The rise of generative AI: A marketer's guide to textual and visual AI … – MarTech

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MarTech » Marketing artificial intelligence (AI) » The rise of generative AI:  A marketer’s guide to textual and visual AI content
I attended an amazing workshop over the weekend on AI and the future of creativity and once again had a “‘HOLY SH*T’ “holy sh*t” AI moment.
During an online brainstorming session, I stumbled upon a plugin for the text-to-image creation tool, Midjourney, that would allow me to update any of the portraits created on the platform (and even ones not created on the platform) with the facial features of someone I knew. Eager to put this ultimate selfie machine to the test, I was blown away by the results.
The personalized images created could not have been duplicated by even the most seasoned graphic designer. I was able to create stunning image after image all within a few minutes. 
These AI “Aha!”’ moments — some of them anxiety-producing — have been incited by the power of generative AI and its ability to mimic human interactions, create human likenesses, and quite frankly demonstrate the presence of a sort of collective humanity.
Before the birth of generative AI, these large language models (LLMs) were primarily used to analyze large datasets and predict outcomes. Businesses were using predictive analytics to help improve business outcomes and consumers were using AI to help them select their next Netflix series.
Savvy marketers have been using AI tools for years to help with social listening, manage paid advertising campaigns, and conduct market research. The AI magic was mostly hidden and required advanced programming and specialized skills to develop. 
That has all changed, almost overnight. 
Dig deeper: Why we care about AI in marketing
AI tools now exist that anyone can use, and instead of operating behind the scenes, these tools are creating works of art that are front and center. And not just art, Microsoft has launched an AI tool on GitHub, called Copilot, that helps coders write software. Forty-six per cent of all code generated on the platform is leveraging the help of this new tool and Microsoft has plans to launch additional Copilots across its entire suite of offerings. 
Generative AI is a renaissance bot that can handle tasks from the most complex code to the most moving and beautiful poetry. Yes, it can do it all and we would be fools not to sit up and take notice. Over the next several weeks, I’ll be publishing a series of articles aimed at helping marketers make the most of Generative AI. I’m calling it “Decoding generative AI: A marketer’s Guide to textual and visual AI content.” I hope that it will open your mind to the power of these tools and help you put them to work for you and your organization. 
Generative AI is a specific type of AI tool that creates or generates stuff. GenAI, as it’s affectionately called by those in the know, allows users to use simple text prompts to produce content like blog posts, book outlines, images, videos, music, and even complex software code. From a marketing perspective, genAI comes in two distinct flavors, visual content creation tools and textual, or text-based, content tools. 
The best known genAI platform, OpenAI’s ChatGPT, is a tool that creates text-based content. ChatGPT can be prompted to write anything from a social media post promoting a product offer to an email newsletter to a product solution brief. ChatGPT has been trained on billions of pieces of data and information and uses that data as the foundation for the copy and content it produces.
ChatGPT currently has two versions available to users. The free version, ChatGPT 3.5, has only been trained on data that existed prior to September 2021. ChatGPT 4, which requires a subscription, has the ability through various plugins to include more recent web data. This becomes important if you’re working on anything that requires knowledge or information developed after 2021. For example, asking ChatGPT 3.5 for marketing case studies featuring AI technology would only produce results prior to September 2021. ChatGPT 4 can be enhanced to include web data after that date, making an ask on recent case studies much more valuable. 
Text-based content is just half of the generative AI story. There are also powerful tools that allow for text to image and text to video creation. These tools take text prompts, like “create an image of young woman jogging by a stream with an orange baseball cap,” and in seconds produces an image or a short video (yes — a unique video that you own) matching that description.
There are two popular image creation tools, Midjourney and OpenAI’s DALL-E, both have varying subscription levels. Midjourney is housed within Discord, which is a channel-based platform that provides capabilities for the creator and developer community to share knowledge and build plugins and extensions. DALL-E, on the other hand, is more of a stand-alone tool that is housed in a simple webpage, like ChatGPT. 
For video content creation, is becoming a fast favorite, for its ability to create video shorts in just a few seconds from a simple text prompt. There are many other AI video creation tools that claim to have varying specializations like social video shorts, video creation from static images, and the like but I haven’t had much success with these types of tools. 
On the other hand, I have found value in AI tools that can take an already existing video, for example a one-hour webinar, and turn that into several video shorts suitable for social media. These tools can save marketers the cost of paying a video editor to do the job or save the bandwidth of their creative team for more difficult (and creative) projects. There are MANY of these AI video editing tools out there but a few that I have had success with are and
After spending time with these tools, it becomes clear that they are immense time savers. What would have historically taken hundreds of hours can be accomplished in just a matter of minutes. For example, I created a series of one hundred illustrated flower fairy portraits, each one a unique creation representing various genders and ethnicities. I estimate that before genAI each beautiful illustration would have taken a designer at least four hours to create in a tool like Adobe Illustrator, perhaps even longer. So, for all one hundred portraits that designer would have needed to work four hundred hours. I created the entire series in just under two hours without needing any specialized design skills. 
This type of efficiency allows marketers to scale personalized content across their company’s website, social media and email campaigns, and digital ad platforms such as Google AdWords. Brands can now easily create thousands of unique images and other visual assets to help drive engagement across digital channels. They can also create hundreds of different captions to go along with these visuals, speaking directly to different target audience segments.
However, while increased productivity is one-way marketers can benefit from genAI, and the most obvious, there are even more powerful ways to use these new tools.
While a recent AI in marketing report from the AI Marketing Institute shows that 77% of marketers say that saving time is the top outcome they want to achieve with AI, only using generative AI for productivity is a missed opportunity.  These tools can be powerful co-creators and help with the strategic development of marketing campaigns, marketing collateral, market research, community building and almost every other task undertaken by marketing teams.  
For example, ChatGPT can be used to create an interactive user persona that is based upon actual data from across the web, this “customer companion” can then be an on-going resource to help evaluate new campaigns, product ideas, and bring the voice of the customer to life like never before. I have found this tool so valuable I use it daily and have crafted a quick tutorial on how to build your own as part of my AI Marketing Revolution Challenge series. 
I strongly believe that we all must roll up our sleeves and begin to use these AI tools to fully understand their potential. So as part of this guide to text-based and visual AI content, I have included a series of hands-on exercises that will help you get down and dirty with GenAI. 
Fashioned as a 10-part challenge, these video tutorials will be released over the next several weeks and provide practical steps to becoming an GenAI power-user. You can find the video series on my YouTube channel, and I’ll be sharing challenge updates within my LinkedIn XR/AI Marketing Brief
I’m excited to be on this revolutionary journey and I can’t wait to see what we all discover together along the way. Please consider me an AI ally and resource, connect with me on LinkedIn, and hit me up with any questions or suggestions on how you’re using this powerful new tool. 
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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.
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