To get right into it: No. ChatGPT, and other forms of AI marketing tools will not replace me. Because I’m talented, if I do say so myself.
Any marketer, content writer, or graphic designer who takes pride in their work will always beat out work that is spit out by artificial intelligence. But that doesn’t mean that AI platforms – like ChatGPT, DALL-E 2, and chatbots – are the enemy or just a tool of the lazy. In fact, when used optimally, they can be great allies in speeding up the content creation process and lending a hand to your overall digital marketing strategy, which in turn will help brands secure more customers.
The History of AI in Digital Marketing
Even though AI is all anyone in digital marketing is talking about, it’s not a new phenomenon. AI technology has been part of marketers’ every day for years. For example, search engine rankings use artificial intelligence to determine the order in which articles and websites should appear on search result pages. To offer the most relevant featured snippets, Google employs a multitask unified model (MUM). MUM is a type of AI that consults various sources to reach a consensus about the most accurate answer. Finally, we’ve been interacting with customer service chatbots for years now. And AI technology powers those too.
The most talked-about kids on the AI block are ChatGPT and DALL-E 2, a text and art generator, respectively. Generative AI is the specific type of AI leveraged in ChatGPT and DALL-E 2, which is designed to constantly compete with itself so that it learns from every query and improves with each assignment.
The occasional distorted monstrosities created by AI art generators are nightmarish … but other than that, AI is nothing to be afraid of. Generative AI’s ability to “learn” is frightening to some, but content marketers, email marketers, sales, and customer experience teams should embrace the tech to optimize their current operations.
Pros and Cons of Mixing Artificial Intelligence and Digital Marketing
Using AI isn’t cheating. When used responsibly, it has many positive uses in digital marketing. Here are a few ways it can help various marketers in their day to day, plus a few pitfalls and ethical gray areas to sidestep.
- Writer’s block buster. It’s very real. It’s frustrating. And sometimes fresh air and a fun snack just don’t cure it. Text generation tools are one emerging method to alleviating writer’s block. If you need a quirky metaphor to start off a piece, a quick summary about a complex topic for social media, or additional discussion points to fill out a long-form article, ChatGPT is your friend. As long as you don’t lift or paraphrase AI-generated content, you’re still in the ethical green zone. Just remember to doublecheck the accuracy of any claim or term you’re unsure about and locate primary sources to back up your points.
- A good starting point. Small businesses on a budget or projects with tight turnarounds can benefit from AI marketing tools to speed the creative process. DALL-E 2 is one method to brainstorm creative visual concepts or to create a beginning image upon which graphic designers can then elaborate. Just make sure that the majority of the final image is original and if there’s an opportunity to put a disclaimer that the effort was augmented by AI, include that as well. Otherwise uproar will ensue, like when an AI-assisted artwork won first place in a contest, so artists should perhaps refrain from submitting AI artwork to competitions.
- Lead generation and categorization. Humans sleep, step out for lunch breaks, take well-deserved vacations. AI chatbots don’t. When someone visits your website at 9pm on a Sunday, a chatbot can usher them through your website while your employees are enjoying time off. User experience and customer service benefits when someone (human or otherwise) is available to answer customer questions. AI can suggest relevant help articles or a related article on the blog to sate customers’ or prospects’ immediate curiosities. Additionally, AI can categorize leads through form fills and gathered customer data to assist sales and marketing teams to follow up with informed next steps.
- Hazy plagiarism lines. Because text generators pull snippets from the entire Internet’s worth of sources, one 600-word AI-written blog post could borrow ideas from dozens of authors. Similarly, AI art generators gain inspiration from hundreds of years of art history. Best practice dictates that creators correctly attribute their sources. But when it’s unclear where the information comes from, originality and accuracy lags. Copying and pasting from ChatGPT is just as unethical as copying and pasting from a human author.
- The “it’s-good-enough” trap. “Good enough” is never an advisable approach to digital marketing. Because you can bet that your competitors are saying to themselves “How can we make this campaign/article/infographic/etc. the absolute best it can be?” When asked the right questions, AI can churn a good-enough response. But a mediocre email marketing campaign isn’t going to inspire a customer to act. A blog article or social media copy that’s typo-free and technically sound won’t push the envelope and make your brand voice shine. The more you rely on machines and ai marketing tools, the rustier your skills and the lazier your output will become. To keep up with digital marketing trends, it’s essential to continuously practice, test, and revise to stand out from the pack and deliver useful content to your target audience.
- Stretching truths, casting doubt. Using AI in a marketing setting can be a slippery slope to misleading customers and ultimately breaking trust. It’s like discovering your crush’s letters of adoration were written by a computer. Customers want to feel special. But when someone – whether a partner, a customer service representative, or a marketer – doesn’t take the time to use their own words to woo you, it impacts your customer experience and builds a relationship upon shaky ground. AI-generated videos and deep fake technology – or the digital manipulation of people – have the potential to grossly overestimate the abilities of products or services if used carelessly. Content solely generated by AI can come across as untrustworthy and disingenuous: the ultimate foes of any digital marketing strategy or branding effort.
What Does the Future Hold?
The next five years will likely see thousands of AI-written high school essays and choppy blogs failing at creating a community. But marketing content creators shouldn’t worry about the security of their positions because our creative brains have the ultimate upper hand on AI: We’re human!
Everything in digital marketing is B2H, or business to human. Even the most B2B technical blog you could imagine is written for living, breathing people. It takes a human’s knack for storytelling to capture the attention and respect of audiences.
Generative AI and machine learning tools gets “smarter” the more people use and hone it. In five years, programs that use AI technology will be more sophisticated but will not ascend to take-over-the-world genius status. With that in mind, don’t bow down and out to AI. Rather, enlist it as your brainstorming sidekick and put your uniquely human spin on your efforts to delight and inform your target audience.