… I never had and didn’t know I needed, but now I can’t live without.
Led by ChatGPT, Generative AI is … everywhere
ChatGPT reached 100 million users in just 2 months. OpenAI’s generative AI product destroyed the previous user count speed record set by TikTok (9 months) by hitting the 100 million mark over 4X faster. Previous leaders include YouTube (1.5 years) and Instagram (2.5 years). The OpenAI product set not just the marathon but the sprint record when it reached 1 million users in 5 days, obliterating Instagram’s record of 2 months.
Joining the frenzy, even after swearing off shiny objects
Marketing people (and entrepreneurs) are most guilty of falling victim to Shiny Object Syndrome. Digital marketers constantly search for the next dopamine hit that will change the game and accelerate our marketing strategies to deliver faster, cheaper, or better results. Tell me more about machine learning! Give me deep learning! What’s an LLM? CMOs and their marketing teams need predictive analytics! Meanwhile, many corporate team members revealed that their companies banned the AI marketing tool altogether, amidst fears about data privacy, especially after the Samsung incident.
Not every shiny object turns into the “next” big thing, as promised. Think Segway, New Coke, and LaserDiscs.
Marketing AI hyperbole hit fast and furiously
We posted and discussed our customer experience with ChatGPT and the use of AI with our clients in its early days but decided to mitigate our marketing AI external conversations. Instead, we’ve leaned into deeper learning about different use cases of this chatty AI tool in our daily workflow. We started looking at AI technology implementation skills as a competitive advantage, especially while others focused on the hype.
Content creation on social media like Twitter (now X) threads and blog posts popped up overnight and littered the platforms. Crypto bros seemingly morphed into ChatGPT “experts” with million-dollar proposals everywhere. Many SaaS founders initially thought (incorrectly) they could replace their entire marketing team with one ChatGPT PLUS account and an overseas assistant. Concurrently, users began sharing humorous ChatGPT outputs like poems and Pope mashups from Midjourney. Fun, but not game changing. And it isn’t helping our marketing efforts move forward with our target audience or potential customers.
ChatGPT usage peaks at 1.85 billion visitors in May 2023, drops in June to 1.66 billion
Each day, countless new apps, plugins, and marketing tools are launching using OpenAI and other generative AI models. Companies are all in, as 45% of executives in a Gartner poll from May 2023 revealed that the ChatGPT publicity prompted them to increase their artificial intelligence investments. Frances Karamouzis, VP Analyst at Gartner, quipped, “The generative AI frenzy shows no signs of abating.” Yet, ChatGPT visits dropped from 1.85B in May to 1.66B in June.
Artificial intelligence is overwhelming
The early use cases of ChatGPT are reminiscent of tourists visiting the Grand Canyon for the first time. The experience of first laying eyes on it is so overwhelming with its vast enormity and beauty that many visitors look, snap the requisite selfie, and then turn their focus to the bold but adorable Rock squirrels. It’s overwhelming, there are no true experts (yet), and many don’t know what to do with their shiny AI object, so they’re visiting less often. But not us.
Marketing AI training from multiple sources
We’ve spent time connecting the dots with esteemed colleagues, the forward thinkers at the Marketing AI Institute, and the brilliant AI Academy, where we’re reminded weekly that even though everyone’s talking about it, few are focused on using it to actually solve real-world problems. As a result, ChatGPT has become my own go-to creative marketing assistant that helps me daily become a better creative and entrepreneur, all in real-time.
AI Academy founder Steve Cunningham sums it up best by suggesting that you rely on AI as your daily sidekick and that the best outcomes result from those comfortably combining AI with wisdom and experience in a niche. Even Sam Altman, CEO of Open.AI, recently revealed that he sees ChatGPT as “evolving into a cognitive super assistant.”
The secret of marketing AI is that the tools are only as good as the input. Garbage in, garbage out. Put me on the market’s most technologically advanced, competitive skis, but I will still slowly snowplow down the green run, heading straight for après-ski drinks at the lodge. ChatGPT is like that. The quality of the information you get directly relates to how well you define and ask your questions. The buzzy new term for asking ChatGPT good questions is “prompting” or being a “Prompt Engineer”. The digital world caught fire (again) in late June when one company posted a Prompt Engineer job with a salary of $800,000.
For most marketers, skilling up to being fluent in AI chatbots is a likely requirement in the near future. Today, those who deeply understand a marketing challenge in a specific niche or business vertical can frame the ask with greater clarity, resulting in much better answers.
My creative assistant needs nurturing
ChatGPT needs to know why I am asking the questions in order to deliver the best responses. Who I am, what XPROMOS does, and who our ideal customer is. The first answer isn’t always the best. By clarifying the ask, like a specific marketing strategy, for example, we get better and better outputs.
Focus on the little asks, not the big job
Much of the content “written” by generative AI is mediocre at best. No doubt, ChatGPT was responding to a weak digital content prompt like “Write me a piece of long-form content, like a blog about chatbots.” Today’s ChatGPT is not creating our marketing programs after we type in a few buzzwords. Instead, it is helping accelerate and improve some digital marketing efforts. It’s making what we do better and doing it faster (which technically translates to cheaper).
Some of the questions I ask my creative assistant to help with include:
- Being my brainstorming buddy, answering questions as I think about communicating a topic. Let’s be honest: most creatives need to talk through ideas. ChatGPT is a good listener and helps me think with greater clarity
- Giving me a different way to communicate a specific thought
- Composing a series of social media posts for a specific platform to drive a particular action (our internal small sample tests show that ChatGPT’s icons and hashtags drive more views and customer engagement than those written without its assistance)
- Giving examples of what I wanted to communicate (like asking for colossal, overhyped failures and what kind of squirrels live at the South Rim, both of which I integrated above)
- Building a list of “things”, like iconic 90s fashion trends, disruptive marketing campaigns, typical customer behavior based on known pain points, or less famous but impactful females for Women’s History Month
- Summarizing the details of a specific trade show, including the number and type of attendees
- Finding alliterations, puns, and metaphors for use in copy as a headline or theme
- Exploring best practices for gathering market research on consumer behavior in a specific business vertical and how to apply it to customer data in a different business vertical
- Summarizing complex topics like quantum mechanics or explaining what constitutes big data
- Researching specific industry stats (with sources). No, it’s not always accurate. But checking a source is much faster than first having to find it.
Generative AI excels at random requests
During the workday, thanks to my ADHD, I also look to ChatGPT to help me with daily life tasks, like outlining instructions for cooking a Tri-Tip on a gas grill. Yes, recipes are already available online. If you’ve ever tried to grab a simple recipe from search engines or via a social media post, you know the pain of first learning the history of the food, then getting a story about its uses and a few more anecdotes before you get to the recipe. Inevitably you accidentally click on one of the 1000 ads while trying to scroll to the data you’re looking for. Not with ChatGPT. It just pops up with what you requested. No backstory. No clickbait. PS—it was tender and juicy. Recipe below. I’ve heard it will create recipes if you give it a list of items you have available.
It’s still an assistant, not an executive
As quick and attentive as ChatGPT and other AI marketing tools are, they’re still more like interns or assistants than senior management. If I need a list of 5 items, I ask for 10. Not all responses will be what I’m looking for. If those 10 aren’t great, I ask for 10 more and clarify my ask. ChatGPT never gets frustrated or angry; my chatbot buddy keeps responding with a positive, conversational, natural language tone. But even when they’re not perfect, they help me move forward quicker, benefiting our clients and business. In the coming years, generative AI will get better. Prompts will be second nature for those who upskill. And different products and stand-alone automation apps will surface. No doubt, the best AI marketing tools will rise to the top.
Answering “What’s in it for me?”
Some of the most intriguing creative assistance comes when we ask ChatGPT to apply key learnings from one source to the problems of a specific niche or entity. Its giant continuously-learning brain connects the dots of seemingly unconnected bits of data in unexpected ways, helping to articulate how lessons from one event can apply in a completely different vertical. As a creative marketer, it helps with the heavy lifting of explaining to clients and prospects the “why” behind an approach.
Missing the “Why”
You learn a literal lifetime of lessons by owning a business for over 30 years. One lesson I learned over time (even though my co-founder always advocated for it) is that we must explain and justify each concept we present. I thought it was a waste of time, as the answer seemed clear and obvious to me. Eventually, I learned that not everyone thinks like I do, and by slowing down and explaining the why, we increased our average close rate. Now, my new bot buddy helps justify the why, eliminating one of my least favorite presentation deck development tasks.
Marketing AI Enablement
Giving someone with ADHD (me) access to a tool with limitless capabilities makes “going down a rabbit hole” feel more like a rocket-boosted version of Journey to the Center of the Earth. The output, neatly curated by chat, remains accessible, allowing the user (me) to summon my inner Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow: ideate, review, explore deeper, and follow the breadcrumbs, all with my fast brain. Then, return later with my slow brain to pick up where I left off, now with a deeper understanding and greater focus.
What’s the best way to start using artificial intelligence technologies like ChatGPT?
Remember when you got your first computer or tablet, or smartphone? Using ChatGPT is like that. There’s no user’s manual. It can do so much, yet you feel lost, not knowing where to start. The best way to start is to dive in and discover. Just start.
11 things to do next with your Open.ai account:
1. Upgrade to the ChatGPT PLUS version if you can
You can do a lot with the free version, but for $20 a month, if you can afford it, upgrade to the plus for a better experience. First, you get access to GPT-4, which is superior for advanced reasoning requests, and new features (even in beta) as they drop. Get to know your bot buddy by starting a conversation about a topic you know about as a test of ChatGPT’s knowledge base.
2. Understand a few limitations
Be mindful of these ChatGPT limitations:
- Yes, it is only updated to September 2021, so it can’t summarize information that occurred after that.
- Yes, it is open source, so ensure you’re not sharing trade secrets or sensitive personal information on your account (like Samsung did). Other options are available to train your own secure LLM, but let’s not order the lightweight carbon-fiber Shimano racing bike until you get your training wheels off.
- Even with a ChatGPT PLUS account, you’re limited to 50 messages every 3 hours. That’s a lot of questions, but sometimes you get on a roll, and boom! You’re sidelined for a bit.
- You can end up down a rabbit hole. Beware of getting immersed in responses that pique your interest in a way that you fritter away an entire afternoon on the history of concrete in ancient civilization (don’t ask).
- Check the sources. When you ask ChatGPT for examples, ask it to cite the source. Then, check it for accuracy. It had some issues early on, but we’ve experienced fewer challenges with inaccurate information of late.
3. Accept it: context is everything
The better your questions, the better your answers. Be specific. Give a backstory for context. Tell it how you want the output. Think of ChatGPT as an intern or assistant.
4. Apply key learnings of the experts in a field
ChatGPT is impressive at connecting the dots. Consider your favorite experts, like Aristotle, Einstein, or Ogilvy. Then ask how that expert would solve a specific challenge or how the key learnings of an expert would apply to a specific problem. Or take the best of one field to see how to apply it to another field. The answers won’t be perfect, but they can be impressive enough to spark you to think differently about solving your challenge.
5. Drown out the noise
You will see AI resources, courses, prompts, and shortcuts everywhere, all promising unbelievable results with only a couple of keystrokes. Run the other way! Choose your AI advisors carefully. Listen to the people who were ALREADY experts in your industry. Follow proven leaders like Paul Roetzer at the Marketing AI Institute and Steve Cunningham at AI Academy. Those are two of our favorites that can give you a place to start.
6. Explore prompt templates. Expect mostly disappointment
In a rush to capitalize on those 100m users, many developers have released ChatGPT plugins and prompt templates for you to download for free (or buy for under $5) that promise to INSTANTLY build everything from your USP and Value Proposition to an entire industry analysis or specific prompt for the visual AI tool Midjourney. In short, buyer beware. The brevity of many of these prompt templates makes the results disappointing. However, when you hear about something of value from a trusted source, you’re more likely to get valuable results that you can further customize to meet your specific needs.
7. Personalize your messaging (and your usage)
ChatGPT is masterful at applying one concept to another, giving you an elite opportunity to personalize messaging (a massive timesaver for SDRs and sales teams looking to create a nurture stream for a prospect). Don’t stop there. Personalize your own ChatGPT usage. Consider what tasks you do that are time-consuming (and boring) and ask ChatGPT for help. Start by asking ChatGPT how it can help you accomplish specific tasks or meet defined goals.
8. Leave it open; use it every day
Like all skills, you get better the more you practice. Ask ChatGPT to help you every day as new ideas or questions emerge. Ask it to write a thoughtful poem for a friend who’s struggling. Be specific: ask for a haiku or limerick. Or have it create a Shakespearean sonnet based on a personal experience to give to your spouse. Or ask it for 3 dinner ideas using these 5 ingredients you have on hand. Consider each ask a new rep that helps you strengthen your AI enablement muscles.
9. Create your own prompt library
When you get an output from ChatGPT that exceeds your expectations, save your prompt! Start a library of those to share, especially if it’s related to a repeatable task or something others in your network could benefit from.
10. Share your experiences
We are all at the AI starting line. If you can understand and thoughtfully apply ChatGPT to your area of expertise to solve your specific problems, fix pain points and move the needle, you will be ahead of the curve during this new AI revolution.
11. Prepare to be amazed
As a long-time agency owner, we have always abided by the old adage, “You can have it cheaper, better, or faster. Pick any two.” Remarkable, Generative AI has already demonstrated its ability to act as the magic unicorn that disproves that adage by allowing us to do all three. Yes, we can finally have our cake AND eat it too. Don’t let this revolution pass you by. It’s time to jump in and figure it out.