Generative AI was the talk of Forrester’s B2B Summit North America. Forrester’s own CEO, George Colony, kicked off the event, calling on marketers to catch up: to start using generative AI now, because it’s here to stay and not going away. It will be disruptive, transformational, and may or may not cost some marketers their jobs. He also likened using generative AI to wearing an “Iron Man” suit.
Powered by the arc reactor, the Iron Man suit is technologically advanced armor that transforms a “regular” (albeit, genius billionaire) man into a superhero. While wearing the suit, Tony Stark can fly, see a 360-degree panoramic view of his surroundings, create any structure (e.g., lightsaber, boxing gloves), and fight villains of alternate universes and on different planets. The armor is even capable of self-repair, but it is not impenetrable. Likewise, generative AI yields amazing and seemingly limitless opportunities for portfolio marketing, but it is not perfect — it requires iterations, the human touch, and careful use.
Prior to Summit, I knew that the usage of generative AI varies across a broad spectrum. But in speaking with attendees at Summit, I learned that many organizations and individuals don’t even know where to start.
I sat down with my former colleagues and early adopters of generative AI — Kelly Peters, director of marketing at Tomorrow.io, and Leah Rapperport, product marketing manager at Skedda — to understand how they’re using ChatGPT in portfolio marketing but also at a broader company level. Kelly reports that Tomorrow.io is using ChatGPT for marketing and sales enablement (e.g., for pitch decks) but is also leveraging it across the wider business, including product management. Leah has been leveraging ChatGPT as an individual on the product marketing team but sees its potential for broader use.
How Portfolio Marketers Should Start Using Generative AI Today
Here is some guidance for portfolio marketers on how to best leverage generative AI, whether you’re just starting out, looking for best practices, or investigating new use cases:
- Market research for identifying new market opportunities. ChatGPT, for example, can help identify new market segments that are adjacent to the segments the organization already serves. Adjacency can be determined based on similar needs, external trends, or market drivers. Once the segment is identified, portfolio marketers can drill down to the specific needs of the market and even identify key buyers and the decision-making persona within the buying group. A word of caution: Don’t ask it to give you a list of companies within the market segment, as it has the potential to hallucinate with made-up company names.
- Persona research. Whether conducting research on a new buyer or looking to supplement existing knowledge, ChatGPT can help identify needs, preferences (e.g., interaction, content, channels), and emotional drivers. Tomorrow.io is exploring new buying groups by conducting preliminary research using ChatGPT and then validating the findings with an external consultant. Kelly Peters of Tomorrow.io said that “ChatGPT was directionally helpful and enabled me to have a more productive conversation. It saved me a tremendous amount of time, but it wasn’t able to take it a step further to really bring in the human connection of how to stand out when targeting this new buying group.”
- Text-based content. ChatGPT is at its best when it produces short forms of content using directional input and guidance about the format for output (or eventual usage as a content type). For example, portfolio marketers can provide a one-pager as a guide or give it specific instructions for the desired layout (e.g., headline at top, subheader below, use cases, value proposition, proof points) to produce a new version on a new topic.ChatGPT also can produce long forms of content such as e-books or white papers, though this can require substantial iteration. A best practice is to provide ChatGPT with existing content used with audiences so that it can reproduce (or regurgitate) this existing content and messaging — thus making it less likely to spit out garbage. Peters recommends providing the content, dictating a layout, and, if needed, having ChatGPT work section by section. For high-investment pieces (e.g., thought leadership) that require new ideas, strategic thinking, and the organization’s own perspective, ChatGPT is less helpful.Overall, ChatGPT is useful for ideation and generating short components or sections — or creating derivative (short-form) assets such as social posts from existing content. But do expect rounds of iteration (including changes to tone) before it’s ready to go live.
- Organizational and admin-related tasks. One key benefit of ChatGPT is its ability to reduce administrative burdens, which can free up time for portfolio marketers to focus on strategic and creative tasks. ChatGPT can organize notes into themes, identify insights, and extract noteworthy quotes, stats, or figures. This can be especially helpful for organizing customer interview notes (once anonymized, of course). Although it can’t create spreadsheets, it can format key takeaways in a table so that you can readily copy and paste them into a spreadsheet. Rapperport said that this capability is already integrated into her daily work: “freeing up so much time, enabling me to be more productive, generate ideas, and think more strategically.”
- Visual content. Though not a core portfolio marketing responsibility, tools such as Canva and DALL·E can create images through text-based prompts. These AI-generated images are especially helpful when design resources are limited or when stock images just aren’t working as well.
As we’re only about six months into the use of ChatGPT, these are just a handful of use cases in portfolio marketing. Additional uses can expand into sales enablement, messaging enablement, and other functions.
If your company has expertise to share on this topic, feel free to submit a briefing request. And if you’re a Forrester client and would like to ask me a question, you can set up a conversation with me. You can also follow or connect with me on LinkedIn if you’d like.