In a March 2023 blog post, Microsoft founder Bill Gates described ChatGPT as “the most important advance in technology since the graphical user interface” more than 40 years prior.
He predicts vast changes in work, education, travel, healthcare, and communication as a result.
The rapid evolution is no less profound for marketers. In just a few short months, the AI-powered tool has found use cases for everything from PPC to SMS marketing and much, much more.
So what does the future hold for the teams tasked with creating the communications that sell our products and services? Will ChatGPT upend the entire marketing industry? Or will its lofty expectations return to earth, leaving it as another useful, but not world-beating, tool like programmatic advertising?
To get a little clarity among the buzz, we asked more than 20 experts for their insights into how ChatGPT will influence four areas of concern for marketers. Here’s what they told us.
Marketers who adopt ChatGPT will soon see sweeping changes in the words, data, and processes they use. Here are some of the most important ways experts predict ChatGPT will impact general marketing.
First up is content, which ChatGPT can quickly create to help marketers execute campaigns more efficiently.
This includes blog content, as well as social media posts (although we caution against using it to write your blog content–more on that later).
“The best part? It won’t replace you, but rather work alongside you, sort of like a marketing assistant,” added Hayley Mollett, marketing coordinator at IT services firm Better-IT.
“Otherwise, every marketer will end up with the same or similar ideas,” he said.
Instead, marketers should think of ChatGPT as a supplementary tool for content creation. By using ChatGPT to source ideas and inspiration, marketers can make sure their content is helpful, unique, and human.
Next, ChatGPT’s ability to analyze data and generate insights will be incredibly useful for marketing teams.
“It can help identify trends, predict consumer behavior, and personalize marketing messages to a degree that was previously impossible,” said Kacper Rafalski, demand generation team leader at the digital consultancy Netguru.
Carlos Barros, director of marketing at POS vendor Epos Now, agreed, noting ChatGPT may be able to provide even more insights about a brand’s products and services—while Chris Morris, founder of digital marketing agency Shoo Social Media, pointed out it can analyze customer data like purchase history, browsing behavior, and demographics to generate personalized recommendations.
It’s also a useful market research tool.
“ChatGPT can analyze customer feedback and social media sentiment to help businesses gain insights into consumer behavior and market trends,” Morris added.
What’s more, Marc Hardgrove, CEO of SEO platform The Hoth, noted the AI tool allows marketers to create customized chatbots, which will change the way brands communicate with customers. That includes the automation of brand responses to basic inquiries and requests.
“With its ability to generate human-like responses, ChatGPT can help businesses engage with their customers in real-time, provide personalized recommendations, and offer a more seamless customer experience,” added Rahul Vij, CEO of digital marketing agency WebSpero Solutions.
This, noted Alexander Hollingsworth, SEO marketing associate at digital agency Oyova, “[frees] up time for marketers to focus on more strategic initiatives.”
For small businesses in particular, ChatGPT will be a welcome tool as these brands generally have more limited resources.
In fact, Milosz Krasinski, managing director of web consulting firm Chilli Fruit, called it “a tool to help small business owners cut through the noise and stand out in a crowded digital space.”
Here are some specific ways experts predict ChatGPT will impact small business marketing.
Similar to marketing overall, ChatGPT can help small businesses automate routine tasks so they can focus on marketing, product development, and strategic planning.
“By using ChatGPT, SMBs can not only improve their operational efficiency but also enhance their customer experience and drive growth in their business,” Banioras said.
No surprises here—this also includes customer service, which helps brands quickly answer questions and build relationships.
“ChatGPT can be particularly beneficial for small businesses as it can help them level the playing field with larger competitors by providing a high-quality customer experience at a lower cost,” Vij said. “By using ChatGPT, small businesses can simplify many of their customer service interactions, freeing up time and resources that can be used to focus on other areas of the business.”
ChatGPT can also analyze consumer data, which allows small businesses to better understand their customers.
“By knowing what content resonates with customers, small businesses can create more effective marketing strategies,” Krasinski added.
This can be helpful when identifying your target audience, personalizing your marketing messages, or looking for new marketing opportunities. But it shouldn’t be the only resource you rely on when it comes to learning about your customers. For now, ChatGPT doesn’t include information past 2021, so it could be missing a larger piece of the picture when it comes to recommendations or ideas. Learn more about the pros and cons of ChatGPT for marketing here.
“Many believed it would put printers out of business, but it didn’t,” she said. “Rather, the printing press enabled printers to work faster, more efficiently and at a lower cost.”
With that in mind, here are some ways the experts anticipate ChatGPT will impact content marketing.
While marketers may struggle to come up with ideas and keywords on their own—and therefore miss out on traffic and leads from resulting content—ChatGPT is a useful tool for brainstorming new topics, as well as gathering data.
In addition, ChatGPT can identify gaps in existing content, Rafalski added.
“Trawling through pages of information is time-consuming,” Mollett noted. “Typing in a subject, some key points and facts, and ChatGPT bringing up all the information needed is just genius.”
But again, it’s important to fact-check ChatGPT as the information is not going to be the most up-to-date. ChatGPT and other AI tools should be used as a starting point to build on.
“ChatGPT’s consolidated responses and speed are a real advantage when it comes to creating helpful content in a more efficient way,” said Aissa Djalo of the creative agency Tiny Giants.
ChatGPT can also quickly create content tailored to specific audiences.
“By feeding ChatGPT with information about a target audience or customer segment, it can generate content that is more relevant and engaging to that specific group,” said Zaira Céspedes, SEO executive at the digital marketing agency GA Agency.
And, by using ChatGPT for content, brands can maintain a more consistent publishing schedule—and establish themselves as thought leaders, Morris added.
The key is using the right ChatGPT prompts.
That’s according to V. Michael Santoro, founder of online branding firm Brand Velocity, who said users must follow a process much like optimizing for search results.
“What’s important is to instruct ChatGPT to produce the content in the correct voice and writing style based on the brand and messaging,” he added. “Many new ChatGPT users just request this type of information with, for example, ‘Write a social media post about ____________.’ While the content may be accurate, it may not align with how you want your brand to be perceived in the marketplace.”
Another important takeaway is to adopt ideas from ChatGPT—but not copy and paste them.
That’s because ChatGPT may provide the same information to other users, which could result in plagiarism or copyright issues, Santoro said.
In addition, users must always double-check ChatCPT-generated facts with reliable sources.
“It’s important to note ChatGPT is still a machine learning model, so human oversight and editing are still crucial to ensure the generated content is accurate, appropriate, and consistent with a brand’s voice and values,” Céspedes said.
Or, as Vladislav Podolyako, CEO of email platform Folderly, put it, there are no guarantees ChatGPT-generated answers do not include factual errors.
“It’s not a problem when you ask what cake recipe tastes better,” he said. “But the issue becomes critical when one of the recipes contains rat poison instead of sugar.”
That means websites with proven information users can trust will be rewarded by search engines.
There’s also the issue of whether ChatGPT will eventually replace human writers.
For her part, Burson said ChatGPT can’t replace the human experience—or human capabilities.
The prevailing wisdom, however, seems to be to treat ChatGPT as a companion tool.
“While too much automation can weaken the human touch that attracts customers, cleverly incorporating it into an overall marketing strategy stands to pay dividends and distinguish brands from their competition,” said Jason Tan, founder of LinkedIn assistant Engage AI.
“Marketers have the exciting opportunity to unlock AI’s potential, but understanding what works best requires striking a balance between utilizing technology and allowing human ingenuity to take centerstage.”
Finally, expect to see big changes in both how search engines rank content—and how brands optimize for SERPs.
Marketers who use AI-generated content should be aware it may hurt their rankings as Google can detect this content—and penalize websites accordingly, said Tatevik Baghdasaryan, content marketer with AI firm SuperAnnotate.
Luke Glassford, marketing director of consulting firm Gambit Partners, more or less agreed, noting ChatGPT will result in automated content produced on a massive scale.
“How well Google is able to identify and reward real content and discourage the use of AI content over the next year will likely shape the future of the web,” he added.
If the search giant is not able to stem the tide of AI content in SERPs, Glassford expects the quality of content on the Internet will continue to deteriorate.
Instead of simply publishing AI-produced content, brands should focus on expert-level niche-specific content that builds trust and authority with Google.
“Google wants companies to build topical authority in order to rank content,” Santoro said. “Topical authority means producing an extensive amount of content to cover the niche and achieve authority.
This can help brands boost their rankings. So will using ChatGPT as a data analysis tool to optimize content.
“ChatGPT can help businesses optimize their content for search engines and even generate meta descriptions and title tags,” Hollingsworth added.
According to Vij, ChatGPT can also help optimization efforts by “providing natural and conversational responses that match users’ search queries.”
Using responses from ChatGPT can open up opportunities for optimization when coupled with the expertise and authority of human writers.
Podolyako noted Google uses the depth of topical coverage and the amount of content, entities, and interconnections as ranking favor.
“However, the affordability of content will inevitably lead to an inflation of these factors as they will become so easy to manipulate,” he added. “This is why I believe Google will shift towards authority as a ranking factor.”
That means the quality and quantity of backlinks and citations will be much more important going forward.
Meanwhile, ChatGPT can help brands and Google alike better understand a user’s intent behind each search—and deliver more relevant results (or rank better for said queries).
“Google search algorithms are already using AI technologies to deliver more relevant and personalized search results,” said Gavin Duff, head of digital at digital agency the Friday Agency. “ChatGPT and other AI technologies can potentially enhance the search experience further by delivering more accurate and personalized results.”
There’s too much unsettled dust to know the full impact AI tools like ChatGPT will have on marketing. But if you listen to the people immersed in the evolution, a few themes take shape:
🚨 Learn more about AI’s impact on marketing in our guide >> The Emergency Guide to AI in Marketing.
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