Opinions of contributing entrepreneurs are their own.
Since you are reading this I assume you are one of the hundreds of millions of people eager to learn more about ChatGPT. And no, that number is not an exaggeration; I just searched “ChatGPT” on Google and got 230,000,000,000 results. It’s not apples to apples, but the interest is there.
We’ve seen this before: an intriguing technical innovation that changes the game. ChatGPT and its ilk (Jasper.ai, Phrasee, Smartwriter.ai) may enter an enduring category of functionality that marks this as a turning point.
Or there’s another scenario that should be familiar to anyone who’s ever hung up a robocall or sent impersonal emails to spam: It can get downright annoying. Where it goes from here isn’t about the technology; it’s about the people who are doing it. And here it can go right or wrong.
Related: How Can Marketers Use ChatGPT? Here are the top 11 applications.
What is the ideal state for human-AI interaction?
AI (artificial intelligence) will hardly ever be great in a silo. Love or hate Peter Thiel’s politics, his position (in which he shared Zero to one) that technology and human expertise together will always be better than technology alone, I share.
As the tools emerge, everyone starts using them. While they may briefly reach a plateau of usefulness and become the new lowest common denominator, people who strive to improve the tool’s output will add value – especially if the tool, as ChatGPT seems, refines its results with time and volume (much like e.g. Facebook’s advertising algorithm).
I hear a lot of chatter about ChatGPT “will X change as we know it.” And that may be true, but not necessarily in a bad way. Technology that proves to be truly useful and valuable – think about how Facebook’s lookalike audiences instantly changed the paid social game with their relevance – won’t take over as much as it will help us improve our work.
Related: Chat GPT Urgent Warning: Is Your Data, Work, or Business Safe?
What does a race to the bottom look like with ChatGPT?
Let’s go back to robocalls and emails for a moment. You’ve been getting spam calls that start with a suspiciously long pause and then a robot voice, right? And you’ve received spam emails that start with “Hello”, not even your name, and then immediately start a sales pitch.
Years ago, when those technologies were introduced, they were revolutionary. They were ways to reach real people at scale in seconds. Today they are recognizable as lazy technical applications without human sophistication. That’s a race to the bottom: people get lazy and overuse the technology, use it without thinking or improvements, or both. And you can see that coming very clearly in the ChatGPT era: obvious search, oversimplified result, cut/paste, post.
The good news is that soon enough people will be able to recognize those results for what they are, and the power of the technology will only fade. Early adopters can make a profit now, but when the technology spreads, the basic use has no value. As with email, this doesn’t mean ChatGPT and its ilk are dead; they will only be valuable if they are used properly, with people at the controls and critical thinking.
Does ChatGPT pose a threat to marketing professionals?
ChatGPT and other AI tools pose a potential short-term threat to people doing things like content creation, video and image creation, and possibly keyword research, as it can produce baselines of those initiatives quickly and for much less than you a professional would pay.
That said, savvy professionals can have their own arbitrage opportunity if they can use those tools to get to a certain level quickly and then add their expertise to produce unique, high-quality results. (For example, if you’re a skilled copy editor, you can take a piece of content that Grammarly has already polished and take the language itself to another, more advanced level that really tugs at the reader’s emotions.)
In the long run, ChatGPT and similar tools shall become (or already are) part of the marketing toolkit. The best way to handle it is to adopt it and adapt quickly – understand its strengths and how to use them And the weaknesses and how to improve them. Put it in your own toolkit now and learn how to evolve with it over time.
Powerful Use Cases for AI in Marketing – Now
AI has been around in marketing for years. Facebook and Google ads are known to be driven by machine learning algorithms, and Amazon has been using AI to design personalized experiences for much longer. That said, personalization in general will continue to be an area where AI can provide value, particularly in determining the right content – the type of content and messaging – to present to users.
Whether it’s chatbot-produced text or AI-produced videos or images, AI’s power lies in its speed (create and use assets almost instantly, with no uploads or save steps). Let’s say you’re Kellogg’s and you’re advertising a breakfast cereal for kids and adults. You can personalize ads to show ads to your adult audience for each: a table of happy children eating the first cereal and a healthy-looking adult eating the second.
Getting first-hand data into the mix and understanding how to use the demographic and interest-based information you have in conjunction with AI will help you effectively serve personalized creative at scale to your users without having to think about it. (Although once everyone does, the next layer of human creativity on top of the AI-produced creative will be the differentiator.)
AI is also the backbone of predictive analytics and a key marketing subdiscipline, media mix modeling (which helps marketers understand which channels should get their budget and what outcomes to expect). But while AI is the engine for the analysis, marketers must provide the right fuel (data input) and guidance (data interpretation and follow-up decisions and actions). In other words, marketers need to ask the right questions, review the analysis to make sure it makes sense, and take action on the analysis by building and optimizing media campaigns.
Whether it’s marketing or other disciplines ripe for technology disruption, few technologies have the power to change the trajectory of an industry. ChatGPT and other AI innovations are impressive on many levels, but their full potential will only be realized when smart people focus on leveraging the technology to create a new productivity baseline.