AI Gives Time Back to Marketers

With text generation technology like GPT‑3, the solutions to a marketer’s problems with time and content are just a prompt away.

In this day and age, you might notice your texting app, email client, and word processor trying to finish your sentences. Even as I’m typing this, Google Docs is predicting what I’ll want to say next.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has become a very ubiquitous concept. According to Acumen Research and Consulting, Generative AI is forecasted to occupy a market size of $110.8 billion by 2030. The introduction of Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 (GPT-3) in 2020 democratized the ability for companies to produce generative text models for their users—it’s more common than ever to see text generation tools in marketing platforms. My team at Intuit Mailchimp builds the data science models behind our content generation features and in addition to using in-house-built and open source models, we’ve used GPT-3 to develop our subject line, header, and subheader generation for email campaigns, with more features coming soon.

Marketers may find this daunting: How can we trust AI to do the work we spent years becoming experts at? Will AI completely dissolve our brand identity? Are robots stealing our jobs?

It’s not unreasonable to entertain the risks, but you shouldn’t let them deter you from taking advantage of these tools. Instead, marketers should consider the benefit of embracing and leveraging them for their businesses so they can take control of their time and content.

Optimize your time to focus on more impactful tasks

GPT-3 is one of those things that marketers probably don’t think they need but are glad that it exists if they ever need some extra support.

It’s kind of like my electric hot water kettle. I’m a busy person, and I can't sit next to the stove babysitting a kettle and waiting for it to yell at me. When I bought the electric kettle, I could flip a switch, get up to something else, and come back to find safely boiled water without worrying that my house was going to burn down if I wasn’t watching it. I’m still in charge of making the tea, but the electric kettle means I don’t need to spend quite so much energy and attention on boiling the water and can spend that on other things.

Relatedly, we hear from marketers over and over that they often experience what I call the “blinking cursor problem”—they stare at their screen, not knowing where to start and what to write. AI can help cut down the hours spent doing this. If you’re struggling to come up with even one idea, it can show you 3. GPT-3 can expedite the brainstorming process to help you overcome writer’s block.

If marketers can think a little less about writing subject lines and headers, they are in a really good position to focus their workday on the more impactful work that can’t be automated, like building relationships with customers or perfecting their offerings. Unbounce’s “State of AI Marketing for Small Business” report showed that 97% of SMBs who’ve adopted AI tools say they reduce time spent on marketing tasks. At Mailchimp, our goal with smart content is to cut down the time marketers spend copywriting by 80%—think about the opportunities this could unlock for your business.

Use AI to brainstorm content, then make it your own

Using AI to take control of your time doesn’t mean giving up control of your content. In fact, because GPT-3 isn’t ready to operate autonomously at this point, human input is essential in this process. Marketers serve as GPT-3’s fact-checkers to prevent our models from getting their business details and brand voice wrong. And nothing gets sent without user review.

GPT-3 doesn't replace marketers—it populates a blank canvas to give you something to look at and somewhere to start from. It raises the bar for what activities can be completed so you can focus on personalizing content in a way that builds connection with your audience, and this creative oversight and input is what separates one piece of AI-generated content from another. Plus, the ability to automatically generate multiple variants opens up a big opportunity for marketers to experiment and A/B test different versions - coming up with one version is hard enough!

Make the most of your content

Generative AI is a novel technology, and the world is learning how to make sure it is used in an appropriate, safe, and helpful way. At Intuit Mailchimp, we've taken steps to enhance our user experience to help protect our customers' data and privacy, and provide them with the controls they need to make sure the tools are right for their business.

We take every piece of feedback when users accept, edit, or reject our suggestion, so that we can continue to improve outputs within each user’s own generated content. It’s a symbiotic relationship—marketers are involved in the process in a way that’s really important to improving the features over time.

So how do we know we’re generating the right content? We continually measure our success through these metrics to improve “accuracy”: semantic similarity (how similar is the meaning of the AI-generated content to what the user ultimately sends) and edit distance (how much the user changed our text to match their voice).

GPT-3 and other text generative AI tools as a whole have fundamentally changed the landscape of creativity, and they will only get more sophisticated as they learn more. Think of generative AI tools as your new marketing assistants. They’re young, still in their formative years. They spent years in college absorbing the information and are now ready to apply it with your guidance.

You’re not letting go of complete control of your marketing, but maybe gaining some spark of inspiration that you didn't have before—anything's better than nothing. Don't let perfect be the enemy of useful. It doesn't have to solve all of your problems to solve one of your problems. But if it does that in a way that frees up your time and kick-starts your creativity, help GPT-3 help you.

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