Technology is truly incredible. It seems not too long ago that we first experienced the powertrip of screaming, “Alexa, turn the heat up to 71!” and now we’re already seeing the amazing capabilities of AI-generated content. Type a prompt into a platform like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, and you can watch in awe as a 500-word blog unfolds faster than you can reheat your morning coffee. But, as the saying goes, you can only pick two of the following three options for any product or service: fast, cheap, or good. AI promises to deliver content that hits the mark on all three (well, some are free for now, anyway; it remains to be seen how the prices will jump as people pile onto the bandwagon). So how does it stack up against your needs?
One of the most compelling reasons to use AI for your content needs is the cost of labor. With the market down and the cost of living up, many advisory firms are faced with the need for budget cuts, and marketing is often on the chopping block (side note: this will hurt more than help your bottom line because better marketing = more leads). The idea that you can trade a marketing firm for DIY content a-la-AI is certainly compelling, especially when client needs mean you already have too few hours in a day. However, AI content creation is a long way from being a “set it and forget it” solution. One of the greatest downsides is that you still need to edit and fact-check the content provided. Chatbots like ChatGPT don’t currently have the means to cite their sources, meaning that without doing some serious legwork, you could end up with a compliance nightmare on your hands, not to mention, put your reputation in jeopardy. Adding to that is the fact that ChatGPT is currently only trained in data up to 2021, so you won’t have accurate information on hot topics like SECURE 2.0. While other platforms like Bard and ChatSonic pull data from the Google search engine, allowing them to stay more up-to-date, you will still end up with content that needs to be double-checked for accuracy, along with heavy editing in order to be anywhere near original.
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is, and if it’s free, it’s probably still in the launch phase or compiling your data for sale. Spoiler alert: if you’re not paying for the product, you are the product. We’ve seen it countless other times, even as recently as Twitter’s installment of the blue tick subscription. Chatbots like ChatGPT and Google’s newly unveiled Bard are free for now, but OpenAI’s CEO, Sam Altman, has warned that may not last. “We will have to monetize it somehow, at some point,” he tweeted. Other options like Jasper and ChatSonic already charge monthly subscription fees ranging from $12.67 to $29. Still, that’s a steal of a deal when stacked up against the cost of outsourcing your marketing. Or is it? Time is money, and, as an advisor, it also happens to be the resource you have the least of. In order to DIY your marketing needs, you’ll need to pair AI technology with a fair amount of oversight, fact-checking, and rewriting, along with finding content topics, strategizing themed content rollouts, designing graphics to fit within multiple platform dimensions, posting and promoting on your platforms, and let’s not forget about the all-important metrics monitoring to ensure effective marketing.
Finally, the most important question: but is it good?? AI writing shines when consolidating data into digestible summaries and acing SEO. On the flip side, this often translates to content that reads about as well as cold oatmeal. Does it get the job done? Sure, but enjoyable and engaging are equally as important. And it turns out jackhammering down on SEO can hurt your exposure. John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, previously stated that AI-generated content would be categorized as spam by the search engine. Google currently lacks the capability to detect AI content with 100% certainty; however, the company has clearly indicated its stance and may crack down further in the future as its screening capabilities improve. For now, content that is machine-translated or generated programmatically goes against Google webmaster guidelines and is at risk of receiving a manual penalty, resulting in a drop in rankings and organic traffic. That SEO overkill might cost you a lot of exposure. You also run the risk of inaccuracies. CNET recently came under fire after it was discovered they had used AI to write 73 articles since November 2022 despite claiming they use a team of editors for all content, with errors found in some of the articles. Meta’s “Galactica” produced misinformation, wrongfully citing reputable scientists.
Another quality concern is the psychological element of marketing. Can AI-generated content match your tone? The goal of marketing is to build relationships. At the end of the day, effective marketing, much like the financial advisory industry, is highly personal. Whether you need descriptive language that evokes security and clarity without being heavy-handed or content designed to address your clients’ fears, AI-generated text simply isn’t there yet. And as we’ve seen from sources like David Dubofsky and Lyle Sussman for JFP, the relationship between client and advisor is built on distinctly human characteristics and interactions, noting that financial advisors spend at least 25% of their time dealing with their clients’ emotions, rather than strictly their portfolios (JFP, 2009, 48). In order to hit the bullseye, your marketing needs to connect with your audience on an emotional level (click here to read more of our founder’s thoughts on behavioral marketing). In March 2023, FMG Suite launched its new merging of Vestorly (a content curation and compliance platform) with ChatGPT, a tool specifically for advisors intended to check all the boxes for hands-off content creation by acclimating to your voice and keywords. It’s still too new to say how effectively it will be able to overcome ChatGPT’s shortcomings, but you will still end up with fairly unoriginal content and many of the same pitfalls of AI-written articles and posts.
AI is already integrated into our daily lives and making many improvements. From facial recognition to spam filters, life is just a lot easier due to these incredible technological innovations. It’s safe to say it’s going nowhere but forward, and we’re along for the ride, but it’s important to know the limitations. Without human guidance, AI in marketing misses the mark more often than it hits it, and marketing remains an undeniably human sphere. It’s most effective for those who need a little boost to get the writing juices flowing, have time on their hands to track down sources, and have a good understanding of behavioral marketing and best SEO practices. Think of it like the initial craze surrounding Instant Pot or Peloton. Can it help? Definitely! Chatbots are an undeniably useful tool for content creation. But do they provide a one-and-done answer to all of your marketing needs? Not by a long shot.