Generative AI” is to 2023 what “the metaverse” was to 2022: hyped-up headlines fraught with the juxtaposition of promise and fear — sentiments mirrored by consumers while marketers smartly lean in. While both technologies challenge the boundaries of “realism,” generative AI hits different: It has material implications, right now.

NECN | January 10, 2023 | Mike Proulx, VP, Research Director at Forrester, explains the new AI program that’s shocking people by its ability to answer any question in a conversational, humanistic way.

One In Five US CMOs Have Already Used ChatGPT In Their Marketing Efforts

Just like the metaverse, many B2C marketing leaders have been quick to embrace ChatGPT in the hopes of garnering a first mover advantage. Forrester’s Q1 2023 B2C Marketing CMO Pulse Survey found that just 10% of US B2C marketing executives have no intention of using ChatGPT in their marketing efforts.

To the contrary, 19% indicate that they’ve already used ChatGPT, while an additional 41% are currently exploring use cases for it. And for good reason: Unlike brand experiences in the metaverse, generative AI has practical marketing implications today. As my colleague Jay Pattisall blogged, “The human creative team of today grows to become the human + machine creative team tomorrow. This will reconfigure how marketing gets produced.” This means that generative AI isn’t a fad that CMOs can dismiss.

Fewer Than 10% Of Online Adults Have Used ChatGPT, So Far

According to Forrester’s February 2023 Consumer Pulse Survey, only 7% of online adults in the US and France (and 5% in the UK) have used ChatGPT. But as awareness grows, intent will follow — particularly with younger generations: In the US, over half of online Millennials (58%) are aware of ChatGPT, and 36% have either already used it or plan to do so this year. And they’re using it to gain an upper hand.

Across all US online adults who have either tried or heard of ChatGPT:

  • 45% are likely to use ChatGPT to generate topic ideas/thought starters for work/school assignments.
  • 48% are likely to use ChatGPT to write a note to someone they care about.
  • 50% are likely to use ChatGPT to write a first draft of a document that they’ll edit/modify/build upon themselves.
  • 50% are likely to use ChatGPT to write a proposal, report, summary, or brief for work.

ChatGPT Blurs The Line Between Efficiency And Cheating

Generative AI challenges the notion of authenticity. If you use it, are you working smartly, or are you cheating? Where’s the line? Forrester asked members of its ConsumerVoices Market Research Online Community how they feel about generative AI (including ChatGPT). Their responses reflected this very dilemma surrounding the tech. We received over 800 responses from online adults in the US, the UK, and Canada. Here’s a sample:

  • “It is something that will be used when people don’t want to put too much thought into something they write.”
  • “It will cause more cheating and will have a negative impact on people’s creativity.”
  • “People need to learn and think for themselves. These are only helpful as an additional tool, not a replacement for human thoughts, intelligence, and interaction.”
  • “I already pay for ChatGPT because it acts like an assistant to me when learning programming.”
  • “How will we be able to tell who is sincerely writing and who is just sending out an automated message?”
  • “We are on a fast track to science fiction dystopia with our feet on the accelerator.”

Marketers, be on the lookout for two reports from Jay Pattisall in Q2: on the impact of generative AI on marketing services and creativity, as well as a forecast model for the adoption of AI and automation inside marketing services companies.