B2B marketers have seen AI integrated into their martech tools for a while now. Some of the most popular AI use cases include conversational chatbots, email send time optimization (STO), and email subject line optimization (SLO) to name just a few.
These limited forms of AI have been deployed to work on specific tasks. They've pulled from limited sources of data in order to “learn,” such as using a specific company’s digital knowledge base to inform how a conversational chatbot interacts with customer queries.
Generative AI: ChatGPT launches
On November 30, 2022, ChatGPT (a free tool) was launched with much fanfare and has garnered widespread attention since then for its potential to transform B2B marketing content creation, from blog posts to emails to landing pages. Many copywriters and creative marketing types have wondered whether the emergence of ChatGPT - also called “generative AI” because it learns/trains itself based on a larger scope of online source data - would mean the end of their jobs.
Some human writers have criticized ChatGPT for simply parroting the vast scope of online content it “learns” from, but if deployed effectively this AI parrot can sound pretty good. However, no matter how “well-trained” ChatGPT becomes on the back of human-generated content, it should not be used without a human reviewing the resulting content because:
The generated content can be inaccurate. For instance, if the majority of the source data ChatGPT scours through says “the moon is made of cheese” or “2 + 2 = 5,” its generated content would reflect that collective “wisdom.” Remember that ChatGPT is a form of large-scale crowdsourcing of information, with all the risks such an approach entails.
The generated content can “sound wrong,” in terms of your desired tone and brand voice. You’d need a human marketer to review tone.
The generated content might be non-compliant with privacy standards and other strategic considerations defined by the B2B brand’s content strategy and guidelines.
Typing a generic prompt into ChatGPT (“write a landing page about our new product”), generating unreviewed content, and then deploying said content for your B2B marketing needs can create more brand harm than good.
Like any tool, ChatGPT is best deployed by a knowledgeable and experienced practitioner who has a clear strategic direction and understands how to use the tool.
ChatGPT for B2B Marketing: 2 warnings
As a general rule, you should approach ChatGPT the way former President Ronald Reagan dealt with the old Soviet Union: “trust, but verify.” Why?
1. Generated content can be wrong or biased. B2B marketers should never forget the oldest maxim in the world of data: “garbage in, garbage out.” The garbage can show up as inaccurate information and biased opinions that ChatGPT pulls from (or crowdsources). You need to be skeptical and check whatever content ChatGPT generates for you.
2. The quality of your prompts impacts content quality. Veteran marketing copywriter David McGuire used ChatGPT for the first time, as described in his blog post, and quickly discovered that the quality of the generated content was closely related to the quality of his queries/prompts. McGuire found that the process of using the AI tool was highly iterative. For example, when he wrote a generic prompt asking for a blog post on “email best practices in B2B marketing,” he didn’t like the resulting content’s generic, boring tone and its complete lack of links to other sources.
So McGuire had to keep iterating his prompts to include [the initial prompt] plus [“in a chatty tone”] and [include links to other sources]. Think of ChatGPT as a honing or navigation system that can continually bring you closer to your destination.
McGuire notes that B2B marketers will need new skills, “like writing an AI prompt that delivers good results, and knowing where to spot the weaknesses in AI-generated copy . . . Writing still takes skill, thought, and – above all – empathy.”
5 tips on using ChatGPT for B2B marketing campaign content
The tips detailed below should be used when deploying ChatGPT to create B2B marketing copy for email campaigns, landing pages, or other content formats.
1. Start with your “why.” Without a strategic context in place, you’re just flailing around. Don’t turn to ChatGPT for help generating copy until you clearly understand: (1) your audience (2) where they are in the buying journey (3) what message(s) will move them forward (of course, an email campaign can be orchestrated in a sequence) and (4) the requirements/standards for each content format (a blog post is different from a quick email).
Pro tip: You can even, ironically, use the tool to help sharpen and formalize your “why.”
2. Write a basic prompt. This is just the beginning of an iterative/learning journey of sharpening your prompt and improving the generated content. You might refer to this useful list of 120 Best CHAT GPT Prompts for Marketers, which includes these email-related prompts:
“Write a persuasive email to increase attendance at our upcoming event”
“Create a reminder email for our upcoming event”
“Generate a thank-you email to send to customers who attended our event”
3. Define a tone of voice and length. You can typically improve the quality of the prompt by asking ChatGPT to adopt/use a particular tone of voice, such as "act as an email marketing copywriter” or “use a chatty, fun tone.” You can also specify your content’s length by limiting the number of characters you want generated.
4. Ask ChatGPT follow-up questions. The generated content will generally sound bland and generic out of the gate. B2B buyers/audiences are generally not blown away by cliches and calls to action they’ve heard a million times before. So keep iterating your prompt, asking ChatGPT to give you better, more “human-sounding” alternatives that you can mix, match, and stitch together into something that meets your needs.
5. Learn as you go. Don't just treat ChatGPT as a mindless automation tool, but learn from each interaction. Ask it why it has chosen particular approaches to help inform your own copywriting approach as well as how you deploy the tool in the future. Just as ChatGPT will continue to learn and improve as a tool, so must you as a user.
To better illustrate the "ask it why" point, we entered our example prompt "Write a persuasive email to increase attendance at our upcoming event," and ChatGPT generated a well-written email. We then asked it why it included such a sense of urgency in the email- its response was correct (and very polite):
Do you have any additional tips on using ChapGPT to help create B2B marketing campaign content? Or any questions to this point that we didn't address in this post? Contact us to share / learn more.