Written by Omar H. Fares, Toronto Metropolitan University. Photo credit: Shutterstock. Originally published in The Conversation.
A new AI chatbot could revolutionize marketing for businesses.
The recent release of the ChatGPT chatbot in November 2022 has generated significant public interest. In essence, ChatGPT is an AI-powered chatbot allowing users to simulate human-like conversations with an AI.
GPT stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer, a language processing model developed by the American artificial intelligence company OpenAI. The GPT language model uses deep learning to produce human-like responses. Deep learning is a branch of machine learning that involves training artificial neural networks to mimic the complexity of the human brain, to produce human-like responses.
ChatGPT has a user-friendly interface that utilizes this technology, allowing users to interact with it in a conversational manner.
In light of this new technology, businesses and consumers alike have shown great interest in how such an innovation could revolutionize marketing strategies and customer experiences.
What’s so special about ChatGPT?
What sets ChatGPT apart from other chatbots is the size of its dataset. Chatbots are usually trained on a smaller dataset in a rule-based manner designed to answer specific questions and conduct certain tasks.
ChatGPT, on the other hand, is trained on a huge dataset — 175 billion parameters and 570 gigabytes — and is able to perform a range of tasks in different fields and industries. 570GB is equivalent to over 385 million pages on Microsoft Word.
Given the amount of the data, ChatGPT can carry out different language-related activities which includes answering questions in different fields and sectors, providing answers in different languages and generating content.
Friend or foe to marketers?
While ChatGPT may be a tremendous tool for marketers, it is important to understand the realistic possibilities and expectations of it to get the most value from it.
Traditionally, with the emergence of new technologies, consumers tend to go through Gartner’s hype cycle. In essence, Gartner’s cycle explains the process people go through when adopting a new technology.
The cycle starts with the innovation trigger and peak of inflated triggers stages when consumers get enthusiastic about new technology and expectations start to build. Then consumers realize the pitfalls of the technology, creating a gap between expectations and reality. This is called the trough of disillusionment.
This is followed by the slope of enlightenment when consumers start to understand the technology and use it more appropriately and reasonably. Finally, the technology becomes widely adopted and used as intended during the plateau of productivity stage.
With the current public excitement surrounding ChatGPT, we appear to be nearing the peak of inflated triggers stage. It’s important for marketers to set realistic expectations for consumers and navigate the integration of ChatGPT to mitigate the affects of the trough of disillusionment stage.
Possibilities of ChatGPT
In its current form, ChatGPT cannot replace the human factor in marketing, but it could support content creation, enhance customer service, automate repetitive tasks and support data analysis.
Supporting content creation: Marketers may use ChatGPT to enhance existing content by using it to edit written work, make suggestions, summarize ideas and improve overall copy readability. Additionally, ChatGPT may enhance search engine optimization strategy by examining ideal keywords and tags.
Enhancing customer service: Businesses may train ChatGPT to respond to frequently asked questions and interact with customers in a human-like conversation. Rather than replacing the human factor, ChatGPT could provide 24/7 customer support. This could optimize business resources and enhance internal processes by leaving high-impact and sensitive tasks to humans. ChatGPT can also be trained in different languages, further enhancing customer experience and satisfaction.
Automating repetitive marketing tasks: According to a 2015 HubSpot report, marketers spent a significant amount of their time on repetitive tasks, such as sending emails and creating social media posts. While part of that challenge has been addressed with customer relationship management software, ChatGPT may enhance this by providing an added layer of personalization through the generation of creative content.
Additionally, ChatGPT may be helpful in other tasks, such as product descriptions. With access to a wealth of data, ChatGPT would be able to frequently update and adjust product descriptions, allowing marketers to focus on higher-impact tasks.
Limitations of ChatGPT
While the wide range of possibilities for enhancing marketing processes with ChatGPT are enticing, it is important for businesses to know about some key limitations and when to limit or avoid using ChatGPT in business operations.
Emotional intelligence: ChatGPT provides a state of the art human-like response and content. However, it is important to be aware that the tool is only human-like. Similar to traditional challenges with chatbots, the degree of human-likeness will be essential for process enhancement and content creation.
Marketers could use ChatGPT to enhance customer experience, but without humans to provide relevancy, character, experience and personal connection, it will be challenging to fully capitalize on ChatGPT. Relying on ChatGPT to build customer connections and engagement without the involvement of humans may diminish meaningful customer connection instead of enhancing it.
Accuracy: While the marketing content may appear logical, it is important to note that ChatGPT is not error free and may provide incorrect and illogical answers. Marketers need to review and validate the content generated by ChatGPT to avoid possible errors and ensure consistency with brand message and image.
Creativity: Relying on ChatGPT for creative content may cause short- and long-term challenges. ChatGPT lacks the lived experience of individuals and understanding the complexity of human nature. Over-relying on ChatGPT may limit creative abilities, so it should be used to support ideation and enhance existing content while still allowing room for human creativity.
Humans are irreplaceable
While ChatGPT has the potential to enhance marketing effectiveness, businesses should only use the technology as a tool to assist humans, not replace them. ChatGPT could provide creative content and support content ideation. However, the human factor is still essential for examining outputs and creating marketing messages that are consistent with a firm’s business strategy and vision.
A business that does not have a strong marketing strategy before integrating ChatGPT remains at a competitive disadvantage. However, with appropriate marketing strategies and plans, ChatGPT could effectively enhance and support existing marketing processes.