ChatGPT Will Shake Up Marketing. That’s Good

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About 15 years ago, permission marketing guru and author Seth Godin said, “Content marketing is the only marketing left,” emphasizing the importance for companies who create their own content to connect with customers. There’s been an explosion of content production ever since — so much so that we may have reached a point of diminishing returns because the supply of content has surpassed demand. 

Content marketing revolves around SEO, and marketers are pumping out optimized content to secure as much consumer attention as possible and connect consumers with their brand. But according to HubSpot’s 2023 Marketing Strategy & Trends Report, marketers say creating content and reaching customers remains one of their biggest challenges.   

Now that ChatGPT has entered the conversation, so to speak, and AI chatbot tools are about to shake up content marketing. But don’t panic — that’s a good thing. Using SEO tools from companies like Mozilla, marketers have become more and more adept at optimizing content for search over the years. AI like ChatGPT will be able to deliver content that is optimized for search, which means marketers can spend more time engaging as humans and showing up as an authentic presence.  

Content Marketing – How Brands Rise to the Top 

Brands use content marketing so the brand can rise to the top and stand out from the crowd. That task became more difficult as the volume of available content increased, and now it’s about to become even more challenging since AI will be churning out perfectly optimized content for every brand. So the question becomes, how can your brand rise to the top in this new environment? 

Success will require a combination of leveraging the best tools for content creation — that will become table stakes quickly — and rethinking your skillset and applying your talent to improve the customer journey in ways that are uniquely human. On the content creation front, keep in mind that AI isn’t just skilled at creating copy that is optimized for search. It can also create stunning visuals, including logos and graphics.  

Given AI’s powerful and ever-increasing capabilities, marketers will be at a crossroads in terms of job functions and will have to make decisions regarding what marketers do versus what they oversee. This will naturally give rise to anxiety in marketing circles because roles will shift dramatically. But in rethinking how you do your job (making sure your brand rises to the top), this disruption is an opportunity to focus on where the value exchange happens for the customer, the feelings they have on their journey and what the brand delivers as a result. This is a role that humans are uniquely qualified to play.  

Customers Online, In-Store and In Between 

Brands have done an excellent job of collecting data to understand customers’ online experience with e-commerce engines. Lately, brands have worked diligently to digitize and connect the in-store experience with the online component to capture a single view of the customer. Forward-thinking brands are working toward creating a consistent customer experience in the online and offline worlds.  

But it’s crucial to keep in mind that the time customers spend in a brick-and-mortar store is a tiny fraction of their offline experience. Even if you market a brand that supplies necessities (grocery stores, for example), the amount of time customers spend shopping is miniscule compared to the time they spend out in the world working, hanging out with friends, taking a walk, going to concerts, etc. And guess what — we don’t have good data on that, and AI can’t help us connect with customers there.  

So, now that AI-driven resources like ChatGPT are poised to shake up marketing’s traditional functions, marketers have a golden opportunity to connect with customers in the “in-between” spaces on their journey, which are neither on the e-commerce site nor in the store — in other words, the customer journey that takes place during the vast majority of the customer’s life.  

Toward a More Human — And More Authentic — Connection 

AI isn’t just making inroads into our lives as brand leaders and marketers; it’s affecting us as consumers too. As customers live their lives and interact with colleagues, family and friends, they already encounter AI in significant ways, and sometimes it blurs the line between reality and an idealized version of real life. People joke about the subjects of curated images on Instagram being unrecognizable if seen unfiltered, which suggests that authenticity is a prized commodity.  

Marketers can deliver a more authentic and transparent customer experience by communicating brand values, ethics and simple human curiosity when customers are in the in-between spaces that make up most of their lives. This could take many forms, including event sponsorships and other types of outreach and conversations. The point is that brands will need to show up where customers are and engage in the larger world, measure the impact and add human-centered activities to company KPIs. 

Author and communications expert Sam Horn has coined the phrase Human Intelligence (HI) and makes the distinction between Artificial Intelligence (AI) and HI, defining work produced by each as a derivative product collated for you or original work created by you. But like it or not, in the coming years, tools like ChatGPT will be widely used in content marketing, shaking up the discipline. This can be a good thing for marketers who see it as a gift and an opportunity to use HI to create innately human customer experiences.  

Tara Kelly is the founder and CEO of SPLICE Software. 

Tara Kelly is Founder and CEO of SPLICE Software