What is generative AI?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the current big business buzzword. More than this, it’s a technology which is revolutionising the way people work and transforming organisational operations. One subset of this technology is known as generative AI. 

This has become the basis for a variety of tools and platforms that boost efficiency and creativity. Understanding generative AI, how it is innovating marketing strategies and what its benefits are will help marketers take full advantage.

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What is the definition of generative AI?

Generative AI is a digital technology that replicates human intelligence to create new material or content. This technology is developed using models of several algorithms that learn how to operate like a human from sets of training data. 

Once a generative AI tool or platform has been developed, it can produce a human-like response to some form of prompt. These inputs can be text, images, videos or other types of content. The generated outputs are unique and can vary widely from written information, to code or chip designs.

How is generative AI being used?

The full potential for generative AI technology is yet to be realised. Yet there are some common uses which businesses and marketers are already starting to take advantage of. 

Content generation

The rapid pace of the digital world means marketers need to generate ideas and content very quickly. Generative AI tools help to meet this demand for content. From a short brief, these tools can create new videos, text or images. These outputs can be adjusted and finalised directly within the tool. 

Without the need for human creatives, using generative AI makes the content creation process much faster and cheaper. This means new ideas can be produced, tested against audiences and reiterated much more quickly. Eliminating the instances of human error and automating manual labour, generative AI tools help to deliver content strategies more cost-effectively. 

Customer personalisation

Able to process and interpret huge amounts of data quickly, customer information can be inputted into generative AI platforms to create outputs personalised to specific audiences. Based on trends in an audience’s behaviour, demographic details and personal preferences, these platforms can generate tailored content, product suggestions or responses. 

These outputs help to create customer experiences that are personalised to specific audience segments. From having their questions answered quickly via a chatbot to producing social media posts that attract genuine engagement, there are a range of ways generative AI can benefit customers as well as marketers. 

Market analysis

The rapid data-processing ability of generative AI tools also helps marketers gain invaluable insights about their audiences. By feeding customer data into these tools, marketers can get faster, easier access to information about customer segments. Marketers can use this insight to tailor their strategy and activity more accurately to customers’ needs. 

Analysing the sentiments of social media posts about their brand, deciding how to allocate marketing resources and making product improvements are all tasks that can be informed by generative AI market analysis. A Salesforce survey found that 63% of marketers are already using these technologies to analyse market data. 

Generative AI platforms 

There has been a recent boom in the development of generative AI tools. Some of the most well-known platforms include: 

  • ChatGPT: a tool which converts written prompts into creative, longer-form text content
  • Bard: an AI-based collaboration tool that can produce content from text prompts
  • Synthesia: a video generation platform that creates films from written inputs
  • Dall-E: a text-to-image generator that can rapidly produce art, designs or graphics
  • AlphaCode: a platform that can produce code in response to a text-based problem

These tools can be integrated into marketing processes to help teams perform tasks more efficiently and open up new opportunities for growth.

How can generative AI benefit marketers?

Though only 20% of commercial leaders surveyed by McKinsey said they were often using generative AI, this data also showed that investing in these technologies leads to a sales ROI uplift of between 10% and 20%. So alongside improving the ROI of their activities, what other benefits can marketers enjoy thanks to generative AI? 

Automating basic tasks

From answering customer queries via a chatbot to creating new and engaging social media content. Generative AI tools can complete daily activities quickly and accurately, giving human workers more time to work on value-added work. 

BCG found in a survey of CMOs that: 

  • 42% believed generative AI would save their team time on regular tasks 
  • 41% thought it would increase time spent on more valuable work
  • 46% said it had the potential to increase productivity and help meet deadlines

By helping marketers get their work done more efficiently, generative AI tools offer teams the chance to refocus their attention on developing a more effective marketing strategy. 

Using budgets efficiency

By taking customer data and turning it into valuable insights, generative AI tools can help marketers make better decisions about budget allocation. Tapping into what customers want through AI-enabled market research and creating content that’s personalised to the needs of an audience are just two ways this technology will help to improve marketing ROI. 

Identifying leads

The rapid and accurate review of customer or market data enables marketers to identify the most engaged prospects based on their behaviours. Some tools can also use this historical data and previous customer trends to produce predictive insights and analysis about conversions in real-time. This information can be fed back into strategy development and used to track results. 

Inspiring creative ideas

Using just a short prompt, existing image or quick query, generative AI tools can rapidly develop new ideas. This means creative work can be performed at speed and relatively cheaply. For marketers, this opens up huge opportunities. Resolving problems, testing content and developing effective campaigns can all be completed more effectively thanks to this technology. 

Creating images and videos

Whether you’re creating an eye-catching advert or new social media content, generative AI tools can help. From just a simple text prompt, these tools can create original images or videos. Colleagues can then edit these directly in the tools and export the final product for a range of purposes, from advertising to content marketing. 

DALL-E, Midjourney and Synthesia are just some examples of the tools that are now available for marketers to take advantage of. Investing in and experimenting with these platforms can bring huge benefits to marketing teams, including:

  • A quality creative output that can be customised for a specific brand’s needs, downloaded and used in a range of ways
  • The ability to generate more ideas and content quickly. There’s no need to create a detailed brief and AI tools can generate new content within a few seconds or minutes. This makes the creative iteration and media generation process much faster
  • Being a more cost-effective way of creating content. Compared to using human creatives, these tools and platforms cost significantly less and can be purchased on a monthly subscription, making marketing expenses more predictable 

Improving experiences

The in-depth and rapid data analysis possible as a result of generative AI tools means marketers can get insights and make improvements to their customer experience more quickly and easily. Carried out in real-time, this analysis is also based on information about behaviours and demographics, enabling experiences to become increasingly personalised and more effective.

How can marketers start to use AI?

Though integrating generative AI into a marketing strategy may seem like an insurmountable task, marketers who do will reap significant benefits. Taking the following steps will give you a starting point for integrating these technologies into your operations:

  • Research generative AI and the tools and platforms available
  • Review your own activities based on this research and consider how these technologies could help you reach your specific marketing goals
  • Test run technologies before you make the final investment. This will help you to identify any potential teething problems and ensure it achieves the results you’re looking for

Alternatively, to understand more about how generative AI could benefit your business and get expert advice on how to implement this technology, get in touch.

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