Sep 4, 2023 | Zenagos Expert Tips

Zenagos Expert Marketing Tip: Use AI to Accelerate Marketing

Q. Dear Zenagos,
I keep hearing about ChatGPT. Is that something a small business owner can use now? If so, what can I do with it?
–Irving

There are quite a few generative artificial intelligence (or “AI”) tools that a small business owner can use right now to accelerate marketing efforts. Each tool has different strengths and weaknesses – which are constantly changing – and new tools appear every day.

What can I do with generative AI?
Right now, the best practical use of generative AI is to speed up your content development. If you think about your writing process, you need to spend time planning what to write, actually writing, and then editing and fact-checking what you have written. Most writers spend the majority of their time on the middle task – creating the content.

When you use a generative AI tool, you will still need to plan what to write. (Specifically, you will need to experiment with the “prompt,” or the instructions that you type into the AI.) And, you will still need to edit and fact check. However, you can dramatically accelerate your writing time by asking the AI to produce drafts for you. In this way, you can produce more content in the same amount of time, or you can use the time you have saved to do some other high-value activity for your business. For some writers, using AI can cut their content development time in half.

How does generative AI work?
You can sign up for a free AI tool, or you can select a paid subscription. Some tools are “freemium,” giving you some amount of time or credits free, and then requiring payment for further use.

Research the AI tool
Do a little research before you begin using a tool. Some tools (such as Google’s Bard) “scrape” the web frequently, taking in the most current information. Others (such as the free version of OpenAI’s ChatGPT) have not updated the information they use for a couple of years. If it matters that your information is current, then you will want to check the advantages and disadvantages of each tool you are considering.

It’s all about the prompt
The AI will give you better information if you ask for a very specific response. For example, consider the difference between these two prompts for an imaginary sunglasses company:

Prompt 1: “Find recent news about climate change and then turn it into a newsletter.”

Prompt 2: “Find recent news about climate change and then turn it into a long-form newsletter discussing the importance of wearing sunglasses, targeted towards young professionals, consisting of a subject line, intro, body paragraph, bullet point list, and a conclusion.”

As you experiment with AI tools, you will learn very quickly how to ask – very clearly and specifically – for the output you want.

You still need to edit and fact check
AI tools ingest a great deal of content, and not all of it is true or correct. So, if you choose to use an AI tool to create rough drafts, it is important that you edit the work and check the facts. For example, WIRED magazine used Microsoft’s Bing search engine (which is AI-enabled) to summarize the financial results of public companies. Bing mixed up Gap’s results by confusing gross margin and unadjusted gross margin (Knight, 2023). This would be a problem for an accountant!

At Zenagos, one of our entrepreneurs received a partnership proposal from another business. Thinking that it looked a little odd, he entered the text from the proposal into ChatGPT and asked, “Did you write this?” ChatGPT replied, “Yes”! If you choose to use an AI tool’s output without editing it, you should assume that someone will figure that out. So, don’t trust AI; instead, edit and verify.

What kinds of sales and marketing things can I do?
Each AI tool proposes some activities, and you are limited only by your imagination, but here are some useful sales and marketing options:

Create personalized follow-up messages after a networking event
Some AI tools, such as Copy.ai can scrape LinkedIn profiles. You can accelerate your follow-up work by asking the AI to read a particular person’s profile, compare it to yours, and then compose a personalized follow-up message.

Clone a marketing message to specific market segments or personas
If you have created a marketing message, but you need to customize it to appeal to a variety of subgroups or personas, you can ask an AI tool such as Bard or ChatGPT to create personalized marketing messages that resonate with target groups, such as teachers, business owners, or those experiencing life events, such as people who are getting married or retiring.

Draft a newsletter
Most AI tools could quickly draft a newsletter for you, including a variety of stories. For example, if you’re a travel service, you could ask the AI tool to provide tips on great places to celebrate a honeymoon or retirement.

Generate a website
Several website generators have incorporated AI into their design wizards, so you can answer a series of questions, and it will generate an entire website for you, including images and copy. Hubspot’s website generator is a good place to start.

Is this really allowed?
The discussion about what is fair and ethical in the use of AI has just started, so it is difficult to predict what the eventual rules will be for its use. For example, if the AI has consumed the writings of Edgar Allen Poe, and you ask it to write something in the style of Edgar Allen Poe, have either you or the AI tool plagiarized Edgar Allen Poe? To give you a sense for how broad the discussion is today, the journal Science has determined that the use of AI tools to create content is not allowed, while the journal Nature has allowed it, as long as it is documented in a certain way (Carrigan, 2023). If you work in a field in which you must certify the originality of your work, then you should consult an attorney before using an AI tool in your writing process.

AI has been around for a while, but the sudden explosion of tools that can accelerate time-consuming work is exciting. Zenagos comments frequently on AI tools that are useful for small business owners, so if you want to take advantage of our insights, go to our home page (https://zenagos.com/), scroll to the bottom, and sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter.

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References

Carrigan, M. (2023, March 14). Generative AI and the unceasing acceleration of academic writing. Impact of Social Sciences [Blog]. Retrieved on September 4, 2023, from https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/

Knight, W. (2023, February 16). What chatbot bloopers reveal about the future of AI. WIRED. Retrieved on September 4, 2023, from https://www.wired.com/story/bing-chatbot-errors-ai-future/

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