Generative AI Has Come Quick: What’s Out, What’s Coming, and What to Consider.

A table of Generative AI tool options.

ChatGPT was released to the public six months ago and quickly became the fastest application to reach 100 million users. OpenAI reached this milestone in just two months compared to TikTok’s 9 months and Instagram’s 2 ½ years.

The result of this enormous attention is that the world has quickly become aware of the advanced capabilities of generative AI. As of March 2023, 87% of consumers had heard of AI and 61% somewhat understood what generative AI is and how it works.

ChatGPT generates text from text prompts through a chatbot, but that’s not all generative AI can do. The popularity of ChatGPT also brought attention to OpenAI’s image generation tool. DALL-E 2 generates images from text prompts through a chatbot.

A table listing and describing generative AI integration in major software platforms.
Which generative AI tools will you use for digital and social media marketing?

Despite the mass attention, AI tools have been around for years.

I first wrote about AI in a 2019 post “Artificial Intelligence And Social Media. How AI Can Improve Your Job Not Steal It.” In it, I talked about how AI was being used in algorithms, automation, machine learning, natural language processing, and image recognition.

That post also talked about how AI was used in chatbots to simulate human conversion, in predictive and prescriptive analytics, and in content generation. Examples included Patern89 which has been using AI to analyze content combinations and placement for optimization since 2016. Another example was Clinch which has used AI for content automation and personalized dynamic ad content across channels for years.

Since ChatGPTs release, there’s been a race to integrate generative AI.

The race began with ChatGPT being added to Microsoft’s Bing search engine. Then Google announced plans to integrate its generative AI Bard into Google search. Other platforms quickly announced integrations with OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard such as Salesforce, Hootsuite, HubSpot, and Adobe. Microsoft and Google are even integrating ChaptGPT and Bard into Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace office software for writing, spreadsheets, and slides.

Yet they’re not the only options. Other generative AI tools include Jasper.ai and Copy.ai, for writing, and Midjourney and Stable Diffusion for image generation. Tools like Synthsia generates videos with human avatars and professional voiceovers from text prompts. Other examples of generative AI are summarized below.

  AI content generation tool uses:

  • Content research/Data collection
  • Brainstorming/Idea generation
  • Copywriting/Copyediting
  • Summarizing/Note taking
  • Image (photo/illustration) generation
  • Video clip/Podcast clip generation
  • Transcript generation/Automated post prep
  • Ad/Post variation generation
  • Video generation
  • Podcast/Voice over generation
  • Presentation generation

Generative AI tools come with new skills and considerations.

A new skill with these next gen tools is prompt writing. Prompts are the natural language used to ask a generative AI tool to produce something. More descriptive specific prompts produce better results like prompts that describe the tone of writing or style of an image. Yet be mindful potential of copyright issues with prompts to create text or an image in the style of a famous person without their permission.

A new consideration is the data set from which you train AI. Generative AI tools like ChatGPT are trained on data from the open internet. This is what makes it so powerful, but this is also what can lead to copyright issues and sometimes create bias or incorrect results.

Other AI tools like Jasper.ai allow you to train on a specific dataset. For example, a brand could upload all its previous materials to establish a brand voice to write new copy. Adobe’s Firefly draws from Adobe’s stock library and tracks creator images used to ensure copyright compliance.

With the explosion of AI comes limitations and cautions.

Despite the mass adoption, this technology is in its early stages. There hasn’t been a lot of testing. Regulations, laws, and professional standards have yet to be developed. HubSpot suggests the following limitations, cautions, and warnings in using generative AI tools.

  Cautions when using generative AI:

  • AI can’t conduct original research or analysis.
  • AI can get things wrong so you must fact check.
  • AI doesn’t have lived experience and human insight.
  • AI doesn’t ensure quality, strategy, and nuance.
  • AI can contain biases that are not caught by filters.
  • AI can have plagiarism and copyright issues.

Despite these cautions, alarm over societal harm, and escalating calls for regulation, the AI race is on. Even while companies, government, and scientists raise concerns, companies continue to integrate AI into mainstream products and services. Below is a sample of what’s been released or announced thus far.

Examples of Early AI Content Generation and Automation Tools in Major Platforms.

Platform Tool Function
Hootsuite OwlyWriter AI Generates social media captions from URLs in different tone or voice, content ideas from prompts, auto recreation of top posts, and calendar events copy.
HubSpot Content Assistant Generate copy for blog posts, landing pages, emails and other content from idea to outline and copy generation.
ChatSpot Conversational bot that automates CRM tasks including status updates, managing leads, finding prospects, generating reports, forecasts, and follow-up drafts.
Salesforce Einstein GPT Auto-generates sales, service, and marketing tasks, content, targeting, messaging, reporting and personalization across channels.
Adobe Firefly Generate images, fill, text effects, and recolor from text prompts plus create content, and templates and edit video with simple text prompts – some inside Creative Suite.
Sensei GenAI Automates tasks, optimizes and generates content and content variations across channels in Adobe’s Experience Cloud marketing platform.
Canva Magic Write Generates copy, outlines, lists, captions, ideas, and drafts from text prompts.
AI Image Generator Generates images from text prompts and various styles and aspect ratios.
Meta AI Sandbox Tools that generate multiple versions of text and backgrounds, plus autocropping creative assets for various ad formats on Facebook and Instagram.
Grammarly GrammarlyGo
Generates writing and revisions relevant to tone, clarity, length, and task via text prompts in documents, emails, messages, and social media.
Microsoft Microsoft 365 Copilot Generates tasks, content, documents, presentations, spreadsheets, emails, reports, summaries, updates across Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Teams via text prompts and Business Chat.
Google Google Workspace Bard Generate drafts, replies, summaries in Gmail, drafts, summaries, proofs in Docs, images, audio and video in Slides, auto analysis in Sheets, and notes in Meet.

Do Consumers (Your Customers/Target Audience) Want AI?

Another consideration with artificial intelligence is the value consumers may put on human generated content and transparency in the use of AI. I began this article by saying that 87% of consumers are now aware of AI. In fact, 4 in 5 of them are convinced that it is the future.

Yet knowing something is the future and wanting that future are different things. The same consumer survey reveals that 3 in 5 (60%) are concerned or undecided about that future. What people are most concerned about is that AI will change what it means to be human.

As marketing communications professionals we need to stay up to date with all these technology advancements. We should use the latest tools to improve our profession and results for our business or clients. But we should also ensure that new technology is used responsibly and transparently.

Over 77% of consumers say brands should ensure biases and systems of inequality are not propagated by AI-based applications. Over 70% believe brands should disclose when they use AI to develop products, services, experiences, and content.

You Decide How To Best Use AI.

At its best, AI can help with the mundane, repetitive tasks of social media and digital marketing management. At its best, AI will enable you to focus on higher level strategic thinking. At its best, AI will not replace humans, but enable us to be more human.

It’s been 6 months since generative AI was brought to mainstream awareness. Companies are rushing to integrate this technology into everything they do. While we wait for regulations, laws, and professional standards to catch up, let’s use our own judgment in deciding when, where, and how best to use it.

This Was Human Created Content!

Filling The Digital Marketing Gap 19 Students At A Time

The Online Marketing Institute (OMI), ClickZ, and Kelly services released results of their 2014 State of Digital Marketing Talent report.  This survey of 747 Fortune 500 marketing executives reveals there is a serious digital marketing talent gap. What’s more, this shortage of digital marketing skills is hurting sales and marketing ROI. The good news? If you have these skills, you are in high demand.

In my post “What To Do With Out-of-Date Advertising Professors?” I spoke about an Advertising Age article that talked about the underperformance of undergraduate marketing and advertising classes. An advertising agency owner quotes students saying things like, “Subjects like mobile marketing aren’t even offered at their schools” and “classes promise integrated marketing while delivering insights about only traditional tactics.” In light of this education gap, I would like to highlight one course that I offer through the Center for Leadership Education at Johns Hopkins University. Blogging & Online Copywriting  is attempting to build a bridge to the new digital language.

The ClickZ, OMI, Kelly Services report highlights the missing skills that are creating the talent gap and potentially costing corporations market share. In my Blogging & Online Copywriting course we cover all these subjects: analytics, mobile, content marketing, social media, email marketing, marketing automation, SEO, digital advertising, and more. For example, one former student is now working at digital marketing tech firm HubSpot, the 2nd fastest growing software company within the INC 500.

Another insight from the study is that hiring managers say “sorting through resumes is time-consuming and applicants do not differentiate themselves from one another.” Blogging & Online Copywriting also teaches students to create their own professional blog that has helped many land valuable internships and their first jobs out of school. This helped that one student get her foot in the door at HubSpot as she talks about on the CLE Student Blog.

So for corporations saying they, “… haven’t been able to hire the specialist we need due to lack of talent or experience in our area.” I know of at least 19 Johns Hopkins students you may be interested in this Spring.

Yes, there is a digital marketing talent gap as much as 27% to 37% in key skill areas at Fortune 500 companies – Imagine what it is at other corporations, startups and small businesses. But with the gap, comes opportunity. ClickZ, OMI, and Kelly Services sum up the rewards of investing in digital marketing education:

  • For the global brand it means “major expansion and market share gains that would normally take tens of millions of advertising dollars.”
  • For the startup and small business it means “going from surviving to thriving.”
  • For the career minded student it means “one of the best paying and growth minded career opportunities ever.”