What marketers need to know about Generative AI by Belinda Barker, Chief Executive of The World Media Group

June 12, 2023

What marketers need to know about Generative AI

You can’t pick up a newspaper or turn on the TV these days without stumbling across a story about Generative AI or, more specifically, Chat GPT. Last month during a panel on the subject at the CIM Financial Marketing Leaders’ Summit, I was one of the few people in the room to admit that I’d never used Chat GPT. I’ve since rectified that and can see some benefits for marketers – as long as we’re able to navigate the potential pitfalls.

So, what do marketers need to know about Generative AI? Here are my key outtakes after listening to the panel of experts on the subject.

A powerful tool if wielded correctly

Anyone who has asked Chat GPT a question will be aware of its shortcomings when it comes to delivering accurate information, but with the right data, it has the potential to hugely enhance productivity. Lindsey Herbert, Chief Innovation Officer at IBM Garage, put this into context with a brilliant example of how, if wielded correctly, Generative AI can be a powerful tool.

Herbert explained that it took about 10 years to train IBM’s question-answering AI, Watson, in 12 languages. However, by adding the foundational modelling made possible by Generative AI to Watson’s natural language processing, they were able to increase that to 25 languages within just one year.

The US company CVS Pharmacies reaped the benefits of this when, during the pandemic, they were receiving a deluge of calls about the Covid vaccine. Using the natural language processing capability for IBM’s voice AI, they were able to handle 28 million calls, launching the programme from scratch in less than 3 weeks.

Seventy percent of callers were 100 percent satisfied by the response – unaware that they were speaking to an AI. It’s clear from this example that the potential for human-like chatbots to streamline the customer care business is enormous.

Hyper-personalisation has become a reality

Marketers have been talking about hyper-personalisation for years, but generative AI can make it a reality. Amir Malik, MD, Digital Marketing at Accenture, told the CIM Financial Marketing Leaders’ Summit audience that there’s a radical change coming around how we will experience Account Based Marketing.

Generative AI can generate tens of thousands of drafts for a hyper-personalised experience to one segment of customers in just a few hours, making it possible to reach people faster and much more effectively. Add to that technology like Synthesia, which creates a human avatar that has ChatGPT speech personalised to the individual, and it starts to feel like something out of a sci-fi movie.

But that’s not necessarily a good thing. As Herbert pointed out, in most sci-fi movies when we see a character walking through the streets of a futuristic city bombarded by talking ads, their reaction is generally to avoid or ignore the advertising! When there’s a deluge of content, standing out becomes so much more difficult, so creativity will remain the key ingredient when it comes to reaching audiences.

Expect quantity over quality 

According to Malik, Generative AI is evolving four times faster than Moore’s law. As the rate of improvement rapidly increases, it has the potential to disrupt many industries. While we can undoubtedly save time and resources by generating large volumes of content such as blogs and social media posts, the source of the information may be spurious.

Programmes such as Chat GPT are only as good as the information they are being fed. If you’re using AI to create content, it could well be answering your question based on a high volume of low-quality articles that dominate the search response. Editing and fact-checking your material is essential. Here’s where the 80:20 rule comes into play – AI can do 80 percent of the job, but the quality of the output will be determined by the last 20 percent of human input.

Add to that the fact that there’s currently a lack of regulation around AI worldwide. If we think about a worst-case scenario, in the wrong hands Chat GPT could be flooded with a high volume of political disinformation and misinformation or content from conspiracy theorists.

Being human is what makes us unique

While there’s no question that we can save ourselves hours of time by using AI, productivity means nothing if it doesn’t lead our customers to engage with whatever it is we’re promoting. As marketers we’re competing for people’s attention and the best way to capture them is to present a unique creative idea.

As IBM’s Herbert pointed out, if you’re asking a programme like chat GPT to write copy for your campaign, and you use it as is, you have failed! What Chat GPT is doing is providing the most likely answer to the question that you’ve posed. If the person you’re targeting is able to predict what you’re saying, they’re very unlikely to bother reading your email or following your call to action.

Where Chat GPT can come in useful is testing out your new marketing campaign or your copy against the AI to check whether what you’ve written actually is unique. If Chat GPT comes up with a similar result, it’s time for a re-think!

Having immersed myself further into the world of Generative AI, I think there are plenty of opportunities for marketers to get excited about. The danger is that if, in our race to increase productivity or to achieve hyper personalisation we lose sight of creativity, we risk going from brand to bland.

If you’re heading to Cannes and would like to find out more about the implications of Generative AI on trust and truth in marketing, join us for our panel discussion on the subject:

Date                  Wednesday 21st June
Time                  9.45 – 11.00 CET
Place                 Axel Springer Freedomhaus, Hotel Barrière Le Majestic Cannes, 10 Bd de la Croisette, 06400 Cannes, France

Please fill out the form here to confirm your attendance.