Generative AI is everywhere these days, especially in the marketing sphere. It gives digital marketing professionals an option when they need quick marketing content, and it can cut costs as you don’t have to hire a copywriter to write the piece from scratch. However, there are several concerns — ethically and in terms of quality — when it comes to the use of generative AI.
So does generative AI help or hurt your marketing campaigns? The answer may still be a bit ambiguous.
Generative AI uses machine learning to create original content — whether it be written content, images, customer journey models, and more. Although it has existed since the 1960s, it has been recently popularized by programs like ChatGPT, which allows you to create conversations and gain insights based on automatically generated responses.
Generative AI systems are “trained” on other works of art or content in order to essentially learn how to write or create content. You give the AI tool a prompt of what you would like to see. It will respond with an original piece of content based on the information it’s taken in and learned related to that prompt.
The benefits of generative AI for marketing are obvious. You get instant content that you can post to your website, to social media, to your blog, and more. This is handy for those with a limited marketing budget who don’t necessarily have the time or skill to handle their own digital marketing content. With a marketing-oriented generative AI tool, you can even generate that content with SEO already in mind, based on certain keywords or aimed at certain demographics.
Generative AI is lauded for making marketing content more affordable and accessible, so you can dedicate your budget to the elements that need it most.
That said, the tech world is still very much working out the kinks of generative AI. There are a number of concerns that give marketing professionals pause. Some of these include:
Generative AI is trained on finished, often copyrighted, works of art and writing — sometimes without the original creator’s consent. This has caused some worries over copyright violation, especially when the AI-generated product too closely resembles another finished work of art. Authors and artists are already pushing for policy changes that would make it so that AI companies would have to credit and pay them for their work being trained on AI. If this happens, those charges could trickle down to marketing customers, as well.
Another copyright issue is that currently, AI generated art cannot be copyrighted. Thus if you write blogs or create social media images with AI, your competition can copy it and use it for themselves with no repercussions.
Generative AI has come a long way, but when something is automatically generated by computer, there is always a chance of proofreading issues. Some sentences may read awkwardly or simply be nonsensically. Similar issues have been pointed out when it comes to AI-generated art: portraits that contain a second thumb or inconsistent hair. If you use AI generated content, you will still need to do a thorough quality check before posting the result.
It’s hard to find truly unbiased art and writing. Because of this, many of the pieces that AI trains with bring biases and problematic worldviews, whether related to race, religion, or other types of marginalizations. The AI is, at the end of the day, a computer. It doesn’t actually think for itself so much as generate content based on patterns and predictability. So AI still isn’t equipped to push back against these biases or challenge them. In creating automatically generated content, you might find yourself putting out problematic pieces without realizing it.
People have very polarizing feelings about generative AI. While some are excited for it and adamantly support it, 74% of people in the United States express concerns about biased or harmful content generated by AI. Others oppose generative AI as something that “steals” or “rips off” other artists. Your customers likely have their own opinions about generative AI. If you use AI and customers who oppose generative AI learn about it, they may choose to take their business elsewhere.
Finally, switching to AI could lead to a drop of morale in your marketing team. The team may have a fear that their jobs will soon become redundant due to the resources available in AI. If you plan to keep your team, make sure that you let them know how they’re still valuable and that you address their concerns.