The AI Revolution: How Artificial Intelligence is transforming Experiential Consumer Marketing


In an era defined by digital advancements and technological convergence, marketing is evolving at an unprecedented pace. However, no force is as transformative as Artificial Intelligence (AI). 


Whether you’re aware of it or not, AI has long been part of our everyday experiences. From facial recognition for secure smartphone access, to sophisticated voice-activated assistants like Alexa and Siri, AI is ubiquitous. Recent innovations like Shoprite X’s cashier-less concept stores signal AI’s transformative potential when it comes to retail consumer experiences. 


From the cutting edge to the centre: Tools like ChatGPT and Google’s Bard have put the power of this technology at our fingertips. Advanced algorithms, machine learning, and powerful data analytics tools are increasingly accessible and fast becoming essential to augmented performance in the workplace. Failure to adopt and evolve now means risking being left behind.

What does this mean for marketing professionals? Let’s explore!


The Dawning of a New Digital Age

Generative AI has the power to distil complex information into actionable insights within minutes. From content generation, to writing assistance, automation and coding, the use cases for generative AI are limited only by your imagination. 


Although powerful, these tools aren’t without controversy. According to the Harvard Business Review, the “legal implications of using generative AI are still unclear, particularly in relation to copyright infringement, ownership of AI-generated works, and unlicensed content in training data”. The jury is still out with several cases filed and courts trying to establish how intellectual property laws should be applied to generative AI.


And concerns about privacy have seen the likes of Apple, Samsung and Deutsche Bank restrict employee access to ChatGPT and other generative AI platforms.


But for every organisation fearful of generative AI, there are dozens more leveraging it to reimagine the way they work – with incredible results –


Mckinsey estimates that, through content creation, data enablement, personalisation and SEO, generative AI could increase productivity by 5% to 15% of total marketing spend. Their research also found that early adopters of AI are seeing a revenue uplift of 3% to 15% and a sales ROI uplift of 10% to 20%!

The AI horse has bolted.

Chat GPT is the fastest growing app of all time, garnering over 100 million users within 2 months of launch. If your counterparts, contemporaries, or competitors are all supplementing their skills with AI, you are likely to fall behind. You will be less productive and slower. And as Jason Jennings said, in today’s market, “it’s not the big who eat the small, it’s the fast who eat the slow”.


When it comes to AI adoption, the risk of redundancy outweighs risks to privacy and copyright – especially when these risks can be mitigated with an understanding of the platform you are using – it’s limitations and inclinations.


Consider the recent case of a Manhattan lawyer who used ChatGPT for legal research and ended up including six fabricated cases in his court filing, resulting in much embarrassment, and a $ 5,000 fine. Had the lawyer in question understood the way that ChatGPT works, he would have been less inclined to take its outputs at face value. So, what do you need to know when using ChatGPT and other generative AI platforms?

5-key Considerations when using Large Language Models like ChatGPT:

1. Appreciate the Limitations:

Think of ChatCPT and similar large language processing models as a highly intelligent, but precocious child. Think Young Sheldon. According to ChatGPT, “my primary mandate is to facilitate access to information and assist with problem-solving in a seamless, efficient manner”.

“I’m programmed to generate human-like text based on the data I’ve been trained on. While I don’t “predict” in the way a human does, I do calculate the most likely next word or phrase based on statistical probabilities”, the model continued.

In short, large language models like ChatGPT are disinclined to admit ignorance and programmed instead to fill in the gaps based on massive amounts of historical data and probability. They are prone to hallucinations – confident responses not based on factual data generated in an attempt to please you!

While the past is indeed a great predictor of the future, it’s not a foregone conclusion. With this information in mind, you can appreciate the need to fact check information provided by these models – or, at the very least, to take it with a pinch of salt.

2. Appreciate the Potential – but consider the Use Case

Understanding the limitations of tools like ChatGPT opens doors to appreciating its potential. When it comes to idea generation when factual accuracy is less of a concern, or writing assistance where you are inputting the facts, these tools can prove invaluable assistants, giving you access to resources beyond your own frame of reference.

When using generative AI, make sure that you are using the right platform for the right use case and adjust your own degree of review of its outputs accordingly. 

3. The Power of the Prompt:

It’s also in understanding how these tools work that the power (and importance) of the prompt is revealed. A prompt is the initial query or command designed to solicit a specific type of response from the AI model. It’s the catalyst for the conversation, guiding the direction, tone, and substance of the content generated.

Once you appreciate that ChatGPT is predicting the next word based on statistical probabilities, you will understand why it’s important to be specific and comprehensive in your ask:

Key Components of a Great Prompt:

Clearly define who you're aiming to emulate. Do you need a ‘content marketer with 20 years’ experience’, ‘a data analyst with a Harvard MBA’, or a ‘patient and kind school teacher’. Be specific!


Context is crucial. Tell the platform who you are. For example: “Tradeway is a Below-the-Line marketing agency based in South Africa with over 100 full time employees”.


Specify your brand voice or preferred tone - whether formal, casual, humorous, or academic. Use adjectives like comprehensive, factual, or creative to influence outputs.


Specify your 'why'. Are you looking for strategic insights, ideas, or data analysis? Who is the audience? What do you want from them? The clearer the objective, the more targeted the response.


 4. Protect your Proprietary Data:

There is something quite beautiful about the notion that, as much as we are learning, we are also training generative AI as a collective – with our data inputs, our queries and our feedback. 


However, if you are querying private or proprietary data, make sure you are clear on what happens to that information. Premium and Enterprise versions of ChatGPT and similar platforms provide options to keep your data private. Make sure that you are using these provisions, and that your engagements are in keeping with your company’s policies and commitments to the protection of personal information. 


5. Beware Biases:

According to ChatGPT, “I’ve been trained on hundreds of gigabytes of text data, from a diverse dataset that includes text from books, websites, and other publicly available material.”


“It’s worth noting that the data is sourced from a variety of platforms that are predominantly accessible and contributed to by people in Western countries. This can lead to a bias towards Western perspectives, languages, and cultural norms. So, while I strive to provide balanced and accurate information, it’s always good to be aware of these potential biases”, continues the model.


Bear these potential biases in mind when using models like ChatGPT. The predictive assumptions it’s making may have limited bearing on the lived experiences of consumers in emerging markets or marginalised communities. This is where these tools are supplementary to your experience and expertise.


If you take these 5 key considerations into account, you will start to reap the benefits of generative AI to augment your own skillset and capacity, with exciting and often surprising results. 


Adopting AI isn’t just about securing your competitive edge. It has the potential to bridge skills gaps and empower marketing managers to engage consumers more meaningfully at scale. The technology offers unprecedented scalability and efficiency, providing home-grown brands the firepower to compete on a global stage.


At Tradeway we are constantly looking for ways to enhance our Below-the-Line shopper marketing solutions. To this end, we are exploring AI’s potential to enhance productivity and customer experience, and to analyses campaign performance for actionable market insights for our clients. Contact us to learn more! 


PS. The blog post was co-authored by ChatGPT😊


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