resolution that true, raw ideation is not a strength of LLMs, and extracting productive output from the tool would require a more human foundation that could offer guidance to the AI.

After a decidedly human round of brainstorming, without the input of AI, we settled on producing a content site and brand, complete with its own social media—the caveat being that we would do our best to leverage AI tools without too much of our own professional input to see how well it managed. While this part of the process ended up being entirely human, I will credit the LLMs for providing a starting point, helping us identify immediately what we disliked about their concepts, and focused our ideating by providing negative space. It still doesn’t deserve a point, though, so I’ll start the scoreboard at 1 to 0.

Humans: 1 | AI: 0

We considered a variety of different topics—exercise, home improvement, media—but ended up landing on recipes, as it was an easily reproducible format that would be simpler for AI tools to produce.

With that, we asked the AI for a name:

Give 10 potential options for the name of a cooking blog

It responded with:

Here are 10 potential name options for a cooking blog:

  1. The Kitchen Counter
  2. Spice of Life
  3. Fork and Whisk
  4. Simmer and Serve
  5. Bake and Make
  6. Season with Flavor
  7. Cooking with Gusto
  8. Tempting Tastes
  9. Meals to Share
  10. Culinary Adventures

Not bad. But a little non-specific. To refine, we asked:

Give 10 potential options for the name of a cooking blog, where the name hints at AI help

It gave us:

Here are 10 potential name options for an AI-assisted cooking blog:

  1. RoboRecipes
  2. Bot Chef Bakes
  3. AI Sous Chef
  4. Virtual Kitchen Assistant
  5. Cyber Cookbook
  6. Algorithmic Eats
  7. Meals by Machine
  8. Coding in the Kitchen
  9. Bytes and Bites
  10. Circuitry and Spice

Much better. Other team members prompted a range of LLMs from ChatGPT to Anthropic’s Claude. We collected all of the names and ended up with “CulinAIry” which wasn’t directly suggested by the AI but was informed by its suggestions. We can award a half point to both of us.

Humans: 1.5 | AI: 0.5


Now the planning phase. With a robust campaign concept, our hope was that this would be enough for the AI to run with.

We started with:

Build a project management outline for the creation of a website called "CulinAIry," which will use generative AI to write recipes and build the website

The AI responded with:

Here is a suggested project management outline for the creation of the "CulinAIry" website:

  1. Project Planning
    • Define scope and objectives for the website
    • Develop schedule and budget plan
    • Assign roles and tasks to team members
  2. Data Collection
    • Research and collect a large dataset of recipes and images
    • Organize data into categories and cuisines
    • Clean and format the data for the AI model
  3. AI Model Development
    • Design and train a deep learning model to generate recipes
    • Test and optimize the model to produce coherent recipes in different styles
    • Integrate model APIs to generate recipes on request
  4. Website Development
    • Design the website layout, visual theme, and user experience
    • Develop the backend website and database
    • Build API interfaces to connect the website to the AI model
    • Incorporate model-generated recipes and images into the website
  5. Testing and Debugging
    • Conduct user testing to evaluate the website experience
    • Identify and fix any issues with the AI model or website
    • Optimize website performance and responsiveness
  6. Deployment
    • Deploy the finished website and AI model
    • Market and promote the website on social media and through search engines
    • Continue to improve the AI model and add new features to the website
  7. Maintenance
    • Regularly monitor the website and AI model for any needed updates
    • Make ongoing improvements to the AI model and website based on user feedback
    • Explore opportunities for expanding into related areas like menu planning or nutrition

This is just a suggested outline, but it covers the major steps required to build an AI-powered website like CulinAIry. Please let me know if you would like me to explain or expand on any part of this outline further.

Again, a sort of plug-and-play guide, but probably the most useful response we’d gotten since starting this initiative. It’s clear that the key to getting useful outputs is providing a clear starting point and carefully refining until it suits your needs. To take the same concept one step further, we prompted:

break this down into subtasks

And it returned with:

Here is the project outline broken down into more specific subtasks:

  1. Project Planning
    • Define website objectives (e.g. build an engaging community, drive ecommerce sales)
    • Set budget, timeline, and milestones
    • Assign team members to:
      • Project management
      • Content writing/editing
      • Website development
      • Visual design
      • Testing
  2. Data Collection and Organization
    • Research thousands of recipes from books, websites, APIs, etc.
    • Organize recipes by cuisine type, cooking style, meal type, etc.
    • Format recipes consistently in a easy to edit template -Save recipes and images in organized folders by category
  3. Recipe Drafting
    • Develop recipes in initial draft form in the chosen template
    • Use LLMs to suggest recipe content like ingredients, instructions, descriptions
    • Edit and proofread all recipes to ensure coherence, accuracy and useability
    • Take or find photos for each recipe (or reuse from collected images)
    • Organize recipe images in folders with the final recipes
  4. Website Development
    • Map out a visual sitemap for how recipes and content will be organized
    • Design the layout, color scheme, fonts, and overall look of the website
    • Build a content management system to easily add and organize recipes
    • Develop the backend database and CMS
    • Incorporate final recipes, photos, and content into the CMS
    • Include search and filter functions to enable finding recipes
  5. Testing and Deployment
    • Perform QA testing to identify any issues to fix
    • Conduct initial user testing on small subset of users
    • Fix any problems found in testing before launch
    • Officially launch and deploy the final website
  6. Maintenance
    • Monitor website daily to check for any new issues and see what is popular
    • Develop additional recipes and content on a weekly or monthly basis
    • Make ongoing small changes to the visual design as needed
    • Perform regular maintenance like updating software, checking links, backing up data
    • Track user feedback and make updates to continuously improve the user experience

Please let me know if you would like me elaborate on any of these subtasks further! I can provide more specific steps and guidelines for any part of this project outline.

The AI added a few more points here, but I was a little disappointed in its reluctance to get more granular. It also occurred to the humans in the room that the plan was missing a social media component as well as a case study component. After prompting it to include them, it gave us:

Here is an updated project outline with a section added for building a social media presence:

  1. Project Planning
    [Same subtasks as above]
  2. Data Collection and Organization
    [Same subtasks as above]
  3. Recipe Drafting
    [Same subtasks as above]
  4. Website Development
    [Same subtasks as above]
  5. Social Media Presence
    • Create accounts on major platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest
    • Develop a content posting schedule for sharing recipes, photos, and stories
    • Build an engagement strategy to connect with and grow your audience
    • Sponsor promotions and social ad campaigns to increase followers
    • Engage with users by replying to comments and messages
    • Analyze metrics to see how content and strategies are performing
    • Optimize your social accounts based on metrics and user feedback
  6. Testing and Deployment
    [Same subtasks as above]
  7. Maintenance
    ​​​​​​​[Same subtasks as above]
    • Monitor your social media accounts regularly and consistently post content
    • Engage with your followers and join in conversations and discussions
    • Run ongoing social media ads and contests to increase site traffic
    • Track how many users visit the website from social media and optimize

Building an engaging social media presence is key to driving traffic and growing an audience for any food and recipe website today. Focusing on visually appealing content, an active posting schedule, social advertising, and community engagement can help establish the website as an authority in its niche. Please let me know if you have any other questions!

And then:

Here is the final project outline with a section on creating case studies added:

  1. Project Planning
    [Same subtasks as above]
  2. Data Collection and Organization
    [Same subtasks as above]
  3. Recipe Drafting
    [Same subtasks as above]
  4. Website Development
    [Same subtasks as above]
  5. Social Media Presence
    [Same subtasks as above]
  6. Testing and Deployment
    [Same subtasks as above]
  7. Maintenance
    [Same subtasks as above]
  8. Case Studies
    • Develop written case studies to demonstrate how the website is driving impact
    • Analyze site metrics and KPIs to determine key milestones and wins to feature
    • Interview influencers, brands, or agencies you've worked with
    • Share how website content or campaigns increased organic traffic or sales
    • Discuss new partnerships or sponsors gained through your social presence
    • Highlight impressive engagement or view statistics from popular recipes
    • Create visual graphics to accompany each written case study
    • Publish case studies on the website and share on social media
    • Use case studies when pitching to new sponsors or social media partners

Case studies are an effective way to highlight achievements, build trust, and win new opportunities. Featuring metrics-based successes, partnerships, and community impact stories can help establish credibility for your website. Regularly publishing new case studies with visual media is also useful content for social platforms.

Please let me know if you have any other questions or need any clarification on this full project outline. I'm happy to provide more details on any section or specific recommendations and advice for managing this type of website project.

To conclude this planning process, the most useful output ended up being the first couple responses, which saved a lot of time upfront by giving us a workable planning draft to work off of. Getting the plan to a functional state took multiple rounds of refinement, with diminishing returns the more granular we tried to get, and the more iterations of the same response we were asking for. Ultimately, the key changes at the end (social presence, case study, etc.) had to be manually added in by human digital marketers who recognized the absence of those essential pieces.

We can split the point, again.

Humans: 2 | AI: 1

Now that we have a strong campaign premise, where can we find some great content to fill it with?

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