Adapt or die. That’s the sort of thing one hears surrounding the use of AI in business. Sounds pretty scary. But fear is a funny thing. It presents one with a choice that can foment change. “You can Run Away, Run Away!” like our friend King Arthur in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, or you can embrace fear as a catalyst for growth. By leaning into AI and becoming familiar with various AI tools, you prepare to harness its power to save your organization time and money and the fear naturally dissipates.
AI in business marketing is a vast topic and fodder for loads of columns, so we’ll hone focus here on initial observations and tips for using AI for marketing, social and content as it relates to the pro AV industry.
Choose the Right AI Tool
You probably already know about ChatGPT, Open AI’s prompt and answer AI generator, and one of the most popular AI tools available. There are a number of other options for AI in marketing, such as Jasper, a collaborative content generator known for its ability to ingest existing content and capture tone of voice. Copy.ai is liked by many for its ability to generate content that is closer to ‘the mark’ with less editing. More of an editor than a generator, QuillBot transforms existing drafts to be longer, shorter, clearer, etc. You can add a bit of “spice” to your copy (and even jokes) using Wordtune and the list goes on. Most of the marketing tools you already know and love now include AI, such as LinkedIn, SEMRush, Hootsuite, Hubspot, Canva and Meltwater.
Don’t Let AI ‘Catfish’ Your Audience
Tone is a big deal when it comes to your brand. Not only can AI lead you off-brand by delivering the wrong tone, but if unchecked, it can actually cause your audience to think you’re something you’re not. For example, if you are a pro AV integrator or consultant known for being professional, highly authoritative, and well-respected, but the tone of your AI-generated marketing is cheerful and mainstream, your audience will be at the least confused when they interact with your firm. The answer is to continually refine your prompts until you find a tone that is more appropriate for your business. Ask the generator for something more professional, wittier, more authoritative, less serious, more serious, etc., until your preferred tone is in tune.
By way of example, we asked AI to write an “exciting” blurb about airport audio and got this ‘bad boy’. The tone is completely off base. Refining the prompt to “be more professional” will give you a better outcome.
⚠️Be Wary of Emoticons
Emoticon overuse is a telltale sign of an AI-generated social post. We asked ChatGPT to “generate a social post about pro AV in higher ed.” Not only was the post a bit superficial, the emojis were over the top. We would edit something like this to be richer in meaning and remove most emojis.
Watch for Trends in Copy
We’ve noticed some trends in AI-generated copy, especially industry-related. For Pro AV content related to audio, for example, the word “soundscapes” is lurking around every regenerative corner. Watch for the repeated use of the same adjectives in AI-assisted social posts, which made all the work sound the same. Words like “mesmerizing,” “captivating,” “dynamic,” and “trailblazing” are all the AI rage for a new product post, while thought leadership articles overused adjectives like “influential” and “authoritative.” Edit liberally to make sure your content doesn’t sound rote.
Notice Predictable Structure
When it comes to sentence and paragraph structure, AI can be a bit predictable. For example, AI-generated social posts asking someone to do something often start with “Calling all…” or a question. We asked AI to generate two social posts, one to subscribe to Commercial Integrator + Security Sales Integration, the other asking the pro AV industry to contribute to the Rosie Riveters nonprofit that seeks to get school-age girls interested in STEM. These are the first two answers they gave us out of the gate. Refining prompts or hitting that regenerate button should get you to an outcome that will be less boilerplate.
QC Your AI-Generated Copy
Marketing using AI is helpful because it can do things like provide information, inspire ideas, get you over a mental block, and more. However, it’s not a set-it-and-forget-it endeavor. It needs a good babysitter. For example, you can ask your AI platform of choice to write an SEO-friendly blog on collaboration technology, but the likelihood that it’s going to pump out something that is publish-worthy without editing is slim. For the pro AV industry especially, the nuance needed to accurately convey thought leadership, point of view, and expertise on intricate and highly technical topics isn’t there.
We asked AI to generate five blog topics for the pro AV industry by way of example and got these fairly generic responses. You’ll need to keep pushing and prompting to come up with something more insightful.
Don’t Forget the Graphics
A good marketing piece needs a good image. There are several AI graphic and art generators that you can use to create quick visual elements. Just like using AI to generate copy, you will need to QC the process. Creating a text-based graphic for social media using AI Social Content Generator in SEMrush, for example, was a mixed bag. While it lets you add brand colors and customize text, the styles of the graphics are so varied that we spent a good deal of time sifting through template options and ended up with a Frankenstein graphic that was part manual labor, part AI. Canva has a pretty helpful “Magic Studio” AI tool that was just added, that allows you to shuffle through various graphics using your organization’s logo and color scheme.
Watch for Bias
AI is inherently biased because it “learns” from biased sources (ie, content generated by humans). ChatGPT even admits as much if you ask it, as shown below. Be wary of bias in all your AI content!
Sometimes, It’s Incorrect
“While it can provide helpful and accurate information in many cases, it is not infallible and can make mistakes or provide incorrect information,” says ChatGPT when asked about itself. Case in point, when I was trying to think of a clever, alliterative title for this very article, I asked for a synonym for “Next-Level” that begins with the letter N and got this:
At first blush, AI has its upsides and downsides. In pro AV marketing, AI can be a helpful tool to generate ideas, research or get unstuck. At present, AI is best used as a tool rather than a replacement for human-based marketing — an app to add to your arsenal to help you work smarter and better. A tool that we can extract benefits from while proceeding cautiously, using our own human intuition as the ultimate guidepost.
Krissy Rushing Tomlin is CEO and co-founder of RISE Media Strategy.
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