Bot Rising: AI’s Volume, Velocity & Variety with Pete Housely and Amanda (Elam) Cole

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By now, we get it: AI is here to stay and makes marketing more efficient. But what fears do marketers have around AI, and how do you responsibly feed the board’s appetite for it? And to what level do marketing leaders need to understand the technology?

In this episode, we’re joined by Pete Housley, CMO at Unbounce, and Amanda (Elam) Cole, CMO at Bloomreach, to dig into these questions. Listen in for a deeper understanding of the technology’s seemingly unlimited opportunities and potential pitfalls.

AI will expedite your three Vs — if used correctly

According to Pete, marketers should stay logged in and active on their large language model (LLM) of choice throughout the workday. Otherwise, they’re probably falling behind. That’s because engines like ChatGPT and Bard can expedite workflows across three crucial productivity areas, which Pete called the “three Vs:” volume, variety and velocity.

  • Volume: LLMs help marketers “do more with less” (I know — we’re all tired of hearing it, but it’s true!).
  • Variety: We all get stuck sometimes, especially when we’ve spent too long staring at a project brief. LLMs save your eyes by providing variance in thought and presenting unique options or avenues to approach your work.
  • Velocity: LLMs get the ball rolling and place marketers in the fast lane, allowing them to accomplish immense amounts of work in non-immense quantities of time. Pete mentioned that a marketing team member at Unbounce recently wrote a sprawling 6,000-word blog post in just 1.5 days, thanks to ChatGPT’s brainstorming.

But marketers can only benefit from generative AI if they use it (duh). Pete and Amanda agreed: The biggest mistake is shirking AI just to adhere to your status quo.

“The people who really embrace [LLMs and AI]… are going to be the future,” said Amanda. “My content team has said, ‘It gives me a really good starting point, so I don’t have to spend so much time in the initial thinking. I can get something to start with, and then I can edit it from there.'”

But what if AI takes my job?

McKinsey predicts that generative AI and automation will be able to handle tasks accounting for nearly 30% of hours worked in the U.S. by 2030. However, marketers shouldn’t clutch their pearls just yet; more likely than not, these developments will inspire occupational shifts, not outright job loss en masse.

 “The question is: Are robots coming for our jobs? I’d like to think not, but certainly, marketers using AI will come for the jobs of marketers who are not using AI,” said Pete.

Amanda concurred with Pete’s sentiment: “We’ve seen social media, digital marketing, Google ads, Google search — all of these things have been developed in my marketing career. And if you don’t understand them structurally and think about how to use them in your day job, you won’t have one.”

Marketing leaders should prioritize understanding the use cases for leading AI tools and assess where these functions could improve their workflow. Otherwise, they risk their position — and their entire organization’s success.

Luckily, AI sells itself.

Executives are often difficult to convince. But, according to Amanda, that doesn’t ring true for AI, which executives have a vast appetite for — sometimes even too vast. Instead of convincing stakeholders to adopt AI, it may be helpful to persuade them to adopt AI effectively. It’s a small but important difference.

“There is a tremendous amount of pressure, particularly from investors, to leverage AI because they see the efficiency metrics, they [think] ‘I can get more out of the current team,'” said Amanda. “I think there are two issues. One is focusing only on the scale of the current team and decoupling it from revenue growth. And two is coming up with an AI strategy independent of an overall business strategy.”

For more of Pete and Amanda’s insights, listen to episode 354 of SaaS Half Full.