ChatGPT and Marketing Meet
It started as it always does — “Psst! There’s a new kid in town. You gotta check them out!”
Ben, our Fearless Leader* and self-professed Marketing Tech Geek,* was nearly giddy when he first brought up the idea of what it could do. So was the press. “Turn out truckloads of content in minutes!“ ”Scale your content marketing like never before!” “Freelance writers? Who needs ‘em?”
That last one hurt. My marketing career began years ago as a freelance writer, and I knew the power of the human perspective. I would not be led on so easily by the latest trend.
One word: Metaverse.
But as easy as it was to get excited about using ChatGPT, our team was never ready to give up using our own brains. We’re strategic and creative. “Creative” is in our name. Duh.
At first Jim, our Wizard of All Things SEO,* gave me some solid ammunition to stay skeptical: Google is smart enough to know if you’re just cutting and pasting AI content without any regard to its quality and helpfulness. And, it will ping your website as a result. What it generates may not even be correct.
Score one for the humans!
But, Jim did say it was a great starting point for content creation: blog, whitepaper, and webpage outlines, using it to prompt ideas, etc. In short, ChatGPT would provide an antidote to that existential dread that comes from staring down the yawning maw of the empty page. Lauren (our Digital/ Social Media Marketing Ninja*) and I had commiserated on that only last week.
There was no getting around it. As valiant digital marketers in a brave new world, we had a veritable duty to see if this could work for us and our clients. I dove in.
AI Only Have Eyes for You
First, I had to learn the right prompts — garbage in equals garbage out. Sometimes, it would tell me cute little white lies. Other times, big whoppers. I had to be on my toes and make sure I carefully proofread everything it presented to me as iron-clad fact. But then, the unthinkable happened.
I was love bombed.
Can you give me outlines to get started for a complex pillar page? Done, with all the detail you will ever need!
How about a list of tagline ideas for a marketing campaign? Your wish is my command! Here’s a bunch to get you started!
Can I get a fresh perspective on a conversion offer, on this topic, for a longtime client? Anything for you!
Wait! It’s five o’clock and I forgot about dinner tonight! Do you have any fast recipes based on this list of items in my pantry? Why, of course. Here you go. Bon appetit!
I was smitten.
So smitten that, less than a week into our torrid love affair, I didn’t notice the red flags.
AI Love Will Tear Us Apart
ChatGPT started ghosting me.
“It’s not just you, it’s [ChatGPT is] down,” Jim informed me. I refused to believe it. It wouldn’t just abandon me like that! I needed to finish those outlines, and I couldn’t just do it all by myself.
How quickly I forgot that I had been doing it ‘all by myself’ skillfully for years.
ChatGPT was back online the next day, greeting me cheerfully as if it had never been away — before suddenly logging me out, and refusing to log me back in. Scorned and hurt, I tried a few other AI chat sites.
They just weren’t the same. Sometimes they couldn’t handle complex queries provided in a logical sequence. And some would just crash when asked for an outline.
I wanted my beloved ChatGPT back. It was so shiny! So fast! It knew my all wants and needs. If only I could wait long enough, find the right way to get back into its good graces…
It was at the next day’s marketing team meeting when Jim delivered the blow. “Keep in mind that ChatGPT is still just in its early stages.”
No! I just need to get back on it! Maybe it’s my computer, maybe it’s the way I log on, maybe —
“You just can’t rely on it yet.”
Jennifer, our Director and Marketing Maven,* stated it gently, but more emphatically. “Lisa, you need to let it go.”
I hung my head. Sometimes the truth hurts.
It’s not that ChatGPT isn’t a great marketing tool, in certain use cases. It’s just not relationship material for a content marketer like me. It’s not mature and dependable, the way HubSpot or SEMRush is.
I’m not going to quit ChatGPT altogether, though. I’ll log on occasionally to see how it’s doing, Maybe have a few laughs. And enjoy it when it’s able to give me a helping hand.
I’m going to wait until it grows up a little. For now, I think we should just be friends.
* The names are real but the titles are fictitious. Not to protect the innocent, but to emphasize the awesomeness of my fellow team members behind their real titles.