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ChatGPT in PR and Marketing – Where Should B2B Communicators Stand on the AI Battlefront?

ChatGPT has acquired 100 million users quicker than any other platform, making it the fastest growing online tool, with only 0.03% paid traffic. But how will it affect B2B communicators? The rise of ChatGPT poses three issues for PR and Marketing pros in the B2B sector: what it can do better than them, things it isn’t capable of doing, and growing ethical and legal concerns.

ChatGPT, launched in November 2022 by OpenAI is now the biggest hot topic in the B2B PR and Marketing sector. It was quickly revealed that the platform was launched as a not for profit organization with a high profile list of investors from Tesla CEO Elon Musk to Peter Thiel, and Sam Altman, OpenAI’s CEO as of 2019.

Microsoft made its first $1billion investment in OpenAI in that year, the same year that Bing saw an all-time low in performance. Google has certainly been caught unaware and is now ramping up its efforts in the form of new AI platform, Google Bard. The AI battle is on. 

The emergence of these AI tools are setting the foundation for a great debate in the marketing and communications sector, with a PR News poll finding that while some agencies are avoiding ChatGPT completely, other top-tier media outlets are trialing AI Chatbots as an opinion commentator.

Read More: Enhancing AI: Why New Technology Must Include Diversity

These revelations have left PR and Marketing pros questioning how they can make the most of ChatGPT without rendering themselves useless, all while keeping ahead of copyright issues?

Stop writing in Marketing speak – because ChatGPT can do it better

The media is all over ChatGPT, but as B2B PR and Marketing professionals, our attention should be placed on human generated copy and how marketing-speak has grown into what already sounds like computer-generated discourse. The issue isn’t that machines write like humans – it’s that humans are beginning to write like machines. ChatGPT should serve as a wakeup call for PR and Marketing professionals to stop writing in marketing lingo and start using words to convey ideas and thoughts.

From an infinite number of monkeys writing Shakespeare, to the WSJ’s first Buzz Word Generator, to Chat GPT, AI has got better, but actually not fundamentally changed in its basic capabilities. 

ChatGPT is the ultimate wordsmith – we’ve all read press releases and articles that spew out words that sound compelling but say nothing – ‘I see the words, but what do they mean’ is a phrase often used in my company. Many writers, bloggers, and content creators are producing copy with no interest in the subject of the copy. A machine can do that, and do it rather well!

Machines lack creativity and empathy – something humans don’t!

PR and Marketing agencies must be more than just wordsmiths. Quality writing is fueled by intention – we are trying to deliver subliminal corporate messaging in our press releases that gets across more than just a product launch. Coherence isn’t enough, communication is more complex and precise. 

B2B professionals bring unique skills, perspectives, and relationships that cannot be replaced by AI. Often a single piece of content needs to support a number of different precisely targeted audiences – an editor, a buyer, and a C-level ratifier. Try telling that to ChatGPT!

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The tool can assist with many tasks but there are three essential components of effective PR and Marketing: creativity, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence that it lacks. 

We humans are born to think outside the box, to come up with completely new and original ideas. Thinking outside the box is impossible for ChatGPT – it is the box, it creates the box, it is limited by the box it is in.

These limitations highlight the complementary nature of AI and human B2B professionals. AI can perform certain tasks faster and more efficiently, but the human brain brings a unique skillset that is critical to effective Marketing and PR practices.

Critical thinking is fundamental to understand causes from correlations, understand where bias is and remove it, distinguish between a primary source and someone’s personal opinion – we know the distinction between truth versus their truth gets muddier by the day, but the human brain can figure it out!

Selling new and original developments and solutions require targeting copy at different audiences with different needs. This requires critical thinking – something robots can’t do. AI chatbots can’t ‘read into a situation’. Our human emotional intellect makes us able to understand and handle an interaction or debate that needs more emotional communication methods. 

But emotional intelligence isn’t all its lacking. 

ChatGPT is under the legal microscope

Trust is a critical aspect of ChatGPT for the user to believe that their generated text is factually correct. With people and machines creating tens of millions of new web pages daily, will using machine-generated content be pivotal in enabling your organization to stand out from the rest, or cause copyright troubles? 

Google’s position on AI-produced content is clear – companies that use AI-generated content to manipulate ranking in search results will violate their spam policies. So, where should B2B PR and Marketers stand? Clearly trust is ChatGPT’s biggest weakness. Unlike Google, you don’t know the source of the information, you can’t judge based on the type of site or the experience of the author. Google’s system of basing quality on the number of citations of an article isn’t in place. Further research is going to be needed and this will take time, so people will still return to trusted sources and expertise.

The U.S. Copyright Office has now launched a new initiative to examine the copyright law and policy issues raised by artificial intelligence (AI), including the scope of copyright in works generated using AI tools and the use of copyrighted materials in AI training. The Copyright Office says the initiative has been launched: “in direct response to the recent striking advances in generative AI technologies and their rapidly growing use by individuals and businesses.” And this begins right at the input stage, not the output. 

ChatGPT and similar software use existing text, images, and code to create ‘new’ work. The technology must get its ideas from somewhere, which means trawling the web to ‘train’ and ‘earn’ from pre-existing content. OpenAI and similar alternatives have already been subject to many lawsuits, arguing that AI tools are illegally using other people’s work to build their platforms.

With the PR Council also weighing in on this issue, all we can do is wait for official guidance and standards on the use of AI in PR. For now, communications pros are urged to apply caution to any external-facing use of output from ChatGPT. 

Should B2B PR and Marketing pros welcome ChatGPT with open arms?

B2B communications professionals can draw a number of key benefits from the latest AI wave that is taking the industry by storm – from making the most of analytical tools to offloading mundane administrative tasks. 

Artificial Intelligence chatbots like ChatGPT can be supportive tools for B2B Marketers to offload repetitive tasks, prioritize strategies that require ingenuity and detailed planning, and level-up from competitors – but let’s not forget about the human touch!

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