Playbook

How to Cut Hours of Manual Work Across Marketing Teams With AI

Use this marketing playbook to be more intentional with how your team uses AI and go beyond content generation to reduce hours of manual work to go to market faster.

Read time: 6 min

Who this is for and why it matters

Time is money—that story hasn't changed. Marketing leaders and agencies face growing pressures to do more with less, and when paired with the endless amount of new AI tools, expectations are to get work done faster.

As a marketing leader, you're likely focused on improving time to market, increasing employee efficiency, and reducing operating costs. Strategically implementing an AI tool into your entire team's workflow might sound time-consuming or out of your budget.

Even if you're uncertain about the benefits of AI, your team probably isn't. A survey from Mailchimp showed roughly 9 in 10 marketers think their team must increase the use of automation and AI to meet customer expectations and stay competitive.

Don't risk falling behind on AI.

Go beyond AI content generation

First, get out of the mindset that your marketing team only needs AI for content generation. Your AI solution should be a neural network to connect all your team's work, docs, and people in one space.

You don't need a plethora of tools to get the most productivity out of your team.

Instead, use this AI implementation framework to unlock real-world use cases for your marketing team and show them how they can can save hours of tedious manual work. Follow this process to make your team more efficient and empower them to focus on their most impactful work.

Power of AI TLDR image

1. Get total buy-in from your marketing team

We get it—implementing a new marketing tool—let alone an AI solution—is no cakewalk. But why start this process if your team isn't totally sold?

Marketers are crafty. They need to see how they'd specifically use it across their workflow to improve their processes—not replace them.

The first step of this framework is to ensure your team is completely on board, so you avoid a half-implemented tool. Research from Hubspot shows marketers already waste 3.5 hours a week on technology management, and if implemented correctly, AI should reduce that number, not increase it.

Also, understand your teams' fears around AI. You have to gain their trust and show them how it can save hours and transform their work—not replace them.

While marketers are often seen as the trailblazer for AI tools, they're also sometimes viewed as the most replaceable. Sam Altman's recent claim that AI will handle 95% of marketing work done by creatives and agencies isn't helping, and even more so, isn't very realistic.

Liam Moroney, Co-Founder of Storybook Marketing, a full-service demand generation agency, questioned this idea and said while there's no doubt about the power of AI, it would be a "bleak future" if it were to replace so much creative work.

Liam Moroney of Storybook Marketing quote graphic

2. Show—don't tell—the benefits of AI

The next step of this framework is to give your team real-world use cases or prompts they can use. Spark their interest with an initial brainstorming session for your upcoming marketing campaign.

Get the team together and split the session into two exercises. In the first, get your team to use AI to generate blog topics around your next marketing campaign.

Encourage them to have a conversational approach with AI—much like you would collaborate with a colleague on Slack—to produce specific, high-quality examples. Keep this exercise limited to 5 minutes, so you have a base time to measure output later.

In the second exercise, get the team spend 15 manually crafting email subject lines minutes without AI.

After, compare the total output (and quality), which will more likely than not, show the time-saving power of AI.

AI Marketing Brainstorm Example Graphic

If your team could increase their creative output and quality with AI in a third of the time, your average time saved per marketer is around 10 minutes. And if your team is 20 strong, you're looking at more than 3 hours saved with one basic prompt.

For those non-content generation tasks, try the same exercise, but use an AI tool embeded in the heart of your productivity tool.

Time various prompts like searching for project details in your knowledge center or simple recaps of tasks that have dozens of comments.

ClickUp AI Project Template

If you're kicking off your first AI project, use a detailed project template that's actually powered by AI. This specific AI project plan template will give you everything you need to get started.

Use this template to help you with project descriptions, action items for your team, and stand-up style recaps of all your most detailed tasks.

3. Lean into your AI champions

If this sounds like too much to run yourself, try to identify enthusiastic users (possibly before the previously mentioned session) who can serve as your AI experts.

After you finally implement or reintroduce your AI solution to the team, lean on your AI champions to continue the momentum and have them detail their own processes or be the "go-to" for everyone.

Look for ways to continuously share feedback and prompts amongst the team. You can even consider creating a dedicated Slack channel for sharing AI hacks.

Michelle Taite, CMO at Mailchimp, explains that marketing teams need to be more flexible with how they use AI so individuals can share their positive experiences, guide others, and help drive adoption within their teams.

Michelle Taite, CMO at Mailchimp

4. Make AI your 'knowledge manager' for work

This is the most crucial step to help your team cut hours each week and not succumb to the limits of only content generation. Make AI your team's neural network and knowledge manager.

What is that?

A knowledge manager bridges the gap between your teams tasks, comments, assets, ideas, people, or outcomes by using your internal data for AI to give the most precise ouputs.

Zach Blodgett, Group Product Manager at ClickUp, explains how marketing teams work more efficiently and can easily cut hours of internal digging when everything can be centralized in one big knowledge hub for AI to contextualize.

Contextualization within your organization's data allows marketers to find answers faster. A recent Salesforce report found the simplest AI use cases could save marketers up to 5 hours a week. And this is without using AI as a knowledge manager for all your work.

With a unified platform, marketers can analyze organizational data across internal, publicly-shared Docs, SOPs, campaign briefs, and more in one place.

5. Solidify ROI with quantitative and qualitative metrics

Lastly, paint a holistic picture of the total impact of AI—even with non-quantifiable metrics—is more powerful.

Not every positive outcome will show up on a dashboard to prove the value of AI. We know executives want hard numbers, but showing them the big picture—even with non-quantifiable metrics—is more powerful.

Consider some non-quantifiable areas where AI will impact your team's workflows and ultimately save them time. This could include things like:

  • Speed to launch: Are campaigns going to market faster, with fewer errors, and within original timelines?
  • Number of automations: How many automations have been built since implementing AI and what are the common use cases? (Automations aren't easy to translate into hours saved, but highlighting all the areas where manual work is removed will surely impress your boss)
  • Speed of content delivery: How quickly are you getting through your editing turnarounds, content ideation processes, and overall delivery?
  • Number of meetings cut: How many meetings have been removed from your team's calendars because AI-generated project recaps instantly align everyone?

While the outcomes may seem small, these operational efficiencies are where you'll see reduced manual work and create faster workflows.

Devin Reed, Head of Content at Clari, explained how AI's impact truly shines on marketing operations. He explains that it's not necessarily about turning around content faster, but improving processes so teams can focus more on the quality of your content.

Devin Reed AI Launch Party Quote Graphic

Make AI your marketing team's next business partner

Following these simple steps will lead you toward an almost certain path of saving your team time. This framework should help you find your biggest time sucks, encourage documenting and prompt sharing, centralize your work, and showcase the impact with quantifiable and non-quantifiable metrics.

We already know that 30% of team leaders are saving employees time with new AI and automation software, but with the right plan of action, you'll see even more time saved. And while 20% of businesses feel pressure to implement an AI solution, as a marketing leader, you must prove the value to everyone and not adopt blindly.

Aren't marketers supposed to be champions of converting customers with compelling messages?

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This framework is a solid starting point, but if you need a hand in bringing these strategies to life, and with the right AI tool, connect with our team of experts.

Sign up for the ClickUp Showcase to watch a demo, ask questions live, and learn about AI before diving straight in.

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