The world of work is changing thanks to the advent of generative AI and the new tech is helping workers perform their jobs faster and better.
At the same time, however, staff have never been so stretched with mundane tasks. This fact is something that Microsoft, in particular, is aware of with a recent study it conducted revealing that three-fifths of all workers believe that they simply do not have the time nor the energy to do their jobs. In fact, among companies that use Microsoft 365, staff spend 57 per cent of their time communicating about work rather than doing the work itself. This means that they have less time to create, with 3 in 5 Australian respondents struggling to have the time and energy to do their jobs.
For anyone involved in advertising and marketing, the fact we have less time to create is not only bad for work satisfaction — it’s bad for business. However, generative AI is already rewriting the rules of working for businesses including Dentsu and WPP.
Generative AI’s Time In The Sun
There has been a lot of hype in the press around generative AI this year — sparked largely by the release of ChatGPT, created by Microsoft partner OpenAI. There has also been a lot of discussion in society about the effects of generative AI and how it will impact humans’ relationships with work. However, Microsoft’s work has proven that generative AI will not replace us — instead, it will augment our efforts, enabling us to create the best work of our careers by removing the burden of the mundane.
That burden is significant. Microsoft found that the top 25 per cent of email users spend 8.8 hours a week reading, drafting, rewriting and sending emails. The top 25 per cent of meeting users spend 7.5 hours per week waiting for others to join the call, unmute and repeat themselves and awkwardly saying “Thanks” and “Bye” ad nauseum until someone finally leaves the call.
In fact, Microsoft’s 2023 Work Trend Index study found that having inefficient meetings, having too many meetings, feeling uninspired and not being able to find information easily were four of the top five obstacles to staff productivity. Generative AI can and already is helping to solve all of these challenges.
Staff at advertising behemoth Dentsu, for example, are putting Microsoft 365 Copilot to use in its workflows. Copilot allows Dentsu to search through its hundreds of thousands of assets using natural language, making everything easier, more intuitive and faster — and saving time for more creative and meaningful tasks. It even helps staff draft announcements based on key messaging, saving the grunt work and removing writer’s block when contending with a plain Word document.
Microsoft 365 Copilot users are 29 per cent faster than other staff when it comes to searching, writing and summarising at work, while 70 per cent of users said they were more productive using the tool and 68 per cent said that it improved the quality of their work.
Those last two points are particularly important for advertising and marketing professionals. As staff at Dentsu explained, the time taken to get from an initial kick-off meeting to first-round designs could be weeks or even months. With Microsoft 365 Copilot, Dentsu’s teams can ideate and produce the first rough designs in the same meeting, with 85 per cent of Microsoft 365 Copilot users saying that they can get to a first draft faster.
All this means that advertising firms that adopt generative AI can service their clients better, produce higher quality work, and reduce the stresses and strains on their staff.
Faster, Better, Smarter
It’s not surprising that Microsoft is a leader in the generative AI space, given the company’s history of innovation. But, the company also has an incredibly deep relationship with advertising through its Microsoft Advertising service that works across search, native, display, Connected TV (CTV), video, and retail media. With Copilot in the Microsoft Advertising Platform, advertisers will have the ability to work faster, better, and smarter.
Through natural language processing, Copilot in the Microsoft Advertising Platform will give both creatives and media agency staff the ability to create faster and iterate better — leading to more original and better-performing campaigns. WPP has been putting Microsoft 365 Copilot to work, helping its staff understand visual data to work out what makes content perform. They use it to help optimise creative quickly, adapting for buying seasons for example or tweaking messaging for different audiences.
Copilot in the Microsoft Advertising Platform also gives advertisers the ability to unlock critical insights faster. Advertisers can ask Copilot for recommendations on everything from tailoring content and design to suggesting overarching strategies.
This kind of help is not here to replace the role of the advertising agency staffer. Instead, Microsoft 365 Copilot serves as just that — a copilot. Instead of leaving humans to carry out the drudge work, Microsoft 365 Copilot helps advertisers get to winning work in a more efficient way, whether that’s removing unnecessary paperwork and administration or carrying out small but wide-reaching changes to creative assets, or even helping plan your channel mix through pulling out key data points.
The changes ushered in by generative AI can leave you feeling as though you’re stuck. Outdated tech systems at work can kill a feeling of innovation but, with Copilot and Microsoft Advertising, the digital debt that workers sit in does not stand in the way of embracing generative AI. It’s time to prioritise this transformative technology to help you improve productivity, unlock better performance and unleash creativity.
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