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The pitfalls of AI in B2B tech content

As published in Forbes

There’s an exciting sea change taking place in B2B tech marketing. While organizations got by for years with underdeveloped, middle-of-the-road content, the need for messaging that stands out has intensified thanks to an evolving buyer journey, changes in the social media landscape, new data privacy regulations, and economic uncertainty in the tech sector. In short, content standards are rising across the buyer journey.

To complicate things further, generative AI has emerged—and naturally, content marketing teams are looking to it as the perfect solution for these unstable times. After all, the promise of generative AI is simple: more content at a lower cost. Could great content really be just a few GPT prompts away? Not so fast.

While AI models have clear applications in content marketing, it’s not yet ready to take over the sector. Generative AI can help with certain parts of the drafting process, during the research process, and in quickly crafting mock-ups of visual assets like infographics. But in a field as complex and ever-changing as tech, relying on LLMs also comes with some pitfalls.

While organizations should be looking to responsibly and carefully work generative AI tools into their workflow, here are a few areas where the tech currently comes up short in the B2B tech content world:

• Domain-specific information and accuracy: AI models continue to hallucinate, which means teams can’t trust AI models to always generate accurate, trustworthy information. The last thing you want is to create content that misrepresents a product or gets technical details wrong. For now, always rigorously fact-check AI output. Ideally, future iterations of generative AI software will be less prone to confidently spouting falsehoods.

• Organization-specific knowledge: Much of B2B tech content creation involves knowing what a certain company does, what their needs are, and the intricacies of their product. When it comes to the ins and outs of your client, you need to be an expert. In the New Yorker, technologist Cal Newport makes a good point that most content produced in a workplace relies on industry-specific expertise and “an understanding of the personalities and processes that are specific to their workplace.” This is knowledge AI just doesn’t have and can’t replace. So when you’re speaking in-depth on a product’s functionality or the landscape in a certain industry, you likely can’t rely on generative AI to help you.

• Knowledge of the latest trends: At the moment, ChatGPT’s training data only goes up to September 2021, which means the model is unable to speak intelligently about the latest trends. In a fast-moving and ever-changing sector like tech, up-to-date and accurate information is key. As OpenAI continues to make licensing deals with news organizations and other groups, the recency of AI training data may improve.

• Workflow disruption: Introducing a new technology into the workplace always comes with a learning curve. Certain organizations have workflows that have been developed over the years like well-oiled machines. Working AI models into these workflows can be disruptive and potentially frustrating for certain creatives who have spent time familiarizing themselves with certain tech content processes. Luckily—for now, at least—much of the AI tech out there is fairly intuitive, which should make learning curves easier to navigate.

• Clogging up channels: Generative AI is ultimately a boon for content creators, who can now make more content more quickly. But it’s also a boon for spammers, who can now pollute the internet with more targeted, noisy spam. For B2B brands that are trying to make it into prospects’ inboxes with informative email copy and newsletters, this AI-generated spam is something to contend with. B2B content marketers will have to work extra hard to ensure their content stands out amid the ocean of content.

• Few applications in emerging content spaces: In-person events, podcasting and video are some of the fastest-growing content domains in B2B tech marketing. While applications like ChatGPT might be able to help you generate a video or podcast script, the models aren’t that great yet at generating video and voice that is believable and engaging to watch. And AI currently has no place in the production of in-person events, which continue to be a key way B2B tech teams maximize ROI.

When it comes to AI criticism, the caveat is always the same: These issues could change fast. Though OpenAI has paused its development of GPT-5, new applications and technologies could emerge on the scene quickly. While there are clearly some pitfalls in incorporating AI in B2B tech content, teams should be adaptable and ready to incorporate these exciting tools when the tech improves.