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The good, the bad & the ugly of using Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Riona Mulherin

Riona Mulherin

23 August 2023
Over the past year in particular, there has been increasing awareness of artificial intelligence (AI), due to its rapidly increasing capabilities and potential to impact upon the world as we know it. In this blog, I’m going to look briefly at what AI is, how it may come to effect your marketing activities and also the risks that you need to be aware of.

ChatGPT is one of the most commonly talked about AI tools, this is due to the fact that the basic model is now accessible to the general public for free via the internet and can therefore be used by anyone. The language model can answer questions and assist you with tasks, for example, things such as writing blogs, essays, emails and code. A paid-for subscription version called ChatGPT Plus launched at the start of this year and has much more extensive capabilities than the basic one. ChatGPT was created by OpenAI, who are an AI and research company. 
So I thought I’d get Chat GPT to help me out a bit by explaining what AI actually is...
 
Me: Chat GPT, please explain artificial intelligence in one short paragraph.
Chat GPT: Artificial Intelligence (AI) refers to the simulation of human intelligence processes by computer systems. These processes include learning (acquiring information and rules for using it), reasoning (using rules to reach conclusions or make decisions), and self-correction. AI technologies enable machines to perform tasks that typically require human intelligence, such as understanding natural language, recognizing patterns, making predictions, and adapting to new situations.
It's about creating machines that can learn from experience and data, becoming better at their tasks over time, ultimately making our lives easier and more efficient.


The usage of AI has grown in recent years and is now present in some form across most industries. Now that we understand what AI is, how do we see it playing a role in the future of marketing? How can it be used within your business in a practical sense? Can you start using it now?
In business-to-customer marketing (B2C marketing), which is the type most of our members would engage in when they communicate with their clients, there are tonnes of potential ways that AI can enhance the process and improve the customer experience, as well as potentially increase sales. Here are some simple ways that AI can be applied...

AI can help you to target your messages more efficiently, which enables you to be more effective in generating engagement. It can segment customers based on their preferences, allowing you to create tailored marketing campaigns for specific customer groups – examples of this could be as simple as your first-time buyer clients, your ‘later life’ customers, those who have recently become parents etc. All of these groups have different financial needs and goals, and bespoke messaging will be more impactful. 
AI can also help you by identifying ways to maximise your impact via engagement levels, and this is already built into many marketing platforms (although often as part of a paid-for service). For example, it can tell you the best time to send an email to get the highest open rates based on when your audience opens them (for some people this might be 9 am on a Wednesday, and others may be 2 pm on a Thursday), or what the optimum time to do a social media post is in order to get more impressions and reactions, which in turn can help you to be more effective in using social media to generate leads.

You could possibly look at using an AI-powered bot on your website as a Live Chat function, allowing you to offer a degree of support to your customers 24/7 - even though I’m not suggesting that this would replace a proper conversation with your customers, it could help you capture leads to follow up on when you are available.

In terms of how the world of marketing will likely shift over the coming years, it can be expected that increasingly targeted activities will be possible as AI will learn the behaviours of different customer groups. As it learns constantly, AI will continually refine its processes to optimise the effectiveness of activities and will be able to personalise these to an even greater extent than currently. A current example may be where you may have adverts pop up for things you have Googled the previous day, or you may see a repeated advert for something you viewed via an advert which has been re-targeted at you to try and secure a sale. 

AI will be able to predict customer group behaviours, for example, based on how they interact with your website, it may be able to identify who is most likely to want to proceed, or go elsewhere, and therefore you can tailor proactive communication based on this predicted behaviour. Whilst constantly monitoring platforms such as social media, blogs and news outlets, AI will be able to identify key trends in conversations and insights into how certain customer groups are feeling and what they are thinking, which in turn can also be used to better tailor the messaging used to these groups.

It’s clear that AI will likely transform an industry that is already generally ahead of the curve with innovation, to drive more effective marketing activities which will be tailored to the customer and should enable a better customer experience. That being said, whilst the processes can be enhanced and targeted, I personally don’t know to what extent AI will be able to replace human creativity and innovation within marketing. And it’s worth noting that ChatGPT seems to agree with me on this, as although it does believe that AI can play a significant role in creative marketing, it does state “While these tools might not replace human creativity, they can be used to generate drafts, saving time and effort.”
 
What are the potential risks to be aware of?
As with every new technology, AI comes with risks. Before jumping at the benefits AI technology can bring to your business, it’s important to fully understand the risks involved with doing so. In a broader sense, there may be risks to using AI such as (but not limited to!) removing humans from a process (e.g. making a service less personalised in terms of traditional face-to-face or telephone ‘real-life’ conversations), potential ethical concerns (for example if a mistake was made or harm was caused, who is responsible for this if it was an AI-driven decision?) and the impact on the workforce (essentially, AI could replace many people’s jobs). In financial services, there would be potential risks around using AI whilst also staying compliant with the FCA’s rules. 

However, arguably one of the greatest risks posed to anyone using AI is the potential for data breaches and data privacy issues. It is essential that you are mindful at all times of the data that you use and share on an AI tool, as a data breach could lead to this data being accessed by a hacker or cybercriminal, and could have huge implications for your business - for example in terms of GDPR and your reputation. In terms of marketing, you might think of using a language-based AI tool to help you write your email content, but we would not recommend uploading any of your clients' data to an AI platform to actually send the email or categorise their data unless you have done due diligence which demonstrates that it is safe to do so.

This is a huge movement that will inevitably affect all of our lives in many ways over the coming years. I would highly recommend becoming as educated as possible about AI, including both the positives and potential negatives as it is not something that can be ignored. If you are interested in learning more, I personally would highly recommend listening to Steven Bartlett’s podcast on this topic from his series ‘The Diary of a CEO’. In the session, he speaks to Mo Gawdat (former chief business officer for Google X); it’s a fascinating, if somewhat terrifying, 2 hour listen. You can find the episode by searching for the below details on a podcast provider (such as Spotify or Apple Podcasts). 
 
E252: EMERGENCY EPISODE: Ex-Google Officer Finally Speaks Out On The Dangers Of AI! - Mo Gawdat

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Paradigm Mortgage Services LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership.