Marketing and AI: Balancing creativity, authenticity and just getting stuff done
Everyone's talking about it, so here's my take...
Yesterday I took part in a panel about impact and purpose for the Alt Marketing School open day, and AI was a hot topic. I've seen *so much* on this subject on LinkedIn, so here’s my take and how I make it work for me.
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If you’re curious about AI but haven’t tried it yet, it can be used for creating copy, generating content ideas and even telling you what your marketing plan should include. Pretty cool, right? I think it's a great tool, but like all tools, it’s all about how you use it.
I’ve been using copy.ai for about a year. This is a writing tool which creates email, social and web copy. You just input your brief, but like all briefs, if you skimp on the detail, you won’t get the right output.
I’ve just started using ChatGPT, which is much broader, and it’s more conversational. So, you can ask for five social media captions about launching your new brand of cheese, and then ask it to rewrite them with a gardening analogy.
When I think about to how basic marketing tools were 15 or even 10 years ago, this is a huge step forward. You may think, robots are taking over marketing and creativity is dead, but at the same time, this is a huge saver on time and effort; you’ll never have to write product descriptions again.
The key is balance. If you ignore AI, you’re missing a trick, but if you rely on it completely, your marketing will lose its soul.
AI is great for:
1. Repetitive copy
Have you ever had to promote an event and write a series of social media captions essentially saying the same thing? Or how about writing lines of product descriptions for dozens of the same product with tiny variations?
This is where AI is your friend. Functional but necessary words that probably aren’t the best use of your creative brainpower.
2. Kickstarting the writing process
Do you need to write 500 words on an “innovative” new software launch, but you have no idea where to start? Gather your ideas and info and see what AI comes up with; it’s often easier to edit something terrible, than try to create perfection from scratch.
AI is not so great for:
1. When you need to be creative and original
Let’s say you need to develop customer personas and messaging. You set about interviewing customers and workshopping keywords with your team. This is the time to draw on your experience, instincts and your most original ideas (as well as data). This creativity is very difficult to replicate with AI.
2. Authentic storytelling
AI tools are based on what’s already out there, so if everyone relied on it all the time, all copy would end up looking the same. Knowing a good story isn’t always about data, it can be a gut feel or a crazy idea, so let’s not ruin this with over-reliance on AI.
My first tip is: Put cr&p in, get cr&p out. Much like any creative brief or even a CRM system. You might have a messy list of bullet points and words, but the more you have, you more you’ll get out of your new tool.
My golden rule is to edit, edit and edit again. Maybe it’s my personality, but I use the AI outputs as a starting point. I re-word, adapt the tone of voice and play around with ideas.
And finally, don’t over-rely on it. For practical reasons: I couldn’t get onto ChatGPT for a while as it was over-subscribed and the free version of Copy.ai has limited words. But also for your own skill: It’s taken me a lifetime to become a good writer and to recognise good writing, and this is a skill I constantly develop through reading and writing.
Think of marketing and AI as nature. Left alone, things can get a little wild, but interfere too much and you’ll destroy it. It’s all about balance.
I’m genuinely curious to see how all this pans out in the future and how others are using AI in their work… let me know your thoughts in the comments.
Ooo nice perspective on this theme .. thanks!