The Art of Persuasion In The Age of AI

The Art of Persuasion in the Age of AI

AUTHOR Brock Whitfield DATE 06-24-2024

As appeared in ANA's Marketing Knowledge Center Industry Insights.

As marketers, we spend a lot of time discussing the art and science of persuasion. In fact, here at Method1 we’ve built our entire creative process around using behavioral science to create persuasive narratives grounded in human insights.

So when I saw a headline claiming that modern AI models may be significantly more persuasive than humans, I gave it a dramatic eye roll.

After all, persuasion is an innately human skill — it requires a light touch, a nuanced understanding of your audience’s psyche, and a deft feel for sociocultural dynamics that only a skilled human mind can navigate.


Recently, a team of researchers set out to debunk that exact idea, conducting a series of randomized controlled trials comparing the “persuasiveness” of LLMs to that of real, live human authors.

You can probably guess where this is going. In the report, the AI models were shown to be significantly more effective at persuading people than their human counterparts.

We shouldn’t be too surprised by this — the technology that AI uses to be “persuasive” is the same technology that recommends “songs you might like” based on your listening habits. It’s machine learning that, when fed data, can identify patterns, trends, and insights far beyond what humans can detect on their own.

But the key word there is data. AI's persuasive power hinges on the quality of the data it receives — and therein lies the opportunity for us as marketers. By providing the AI with a curated set of relevant data, you’re able to achieve levels of persuasion beyond what either human or machine could achieve independently.

Here at M1, we’ve put that theory into practice, and integrated AI across several points of our process. Here are just a few of the ways you can jumpstart your team’s persuasive capacity using the power of AI:

Knowing Your Audience

  • Deep Data Analysis: AI tools can process huge amounts of data and identify patterns and trends in consumer behavior that are undetectable to the human eye. This can include analyzing first-party data such as purchase history, social media activity, and even sentiment analysis. Using this data, AI can unearth powerful insights around shopping behavior, purchase triggers and more that marketers can leverage to streamline their consumer journey, and drive better results.
  • Audience Modeling / Client Modeling: One of the more interesting applications of AI is its ability to “mimic” a person (or persona), which has a surprising number of business applications. Preparing for a presentation? Feed the AI data on your most difficult client, and see what kind of questions it comes back with. Building out an audience persona? Train the AI on the persona information, and use it to pressure test your messaging. The opportunities here are endless, and there’s plenty of room for creativity.

Customizing Your Messaging with AI

  • Custom-Tailored Messaging: AI chat bots are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and most modern LLMs can even customize ad copy to appeal to a specific audience segment. Armed with the right data, marketers can craft complex dynamic creative optimization (DCO) strategies that match the right messages to the right targets, increasing its relevance and (more importantly) conversion rates.
  • Contextual Customization: Some AI tools can even customize ads to be contextually relevant to the environment in which they are shown. For instance, an ad shown on a rainy day can prioritize showing indoor activities or products, increasing your opportunities for conversion.

AI-Powered A/B Testing

  • Automated A/B Testing: AI can automate the process of A/B testing by not only rapidly creating variations but also by identifying the most effective elements of an ad. This automation can meaningfully reduce the time and cost traditionally associated with manual message testing.
  • Predictive Analysis of Creative Performance: By analyzing past performance data, AI can predict how well a new ad variation might perform before it's been tested in the market. This type of automated research (using AI models instead of real human audiences) is a great way to conduct on-the-fly analysis without a major investment of time and resources.

As always, AI’s capacity for persuasion comes with risks. Check out our previous article on our takeaways from the latest Mirren AI conference for more details, including the importance of a well-defined and enforced AI policy at your organization.

Interested in seeing how AI can boost your brand’s powers of persuasion? Reach out to see how we’re harnessing the power of AI to deliver huge impacts for brands.

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