Chris Carr compares AI technology to the invention of the printing press or the atomic bomb—a massive shockwave that is going to change the world.
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"If you are in the marketing space, you can't be an ostrich, you can't bury your head in the sand and you can't pretend like this wave isn't coming," he says on the latest episode of Marketing Smarts. "You can either get ahead of it or you'll get run over by it."
Among Chris's many fears about the future of AI is the dilution of internet content. If anyone can churn on content on any topic, after all, why not go to town and create the most content possible regardless of its accuracy or quality?
"The arms race as marketers—to put as much content out there as possible—I'm not sure that we're checking the checker," he says. "I'm afraid that you're going to have a wave of misinformation that there's going to be so much content out there that it's going to be very hard to find the difference between facts and fiction."
That ruins what he calls the value chain of the internet. Every marketer should be asking, "What kind of value can I bring?" rather than flooding the market with mediocrity.
"Once we're able to develop foundational content, if you don't have an Act II, if you don't have value beyond the AI, if you don't have that marketing IQ, if you don't have that strategy, you have problems," Chris says.
After all, marketers have what AI completely lacks: perspective.
Listen to the entire show from the link above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode.
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George B. Thomas: The time has come. Finally, we talk about ChatGPT. Marketing dream or marketing disaster? I'm super excited because we have Chris Carr on today. Of course, we're going to talk about what keeps him up at night around ChatGPT and AI-assisted writing. We're going to talk about something real interesting, the tsunami of synthetic content, as well as some hurdles, success, how to get started, should you get started. You'll have to listen because we also get some words of wisdom from Chris.
Chris Carr is the founder and CEO of FaroTech, an award-winning digital marketing agency. He started FaroTech over 22 years ago and is widely considered an expert in digital marketing, web development, and video production. FaroTech is 40+ team members, it's in the Inc 5,000, the fastest growing private companies in America, located in Philadelphia 100, the fastest growing companies in Philadelphia.
Chris Carr is a contributor to Forbes and a member of the Forbes Agency Council. Chris has also been a keynote speaker at a variety of events, such as SEMrush, ExporTech, and International Trade Association. Chris is the host of two podcasts, Thought Leader Magazine and Digital Marketing Masterclass. So, you know that Chris has been around the block when it comes to this martech, this B2B, this ChatGPT conversation.
With that said and out of the way, for you the Marketing Smarts listeners, is ChatGPT a marketing dream or a marketing disaster? Enjoy the good stuff and let us know your thoughts on the flip side.
I'm super excited. We are talking about something that I don't know if you've heard anything about it. We'll see if you're interested. Today, we're going to be talking about ChatGPT. With Chris Carr here, we're going to talk about if it's a marketing dream or disaster, we're going to talk about AI-assisted writing, and all sorts of stuff.
Chris, how the heck are you doing today?
Chris Carr: I'm doing great. This is awesome. Thanks for having me on the show.
George: Absolutely. I can't wait to see the value that you add to the Marketing Smarts listeners. The question that I like to start with, because talk about some funny and interesting answers that I get to this. Chris, what keeps you up at night around ChatGPT and AI-assisted writing?
Chris: ChatGPT and AI-assisted writing... I have two different fears for them. Obviously, with AI-assisted writing, I'm afraid of a tsunami of synthetic content that's out there. AI through every system has been known to do something, the literal term is hallucination. What that means is it sort of spazzes off in its own way and it sounds extremely competent about facts, figures, and studies that it's literally making up.
The arms race as marketers—to put as much content out there as possible—I'm not sure that we're checking the checker. I'm afraid that you're going to have a wave of misinformation that there's going to be so much content out there that it's going to be very hard to find the difference between facts and fiction.
You asked the question what am I afraid about with AI. I'm legitimately afraid of the AI apocalypse. Not in the Terminator and the robots sense, but literally once it becomes smarter than humans, you'll only have to make that mistake once and then it's done. So much of science is trial and error, and we are on a razor thin line that basically says you have to get it right the first time. Name anything, from the atom bomb to anything, where we've ever gotten it right the first time.
We're playing with our lives and nobody gets to have a say in this, only the people that are building this, and they have to build it because if they don't, others will. We're in this black hole vacuum of scariness.
George: That sounds like something that would keep me up at night, too. Marketing Smarts listeners, did you hear that thing? Chris said a tsunami of synthetic content. I was like oh that's good, versus reality, and even double down with fact versus fiction, and the checkers aren't checking the things that should be checked.
When we say AI-assisted writing, I think, as a marketer who is cutting-edge, always paying attention to stuff, I know, but not everybody knows. One of the things that I'd like to do is level-set so that the listeners are like, this is exactly what they're talking about versus maybe some of their own perceptions. So, when we say AI-assisted writing, what the heck do we even mean? How do you, Chris Carr, define AI-assisted writing?
Chris: That's a great question. Keep in mind that ChatGPT was not the first company to this race. There's a gentleman who runs the AI Marketing Institute; his name is Paul Roetzer. Paul was on my show two years ago. When he started talking about AI, I went from "that's movie stuff" to "if my company doesn't get on this early and often, we're going to get run over by it." So, we were using the stuff almost two years ago before ChatGPT.
So, you would think that I would have been ready for this, but we weren't. I know, it's crazy, but that's how big of a leap ChatGPT was from what we have now. What we're seeing is just these other carriers, Frase or Jasper, or whatever it is, they're already implementing ChatGPT because if you can't beat them, join them.
That's sort of my precursor to saying these are tools that when you go and try to write content, you can simply through a dialogue-based prompt ask them specific questions about how to write this piece of content, whether it's an article, a blog, or a newsletter. If you ask it with the right prompts in the right way and with the right prepping—and that's something that people don't do very well is the right prep—you can get a really good output.
The thing is that you have to understand that it is a tool, and everybody from Ann Handley to Andy Crestodina to everybody, it's not a replacement, it is a tool, if you are not aware of that, you have to get on board with that because it's not prompt and pray. Remember how we used to say publish and pray? It's not prompt and pray. It is not the answer to that.
George: I love this analogy so much. A hammer doesn't swing itself, and nobody would ever expect it to. The way that some marketers and other folks are going about this AI-assisted writing is that it's like I can just be real lazy and do this thing. So, I love that we're going in this direction. Let's dive a little bit deeper, though.
What are some key elements to ChatGPT, understanding they're not the first, but they are definitely the name out there, and AI-assisted writing that B2B marketers should be paying attention to? I'll give you a caveat. Usually, I'm trying to get somebody to go in one direction. I think the beginning of what keeps you up at night, we might actually be giving people a bidirectional way that they might want to travel. The question is again what are some key elements to ChatGPT and AI-assisted writing that B2B marketers should be paying attention to, or not paying attention to?
Chris: There are several. It goes even beyond writing. If you want me to stay in the lane of writing, I can do that, but I can also spaz off in other directions that they should be paying attention to.
The first thing that you should be doing is using the proper plugins. One of my favorite plugins that they have is called AI PRM. What that's going to do is, there's a number of already pre-generated prompts that are upvoted and downvoted, so that you don't have to guess on getting the right prompts.
What I will say is that it's a series of prompts, not just one prompt. I want to use an analogy here because this is what I do. I don't know a single thing about car racing. I just don't. When I think of NASCAR, I imagine all of the cars are probably equally fast and they're all going around in a circle, but I am sure that racing IQ is the difference between finishing first and finishing last.
In a world with ChatGPT, when we all have it, if you don't have marketing IQ, you will just be noise. If you do have marketing IQ, you will go to the top of the pack. Great tool plus great marketing IQ equals winning the race. If you try to sidestep your marketing IQ and just try to have a fast car, you're going to be behind the people that are willing to do all of the extra things to get it right.
George: I love that so much. This idea of the marketing IQ to win the race when you're leveraging your car that is the AI-assisted writing or ChatGPT. I love the fact that you said before the answer you can spaz off in other directions. To you, I would say spaz off, my friend. What other things would you want to share with the listeners?
Chris: We are at an inflection point in the next 60 days, so let me define what I mean by an inflection point. Imagine serious things in history: atom bomb, the printing press, whatever it is. We came to a point in time, this thing happened, we deflected either for good or for bad, but we never got back to center again. Once the thing hit, it was such a shockwave, but we were forever in one direction or another. Sometimes you can even be in the same thing at the same time. In other words, not all AI will be good and not all AI will be bad, and there will be amazing things that come from this.
The inflection point for marketers is I'm thinking at least three, maybe even four. The first one, obviously, was already ChatGPT. The second will be ChatGPT plugins, knowing that every company in the world will need a plugin. If you do web development, or you do app development, if you thought app development was a gold rush, wait until you see plugins.
The third one is going to be when AWS, Amazon Services, create what's called bedrock. Bedrock is going to allow businesses to have proprietary information in their AI, so that you're going to have ChatGPT but it's all specifically your information. Not like it goes and scrubs the whole World Wide Web, but all of the proprietary information that you have. You're seeing tools like this already with... I can't think of the financial company; it's one of the biggest ones out there. Long story short is that they have 50 years of proprietary information they sell to their financial advisors, and now it's a sidebar that gives them information that is dialogue-based.
Finally, if you have not seen Adobe Firefly, what Adobe Firefly is going to do for photography and video, we will stop talking about Stable Diffusion, we will stop talking about Dall-E, we will stop talking about Midjourney. It is going to be the sledgehammer that all content marketers will have to use and it will give you the power to do video at high production volume the same way your daughter or son is using Instagram or TikTok.
It's dialogue-based, it's accessible. It will read your script and suggest all of the B-roll. If you want to shoot it in-house, it will give you all of your storyboarding and you can film it in-house. It will change the colors of the set. If you have something where you say "the tsunami," it will literally create the wave and the sound effect that will match that wave. It will tell you four times in that video when it's going to change the music, and it's going to be push button, dialogue-based, and quick.
So, you have four major inflection points. Oh, five. I missed a big one. When Workplace and Microsoft Copilot launch this, which is very soon, it's going to give AI to the common man tools that we've been using for 20 years. It's going to be built into Word. It's going to be built into Excel. It's going to have a dashboard called Copilot that intersects all of these all together. Google has their version called Workplace 14. Microsoft has that.
We think, wow, what a wave of AI has hit us with ChatGPT. Everybody has Word. The explosion of AI, we aren't even at the starting line of what is going to happen with AI.
George: We don't even know. It's amazing. By the way, as an Adobe card-carrying member for years, I got a little excited when you started to talk about Adobe Firefly, like oh my gosh. More importantly, because it's not about me, we're here for the marketers and helping B2B marketers do good things, I want to go off the beaten path for a second.
When you talked about AWS bedrock and the ability to put your own content in there, in your personal opinion, do you think that helps fight against the synthetic content that we talked about at the beginning of the show?
Chris: I think it could. I definitely think it could. I think one of the things that all AI have is the hallucination problem, so I can't say that it's a silver bullet.
The number one thing that businesses that have value to the world bring is that they have tribal knowledge that they've built over the years. What they're not doing is they're not allowing their employees to go into ChatGPT and plug that information into ChatGPT, because everything you type into ChatGPT trains the model, so they never allow the secret sauce to leave their building to get into that. Their IT directors have that on lock and key.
What if you could harness all of the power of that, but just have it confined to the paying members who could actually benefit and use it to outcompete their competitors? Every business will have their own ChatGPT hyper-personalized to them and their organization.
I believe Stable Diffusion is built into the AWS server, if I heard about that correctly.
George: Wow. Again, we can go in different directions if we want to stick to ChatGPT and/or AI-assisted writing, or some other version of this. I love the show Mythbusters, by the way. I could sit and watch that for days. So, what is a common myth about ChatGPT, AI-assisted writing, maybe AI in general that you want to use the Marketing Smarts Podcast to draw a line, put your stake in the ground, and be like, I want to debunk this myth right now?
Chris: I think that there's a lot. One is that AI will take my job. AI will take your job if you're not willing to use AI. I think you've heard this expression. Writers are not losing their job to AI. Writers are losing their jobs to writers who use AI. Does that make sense?
Chris: What we believe as a company is that the foundational content that we are charging to our customers that we've built for the last 22 years in this building has gotten us maybe to level two. Think of it like a skyscraper. Once we're able to develop foundational content, if you don't have an Act II, if you don't have value beyond the AI, if you don't have that marketing IQ, if you don't have that strategy, you have problems. But if you have that, there are so many amazing things you could probably be doing for your clients, but they never had the time or the budget to ever get there because you had to make the doughnuts, you had to do the execution.
Now I'm starting on floor two because we assume the foundational content has been developed. If I'm a marketer, I'm thinking every single day where does AI stop and where does my value begin, so that I'm not on the bread lines here of just being like I had an agency once and ChatGPT came, and maybe I should just be a construction worker. Think about how to start on the second floor and view it as your ally, an and, not an or.
George: Love it. Let's hone it a little bit more to ChatGPT. I love to do some actionable, executional, tactical things for the Marketing Smarts listeners. When you think about ChatGPT, are there any tips, tricks, templates, tools that marketers should be paying attention to and leveraging? I know you mentioned one earlier, but anything outside of that as well?
Chris: Yes. I think that a lot of what companies don't do is that every time they write from scratch, what I recommend you do, is have a brief. The brief is everything of value that you've ever written. Then go to something like, if you do a simple Google search and type in HubSpot marketing statistics. Are you familiar with this?
Chris: Every year, they compile every marketing statistic. I also have in manufacturing industry, I collect all of their marketing statistics. Before I ever write a single article, I have plugged in what my buyer persona is, I put in statistics of the industry, I put in facts of everything I've written, I put in the quotes that I like.
I say to the AI before I start, "This is the buyer persona I'm reaching, please read everything above so that when you give me answers that you're using the proven statistics above, the approved quotes above, and as I write this article, please reference the things I've posted rather than the open internet. Do you understand?"
Then I write an outline. I ask for statistical information on nearly every paragraph. From there, I have transition and contextual statements above and beyond so that the meat comes from approved stuff that I've already battle tested, I've already found out is it real, so that I don't put out hallucinated jargon.
George: It's interesting. What I hear and I actually love is that you're putting up guardrails so that you can truly kick the ball through the goalpost. You know we're lining it up, we're going in the right direction, versus just free reign.
I think that's so smart for Marketing Smarts listeners to go back and think about. Are you plugging in your personas? Are you giving it statistics or historical data? Are you putting in your version of who you are and what you believe and what you would want to put out into the world?
I think that is so good. That might be a rewind point. Ladies and gentlemen, just rewind, listen to the answer to that question again, get your notepad and pencil out, and be ready. Let's keep chugging along, because time flies when you're having fun.
Chris: I have one more thing that I wish I had added to that nugget. One of the worst things that marketers do, and I am one of them, is that we think you always have to be communicating, you're always communicating.
One of the things that you'll know about the radio industry or the music industry, or something like that, is that when they find a song and it's a hit, do you know what they don't do? They don't make another song, then make another song, and another song. They literally bleed it to death until you're tired of hearing about it. But marketers like us think you find a hit and then you have to make another hit, and another hit, and another hit.
My thing is find your unicorn, find your critical quotes, find your critical arguments, have them built into that prep document in ChatGPT, and you literally say every time you write this content, you at least have to include one of my greatest hits. Because you're not sticky if you keep giving a new song, and a new song, and a new song. I know Tony Robbins because repetition is the mother of skill. I know he said that, and he's said it a hundred thousand times.
We as marketers are always trying to sound brilliant, but we don't go back to the core. Then you're not remembered because you never repeat yourself.
George: That's so interesting. My brain works in quite an interesting way. I get mental visuals as people are talking. When I hear you say that, it's be more like a pillar, less like a pogo stick. You're there, instead of bouncing around all over the place, you're just there, and people know you're there and they know that's you. I think that's so powerful, especially when you start to talk about brand and building brand and personal brand.
That makes me think about Christine Gritmon, we did an episode on why B2B marketers and executives need personal brand, just trying to tie a bow on some of these things that connect together for the listeners.
Chris: Can I add another thing?
Chris: If you were to ever look at my homepage, what am I fighting against in this world as a marketer? I'm fighting against something that we call RAM, random acts of marketing. Every piece of marketing is always a brilliant idea. You chase one brilliant idea after another idea and another idea, and you're hoping that idea was the winner. But you know what? Great marketers understand that every great idea you have what is called a content mission. If your new idea does not fit into your content mission, you have to seriously ask yourself why you're doing that.
When you put out really great ideas and it's all connected to a comprehensive system, it compounds. If you do not connect it to a comprehensive system, if you don't put it into a comprehensive approach, if you don't connect it to your mission, you have to hit a home run. It's hard to hit home runs. Every piece of thing in your system, if you're doing it right, is not random, it always compounds because it always supports your greater vision, your greater pillars, your unicorns.
George: Go watch Moneyball and think about your marketing content strategy. You don't have to be hitting home runs all the time. Singles and doubles will get you there. Just going to throw that out there. That was a little bit baseball nerdy. Let's do this. God knows there are some, so what are the hurdles that you've seen B2B marketers face when trying to use ChatGPT or AI-assisted writing, or things like Midjourney, or any of the AI tools that are so fresh and new, how are people just jacking it up?
Chris: The easy thing is that they're not asking the critical question they should have asked before they had ChatGPT. What kind of value can I bring? What they are doing, unfortunately, we used to call it VOD, looking for keywords without high visibility, with less competition. They're flooding the less competition market. In other words, you're ranking for that because no one else wrote about it. That phenomenon is going to go away very quickly.
The problem is that just because you're ranking for that keyword now doesn't mean when they read it that they got any value from it. You just optimized for a keyword. What you're sort of doing is ruining the value chain of the internet. I want you to think about you have a bigger responsibility as a company that if you're going to write content, don't be a mill, be a pillar.
George: We all like success, significant success, heading in the right direction, ending up in the Olympics in the number one spot with the gold medal, hitting the top of the hill that we've climbed. When you think about it, what does success look like, or is success even possible? I think it is, but still have to ask that question. With ChatGPT and AI-assisted tools, what does success look like, is it measurable? Talk us through that a little bit.
Chris: I think that what ChatGPT should be able to do is it should be able to say I was a content marketer, I ran an agency, and there was a ton of value that I wanted to bring my clients, but if you were to add up all the cool stuff that I wanted to do for this content piece, it was financially not viable for me to sell to a client. They don't want to buy a $4,000 blog from me. But now if I've saved time through ChatGPT, I'm not going to say I have cost savings, I'm going to say I am going to get to the extra value that I couldn't squeeze in because it was financially not possible.
What success means is not that you shave time and do nothing with it. Success means I'm able to bring more value because I'm not making the doughnuts, I'm not doing things that a robot can do. Success means that you have gone from the beginning to as far as the robot can take you, and then you've layered value at the 50-yard line and brought it well past the finish line.
That's what success looks like to me. Then, obviously, results-driven. Does it work? Does it stick? Does it rank? Does it say your mission? Does it sound like you?
George: There it is. I love that so much. All of that, but the "does it sound like you" portion, I think is so important. You mentioned RAM, random acts of marketing, which by the way, I absolutely love that that's your battle. My battle is to get people to be more human. If it doesn't sound like you, that's not very human. To be human is about being authentic, transparent, empathetic, equaling trust at the end of the day. We're kind of bumping against all of those this entire conversation, even from your beginning statement of what keeps you up at night and this razor thin line that we're on as marketers and maybe as a society.
Anyway, one of the things I like to do is I like to end the podcast episode with some words of wisdom. We've all been on a journey, we're all doing our own research, we've all got some things that we've put in our brain called nuggets of wisdom. What are the words of wisdom that you would want to share with the Marketing Smarts listeners? It could be about life, it could be about content writing, or ChatGPT, or AI-assisted writing, or wherever you want to go. What are the final words of wisdom that you want to leave them with?
Chris: I think if you are in the marketing space, you can't be an ostrich, you can't bury your head in the sand and you can't pretend like this wave isn't coming. You can either get ahead of it or you'll get run over by it.
Henry Ford said, "If I asked them what they want, they would say they want a faster horse." If I was really honest, if I had my choice between a faster horse and the scariness of what AI is going to bring, I would choose a faster horse. I think it's better for society than the unknown that we have literally just unleashed. We set the beast out in the countryside, we set this fire, and we don't know if it's going to stop.
I do think to love the people around and love the ones you're with, because I think society is going to have massive changes whether you like it or not. If you keep the main thing the main thing, and you really try to focus on the values of why you started a business, why you started a family, why you have friends, why you're on the planet, just make sure you know that, because when something this seismic comes and hits with such a shockwave, don't let it take your soul.
George: Marketing Smarts listeners, did you take lots of notes? I have to ask, what is your one thing, your number one execution opportunity after this podcast episode? Make sure you reach out and let us know in my inbox or on Twitter using the hashtag #MPB2B.
I also have to ask are you a free member of the MarketingProfs community yet? If not, head over to Mprofs.com/mptoday. You won't regret the additional B2B marketing education that you'll be adding to your life.
We'd like it if you could leave us a rating or review on your favorite podcast app, but we'd love it if you would share this episode with a coworker or friend. Until we meet in the next episode of the Marketing Smarts Podcast where we talk with Martin and Lyndsay Huntbach about B2B marketers and creating content that sells, I hope you do just a couple of things. One, reach out and let us know what conversation you'd like to listen in on next. Two, focus on getting 1% better at your craft each and every day. Finally, remember to be a happy, helpful, humble B2B marketing human. We'll see you in the next episode of the Marketing Smarts Podcast.
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Published on June 1, 2023
Chris Carr, founder and CEO of FaroTech, an award-winning digital marketing agency. He started FaroTech over 22 years ago, and he is widely considered an expert in digital marketing, web development, and video production. Chris is a contributor to Forbes and a member of the Forbes Agency Council. He has also been a keynote speaker at a variety of events, including Semrush, ExporTech, and International Trade Association. Chris is the host of two podcasts, Thought Leader Magazine and Digital Marketing Masterclass.
LinkedIn: Chris Carr
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