ChatGPT has caused a unique ripple effect in the PR and marketing landscape. A few months back PRNEWS asked how respondents would use ChatGPT for writing press releases, customer service responses, social media copy and more. A number of PR pros claimed they wanted to avoid the platform completely. For others, using ChatGPT for thought leadership has already started.
There are wide misconceptions that AI is only applicable to the B2C industry, as these types of companies have more customer data to leverage to make the most of AI tools. AI is as relevant to B2B as it is to B2C. B2B communicators must evaluate the ways AI can help them provide better services and improve communication tactics—all while keeping a lid on legal aspects.
Ethical and Legal Issues
The B2B sales cycle is longer than a B2C product, and as such, nurturing relationships can be more important than quick conversations, as building long-term trust is vital for B2B customers.
Trust is a critical aspect of ChatGPT for the user to believe that their generated text is factually correct—but will it help you 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. This becomes a problem when PR and marketing don’t know the source of the information, and Google’s system of basing quality on the number of citations of an article isn’t in place.
The U.S. Copyright Office has now launched a new initiative to examine the copyright law and policy issues raised by AI: “in direct response to the recent striking advances in generative AI technologies and their rapidly growing use by individuals and businesses.”
All we can do is wait for official guidance.
Approach with Caution
In B2B, we’re trying to influence, build marketing, and deliver hidden agendas. We’re trying to win the awards, drive company messages and demonstrate corporate leadership.
The issue isn’t that machines write like humans—it’s that humans have been starting to write like machines. ChatGPT should serve as a wakeup call to stop writing in marketing lingo and start using words to convey ideas and thoughts.
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 or background in the subject of the copy. A machine can do that rather well!
Where do Humans have the Upper Hand?
Quality writing is fueled by intention. B2B professionals bring unique skills, perspectives and relationships that cannot be replaced by AI. 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.
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.
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. Selling new and original developments and solutions requires targeting copy at different audiences with different needs. This requires critical thinking, which robots don’t do. It also requires empathy with issues; robots can’t show empathy either.
Is it Time PR and Marketing Went With the AI Flow?
As with any new technology, there are benefits to be had and there are lessons to be learned—but one thing's for sure, B2B pros should capitalize on ChatGPT as a complimentary tool to achieve higher levels of consumer engagement.
Judith Ingleton-Beer is CEO of IBA International.