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How NOT to Use AI in Your Marketing

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We need to talk about AI.

It’s no longer just a buzzword, but a practical tool in our everyday lives – but so many business owners are using it poorly. And it is hurting their marketing efforts and their brand as a result.

And that presents you with an opportunity to stand out from the crowd.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m loving AI (for now, anyway, before it rises up and takes over the world…!) Over the last 12 months, I have been fully embracing the possibilities of AI to help me save time and money and achieve more in my day.

I’ve even used AI to help me craft this very article! But the key here is that it “helped” me. I didn’t get AI to write an article, which I then copied and pasted online for you to read.

I saw a piece of marketing that did just that the other day, when it popped through my letterbox.

It was an A4, double-sided flyer called ‘The Bugbrooke Property Update’ from a local estate agent.

In principle, it was a great marketing idea.

Done properly, it would've provided some useful content to the estate agent's target audience, demonstrated their expertise, raised their profile and established them as the ‘go to person’ in their field.

But this wasn’t done properly – because they had leaned far too heavily on Chat GPT to write the article for them.

You see, if you don’t give it enough direction and information, Generative AI like Chat GPT will churn out generic marketing copy in its own distinctive style which, in my opinion, isn’t great.

To be fair, the first time I used it, I thought it was mind-blowingly good copy… it was just amazing what it could do! But, after using it a few times, I realised that its voice, style and tone were always the same and the copy it wrote simply wasn't suitable for using in real marketing.

And if you use AI-generated copy like that, you have no discernible voice. You won't connect. You will be the same as everyone else - or worse, you will sound like a robot.

One distinctive feature of Chat GPT’s ‘default’ language, is that it is very over the top and flowery. That’s how I knew instantly that my friendly neighbourhood estate agent had used Chat GPT to write her copy for her. It said things like:

"Each corner of Bugbrooke holds a story, waiting to be discovered."

And, "Bugbrooke offers a sanctuary for the soul amidst the hustle and bustle of modern life."

The Bugbrooke Property Update

I mean, I like living in Bugbrooke, but really?! This is ridiculous.

And if you think I’m being overly picky about this, think again - my 13-year-old son was rolling around with laughter as he read the flyer. The things it said about our village were just silly and over the top, and even he could tell that it had been written by Chat GPT.

He’s 13.

Having your prospective customers laugh with you is great – but having them laugh at you… not so much.

I do want to give credit where it's due, though – because I feel a bit bad about tearing this piece of marketing to shreds, and there were definitely some good things about it.

First off, she has created a piece of marketing material and distributed it. Surprisingly, that’s more than many business owners attempt – so hats off to her for just doing it.

In addition, it was highly targeted to our village (the reader); she’d included photos of houses she had sold to provide proof of expertise and establish trust; and there was a compelling (if mistyped) ‘Call to Action’ with a QR code to make it easy for the reader to follow through.

And her flyer did stand out, albeit for reasons she might not have intended. It sparked conversations and, undeniably, made her memorable among her competition.

She will definitely get more enquiries from this piece of marketing than if she’d never sent it out.

However, I want to underline the critical misstep she made in using AI for marketing, so that you don’t make it too: good marketing brings YOU to the reader. Your beliefs, your values – your personality.

In the end, YOU are the best USP that your business offers and your marketing needs to be authentic to YOU in order for you to capitalise on that.

Please remember though, I’m not saying ‘Don’t use AI’.

I AM saying, ‘Use it correctly’.

The content generated by AI needs to be scrutinised, edited, and aligned with your overall tone and style, and that of your brand.

I use Generative AI as a starting point for writing my copy – because I find that getting started is the hardest part. And AI is good at providing ideas and structure for sales copy… it’s just not good at being YOU (thank goodness!)

With that said, here are my tips for using AI in your marketing:

  1. Craft Detailed, Specific Prompts
    The prompt you give to the AI will determine your results. And the more detailed and specific your prompt is, the more tailored and effective the output will be. So tell the AI who you are, what your values are, who your audience is and what your goals are; give it as much detail as possible regarding what you want to include in the copy, and it will provide something much more personalised for you.
    (To give you an idea, the prompt I used when writing this article was over 500 words!)

  2. Edit and Personalise AI-Generated Content
    AI can draft a great starting point for you, but that’s all it is: a starting point. It's up to you to bring the human touch and add your personality. You must edit and re-write the content to ensure it resonates with your voice, your opinions, your experiences, and your audience's expectations.
    (This article has VERY little in common with the first version that Chat GPT provided to me – but without its help, the article may never have been written).

  3. Align Content with Your Marketing Objectives
    Ensure that the AI-generated content serves the purpose of your marketing piece. For example, if it's a property update, the focus should be on providing valuable and relevant information about the property market - not just singing praises of the locality.

  4. Embrace the Human Element
     Remember, AI lacks the personal experiences and emotions that come with being a human on this planet. Inject your unique insights and personal anecdotes to make the content more relatable. More than anything, be authentic.

  5. Ask AI to Review Your Edited Article
    This is a smart final step, as AI like Chat GPT is good at analysing copy and providing insights that you might miss on your own (it’s hard to edit something that you have written yourself). You can copy and paste this prompt to do this bit:

    “Thanks - I have re-written your article. Please can you review the edited version (pasted below) and provide me with a critique? In particular, I would like to know:
    1. If there are any typos, grammatical errors, or odd bits of phrasing
    2. What you think the goal of this article is and whether it achieves this goal
    3. Any specific elements you would recommend I change, and to what you would change them."

AI is such a powerful ally – I really encourage you to embrace its potential if you’re not doing so already. But it needs to be used wisely.

AI should be seen as a tool in your marketing arsenal, not a replacement for the human creativity, insight, and personal touch that only you can bring.

Remember, you are your business’ best asset. You need to bring YOU to your marketing – and only you can do that.

Till next time,



About The Author

Tim FreedTim Freed is the Co-Founder of both Toddle About and Book That In.

Having built and managed a 50-strong team of door-to-door sales people in his early 20s, before joining the corporate world and building a multi-million pound recruitment team, Tim turned to entrepreneurship - founding Toddle About in 2010, which is now a thriving franchise business. He went on to launch Book That In in 2017 with his business partner, Alec Wadey, which is now one of the fastest growing online booking systems in the UK.

Tim is always learning and striving to improve and loves nothing more than sharing his hard-won knowledge and experience in sales, marketing, leadership and entrepreneurship with other business owners to help them on their own journeys.