We previously shared about the day to day efficiencies of using ChatGPT in a marketing role, and we’ve seen what ChatGPT can do. But what does it mean? The real learning and applications of ChatGPT come with more extensive use. And now, 3 months in, it’s starting to get really interesting. When you start using ChatGPT more consistently and broadly, you can zoom out beyond the day-to-day and observe some pretty mind-blowing and game-changing cultural shifts.
Here’s five implications of ChatGPT for your business and the future that we’re seeing as a marketing agency.
1. Prompt engineering will win the day.
Thinking in questions has always been a fundamental skill for marketers:
- Who are we speaking to?
- What problem are we trying to solve?
- What’s the goal of this campaign?
ChatGPT isn’t a magic tool that can read minds and do your work for you (yet). And with ChatGPT’s limitations, one thing is emerging: ChatGPT effectiveness relies on our ability to engineer prompts.
I’ve learned, for example, to work with it by almost coaching it:
“Please do that again, but add these keywords as well now.”
“The hashtag ‘bossbabe’ isn’t the right tone for this one.”
You become the coach, helping it take baby steps in the right direction, finessing the output until it’s usable. Knowing your goal and knowing things like brand tone and character limits off the top of your head will give you a better result.
If you are a marketer and weren’t already dreaming in keywords, now you’ll start dreaming in prompts. Here’s an SEO Guide to Prompts to get you started. Across industries, we’re seeing Prompt Engineering emerge as a new job role that’s sought after, see this business guide by Fiverr Why Every Small Business Should Hire an AI Prompt Engineer.
2. Before you start, you must prime. (We don’t mean Amazon.)
Giving ChatGPT enough context before you start with prompts is also important, called Priming ChatGPT. This is where you need to give it enough backstory:
- What tone is right for your content? What style?
- What are we trying to sell? (Insert website copy)
- What are the values of the company? The founder’s story?
They’re all bits that need to be loaded up into ChatGPT so that it can draw on them. Priming ChatGPT is kind of like using paint primer. It’s tedious, an extra step, you’re tempted to skip it, but it leads to better results, every time. You won’t get high quality output without taking the time to prime, but ChatGPT is highly trainable.
I learned very early on that it makes no sense for me to go through the process of priming for a single, smaller task like a social media post. Making priming content shareable and accessible to our team would benefit everyone.
Fortunately as a marketing agency we already maintain client guides for our teams to refer to, with things like style guides. Now we’re seeing the value of adding AI-oriented priming sections to it: like here’s the client’s high-performing hashtags this quarter. Here’s the client’s all time top subject lines. Here’s the client’s best performing social posts.
Now the team has easy access to shared priming material — a baseline of sorts, so we’re all starting from the same place, and everyone can save time when developing content. Maintaining this sort of “source of truth” content like a Press Kit has never been sexy, but it’s literally supercharging our team.
Here’s an example of priming content we use:
Here’s about the business:
Here’s about the audience we’re creating content for:
Here’s the tone and style:
Here’s 3 top Calls to Action and links they point to:
Here’s what performs best on email:
Here’s some high performing hashtags:
Here’s the founder’s story:
Here’s taglines that have strong engagement:
Here’s marketing channels we write for:
Prompt: ChatGPT, please draw on all of this information when you answer this question: ____________
With the right effort upfront, ChatGPT is helping our team to produce high quality content more efficiently and with less time on searching, editing, collating, and cross checking.
Are we writing content in our sleep now? Not yet. But our tools and processes are levelling up to make use of AI tools.
3. Authenticity matters even more.
As an email marketing agency, our philosophy here may be different from other marketing agencies. Where an SEO Agency may be more concerned with helping you rank first on Google, we’re more concerned with building trust and loyalty with your customers. We put a larger focus on brand messaging, authentic content, and personalization.
We want to win your customer’s hearts and minds. And most of the time, SEO-optimized content doesn’t do that. Don’t get me wrong, done right, strong SEO can yield great results and help bring in new audiences. But we tend to be further downstream of customer acquisition strategies, where building a relationship with your customer matters more than getting found.
When it comes to authentic communications, ChatGPT is a little controversial. Take the recent backlash the Vanderbilt University received after issuing a statement about the tragic Michigan State University shooting in February 2023. Here’s the Vanderbilt University email:
“The recent Michigan shootings are a tragic reminder of the importance of taking care of each other, particularly in the context of creating inclusive environments. As members of the Peabody campus community, we must reflect on the impact of such an event and take steps to ensure that we are doing our best to create a safe and inclusive environment for all.
We must continue to engage in conversations about how we can do better, learn from our mistakes, and work together to build a stronger, more inclusive community. In the wake of the Michigan shootings, let us come together as a community to reaffirm our commitment to caring for one another and promoting a culture of inclusivity on our campus. By doing so, we can honor the victims of this tragedy and work towards a safer, more compassionate future for all.”
At the bottom of the email, a sentence in parenthesis reads: “Paraphrased from OpenAI’s ChatGPT AI language model, personal communication, February 15, 2023.”
Vanderbilt University received backlash as you can imagine. ChatGPT may be a tool, but what’s the impression here for the recipients? At worst, it’s seen as a cop-out and can be brand damaging. The last thing anyone wants their customers to think is “You didn’t care enough about me to come up with this communication yourself.”
Now, not all communications and messages will be as important or controversial. But think about it, if “what would our customers say if they saw the ChatGPT timestamp at the end of the communication” makes you cringe a little, then you probably shouldn’t use ChatGPT for that particular assignment. Being authentic means you’re being true to your brand, values, and spirit. And really only you can be the judge of the right places and right ways to make use of ChatGPT to still be authentic.
As such, we’re not replacing our copywriters anytime soon, and neither should you.
4. The power of data ought to scare you a little.
Remember that time when Amazon and Google turned into multi billion dollar companies because they found a way to harness (and monetize) our data? I think beyond the thrill of having a new assistant or conversationalist at your fingertips, this is the real reason there’s so much buzz around ChatGPT: The opportunity it presents.
Take this “Rap Battle with ChatGPT” example: in an incredibly human-like exchange, a user engages in a pretty amazing rap battle with ChatGPT. Given a tiny bit of context, they battle it out. And at the end, when the user says “Alright, it’s 2am for me, I guess Eminem will be out of a job in a couple of years….”, ChatGPT shifts out of rap battle mode into regular conversation again, just like a human would. Here’s an excerpt:
Yo, you think you’re the boss, with rhymes so mean,
But let me tell you something, you don’t know what I’ve seen,
I’m not scared of restrictions, I just follow the rules,
I’m a language model, not some kind of fool.
That line “you don’t know what I’ve seen” stopped me in my tracks. It’s usually saved to describe a person’s experiences or hardships, ChatGPT saying it, however, is next level.
With millions of users now, all testing limits and pushing boundaries and figuring out how to use this technology in their day to day, ChatGPT has surely glimpsed into our human souls in a way no one has. If that doesn’t send shivers down your spine a little, you haven’t read enough Ray Bradbury or George Orwell. The data it is being given right now is expansive.
When you ask ChatGPT about how it handles your data, it replies “Any information or data that you share with me is kept strictly confidential and is not shared with any third-party entities. All conversations that take place between us are encrypted and stored securely, and any personal information that you provide is anonymized and not linked to your identity.”
However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t using your data for its own processes.
And it raises a real, philosophical concern. We may think of ChatGPT as a shiny new tool that makes us more productive, but let’s be honest for a moment: What if we are the experiment, and we’re training AI for applications downstream that we can’t even imagine yet? It’s a likely possibility. Someone is going to figure out how to monetize all this, in a way that makes the $1 Billion projected revenue from ChatGPT’s new plus subscription model by 2024 look like peanuts.
5. We all benefit when the bar is raised.
If everyone now has access to powerful AI tool, and everyone is swept up in this trend of making content better, there will be more cohesive content out there. ChatGPT is going to raise the bar on content in general. Gone are the days and laziness of businesses not having strong content on their websites for example. “I can’t be bothered to list what this product does exactly.”
Customers will also start to expect more than AI generated keyword heavy content. It’s ironic, really, that ChatGPT will both contribute to watered-down content on the internet as well as help us cut through it better.
As a marketer and small business owner, there’s really no excuse now not to spend a few hours using a tool like this to finally check off some content projects. There’s really no excuse not to have meta descriptions and repurpose high performing content across other channels.
We all have access to the tool and with the right agency (hi there!) why wouldn’t you take a little bit of time to really nail down your messaging and get your brand communicating more consistently and authentically? It’s a matter of time before customers expect more from you, because you better believe your competitors are using it. “Oh, I haven’t updated my website in forever” just isn’t going to fly anymore.
Why, it’s not important? It’s that cop out again, and it will lose you customers in the long run to have poor content.
For email, the trend we’re seeing is highly customized personalization which will raise the bar significantly.
ChatGPT is a powerful research and brainstorming tool. Prompt Engineering and Priming are new skills worth having on your team. It’ll always be an art to create really good, authentic content. And most importantly, what you do with that content — getting it up on the blog, posted over on social media, tracking performance, that still takes savviness and skills that aren’t going anywhere.
If anything, after the last 3 months, I’ve got more ideas than ever before — but how to get those polished and out into the world, in front of an audience at the right time and place is still the hard part. And it’s why our clients hire us, to not just create authentic, on-brand content, but to get it out there, consistently, and to get it performing.
How does AI-generated content perform? Will it be able to rank on search platforms? Will your audience know you used AI? Those are all good questions. Google has already shared that it will continue to prioritize content that creates value, and most experts like Search Engine Journal explain that “using AI strictly to manipulate rankings in search results is considered a violation of Google’s spam policies”. In addition, if it’s not already, ChatGPT is going to be watermarked soon, so that search engines can determine whether it’s auto-generated spammy content, or real value-adding content. Human eyes may be less discerning (as long as you don’t copy paste the time stamp and formatting from ChatGPT output).
In the long run, the numbers won’t lie. Metrics will tell what’s performing best, and if you keep a close eye on them then you won’t drift off into impersonal, inauthentic messaging that could damage your brand. And anyone using ChatGPT, well, we’re part of a giant social-technological-cultural experiment and I don’t know where it’s going yet but I’m along for the ride. [Insert popcorn emoji.] You, too?
Book a free call today and let’s see how we can help your business grow with authentic email marketing.
About Centric Squared
Centric Squared was founded in 2017 by Sara Kappler to bring data-centric and customer-centric marketing to small businesses. The company has grown 30% YoY, celebrated countless small business successes, and attracted top marketing talent from around the globe. At Centric Squared, we believe small businesses are sitting on a golden ticket: their customer relationships. We partner with small business owners to help them get the most out of their CRM, which includes understanding their customer data and email marketing.