Last month, the 2023 World T&F Championships took place in Budapest, Hungary. The eyes of the world watched the best track and field athletes on the planet compete in their chosen events. And if you watched the men’s and women’s 100m finals, you would have noticed something about those events that was very different from the others: the amount of time and fanfare given to the introduction of the athletes. Millions watched live across the globe and afterwards on streaming platforms. Why, because the event would crown “the fastest man or woman in the world.” And speed thrills.
The world is similarly enthralled with AI right now. It has gone from a sometimes-discussed idea to a reality of everyday life. For many, it is most associated with OpenAI’s ChatGPT product. But there is so much more, including AI-generated art, voice, assistance and more. In marketing, some are experimenting with proprietary generative AI development, AI brand planning, strategy, and media buying.
The word of AI is not all positive. We hear rumblings from naysayers, saying things like, “I hope it fails.” And we understand the sentiment, because AI and its impact can feel threatening simply because the future is unknown. But at Jigsaw, we believe that liking AI or not liking AI doesn’t matter anymore. AI is here. We accept it. And to the naysayers, we simply say, “did you also hope that the tractor, the assembly line, or the internet would fail?” They all posed a threat to work as it was known before their arrival. And none of them became their worst-case scenario.
Work with AI. Depend on the Human Factor
We believe that the best approach to AI is optimism with caution, embracing ChatGPT and experimenting with it, employing it where appropriate, and questioning and verifying its output. Here is what we have learned. ChatGPT can create output faster than the fastest writers we have ever worked with. The output and quality of the output is heavily impacted by the quality of the prompts, restrictions, and tasks requested of it. Speed thrills. But there is more to this story. ChatGPT is an aggregator of what’s known. As an aggregator it pulls from the best and it might also pull from the worst. So, at the end of fulfilling a request, a human component is required to discern if the output is of value or high quality.
It’s the human factor that puts ChatGPT’s product in the position to really solve a marketing challenge. ChatGPT can give you a social post, a piece of longform content or a script for an anthemic TV spot for your brand. But ChatGPT is a little like working with a remarkable junior copywriter with no experience. It has no idea whether its work is good or not. How do we know? We gave it a task and went through the process of getting output, refining, requesting more, refining again, requesting more, and then asked ChatGPT to pick the best of the output for use, a favorite. And it was stumped. It wouldn’t even try to make a selection. Additionally, through that process, we also learned that ChatGPT works in a very narrow range, even after you explicitly ask it to stretch. It doesn’t seem to know how. Again, like a junior copywriter, but one with shocking speed. The conclusion is that ChatGPT has to have an expert, in this case a seasoned creative director, to work with it, leveraging the best of the output for utilization. And the calming takeaway should be, don’t dismiss the role and ultimate value of the human component of the agency experts that are using it.
The Next Generation of 10,000 Monkeys
The work of ChatGPT today is somewhat like the “10,000 monkeys with typewriters” idea employed by Madison Avenue agencies of the past. If you have a massive number of writers working on a task, even if most of their efforts are random or unproductive (like monkeys randomly typing on typewriters), there is a statistical probability that at least one of them will produce something valuable or brilliant purely by chance. Not every copywriter will produce a great idea, but the collective output of the masses working on it can theoretically lead to success. Crowdsourcing in the mid-2000s was a similar idea. And again, it would take an expert to uncover the brilliance from the sea of random uselessness that surrounds it. Today, ChatGPT is fulfilling the role of the 10,000 monkeys and the “crowd” but through technology and with lightning speed.
The Value of Knowing What Problem We’re Solving
In the halls and walls of Jigsaw, you will often hear the words, “what problem are we solving?” And it’s a valuable question to ask relative to AI’s role in marketing today. What can we derive from it that provides value for clients? By now you know our answer. Speed. With our involvement in the prompts, roles, and restrictions in the request, ChatGPT can generate first drafts of longform content and web content so much faster than the fastest writers we’ve ever seen that it’s not even worthy of comparison. This saves our clients significant amounts of time and of course marketing budget on the front end of the process. And we can apply our time to making up for what ChatGPT is currently incapable of: understanding the brand, understanding the audience, applying the voice and making the end product uniquely ownable and original—in spite of AI front end assistance.
How We’re Creating Value Faster
You might wonder, “if an agency is using AI, why wouldn’t I just use AI myself and cut out the agency?” If you’re asking that question, you are probably creating disposable content and you should probably do exactly what you’re proposing and we wish you the best of luck. But here’s your warning. Speed kills just as often as it thrills. Without expertise, you’re simply creating the meaningless, the useless, and the ignorable faster. At Jigsaw we believe that there’s no such thing as “disposable content.” All content contributes to a brand story. All content must serve a purpose. All content matters. If we didn’t believe that we would have let ChatGPT write this content and we most certainly didn’t.
If you are interested in learning more about how we’re bringing value to our clients today, by embracing the latest and greatest, while utilizing time-tested marketing strategy and practices, we’d love to have a deeper conversation and introduce you to our process. A human will respond. We promise.