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Is ChatGPT the Future of Marketing?
ChatGPT. If you’ve not heard of it, where have you been?
If you believe the hype, ChatGPT is the next big thing in marketing. And not just in marketing, either. It can do everything from conversing with your customers to writing lyrical poetry.
But is it really all it’s cracked up to be?
Here are my thoughts.
What is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT stands for ‘Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer’. Not the clearest of acronyms, admittedly! It’s a chatbot trained on OpenAI’s groundbreaking GPT-3 machine-learning language models.
What this means in practical terms is that ChatGPT can provide a more detailed, articulate and even intuitive chatbot experience than ever before.
The level of knowledge and eloquence alone makes ChatGPT a potential game changer, but it is more than just a conversationalist. It’s versatile. According to OpenAI, ChatGPT can also:
- Write computer programs
- Compose music
- Write poetry
- Create stories
- Write essays
- Emulate a Linux computer system
- Simulate entire chat room conversations
- Play games like tic-tac-toe.
It’s also very good at generating controversy. Google ‘ChatGPT’ and you’ll get a lot of results about AI encroaching on the ‘human realm’ of creativity. But I’m going to skirt around that thorny issue for now and head straight for the implications of ChatGPT for marketing.
ChatGPT: is it another flash in the pan?
I’ve got to be honest. My initial thoughts about ChatGPT are that it’s yet another ‘shiny thing’ - a piece of brand-new tech which is briefly adored and quickly discarded. If that makes me sound jaded and anti-tech, it shouldn’t. I’m far from it! I would love to see ChatGPT reach its potential in marketing - and I think it has a lot of potential.
My problem is not with the tech itself. It’s with the way we adopt it.
I’m a marketing strategist. So I’m ideally placed to see how a lack of strategy can spell the end for even the best, most innovative tech. In my book, Marketing Strategy, I detail several examples of occasions when a lack of strategy has let down an otherwise brilliant idea. My concern is that ChatGPT could suffer the same fate.
Remember ClubHouse? No? It was (still is, somewhere) a voice-based social network that was going to revolutionize marketing. Then there was Basecamp, a workplace network that was going to revolutionize marketing. And what about BuzzSumo, the social monitoring tool that was at one point going to be the absolute future of marketing? Are any of these core channels or tools now?
Is ChatGPT destined for the same fate? And, if not, why not?
How can ChatGPT fulfil its promise?
ChatGPT does have a lot going for it. As an intelligent chatbot, it can provide excellent customer service.
We’ve all gotten frustrated with the basic automated CS chatbot answers. ChatGPT could provide something more than that - an instantly accessible bot that can answer your questions in an intelligent, informed manner.
As a creative AI, it also has huge potential for boosting smaller creative tasks. Email subject lines are a case in point. AI has already had great success in producing engaging subject lines. ChatGPT could step into and enhance this aspect of creative marketing. It’s already being used in tools such as Inboxer where it is providing feedback on email subject lines and copy:
However, in order for ChatGPT to reach its full potential for marketers, it has to be adopted in a strategic manner. What we must not do is flock to it purely because it’s new and exciting without first stopping to think about how it can fit in with (and enhance) our existing strategies.
If we aren’t strategic about this fun new technology, it risks going the way of ClubHouse and all the other fads.
Will ChatGPT make human marketers redundant?
This is a common concern when any new AI hits the market. Will it take over our jobs? Will it make us redundant? Will our marketing departments one day consist of a single modem and interface, with no human in sight?
Personally, I think that we have a long way to go before we reach that stage.
Look at it this way: have you ever had a totally seamless experience with any technology? Even the most intelligent automated technology? How many times a week do you experience glitches and timeouts when making a purchase online? How many times are your meetings or work interrupted by system updates and the like?
Machines can do a lot, but they don’t understand what humans actually want and need and they can’t run the world themselves without our intervention.
Most importantly of all, they can’t think and strategize in the way that humans can. Which brings me back to my main point.
How strategy can save ChatGPT from the fad cycle
My own experience with ChatGPT was far from seamless. When I first tried to access it, it was at maximum capacity and I had to wait.
To their credit, the ChatGPT team tried to mitigate the frustration of this with self-deprecating jokes, but it was still frustrating.
Being unable to access ChatGPT because it was at capacity does, in many ways, illustrate my concerns about it. The platform was at capacity because people were (as we so often do!) leaping in droves for the next new shiny thing to come along.
This is a common pattern which repeats over and over again: shiny new tool hits the market; everyone gets very excited about shiny new tool; everyone rushes to shiny new tool; shiny new tool cannot cope with either demand or expectations; users are disappointed and frustrated; shiny new tool is discarded and forgotten about.
I’ve seen this happen to a lot of new tools and platforms in my time, and it’s a shame because a lot of them truly had potential. ChatGPT is no different. By bombing through this pattern, marketers lose a lot of time and money without getting any of the potential benefits that could be gleaned.
How can we prevent this pattern from occurring again in the case of ChatGPT (and the next shiny things that will inevitably follow it)?
If you’ve got this far, you’ll know that the answer is strategy.
Rather than leaping on each shiny new thing like excited children, we should approach a potential new tool strategically. We should think about:
- Why do we need this thing
- The benefits it could bring to our operation
- The value it could provide for our customers
- How it will fit into our existing tech stack
- How we can use it for maximum benefit
- Whether or not it’s really necessary for our operation.
When considered (and used strategically), these tools will quickly reveal their usefulness and can be incorporated into our tech stacks for long-term benefit.
To get this kind of strategizing right, I suggest using my STRATEGY framework. It’s a helpful acronym that goes like this:
- S. Scenario - establish the current situation
- T. Targets - set objectives
- R. Reach - research your customers
- A. Awareness - plan your campaign
- T. Tactics - selects the right channels and tactics
- E. Execution - implement your strategy
- G. Generate - track your progress
- Y. Yield - analyze your results.
By approaching new tech in a strategic manner, we can ensure that we don’t get carried away with the excitement of each shiny new thing, fail to see its benefit and waste a lot of time and money for no reward. Instead, we will pick the new tools that we need and get a long-term benefit for using them in specific ways that benefit us and our customers.