Does AI have a role in content marketing?
Artificial intelligence (AI) has been making waves in the business world, and B2B marketing is no exception. Many B2B companies are using AI to improve their marketing strategies and achieve better results. However, like any tool, AI has its pros and cons, and it's important to understand them before diving headfirst into using it in your B2B marketing efforts.
Enhanced personalization. One of the biggest advantages of AI in B2B marketing is the ability to personalize marketing efforts on a large scale. AI algorithms can analyze vast amounts of data about potential customers, including their browsing behavior, purchase history and demographics, to create highly targeted and personalized marketing campaigns. This helps companies deliver the right message to the right person at the right time, increasing the chances of converting leads into customers.
Improved efficiency. AI can automate many of the repetitive and time-consuming tasks involved in B2B marketing, such as lead scoring, email marketing and social media posting. This allows marketers to focus on more strategic tasks and improve their overall efficiency.
Better predictive capabilities. AI can analyze historical data to identify patterns and trends, which can be used to make more accurate predictions about future customer behavior. This helps B2B companies identify potential customers and tailor their marketing efforts to their needs, resulting in more effective campaigns.
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High cost of implementation. Implementing AI in B2B marketing can be expensive, especially for smaller companies. The cost of acquiring and analyzing data, developing algorithms and training staff can be prohibitive, making it difficult for some companies to adopt AI.
Dependence on data quality. AI relies heavily on accurate and relevant data to be effective. If the data being analyzed is incomplete, inaccurate or outdated, the AI algorithms will not be able to make accurate predictions. This means that B2B companies must invest in data management and quality assurance processes to ensure that the data being used is reliable.
Ethical concerns. There are ethical concerns associated with the use of AI in B2B marketing. For example, using AI to analyze customer data may raise privacy concerns, and the use of AI chatbots may be seen as impersonal or even deceptive. B2B companies must ensure their use of AI is ethical and transparent to avoid damaging their reputation.
In conclusion, the use of AI in B2B marketing has its advantages and disadvantages. While it can enhance personalization, improve efficiency and provide better predictive capabilities, it can also be costly, dependent on data quality, raise ethical concerns and lead to an overreliance on technology. B2B companies must carefully consider these factors before deciding to implement AI in their marketing strategies. If done correctly, AI can be a powerful tool that improves marketing effectiveness and drives business growth.
Now for the twist
What you just read is the product of ChatGPT, OpenAI’s groundbreaking AI chatbot. We gave ChatGPT a prompt – “Write a 450-word blog on the pros and cons of using artificial intelligence in B2B marketing” – and in seconds, it produced the article above. Scary, right? Or awesome? Or both?
There’s no doubt AI will impact our work as communicators, and especially content marketing. AI has the power to accelerate brainstorming and how we outline blogs and articles. It can serve as a useful copy editor, and in some cases, will even provide new areas of research or background for writers to consider.
But will AI create fresh, engaging content? That answer is far more complicated. We evaluated ChatGPT’s output and found, while it reads well on the surface, there are multiple strategic and ethical concerns to consider before going all-in on AI.
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Show your work
Issues are apparent from the first paragraph. ChatGPT writes “Many B2B companies are using AI to improve their marketing strategies and achieve better results,” but it doesn’t cite a source supporting its thesis. While this might be a commonly accepted statement, failure to substantiate claims can diminish trustworthiness – particularly important when establishing thought leadership.
Strong content cites statistics to illustrate its point or purpose, which helps readers grasp the topic’s full scope. Here, ChatGPT is unable to provide citations because it pulls information from a pre-existing dataset, not real-time sources. This will likely change over time, but for now, if no citations are provided, content that appears original could be plagiarized or significantly outdated.
Content marketers will also need to consider the ramifications of inputting their own information into public AI platforms. If proprietary information is entered into ChatGPT’s database – for example, a prompt asking ChatGPT to draft a press release announcing an upcoming corporate acquisition – it could show up in response to someone else’s query, opening the door to potential legal risk.
Cut through the clutter
In our prompt, we asked ChatGPT to discuss specific use cases for AI in B2B marketing. While it did include one reference to lead scoring, for the most part, the tool inserted “B2B” where it could, without customizing the content for an experienced B2B audience. This is the result of it trying to meet the prompt’s parameters without the depth of insight necessary to do so.
We know more than half of readers spend 15 seconds or less on a piece of content. To stand out, your content needs to be personalized to buyers’ pain points, with nuggets of information they can’t get elsewhere. A well-developed prompt can get you some of the way there, but, at best, ChatGPT has a generic view of your target audience. Content marketers add value by having a deep understanding of the proper message for each piece of content – and weaving it effectively throughout the copy.
Raise your voice
An addendum to “ChatGPT doesn’t understand your target audience” – it also doesn’t understand your voice! The blog ChatGPT generated for us takes a dry, academic approach, hitting all the requirements of a term paper: an introduction, a thesis, supporting points evenly distributed for and against, and a conclusion that even starts with the words “in conclusion.” It’s a by-the-book style that guarantees the content will get lost in a sea of sameness. And the tool hasn’t quite mastered tone. When we asked it to write a piece using a Midwestern voice, it offered a caricature closer to a 19th-century gold prospector than a 21st-century Illinoisan.
Great B2B content sells a company not as a product, but as a partner. That means marketers must define the company’s identity and ensure it’s reflected in the brand voice – whether through word choice, content structure or even preferred punctuation – to demonstrate how you’re different from the competition. ChatGPT can only mimic creativity based on the data plugged into it. Marketers have the freedom to be original and creative.
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If your head is spinning from the speed at which ChatGPT is storming the world, you are not alone. Much as the internet became mainstream, AI will likely evolve into a tool we all use daily, without a second thought.
So yes, there is a place for AI in marketing – as an assistant, not an author. By mastering the process of developing effective ChatGPT prompts and using the tool to handle some of the repetitive aspects of content development, marketers will have more time to ensure their content is personalized and reflective of their brand – and, ultimately, more effective at catching and holding prospects’ limited attention.
That’s all from Core this month. Or, as ChatGPT would put it, “Thank you for reading this article, and I hope you found it informative and engaging. Until next time, happy chatting with ChatGPT!“