Can AI win based on the metric of time?




I had some high hopes when I started using AI a year ago. I believed using AI tools would

  1. save me time
  2. enhance email performance
  3. produce superior email copy.

I wrote about assumptions #2 &  #3 in AI For The Win. Even after proving that AI didn’t always produce superior email copy nor always enhance email performance, I was still determined to make AI work for me for #1: saving me time.

Elizabeth Jacobi (MochaBear Marketing), the author, will lead a discussion on this post on Thursday, March 7, 2024, from 12:00 Noon to 1:00 PM ET during the weekly OI-members-only Live Zoom Discussion. OI members, watch the discussion list for your invite (reach out to Jeanne if you don't receive it). Not an OI member? Join today!

When talking about AI, many people in email marketing are concerned that AI will replace them as email marketers. But as many people have mentioned, AI won’t replace you as an email marketer, but you might be replaced by an email marketer who leverages AI better than you do.  This made me think about my #1 assumption: utilizing AI would save me time.

As a consultant, I must constantly balance client work with marketing my business, MochaBear Marketing. Even when I can’t take on new clients, I need to focus a certain percentage of my time on marketing MochaBear.  

A few months ago, I was interviewed by MailChimp so they could learn how partners manage their time. While I always kept track of time spent on tasks, breaking it down by percentage of time got me thinking about where AI was helping me.

I read somewhere that consultants should spend 50% on client work, 25% on marketing their business, and 25% on personal time. Before AI, I spent closer to 85% on client work, 10% on marketing my business, and 5% on personal time.

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Clearly how I was spending my time needed to change.

As someone who loves data, I was curious about how AI was helping me in terms of timing, which could be considered a metric.

My client work is broken up into the following tasks:

  1. Strategy
  2. Copywriting (including subject lines & preview text)
  3. Design/Production/Deployment
  4. Analysis

When clients come to me, they often look for the most guidance around (#1), but we need the analysis (#4) to determine and refine the strategy. These are the two areas I enjoy the most, but when working with small businesses, very few will hire me for strategy and analysis and let someone do what is in the middle, and copywriting takes the most time, which leaves less time for everything else. 

What if I could positively reduce that metric of time with AI?

Writing, as we all know, is time-consuming. Whether it's drafting blog posts, proposals, emails, contracts, email copy, or social media posts, we've all likely experienced the frustration of staring at a blank page, hoping inspiration strikes, only to delete our own words.

Today, whenever I sit down to write email marketing copy or even a blog post like this, I always start with AI because it gives me a place to start, an idea, a brainstorm. The copy isn’t better than I could write, but it is a great starting place.

So, let's go back to my assumption that AI would save time. I decided to pull up my hours tracking from before I started using AI to today when AI is just naturally part of my day. I was shocked by my findings.

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*My theory as to why I was able to cut down on the production & deployment task was due to the fact that almost all edits were now made during copywriting due to using AI. This led to a more efficient email production process.

Using AI has significantly reduced the time spent on the most time-consuming tasks. It also helped me get more aligned with my goal of growing my consulting business and allowing for personal time which as consultants I don’t think we take enough of.

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 If we measure time as a metric, AI wins every time.

If you are still worried about AI replacing you, don't be. Learn to use it in a way that benefits you and your email program. At the GURU conference, I moderated a session with Tina Nguyen from Shopify, who referred to an email marketer as the co-pilot of AI. If you think of it that way, there's no need to worry.

Did I use my AI assistant to help with this article? You bet I did, but only as a starting point because I now don't believe AI can write better than me. I also used AI to create the graphs with my spreadsheet. I even asked it to use my branded colors. Could I have created those graphs on my own? Of course, but given that I want to use AI to reduce specific tasks, it was well worth it.

veri ivanova p3Pj7jOYvnM unsplash 600Photo by Veri Ivanova on Unsplash