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A great way to cut the mundane: HK ad industry on GPT-4's implications

A great way to cut the mundane: HK ad industry on GPT-4's implications

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The latest introduction of GPT-4 by the artificial intelligence research lab OpenAI has stirred up conversations within Hong Kong on the reduction and impact on the workforce. The latest edition of the AI content generator has been touted as being more creative and collaborative than the previous chatbots. 

Despite ChatGPT being currently inaccessible from Hong Kong, it has been reported that individuals have explored the medium through virtual private networks (VPNs), which prompted the Hong Kong's innovation and technology chief Sun Dong to announce that the government planned to set up a task force to investigate the capabilities of ChatGPT to prepare for the challenges it could bring. 

According to Open AI's website, GPT-4 can generate, edit, and iterate with users on creative and technical writing tasks, such as composing songs, writing screenplays, or learning a user’s writing style. In terms of generating content, GPT-4 is capable of handling over 25,000 words of text, allowing for use cases such as long form content creation, extended conversations, and document search and analysis.

Given that content has often been outsourced in the marketing world, with the emergence of GPT-4, Samson Fong, former head of marketing at Zenyum, said moving forward it will not be surprising to see outsource deals being replaced by content-generating SaaS and AI software.

“Before the era of ChatGPT, it was common to see brands outsourcing such content-churning operations to boutique agencies and freelancers or shifting these responsibilities to cost-saving offices in other regions,” said Fong.

With AI content generators evolving,  outsource deals around content might just be replaced by content-generating SaaS and AI software, he shared.

This undoubtedly will have an impact on the workforce. Lierence Li, co-founder of the Market Hubs Intelligences, added on that the wide adoption of AI chatbots could potentially lead to a decrease in the need for human workers in certain areas. Beyond content creators, Li says several industries in Hong Kong may be at risk of losing a significant amount of their workforce due to automation and other technological advancements, including manufacturing, retail, customer service and transportation industries. 

Removing the mundane

Nonetheless, despite the potential risk of losing jobs industry professionals, the rise of AI content generators could help in the decluttering tedious day-to-day work.

Fong shared that in areas such as product marketing, there is no lack of tasks that require error-free, repetition at a granular level, operation-led or function-driven level. These jobs include product description scripting, store SKU visual optimisation, or routine CS or operation memo update via social, emails and newsletters. “AI content generators can step in and excel with marketers when it comes to tasks that demand speed and accuracy over creativity,” said Fong. 

Marketers such as Ken Ip, chairman of Asia MarTech Society said the latest GPT-4 is not that much different or smarter than the existing version, with the only major difference is the database, is bigger and more up to date. 

"Using ChatGPT a competent copywriter to handle simple jobs, from concept to copywriting to design is pretty good,” he said. He added: 

The tool might benefit SMBs or those with limited budgets and resources.

“Basically, you will get a very competent copywriter to handle the simple jobs, such as writing taglines, social media posts and press releases. Nothing fancy, but the quality is likely to be comparable to hiring someone or a small local agency," he said, adding:

Apart from ensuring accuracy and speed, the introduction of an AI chatbot can also lead to reduced operational costs, increased efficiency and revenue growth for businesses. 

Personalisation might also see a boost

While the ChatGPT frenzy is shaking up the Hong Kong content world, it is also likely that there will be a greater emphasis on personalisation and human touch in marketing campaigns, according to Market Hubs’ Li. GPT-4's improved capabilities in understanding complex tasks and nuanced instructions can lead to more accurate and relevant content generation for Hong Kong's marketing industry. This can enhance the quality of marketing materials produced and improve audience engagement. 

"With GPT-4's ability to accept image inputs, marketers in Hong Kong can leverage this feature for better visual content analysis and generation,” said Li. This could be particularly useful in creating image captions, alt text, and even marketing strategies that incorporate visual elements more effectively. 

The use of ChatGPT in Hong Kong's marketing industry can lead to more efficient A/B testing and optimisation of marketing campaigns.

"With its ability to generate content variations more quickly, marketers can test and analyse different approaches and strategies, leading to more data-driven decision-making and better overall campaign performance."

He added that marketers can explore innovative ways to integrate AI-powered technologies to reshape traditional marketing roles and create new opportunities for specialists in AI and data analytics.

While creativity still plays a huge role within the Hong Kong marketing world, Ip said that AI will be less likely to replace marketing and creative professionals within the industry as it still lacks the creativity, intuition and emotional intelligence that humans possess. He added:

Marketing and creative work often require a deep understanding of human behavior, culture, and psychology, which language models may not be able to replicate accurately.

Naturally, this means certain tasks and roles may become obsolete. “In the longer run, this will force businesses and marketers to improve and work even harder, and to truly focus and invest on what matters – which are your products, services and customer experience,” he added.

After all, the impact of GPT-4 and other advanced language models on the marketing and creative industries will depend on how they are used and integrated into existing workflows, said Ip. "It is important for professionals in these industries to stay informed about new developments in AI and to continually develop skills and expertise that cannot be easily replicated by machines." He also hoped to see the Hong Kong marketing industry evolve and become a truly integral business partner in an organisation. “In my opinion, Web3 will play a significant role in shaping business success, and marketers will be in the driver's seat to lead this transformation,” he said.

Adding to the view was Zenyum’s Fong said when it comes to branding content and growth hacks, bright human creativity is still highly sought after. “Fine orchestration of KOL content seeding, a dose of humour, or a clever hack to magnificent offline brand visibility, these are so far still the regime of human’s mastery and art of creativity, fortunately,” he added.

Pitfalls to watch out for

While there are both positives and negatives to the technology, industry veterans such as John Kerr, former APAC tech vice chair of Edelman are treading on the cautious side.

“While we should all test, learn and understand innovation – I’m already seeing marketers and agencies who clearly don’t understand exponential innovation technology, nor the implications of broader AI for the industry,” he said.

He added that what this new hype around ChatGPT does – not unlike the various pontifications around; metaverse, or big data, or blockchain etc – is confuse people and make them question the relevance of the technology.

“It might sound like a broken record, but this time with ChatGPT it is different, and the availability of the technology is already here (maybe too soon). It is real and while nascent now will likely become mainstream in the next two years,” he said. 

Other reasons that Kerr is cautious about include the fact that talent remains exhausted after three years of pandemic, and yet we are asking them to learn and adopt marketing innovation at an ever-increasing rate.

Moreover, companies are in a recessionary and cost-control footing, so if they perceive AI can cut marketing costs and marketing heads, as it has in other areas – then they will pursue this aggressively. He said:

The fear of automation is reality – so we should all be working overtime to try to figure out how to stay ahead of the machines.

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