With the eruption—and disruption—of ChatGPT in many business sectors, UCR’s Anderson Presidential Chair in Business Administration Margaret Campbell shares important insight into the early potential impacts, advantages, and disadvantages of this pervasive technology on the marketing field.
Campbell serves as associate dean, department chair, and a professor of marketing at the UCR School of Business. Her research is widely published and focuses on consumers as intuitive psychologists who use their knowledge to make inferences about the marketplace. She is well known for her research on consumers’ understanding of persuasion and on price fairness. Most recently, her work examines marketplace-relevant knowledge in children, studying topics including children’s responses to the use of cartoon characters on product packaging and other aspects related to health.
Campbell answers questions about ChatGPT and the marketing industry:
How does the emergence of ChatGPT impact work in the field of marketing?
I predict that this first stage will emerge with ChatGPT being used as an aid in developing ideas that humans will then further refine and develop.
The field of marketing covers a lot of ground, including jobs in brand management and strategy, pricing, product development, channels of distribution, advertising, social media, and more. ChatGPT and other advanced language models will impact each of these different types of marketing in different ways, but the one thing we can be sure of is that these AI models will impact them.
ChatGPT will be, and already is, used to answer consumer questions, develop content, provide ideas for products, generate slogans, analyze data, and more. At this point, people are trying things—basically throwing things at the ChatGPT wall, so to speak—to see what happens.
I think that the primary advantage is efficiency. ChatGPT can efficiently take in large amounts of information and use it, whether it is for language/content development or data analysis. The speed it offers is already fairly amazing.
What do you think are the disadvantages of ChatGPT for the field of marketing?
One big disadvantage I see right now is that, as I understand it, ChatGPT and similar technologies do not have any way of judging whether what it provides is correct. So, it can efficiently “answer” queries, but the answers may or may not be correct. So, for example, it would be difficult to turn over to customer service without some kind of oversight.
Another disadvantage is that ChatGPT is based on what is already there and what it is trained on. At this point, it will have a hard time being truly creative rather than derivative. Creative is novel and useful; ChatGPT is less likely to be able to achieve this.
One more important disadvantage is that we do not yet know what pricing will be applied to these new tools. Right now, they are free because we are all being used as beta testers, but, of course, there will need to be some way to pay. That will certainly impact the “efficiency.”
There are also a variety of ethical concerns. Key among those for marketing are ownership, privacy, and biases. For example, who owns what is created by ChatGPT? If a brand slogan is output from ChatGPT, does the brand own it? What about patents?
Are any existing positions in the field of marketing at risk of being replaced, and what kinds of positions might be created as a result of ChatGPT and future related technologies?
Given what we are currently seeing, I think that the positions in marketing at most risk of impact, including replacement, by ChatGPT and related technologies are those that are language based, visually based, or data analytic.
For example, I think that copywriting, whether for print, commercials, or social media, is at real risk from ChatGPT. It is not that I think that all human copywriting will be replaced, but that the number of copywriters needed will decrease as ChatGPT and related technologies are used to assist in the creation of content. A human copywriter can prompt various ways to get fairly well-written copy and then tweak/edit it to be even better for the topic at hand and desired voice. Similarly, I think that some jobs in public relations will be impacted. The same risk exists for artists and designers from tools, such as Midjourney, which can provide visuals quickly and efficiently.
It is much harder to predict what positions will be created. However, to this point, with each technological advance, humans have figured out other things to do when technology eliminates the need for some jobs. My hope is that the efficiencies created by AI technologies will enable all humans to use their ingenuity in other ways.
Read an article by Prof. Rich Yueh about possible impacts on the field of information systems:
ChatGPT and Information Systems