Keitha Maciel Of Marketing Edge Academy: How AI Is Disrupting Our Industry, and What We Can Do About It

An Interview With Cynthia Corsetti

Educate yourself — Learn about AI and the various use cases. Understand the models in which an AI tool is trained on. Expand your knowledge.

Artificial Intelligence is no longer the future; it is the present. It’s reshaping landscapes, altering industries, and transforming the way we live and work. With its rapid advancement, AI is causing disruption — for better or worse — in every field imaginable. While it promises efficiency and growth, it also brings challenges and uncertainties that professionals and businesses must navigate. What can one do to pivot if AI is disrupting their industry? As part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Keitha Maciel.

Keitha Maciel is an award-winning marketing professional and founder of the Marketing Edge Academy. Keitha incorporates and applies the best practices from her 15+ years of corporate marketing experience to help entrepreneurs attract customers, convert more prospects to clients and generate revenue. Keitha’s unique expertise in buyer psychology and behavior design drives better marketing results for startups through Fortune 500 companies. Her mission is to help entrepreneurs sell more, win more and achieve more in their personal and professional lives. Keitha has a master’s degree in digital marketing. She is also a speaker and author of the forthcoming book, Get the Marketing Edge.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive into our discussion our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

Thank you.

It all started with an epiphany … I was in the banking industry, and we needed to hire a marketing executive. We went through an exercise with profile cards that identified the desired skills and personality for the ideal candidate. Once we had the list, I realized that list described me!

Up until that point, I was happy in my job. I was the Vice President of the financial institution. I had reached my career goal. However, I couldn’t stop thinking about how those cards described my perfect career match. I now had a decision to make — stay in my current role, which was more operational in nature or pivot to begin a new career path in marketing. I chose to pivot. I went back to school and got a degree in marketing. I found my new passion!

Fast forward, I began as a marketer for a small mortgage company. While in this role I gave tips to loan officers on how to market themselves. I organized continuing education events for real estate agents. I loved it! I moved up the career ladder advancing in marketing leadership roles within different Fortune 500 companies and startups.

Occasionally, I taught online marketing and social media at a local college. Friends who knew I was a marketer began to ask me for advice and tips on how to promote their business. Then, I decided to work as a consultant for a branding agency. Clients were pleased with the results from the strategies that we recommended to either create a personal brand or expand their business brand.

These experiences led me to want to have a greater impact by becoming a founder of an education and coaching company, the Marketing Edge Academy that teaches entrepreneurs little-known marketing secrets that contribute to the success of some of the world’s leading brands. My mission is to help fellow entrepreneurs acquire marketing skills that can contribute to the success of their business.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

The Marketing Edge Academy stands out because each of the courses and coaching programs offered incorporate consumer psychology and the principles of behavior design. People that participate in my programs and take my courses learn the secrets of big companies and successful brands such as Google, Uber, Peloton, Fitbit, Adidas, Mint, TikTok and others. We empower entrepreneurs with big business insights and tools so they can amplify their results.

A client with a cleaning service business wanted to increase their visibility online and generate more leads for the business. I mapped out a content marketing strategy for them. They implemented the strategies and tactics. The content generated so many leads that turned into new business that they had to temporarily stop advertising and promoting the business to keep up with demand. They became so successful that they started a second business to add an additional revenue stream.

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Good question.

For me, I would have to start with initiative.

I’ve always been the type of person to take the initiative. If I want to learn something, I take the initiative to research the topic and learn as much as I can. I strive to stay on top of the latest trends and tactics, so I continue to consume information to keep my skills fresh.

For example, I got my first real marketing job by taking the initiative to write a proposal for a role that did not exist. Smaller mortgage companies typically relied on the loan officer to do their own marketing to generate business. Very few smaller companies had a designated marketing manager. Early in my career, I was a mortgage processor and I wanted to move into marketing because I had an epiphany that marketing was what I was meant to do. So, I wrote a proposal to the president of the mortgage company and to my surprise he accepted the proposal and I transitioned into marketing and have never looked back.

If something needs to be done, I don’t wait around for someone to ask me to do it, I take action to make it happen. In one of my earlier roles, the company did not have a style guide or SOPs (standard operating procedures) for the marketing team. So, I created the style guide and SOPs.

Second, being reliable.

I built a reputation for getting things done. So, if my boss had a project that needed to be completed by a certain deadline, she knew she could count on me. There was a person on the team that had to go out on medical leave. Although, there were other people on the team that my boss could have assigned her projects to she assigned them to me. She said, “you are the only person on the team that I know will move her projects forward and get them over the finish line.”

Finally, I believe my drive has contributed to my success. I have a determination to succeed. I set a goal and I make a plan to achieve it. I strive to exceed expectations so many times I go beyond what’s asked of me because I thrive on accomplishment.

Throughout my career, I’ve been a top performer. That has resulted in promotions at most of my previous employers. I set an intention, and my drive works to make it happen. For example, I independently produced a fashion show in my early 20s. I had never organized and produced an event before. I thought through what I would need and sourced everything. Despite a few challenges along the way, I did it! Everyone that participated asked when I was going to do it again.

Let’s now move to the main point of our discussion about AI. Can you explain how AI is disrupting your industry? Is this disruption hurting or helping your bottom line?

AI is transforming many industries, but especially marketing. Many of the challenges that marketers faced such as not having enough time and resources to produce content have now been eliminated with AI. Content creation and campaign asset creation used to take weeks and months to complete can now be done in hours and minutes. For example, a marketer can get topic and headline ideas, draft an outline for an eBook as well as the copy and get images within an hour. There are AI tools that can even layout out eBook for you. It’s amazing!

AI can be used for research and to generate new ideas, write marketing copy, generate videos, create multiple versions of ads for different audiences, translate content into various languages, create personalized customer experiences, analyze data and sentiment. I don’t think most businesses realize the full potential of what generative AI can do. In its current state, AI has improved marketing innovation and performance. It has also proven to be a money and time-savings tool.

This has truly been a game changer for my business. I no longer have to rely on agencies or multiple freelancers such as copywriters, graphic designers or web developers to accomplish what can now be accomplished with a few AI tools. AI saves me time and money, which helps the bottom line.

Which specific AI technology has had the most significant impact on your industry?

ChatGPT has had the most significant impact on the marketing industry. It is the platform that many other tools leverage to create a new product with a new or expanded functionality. ChatGPT is like the engine that runs these other tools. Now other companies can benefit from the new GPTs that have been created to complete specific tasks on ChatGPT’s marketplace.

As mentioned, generative AI can be used as a copywriter, editor, researcher, data analyst and graphic designer. AI can make humans in these roles more efficient and in many cases generate better and faster outcomes. AI is like having a virtual assistant, which by the way is another use case.

Can you share a pivotal moment when you recognized the profound impact AI would have on your sector?

Believe it or not, I knew about five years ago that AI was going to have a profound impact on marketing. AI was going to be the focus of my dissertation when I enrolled in a Media Psychology PhD program.

I came across an AI text content generation tool called Persado that was being used by a large bank. The company that used Persado revealed that the results of the AI-generated messaging, ads and communications performed better than the messaging, ads, and communications created by humans. I knew then that AI was going to be something special before ChatGPT entered the scene.

Then, ChatGPT officially launched and took the market by storm. It has been said that it has had the fastest adoption of all the preceding technology that revolutionized the way we do things — the Internet, mobile phones, etc.

How are you preparing your workforce for the integration of AI, and what skills do you believe will be most valuable in an AI-enhanced future?

The people that work with me have to have an understanding of generative AI, various AI tools and prompts. They have gone through our AI for marketing course, which incorporates our methodologies, best practices and usage of multiple tools.

To thrive in the AI era, marketers will need to have good communication skills. Individuals must know how to craft effective prompts. This is going to be essential! Along with communication, a basic understanding of prompt engineering will be necessary. People will need to know how to speak the language of AI, which is in prompts. This means that a person will need to know which prompt to use to generate the desired outcome. For example, the prompt used to write a script, or an eBook is different from the prompt used to create an image. The good news is there are different AI tools that can be used to complete each of these tasks. But, crafting a prompt is still necessary, which requires good communication skills.

Marketers will also need problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Individuals will need to be able to evaluate the output produced by AI. They need to understand the assumptions made by the AL algorithm or model to determine if alternative hypotheses are needed. So, an individual will need critical thinking to analyze complex situations, identify potential issues, and make informed decisions.

Creative skills will also be necessary to incite innovation and good design, which have a significant impact on marketing. Creativity usually involves imagination and vision, something that AI typically lacks. Currently, AI works by taking data provided by various sources and it makes inferences based on parameters that have been programmed into the model.

Other valuable skills are data analysis and data literacy for interpretation of data. As time goes on, there will be more skills that will surface as valuable and essential.

What are the biggest challenges in upskilling your workforce for an AI-centric future?

Generative AI is still relatively new and is evolving. There are new tools being introduced almost every day for various industries. So, keeping up with the latest functionality and most useful tools will be a challenge.

AI is not going away, so it’s an area that I will continue to invest in for “continuing education” and professional development.

What ethical considerations does AI introduce into your industry, and how are you tackling these concerns?

There are ethical concerns around bias and discrimination. The machine learning models learn based on the data that is input. If the data that is being input into the AI model includes embedded biases those biases may be propagated in the output. It can be difficult to spot when using platforms like ChatGPT because you don’t know the sources of data. Tackling bias and discrimination is a challenge. However, because a human reviews every piece of content produced one of the questions, we ask in the editing and QA process is there evidence of bias or discrimination? It helps to have multiple people on the team to review the content, ad or email to identify potential bias or discrimination.

Another ethical concern is privacy and surveillance. If personal data is uploaded to an AI platform, then that data can be shared and/or misused. Criminals can exploit that information for tracking or spying. Consumers may eventually need to be informed of how their data will be used. It may come to a point where consumers need to provide consent to use their data if the company uses AI. There are certain data standards that are already in place for privacy such as GDPR and CCPA. In the United States, an AI Bill of Rights has been introduced to provide standards for the use of AI. We do not upload any personal data when we use AI. Some companies partition their client data from a general pool of data. In this case, the model is being trained on that organization’s data vs. the large general data pool.

There are other ethical concerns, but I will mention just one more. Impersonation is a rising concern. AI technology can clone faces and voices. As a result, there are deepfakes that can be used to sway political opinions in advertisements. Consumers will soon be unable to determine what is real or fake. This is scary. One way we are addressing this concern is by including verbiage in our agreements on how we use AI, and that AI will not be used to impersonate a client without approved authorization.

What are your “Five Things You Need To Do, If AI Is Disrupting Your Industry”?

  1. Educate yourself — Learn about AI and the various use cases. Understand the models in which an AI tool is trained on. Expand your knowledge.

When AI first came out, I did know much about it. So, I immersed myself in learning about various aspects of AI. I read books and articles, attended webinars, and watched videos to understand the pros and cons of this new medium that is revolutionizing the world. I continue to educate myself because AI is constantly evolving, its use cases are expanding, and the tools are ever growing.

To learn the basics, Google, Udacity and Coursera each have an intro to AI course that is free.

2. Enhance your skills — You don’t need to be an expert, but you should be aware of the various applications. It’s time to level up your skills!

You can begin by asking questions on an AI platform like Microsoft Copilot to become familiar with generative AI and how it works. The key is to learn how to input the right prompts to get your desired outcome. There is a sequence of inputs to train the AI to deliver the desired results. These are the skills that a person learns by enrolling in specialized training or an AI course.

3. Explore opportunities — There are so many use cases for AI in various industries, especially marketing. Identify ways that AI can be incorporated into your operations.

Make a list of tasks in which AI may be able to help your team(s) such as translation, image creation, data analysis, content and video creation, project planning and others. Then create a vendor assessment scorecard and evaluate each vendor’s tool based on criteria that align with your business objectives.

4. Experiment with various tools — Look for AI tools that can help your teams to become more efficient, be more productive and create a better customer experience.

Many of the AI tools offer a free version or a trial. You can sign up for a couple of tools that you think may be beneficial. ChatGPT is one of the most popular. However, there are others such as Microsoft Copilot, Dall-E 3 for image creation, and Lumen5 for video creation. These are just a few of the many tools available. There are so many more. You have to just identify your marketing needs and most likely there’s an AI tool for it. If not now, there may be one to come in the future.

Test the waters. To start, conduct a pilot for one use case. Develop policies and procedures for efficient and ethical use of the AI tool. You’ll be surprised at what AI can do.

5. Embrace AI — AI is here to stay. So, the name of the game is adaptability.

If you don’t adapt, you risk falling behind, which can have a negative impact on your bottom line. Just like the previous technologies that have revolutionized the way we do things, AI is “the next big thing”.

What are the most common misconceptions about AI within your industry, and how do you address them?

One misconception is everything created by AI is accurate. AI can contrive false information, called hallucinations. We address the accuracy of the content produced by AI by using AI tools that provide sources for the information that is provided. Second, we review everything that is created by AI. Based on our experience and what we know about digital marketing, for example, we can determine if the output is accurate. The great thing is that copy that is produced by AI doesn’t need to be taken at face value. It can be modified to fit the brand voice and tone of the company. So, the content delivered will be of good quality.

A second misconception is that AI is going to eliminate people’s jobs. AI is great for automating mundane and repetitive tasks. So, there will be some jobs that will be replaced by AI — Jobs that can be performed more quickly, accurately and at a cheaper cost. In many cases, it will be the tasks that people prefer not to do. There are aspects of certain jobs that will still require a human. AI should be viewed as a tools and used as a complement.

However, AI presents a great opportunity and will create new jobs and roles. Companies are starting to hire prompt engineers and AI strategists. These roles may have existed before, but there will be an increase in demand for people with these skillsets. In marketing, individuals that understand AI and how to craft prompts will be selected for marketing roles over those that don’t have those skills.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

My favorite life lesson quote is by Maya Angelou. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

New leaders are usually brought into an organization to be a change agent. Early in my career, I was promoted to a management position for a team that had been underperforming. I gave what I thought was a positive welcoming speech of how we were going to strive for excellence and change the perception of the team. After the meeting, the team was deflated. I got wind of the murmurs that the team felt put down. As a result, I didn’t have the full support of the team and there were only marginal improvements in performance. I learned to be more inspiring to my team and to give positive reinforcement and recognition to encourage them. My goal is to have fun and enjoyable interactions with people that leave them inspired and uplifted.

Off-topic, but I’m curious. As someone steering the ship, what thoughts or concerns often keep you awake at night? How do those thoughts influence your daily decision-making process?

I constantly think about how I can continue to offer value to my clients. Their success is my success. I always want my clients to feel like they made a good investment in themselves and that they had a good experience. So, decisions are made based on client feedback. I always try to make it better each time and add more value.

Another concern is how to maintain a competitive edge. There are many competitors that have larger budgets and more employees. They can spend more on digital advertising. They can do more in various areas of business. So, my decisions are based on building a brand on enhancing people’s skills and designing an experience that is memorable.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Help at least one person reach a goal. Once that person reaches their goal, then help another person and then another and so on. Be generous with your time and resources, which may be your skills or connections. I believe there is “more happiness in giving than receiving.” The recipient will be happy because they achieved their goal. And you will feel inner joy because you’ve made an impact on someone’s life.

How can our readers further follow you online?

Readers can follow me on LinkedIn at or on Instagram at where I share quick tips and strategies along with what’s working in marketing.

Thank you for the time you spent sharing these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

Thank you!

About the Interviewer: Cynthia Corsetti is an esteemed executive coach with over two decades in corporate leadership and 11 years in executive coaching. Author of the upcoming book, “Dark Drivers,” she guides high-performing professionals and Fortune 500 firms to recognize and manage underlying influences affecting their leadership. Beyond individual coaching, Cynthia offers a 6-month executive transition program and partners with organizations to nurture the next wave of leadership excellence.