Since Generative AI (GAI) first burst onto the scene with the launch of ChatGPT3 in November 2022, followed by the launch of ChatGPT4 in March, the media has been abuzz with analysis and prognostications, some of which predict a knowledge worker utopia and others that are doomsday. Regardless, the early returns suggest three learnings: 1) GAI is not a passing technology fad (think second life) but is here to stay 2) It will have a transformative impact on workflows, particularly as an augmentative tool 3) If used correctly, the value it creates is significant but, if miscast or misused, the damage it can inflict is frightening.
As the owner and CEO of Antenna Group, an integrated marketing and public relations agency that services the climate, mobility, real estate, proptech, and health industries, our clients are solving global challenges that transcend borders, and it is our job to tell their stories effectively and authentically. As part of our ongoing commitment to drive successful business outcomes for our clients, we are committed to incorporating GAI and AI solutions into our workflows safely and ethically. However, AI adds layers of complexity to this task as it poses opportunities and challenges unique to our industry ecosystems.
Here are some of the ideas and counsel we share with our clients.
- For starters, the stories we tell, the audiences we target, and the sales funnels we build are predicated on developing substantive, personalized, and compelling messaging and content. Our clients don’t sell shampoo; they are pioneers transforming their respective industries with products and solutions that are as complex as they are disruptive. Among their audiences are prospective customers who must be educated, reassured, and prodded to transact with our clients. The stakes are incredibly high, so our marketing assets, written content, and others must be exceptional. Mediocre, trite, and formulaic content will fall flat on its face. Premium content, characterized by creativity, novel insights, and a keen grasp of the audience, will rule the day. While GAI provides value for the research and ideation phase of content development, it cannot automate marketing and communications assets that are compelling enough for the audiences that our clients target.
- GAI is only as good as the data sets upon which its Large Language Model ( LLM) has been trained. Our clientele operates in mission-driven, dynamic industries that are perpetually iterating and reinventing themselves daily. In these industries, a GAI generating insights based on yesterday’s data is of value but limited. Our client ecosystems demand content built upon the most up-to-date, recent data that reflects the fast-changing context and environments within which they operate. For our content marketing campaign to effectively engage key audiences, it must be more of a crystal ball than a news aggregator. Our clients are thinking about tomorrow, and it is our job to share those insights with their key audiences. In this environment, GAI is undoubtedly an important source of input, but it is necessary, not sufficient.
- Interestingly, GAI creates a new challenge for agencies and their clients that it cannot solve, namely the increasing need for human-to-human interaction in the lead generation and sales process. It stands to reason that the impact of generic content (this is not true of premium content, see above) will be diminished as GAI applications become more ubiquitous and marketers turn on a firehose of content, much of it mediocre and commoditized. To effectively cut through the clutter, companies must go back to the future and reimagine a world in which leads are generated and deals are struck the old-fashioned way via human contact and personal relationships. Effective content must be personalized, substantive, and communicated with an authentic human style and voice in an environment that demands a personal touch. Once again, GAI can be an extremely effective research assistant with audience segmentation, customer preferences and behaviors, and industry data, But it is the cart, not the horse.
- In addition to the new marketing challenges created by GAI, the technology poses significant business and legal risks for our clients. Some risks, such as hallucinations, bias, inaccuracy, plagiarism, copyright violations, privacy violations, disinformation, misinformation, and digital manipulation, can be mitigated by best practices that emphasize vigilance, scrutiny, and caution. Others, such as the risk of inadvertently disclosing confidential information, are more difficult to safeguard and have forced companies like Samsung, Apple, JP Morgan, Northrop, and others to ban ChatGPT. Our advice to clients is to trust but verify. AI is a source of input, not truth, and should be treated like a highly potent drug: it can be life-saving if titrated properly but fatal if used incorrectly.
Creating quality content for our clientele is an arduous and time-consuming task. A finished piece of content results from hours of ideation, research, drafting, and multiple rounds of edits. Our clients address audiences willing to consume intelligent, substantive, insightful, forward-looking, and personalized content, but anything that falls short of that standard will be dead on arrival. GAI is an exciting new technology that, if used correctly, will drive significant value to content creation. However, it is not a content automation tool. It is an infusion of extra intelligence into the content development workflow that promises to make the process more efficient and the output even better.
Get in Touch with the Antenna Team