Generative AI jobs in marketing: new titles at brands, agencies

With so many discrete applications, generative AI remains amorphous, which makes the appointment of a lone overseer of strategy seem premature, said Oleg Korenfeld, CMI Media Group’s chief technology officer

Still, companies appear to be heading in the direction of these roles. As of June, nearly 170,000 open jobs in the U.S. called for AI skills—3,575 of which asked specifically for skills pertaining to generative AI, according to Adzuna data cited by CNBC.

And just because a company, such as CMI Media Group, dismisses the need for such a position today, does not mean it won’t in the future.

“Down the line, there needs to be a leader to connect all these dots,” Korenfeld said.

Generative AI, just not in name

Despite the small but eager cohort in the professional services sector of marketing, most traditional advertisers are not yet sold on appointing a generative AI-specific role.

The time is too soon to appoint such positions, said Keith Johnston, VP and group director at Forrester Research. Moreover, carving out a dedicated title to generative AI could not only be premature, but also counterproductive to early efforts.

Some of R/GA’s clients have only just begun to entertain the idea of this kind of appointment, without any formal plans for following through, said Nick Coronges, executive VP and global chief technology officer. R/GA itself is not currently considering the creation of such a position.

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Neither is Wunderman Thompson, according to Alex Steer, global chief data officer, nor are any of its clients to his knowledge. However, Steer said that he is seeing brands and agencies move people into new roles leading generative AI strategy, just without any reference to the technology in the title.

Refraining from using the term “generative AI” in a title could have several explanations. Firstly, many companies may want to avoid pigeonholing their use of AI to include only the generative subset. Instead, roles with broader titles and remits may be preferable.

These positions can be found at any number of traditional marketing companies. Edelman’s Alexia Adana, for example, has helped spearhead the company’s experimentation with generative AI as a creative director, a spokesperson previously told Ad Age. Dafne Hefner, chief strategy and transformation officer at Kraft Heinz, has embraced AI by leading partnerships with developers such as Microsoft. 

Some of these roles include the term “AI” in their titles. Sam Dover was appointed global AI strategy lead at Unilever in July—a mid-management-level role, a spokesperson confirmed. And Perry Nightingale, senior VP of creative AI at WPP since 2021, manages research on the technology and its intersection with creativity.

In fact, WPP is one of a few organizations that even have a “chief AI officer,” the role held by Daniel Hulme since the holding company acquired his tech firm in August 2021. The value in appointing such a role has been a topic of discussion since at least 2017, though the title has mostly emerged at niche tech and engineering companies.

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