How to Use AI To Market to Humans
A 15 minute read
We used ChatGPT to write this post and it was (mostly) completed in one day. Based upon a series of prompts we gave the AI, it generated over 2,000 words for us to use. We used virtually none of them. One of our Staff Humans used the ChatGPT-provided copy as a robust outline, but added in lots and lots of detail, our point of view, and our brand voice.
Welcome to the future.
01. Don’t Be Scared of the Robots
Over the last couple of decades, marketing has become increasingly driven by technology. Far too many marketers have leaned on this technology too heavily, dehumanizing marketing and, in the process, making it worse—generic content to feed the marketing automation beast, content that is stupidly long because “Google ranks blog posts over 1,500 words highest,” super-creepy remarketing campaigns that seem like they follow us into the bathroom.
At Scribewise, we believe that, as marketing has gotten more and more … robotic … the best marketers have embraced the idea of creating human connections with their prospects and customers. Yes, even in B2B. We’d argue especially in B2B, where you may have up to 12 real-life, human buyers with different personalities and priorities (according to Gartner).
But it doesn’t mean we can’t use technology to create great, emotion-driven marketing initiatives that establish a human connection and spur action.
If you’ve delved into using ChatGPT or any other content creation AI, you likely moved from initially being terrified to realizing that this is a way to supercharge both your creativity and productivity. And if you haven’t yet started using tools like ChatGPT, you need to devour this piece and then get cracking.
That’s right—we’re gonna use these robots to supercharge our humanity.
As someone smart said, “You’re not going to lose your job to AI; you’re going to lose your job to someone using AI.”
What is quickly apparent when you start using these tools is that they are limited, at least right now. They can get you started, but they cannot get you to the finish line armed with something ready to be unleashed on the world.
This piece is a guide for B2B marketers to show you the best ways to use generative AI to create high-quality content that humanizes your brand, and to connect it to the humans that make up your audience in the right way at the right time through the right channel.
As someone smart said, “You’re not going to lose your job to AI; you’re going to lose your job to someone using AI.”
02. A Couple Important Caveats
As I write this (April 2023), generative AI has some significant limitations. Of course, innovation in this space is happening faster than a jackrabbit on a date (name the movie), so this won’t always be true.
But here are a few things you need to bear in mind:
ChatGPT is not up to date.
ChatGPT is pulling from a massive library of content, but it is not connected to the internet. It has limited knowledge of the world and events after September 2021, so if you’re looking for precision around more recent events, you’re not going to get it. And if you do get it, don’t trust it without verifying it somewhere else.
ChatGPT is sometimes factually wrong.
There’s been a lot of talk about how ChatGPT “hallucinates”—sometimes, it makes shit up. It is also a very convincing BSer, so proceed accordingly. It also doesn’t necessarily understand context, and it will struggle if data is ambiguous or incomplete, leading to wrong information.
ChatGPT has been shown to demonstrate bias in some situations.
Some pot-stirrers have gotten it to write some pretty heinous things. For our purposes, the more likely danger is that it doesn’t understand cultural nuances, so if you market across different cultures, beware.
ChatGPT is going to struggle to write in your brand voice, leading to content that feels disconnected from your brand identity.
You (a human) will have to transform the raw material the robots give you into something that reflects your everyday awesomeness.
Lastly, content marketers and writers will quickly realize that, while ChatGPT, Jasper and other AI tools will tell you that they (it?) create “high quality, creative content,” they don’t.
It’s very rudimentary writing. You will not be getting finished products from AI.
03. Understanding Your Audience
You already know this, but let’s state it clearly: Marketing research can be time-intensive and costly. For these reasons, marketing departments often skip over valuable research as a way to save time and money. However, we also know that trusting your gut and using the ol’ trial-and-error approach often ends up being more costly and taking longer. Whoops.
With ChatGPT and other Large Language Model (LLM) AIs, you can conduct this research much more quickly and, theoretically, for much less money. That won’t always be true, but there’s no denying that AI can do your market research at light speed. You might still want to occasionally do the deep dive, hands-on, focus group type of research, but AI can get you pretty close to where you need to be most of the time.
This is what tools like ChatGPT do: They assimilate billions of bytes of information in nanoseconds, and summarize what they find. With the right prompts, you can gain a quick understanding of your audience’s wants, needs, pain points, and fears.
Even if you’re brilliant when it comes to knowing what your audience wants, why not spend a few minutes testing your hypotheses?
ChatGPT can assist you in researching your audience by analyzing demographics, behavior, interests, and needs so that you can better understand their pain points and create content that resonates with them.
You can give it a link to an audience or a spreadsheet, and it can analyze whatever information is in there and summarize it for you.
ChatGPT can also provide feedback on existing content, although it’s going to be pretty off-the-shelf. We asked it to analyze the content on the Scribewise website and provide insight into how we could better appeal to B2B marketers; its first recommendation was to make the content more conversational in tone—our website may be a lot of things, but if you’ve visited, you know it is very conversational. Don’t make me come at you, ChatGPT.
Those who can figure out how best to ask ChatGPT questions are the ones who will have the most success with it. When you’re using ChatGPT, it is very much a chat that you’re having—this means that how you ask questions and what your follow-up questions are will go a long way towards what ChatGPT gives back to you, just like in any conversation.
04. Content Creation, Sort Of
Just about all of the talk and reporting on what ChatGPT can do is focused on content creation—it can write a blog post for you in five seconds!
Yeah, about that…
Let us say, definitively, that you will not get a ready-for-prime-time blog post from ChatGPT. What you will get is mostly accurate information (see the caveat back in Section 2), written with proper grammar and punctuation, that provides a surface-level look at whatever topic you asked it to write about.
It will not have a point of view. It will not take a position or offer an opinion.
It will not be what any good professional writer would consider “good writing.”
But it can be incredibly useful—if you noticed the Editor’s Note at the top of this page, I started writing this in ChatGPT. I told it I was going to write a post on using AI to market to humans, and then asked it several prompts from there. Within two minutes, I had 2,000 words to work with.
Now, I would’ve been embarrassed to publish this piece as written by ChatGPT, and not just because it would’ve been unethical. It didn’t provide much value for our audience, in my mind (hopefully you feel that this final version does!). It didn’t have our brand voice. It didn’t have a point of view.
I ended up using very few of those 2,000 words. But it gave me a very robust outline to work from and helped to shape the flow of the page. It gave me some good concepts that I likely would’ve come up with on my own, but it got me there much faster.
A long-form post is one thing, but there are many other types of content that you can create in ChatGPT that don’t have quite as high a bar for style and point of view. ChatGPT can easily craft product descriptions, emails and social posts—shorter content types that, by their nature, are often more straightforward (but please don’t use this as an excuse to make your product descriptions, emails, or social posts boring!). Creating a significant number of social posts, in particular, can be a bit daunting. ChatGPT can help you create a lot of social posts that talk about the same topic in a variety of ways. You’ll still need to tweak them or adjust them to fit your brand voice, but you’ll have a significant headstart and won’t have to face the daunting blank page.
You can also use generative AI to create other content types, like interactive quizzes. But, as with anything written by AI, you should always consider it a first draft.
05. Brainstorming That Jolts Your Synapses
In a world overloaded with content—we’re already there and it’s only going to get more overwhelming with robots now playing the game—creativity is what is going to win.
And when it comes to generating breakthrough ideas, whether that’s a great content idea or a new product, it’s vitally important to create a lot of ideas. The stereotype of the Genius Creative who brilliantly comes up with a great idea is mostly a bunch of crap. The most creative people in the history of the world have been those who never stopped thinking of new ideas. They generated a ton of ideas, and most of them were crap.
Paul McCartney (feel free to plug in some other artist who’s been prolific over a certain period of time) has probably written a new song every single day of his life for the last six decades. Most of them we never hear. Some of them make his albums. A smaller subset become hits. And a few of them can be (arguably) counted among the greatest songs in history.
But you never get the greatest songs in history if you aren’t constantly trying to create great songs.
Here’s where ChatGPT comes in for your marketing—it can give you 20 ideas in the blink of an eye. Most of them will be terrible, but one or two might be okay. And they might lead you to a better idea. Maybe even a great idea.
A key tenet of brainstorming is building on ideas. You don’t just come up with those first 20 ideas and call it quits. The silly, stupid first ideas are the ones that get you thinking, that make you think of something completely different.
If you get a big list of ideas that are all over the place, just ask ChatGPT to put them into categories, whether the ideas are categorized by channel, or expense, or whatever.
Assuming you have creative people on your team, they should be able to build quickly on the AI-generated ideas … and then put them back into ChatGPT to have the AI build it even further.
We’ve used ChatGPT to brainstorm for a couple of Scribewise clients. We asked for names for an internal product one of our clients was rolling out. Within a minute or two, we had 40 possibilities, and we went to work tweaking them to see how to make them work. The pre-ChatGPT alternative would’ve been to get five people in the room, billing at our hourly rate, and spend an hour trying to come up with names. We skipped that part—much better for the process, much better for the client.
Keep asking follow-up questions based upon the answers ChatGPT gives you; after all, you’re brainstorming, and that means building on the ideas of others (even if they’re robots).
06. Iterate Faster and Faster
You know the importance of iterating your marketing as time goes by. Your team is committed to A/B testing campaigns, learning what’s working and what’s not, and doubling down on the strategies and tactics that produce the best results.
Now imagine that was easier and faster. ChatGPT can help you quickly understand what’s happening, and then refine and optimize your marketing efforts.
ChatGPT can help you generate multiple versions of marketing messages, headlines, or email subject lines, and then A/B test them to determine which one resonates best. If something is performing okay but not great, ChatGPT can help you quickly spin up new messaging or creative ideas that you can build on. Suddenly, your A/B test is an A/B/C/D/E/F/G test.
You can feed documents and spreadsheets into ChatGPT and ask it to analyze and provide recommendations based upon that data. Again, you’ll need a human being to take a closer look at those recommendations before you accept them as gospel, but it can create tremendous efficiency in helping you to understand the data and draw conclusions.
Now, you can improve what you’re doing and maximize your efforts (and money!) at a much faster pace, making sure that you’re creating marketing materials that your very human audience is actually excited to consume.
07. Now What?
Experiment. Sign up for ChatGPT. We recommend paying for ChatGPT Pro—it’s $20 a month, and gives you a higher level of access, meaning you’ll get newer releases sooner and also generally have greater uptime.
Also, we didn’t even get into the many other platforms and widgets and doohickeys that are springing up, because it’s impossible to create a status list that isn’t outdated by the time you hit Enter. One entire category that maybe deserves its own long post is image-generating AI, platforms like DALL-E and Midjourney. Tell your designers to put their fear aside and start to experiment; we’ll go back to the quote at the beginning of this piece—”you won’t lose your job to AI; you’ll lose your job to a person using AI.”
Most of all, pay attention. The world of generative AI is moving extremely fast, and you really can’t afford to take a week off if you want to stay on top of it. You should probably be reading or listening or watching something on AI in marketing at least once a day.