Generative AI for Marketers: Friend or Foe?

Apr 19, 2024 | Guest Author, Marketing Excellence

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By Patrick Schober, Founder & Creative Director, Poetica Marketing 

A writer at heart and a strategist by trade, I’m passionate about creating compelling written and visual content for SEO performance and social media. I started Poetica Marketing in 2018, and I’ve since helped companies and professionals all over the world enhance their online presence while increasing sales!

One of my first days on the editorial floor almost a decade ago, a senior editor tapped me on the shoulder and offered a few chilling words of advice:

 

“Get ready for the machines to take over. They’re going to take our jobs.”

I laughed, but inside I was nervous. It was 2014, and there were glimpses of computers that couple replicate articles. 

 

A complete elimination of human writers still seemed far, far away. 

But when ChatGPT grabbed headlines a couple of years ago, I started panicking. 

 

The editor’s awkward, unsolicited prophecy was coming true. 

And I was going under, marketing agency and all.

 

But then I actually checked out ChatGPT for myself. And after 30 minutes of testing, I realized a valuable, comforting truth: 

 

The true marketers of this world aren’t going anywhere. 

ChatGPT and all other AI platforms are simply tools. They can augment what we do, but they’re not yet sophisticated enough to completely replace us. 

 

Let’s dive into the perks and drawbacks of AI—including the pros and cons of ChatGPT in marketing.

 

What’s Covered 

Pros of AI In Marketing

AI Is Great for Research

AI Is Great for Establishing A Starting Point

AI Is Great for Generating New Ideas

AI Is Great For Copying Tone And Style

Cons of AI In Marketing

AI Isn’t A Great Marketing Strategist

AI Isn’t Clever

AI Has Serious SEO Limitations

AI Has Accuracy Issues

AI Isn’t A Thought Leader

AI Doesn’t Replace Great Writers, Artists, Or Designers

Final Thoughts On AI In Marketing

 

 

Pros of AI In Marketing

Here are some of the biggest advantages of leveraging AI in your marketing efforts: 

1. AI Is Great for Research

Yes, there’s a reason ChatGPT keeps this warning at the bottom of the screen: ChatGPT can make mistakes. Consider checking important information.

 

AI can make huge, costly mistakes.  And some of them have been embarrassing. One of the biggest cases happened back in 2023, when a gentleman sued an airline for an injury he sustained when a serving cart struck his knee. 

 

His attorney used ChatGPT to help build his case—and it cited cases that didn’t exist, and the whole debacle landed the attorney in hot water. Despite such high-profile flops, I still argue AI is a great starting point for industry research.

 

Think of it like Wikipedia. Wikipedia is crowdsourced (and AI, in a way, is also crowdsourced), so it’s liable to contain a few inaccuracies here and there, but its citations and depth of knowledge are great for getting an overview on a certain topic. 

 

AI is the same way. 

We shouldn’t rely on it as the final word on anything, but it’s still a great way to quickly learn about a new client’s industry or your biggest competitor’s most popular products.  

2. AI Is Great for Establishing A Starting Point

Marketing is a fast-paced world, and sometimes the creative juices just aren’t flowing. 

 

But AI works with the flip of a switch. 

For writers and designers who are struggling with that next deadline, AI is a convenient way to blow up the dreaded blank page and provide a convenient starting point for that new project.

3. AI Great for Generating New Ideas

AI is phenomenal at generating new ideas—even around specific parameters. 

 

Here’s one example: 

I’m co-hosting a seminar with a few partners, and I wanted to develop a list of questions we could cover that would:

 

  • Allow two speakers to answer each question while leveraging their own expertise
  • Allow each speaker to answer four times
  • Focus on pressing topics for SMB owners and marketing managers

 

I spent about 30 minutes on it, and when I was done I had something I was only semi-confident in. 

When I shared my concerns, one of the partners ran the prompt through ChatGPT and had a strong list of comparable questions in only a few minutes. 

Follow the old rule: Work smarter, not harder. Whether you’re trying to come up with new blog topics or think of great holiday marketing campaign ideas, AI can help. 

4. AI Is Great for Copying Tone And Style

AI is clever enough to copy an individual or brand’s voice. As an example, I gave ChatGPT this prompt: 

 

“Write me 300 words about the pros and cons of AI in marketing and write it in the voice of Jerry Seinfeld’s comedy.”

 

Here’s what it came up with for the first paragraph: 

 

What’s the deal with AI in marketing? It’s like every brand has suddenly discovered a magical genie. You ask it to whip up a marketing campaign, and bam! It’s faster than Kramer sliding into my apartment. But, let’s talk about this—there are pros and cons.

 

That was OK (I find it works better if you read it in Jerry’s nasally, rising-and-falling tone), but I didn’t like that it relied on referencing his show for humor—something the rest of the essay did as well. 

 

So I gave it this response: “Write it more in the style of his standup. Don’t reference the TV show.”

The first paragraph this time?

 

Have you ever noticed how marketing has changed since AI came along? I mean, it used to be a guy trying to convince you his brand of cereal was the crunchiest. Now, it’s like a robot has taken over, and it’s analyzing every crunch you’ve ever enjoyed!

 

Better! This could use more work, but it’s a decent starting point from our original prompt. 

And for busy marketers who aren’t natural copywriters, AI is a convenient tool for capturing a brand’s tone before publishing new copy. 

Cons of AI In Marketing

Here are some of the biggest reasons AI could harm your marketing efforts if it’s leveraged incorrectly: 

1. AI Isn’t A Great Marketing Strategist

For all of the tasks AI is great at, it’s still not a great strategist or QB. 

Yes, it can outline what a great marketing strategy looks like, but it lacks that human understanding of countless variables and previous brand success stories that influence every single decision. 

 

And while it’s possible to get it to that point, you’ll spend so much time feeding it data points that you could have been more efficient leading the charge yourself. 

More importantly, AI hasn’t reached the point where it can actually execute. So even if you did get a brilliant strategy from it, you still need team members who understand the nuances to execute it properly. 

2. AI Isn’t Clever

There’s a certain magic to a great marketing tagline, and AI still doesn’t seem to be on the level as a team of brainstorming humans. 

Take this example from writer from Josh Lieber on LinkedIn: 

 

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He was impressed (and rightfully so) by the Nike tagline for their collaboration with college basketball star Caitlin Clark:

You break it, you own it.

 

The simple line fits perfectly into the Nike ethos and plays well off the “You break it, you buy it” rule so common in grocery stores. 

It’s bold. It’s catchy. It’s Nike. 

But, as Lieber points out, AI wasn’t good at replicating such a spot-on tagline. 

3. AI Has Serious SEO Limitations

This drawback really only applies to our SEO specialists, but it’s a nuanced point worth getting into. 

 

ChatGPT is bad at SEO. We’ve tried training it over and over at Poetica Marketing, and it’s taken a long, long time to get it anywhere beyond intern-on-their-first-week-in-the-agency.

 

Tools like Outranking and Semrush are getting better at it. 

But for as much as AI is evolving to study keyword performance and write original, high-ranking content that matches a company’s tone, it’s still missing a few valuable features:

 

  1. It’s still not automating the publishing process, so it relies on humans to fix layout, embed links, place meta descriptions, choose tags and categories—and more. Messing any of this up can have major repercussions! 
  2. It’s still not capable of creating internal site links for every new piece of content that’s generated. 
  3. It’s still not capable of submitting its own new content in Search Console (though plugins do exist that can automate some of it). 

 

SEO can assist in some facets, but it’s not a blanket replacement for your SEO strategists. Not even close. 

4. AI Has Accuracy Issues

We mentioned AI’s factual inaccuracies earlier in this article (in the pros section no less!), but it’s worth repeating:

You can’t trust every line of content AI generates. 

 

Even when you ask it to cite its sources, history has shown us it’s liable to make up its own citations for studies and articles that simply don’t exist. 

That’s a major no-no. 

So you still need to fact-check every line AI writes.

5. AI Isn’t A Thought Leader

AI still can’t replace original thought leadership. 

Yes, you could try pumping all of your original blog posts and LinkedIn articles into it and ask it to create new content—but it would still lack so many human elements. 

 

Most importantly, it would lack storytelling, those fun little anecdotes that help explain the larger point. 

Worse, AI is built to aggregate as much content as possible and average it out into something cohesive—but it’s not designed for deep introspection and original thinking. 

 

6. AI Doesn’t Replace Great Writers, Artists, or Designers

AI is a tool for human professionals, not a replacement for human professionals. 

 

While AI can quickly generate a strong starting point, it’s still not capable of creating something ready to publish on the first draft. 

That’s where human professionals come in. 

 

With a strong understanding of the fundamentals of copywriting, web design, graphic design, or art, a human can leverage the AI’s starting point in something truly impactful. 

Final Thoughts On AI In Marketing

As I mentioned earlier, AI is a tool. It’s only going to be as impactful for your company as you make it. 

 

Over time, I suspect it’ll continue to evolve. 

And specialists are already popping up throughout the industry to support companies in leveraging AI for all it’s worth. 

For now, though, explore the tools available on the market and consider how they can benefit you and your team. 

 

AI is scary, but don’t resist it. 

Embrace it. 

 

There’s lots it can offer if you give it a chance. 

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