Is AI good at marketing?

Simon in bed dreaming the words "AI content is so boring"

A lot of people are saying that AI can do your marketing for you now. Google “AI” & “marketing” together and there’s no shortage of ads proclaiming that AI will generate ads to outperform your competitors, or ads that will triple or quadruple your number of leads. (What’s not clear is whether the ads promising AI can write your ads are ads written by AI…?!)

Still, it’s true – up to a point – that AI can create your marketing content. It can write your posts, blog articles, customer emails, and even website copy. It can also make images and, if you’re really dedicated, podcasts and even videos!

But so far, everything AI creates is well, to be frank, boring. Yes, it’s impressive that it can do it at all. But it’s the most average of the average content out there.

Which is not to say don’t use it or that it can’t help in a lot of ways – I use it in my marketing all the time.

But AI doesn’t do my marketing for me; instead I use AI to do my marketing with me.

If you can’t be bothered to write your own content, then why should anyone bother to read it?

I could ask ChatGPT to write this blog and it would be done in under a minute. And it would be ‘okay’; it would make sense and make a logical point. But it wouldn’t be my voice. It wouldn’t stand out.

And before the AI police arrive, yes, I know I can make it sound more like me – I can write prompts in a way that will push it to produce something similar to my tone of voice and style, etc., etc.

But…

The point it will make and the argument it will give will be deeply average. It can’t be anything but average. The LLM that powers it is trained on all of the content out there on the Internet and all the books it’s ‘read’ and so on. This gives it a really broad understanding, but it also waters down any opinion or viewpoint. You really have to push ChatGPT to take a side; it really struggles to make a point without contextualising it. As a recent article in Wired magazine points out, AI models are trained on human writing (at least, for now) and the majority of human writing is, well, average; especially on the Internet.

I still use AI in my marketing!

Yes, I’ve just explained its flaws and limitations, and because I know what these are I can use it effectively.

I did not use it to write this blog article, nor any of the others you’ll find. I do ask it short questions if I get stuck on a thought or idea; and I use its responses as a source of inspiration, alternative perspectives, or counterarguments in my writing.

It’s like having a marketing or research assistant ready at a moment’s notice.

I use other tools to check my writing (I’m dyslexic, so I can’t check myself) and I use a number of tools to ensure what I write is readable. What often gets lost in all the debate over AI use is that it’s just another tool; a specialised tool that can be highly useful within limits

Using AI tools, can you create really great marketing content?

No, AI is not good enough yet to be able to do it all for you, but it can assist you to get your marketing done more quickly and easily.

Let’s say you have an idea for a marketing email but you’re staring at a blank page, not sure how to start. AI can get you started.

You could just send out whatever the AI produces, word for word; but it’s unlikely to inspire any potential clients.

What makes the content great is what you bring to the process. It’s your personal voice that makes it special and stand out from the crowd. Your story, your experience, and your examples, metaphors and way of articulating an idea are why people engage with your content – and why they choose to work with you.

But… a guru I’ve seen on social says their AI-spawned content earned them $10k

There are plenty of people who are using AI to make content, websites and even entire sales funnels to sell courses, programmes and products. I have no doubt that this results in sales for them. Selling average stuff to average people isn’t hard.

But showing up for people who are looking to make a change in their lives, work or business takes more time and effort. Building trust means showing up consistently and generously. Yes you can sub this out to AI. But how does that encourage people to trust you?

For your content to be authentic, it has to have you in it

Otherwise it’s just generic and indistinguishable from the rest of the world (the exact opposite of what you’re aiming for with marketing content!) In between the clear structure and logical points, you have to add your own experiences and stories into the flow – ensure that it is your voice and not some synthetic word soup.

When you put time into making your content unique, and showing up consistently and generously, people will engage with your ideas and genuinely experience what working with you is like.

If AI does everything, then people’s experience is (literally) artificial, and I’m not sure many people will be interested.

By using AI as a tool to craft your content yourself, you can show up more consistently and effectively and the time saved can be used for more creative work.

If you want to learn more about the AI tools I use in making my content, then check out my guide to the Best Ethical Marketing Tools.