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6 Actionable Marketing Lessons from the Early Days of ChatGPT

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Since ChatGPT was released publicly at the end of November, everyone from college marketing majors to Google’s executive team has scrambled to learn ways to use the functionality.

Our marketing team is no different. Mere months after ChatGPT’s initial splash, we’ve got findings to share after aggressively testing its capabilities on several initiatives.

If you don’t have time to read the full list, a TL;DR (too long, didn’t read): it’s powerful but not foolproof, its output is only as good as the person using it, and it’s great for saving time on entry-level work.

If you’re still with me, let’s roll up our sleeves and dive in.

Related: How Can Marketers Use ChatGPT? Here Are the Top 11 Uses.

1. Your marketing team should use it…

ChatGPT has already proven valuable for marketing projects. From keyword research to content ideation to boilerplate ad copy to metadata, tasks that used to consume tedious hours for marketers can now be tackled in minutes with the tool’s help. Any marketing team paying for people to do work that ChatGPT can do with a few prompts is losing a competitive edge.

2. …but not rely on it

That said, good marketing teams know the tool’s limits. It’s excellent for producing starting points for the tasks listed above, but I would caution against using ChatGPT for anything external-facing without human input. If you wouldn’t leave your projects in the hands of interns without supervision, you shouldn’t trust ChatGPT with any final outputs.

You may read into that paragraph a little deeper and see ChatGPT as a threat to entry-level jobs, which is true in a way. I see it as both a threat to the former parameters of entry-level jobs and an opportunity for entry-level people to master ChatGPT and save time for higher-level work. Used strategically, it can be a career accelerant, not a blocker.

As for folks with truly advanced skills, whether in content, creative, analytics, etc., they have nothing to worry about (yet).

Related: What Makes a Good Marketing Manager?

3. It’s great for repeatable tasks

If any part of your job involves doing the same tasks without much thought, chances are ChatGPT can be helpful. If, for instance, you have a 10-step process for keyword research that doesn’t require your actual analytical skills until step six, explore how you might use ChatGPT to streamline the first five.

A good starting point is to go broad, then refine. For instance:

“Find keywords related to marketing agency.”

Then:

“How about marketing agency keywords that include the word ecommerce?”

You can also (while taking into account that ChatGPT data might not be 100% up to date) ask for keywords with a certain search volume:

“Find digital marketing agency keywords with over 100 searches/month.”

Once you get results that meet your criteria, you can apply your context and experience to weed out the poorer options and fill in the gaps ChatGPT might have missed.

Related: 4 Ways To Use ChatGPT

4. It’s an effective cure for writer’s block

Just about everyone I know, even some truly talented content creators who seem to pull magic out of thin air finds it easier to edit pre-existing content than to tackle a blank page. And ChatGPT is excellent at providing a jumping-off point.

In places where you get stuck — writing intros, laying out a structure, wrapping things up in a tidy conclusion – ChatGPT can give you some useful momentum. You may only use 5% of what it comes up with (I’ve heard this given as an actual estimate), but the mental hurdles it helps you clear are immeasurable.

5. It’s best used to plug ad hoc skill gaps

Do NOT use ChatGPT to do your job – that is to say, to replace skills you use regularly or as a shortcut for skills you know you need to learn. But do use it if you find yourself in a one-off pinch.

For instance, if you’re a web developer, don’t use ChatGPT to build a site from scratch. But if you’re a brand marketer and don’t want to call on a developer for a quick website update, go right ahead and use ChatGPT, for instance, giving it data segments and asking, “code this into an HTML table.”

The breakdown is easy: if it’s something you need to learn for the long haul, don’t use ChatGPT as a crutch. If it’s something you need occasionally and you don’t plan to learn it in the future, ChatGPT is a valuable tool.

6. Mastery is already a differentiator

Because ChatGPT has so many use cases already, with more emerging daily, knowing how to leverage it is already a differentiating factor for marketing professionals.

Like other powerful tools — Excel, Tableau, Marketo and Canva, to name a few — ChatGPT offers professional cachet to those who know how to use it. As a founder of a job marketplace looking for talent to add to my network, I would be impressed if someone told me they were fluent in using the tool to do specific tasks. That’s a big add-on – you might as well have told me you know how to code Javascript.

ChatGPT can’t actually do the most complicated things yet. Still, at the rate it’s progressing, it’s a good idea to get familiar with its strengths and weaknesses and test its capabilities to keep pace as they develop.

If you need proof of how powerful adoption will be, keep an eye on college-related discourse. In weeks since the tool’s public release, it’s begun shifting from “how to recognize and ban ChatGPT-produced essays” to “let’s teach a course on how to use the tool,” with institutions like the University of Texas already offering programs.

Wrap-up

By the time you read this, ChatGPT might have evolved enough to render it out of date — which reinforces how important it is to start getting fluent with the tool. With practice, you’ll learn its strengths and weaknesses — and which weaknesses might be temporary.

Don’t put your head in the sand and stoke fears about machines taking over the world; learn how to take the reins and make the machines work for you.

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