With the continued growth of AI applications, organizations are starting to learn, adapt, embrace and integrate the technology into daily operations. Brightspot's Adri Nowell and Meredith Rodkey joined a panel to discuss the roses and thorns of AI technology.
Many of us fear our jobs being lost to technology, and the huge debate in recent months about the potential impact of generative AI apps like ChatGPT on the creation of content has fanned the flames of this discussion.
But there's a different scenario that seems to be emerging as a result. What if we go so heavy on using AI to generate our marketing content that we end up with users setting up AI defense systems that assume every bit of outreach—even the most personalized—is automated, and we make existing jobs ten times harder than they already are?
The warning comes as part of the discussion in Brightspot’s recent webinar, Embracing AI: Your secret weapon for transforming customer workflows and the customer experience.
In the webinar, panelists included Brightspot's Chief Marketing Officer, Adri Nowell, and Meredith Rodkey, SVP Platform Product Management at Brightspot. They were joined by Nick Gaudio, director of content and creative at a revenue workflow engine maker called Rattle, and Grayson Cooper, co-founder of a new marketing services start-up called Stella. These are two frontline businesspeople dealing with the kind of AI content and marketing puzzles your team is probably seeking answers to right now.
Gaudio brought up that he's been thinking through the aforementioned AI defense system scenario already, beginning the thought-provoking discussion between the panelists.
"Every marketer was already trying to get out ahead of things and create these scalable ways to seem human," Gaudio said. "And we just gave them a nuclear bomb."
Cooper's argument is that the speed and accuracy of AI may create problems for the technology. The panelists said AI is already giving their teams around 80 percent of what they need content-wise at the first time of asking. It’s becoming very easy to produce a lot of robot-written sales emails, which is leading to overload.
"If we can't figure out how to make this work, it's not going to just saturate content creation—it'll saturate it to the point of extinction," Cooper said.
The 20% is where people supply the value
Whether or not we end up in this blind alley remains to be seen. But the panelists agreed that if AI abuses customers' trust or makes them feel manipulated, it simply won’t give brands the high returns they might expect from industrial-scale use of the technology. This begs the question: how should organizations work with AI right now?
All four panelists said they already used AI in both their personal and professional lives, and they mentioned a few important questions for companies to ask when it comes to using AI technology: Is AI replacing writers and content creators? Has it changed how people engage with companies and brands? Has it impacted business strategies? Does the use of AI create potential pitfalls? Where is the use of AI headed?
For content created on repeatable paths, the 80 percent accuracy you get from AI is already good enough. Where I think AI doesn't displace humans is executive activity, like directing labor forces—that’s not going to be replaced anytime soon, because AI is just labor, and it can't think for itself quite yet.
While AI has developed quickly and is delivering results, it’s not the finished article. Brightspot's Meredith Rodkey echoed this thought, saying we're merely scratching the surface of content with AI.
“I think that for basic table stakes and giving you at least a ‘B-‘ or even a ‘B’ level of content, yes, AI’s doing that now,” she said.
She continued, “I think that final 20 percent is where humans can’t be removed from the picture, as we’re the ones who can make connections to what else is going on in the business. People can highlight that the piece they’re working on relates to something done last year. They can make better decisions about what content will support it. Robots just can’t yet make those kinds of contextual decisions, so I think that's where people bring the value.”
Aspects of AI you may not have thought about yet
Gaudio agrees with Rodkey's sentiment that you can't take away the human aspect of content creation because of personal connection. However, he adds that there’s a lot more that AI can help us with that marketers likely haven't grasped yet.
“AI’s not just generative, it's evaluative too, which is really the best part of it,” Gaudio said. “It can look at your stuff and suggest some potential things you can add. It might suggest making the 800 words into an e-book or an ad. This is the most underutilized part of AI right now.”
Another underused capability, Cooper adds, is using AI to support people, rather than replace them.
"I love the ability to suggest new posts based off of your posts or to offer ideas for backlinks," Cooper said. "Do that, and then I think you get into this beautifully nuanced way of thinking about the reader’s experience and making it way better for them. This is really exciting for marketers, as AI may come up with things that you hadn’t even thought about and brings them to the top of your mind in a very positive way.”
Ultimately, while expressing some caution, the panel is remained positive about AI. Nowell agrees, saying that you can benefit from it depending on how it's used.
“If you embrace it and look to find out how to make it work to your benefit, I think you're going to be winning with AI...And that's not only true for content creators, but businesses in general," Nowell said. “It is time to embrace AI and make it work for you productivity-wise and in creating better customer experiences.”
AI is a hot topic, and will only continue to be. To make the most of what the technology has to offer, organizations need to take time to think how they could most effectively introduce and integrate it into their operations. Watching the webinar is a great place to start that process.