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Take a breath. Ok, now let’s figure out AI

May 18, 2023 | By Richard E. Brown, Media Revenue Consultant @richardebrown17

Generative AI has got folks in a frenzy. From excitement about everything it can do to concerns about biased algorithms, plagiarism, and potential job displacement, there’s a raft of optimism and concern around GAI.  

Take a breath. Are you good? Ok, now let’s figure out AI together. 

Sorry, with all the talk and emotion behind generative AI, I thought it may be a good time for everyone to catch a breather. While I understand the concerns, I happen to be a constant optimist. And as a digital media revenue leader, I’m always looking for optimal strategies at the highest level to secure the brightest future.  

In that vein, even though AI in general has been around for some time, generative AI rings my “opportunity” bell – unlike many other developments in recent years. And I don’t think I’m alone. It’s not only because generative AI is the latest trending phenomenon but because it’s a resource that delivers applicable convenience spanning virtually all industries.  

If you’re a curious optimist like me, you’ve noted GAI’s potential cost and time-saving implications by now. If you’re a futurist, you may have already concluded that AI will become mainstream, embedded within corporate culture, and likely governed in one way or another. It will also continue to evolve.  

Yes, I’m fully aware and respectfully conscious of GAI’s prospective danger in infringing upon the authenticity, stylistics, and nature of writing, journalism, and creative arts as we know it. However, glass half full, I’m also confidently optimistic about our ability to address, structure, regulate, and develop solutions for varying segmented conventional concerns.  

That said, AI’s current and developmental beta states still hold colossal potential for new applications, especially for those in leading digital media sales or revenue roles. To unfold the magnitude of what GAI could represent for the digital media industry, I took a step back to understand a broader scope of capability to illustrate how strategies may be developed and actualize its role in digital media organizations. 

What it can do 

If we assume that GAI is here to stay, it would be irresponsible not to consider the ways in which it will impact the revenue side of digital media. What if I told you I’ve seen GAI applications create custom sales scripts in seconds? What If I said GAI could develop cold email communication flows or custom marketing suggestions? Or that it can craft an elevator pitch or presentation about why a prospect should advertise with a specific organization?  

If you can feel your chest tighten, believe me when I say I’m only scratching the surface of the impact GAI will have on the business of media. Take a breath. Are you good? Okay, let’s identify how GAI could help digital media revenue strategies by starting at the highest level and eliminating the noise. 

What could it represent 

A calculator doesn’t diminish the need to understand math; it enhances our ability to output more complex algorithms conveniently. Similarly, as a resource, GAI can improve the output of nearly all matters and tasks related to revenue growth for digital media. Therefore, the most straightforward digital media growth strategy in leveraging it may be to aid digital executives in making more sales.  

GAI can help representatives articulate the benefits and features of products or services custom-tailored to specific businesses and industries. It can also create and send emails or assign process tasks that are traditional time and sales focus deterrents.  

Once you take a step back and begin to digest the immensity and capabilities of GAI, the reactionary credulous grim outlook begins to wane. It is soon replaced by optimism around the opportunity it offers to enhance varying aspects of an organization, which clears a path for future strategies to formulate and blossom. 

What AI’s role could be 

Furthermore, I believe the key to leveraging AI, and generative AI specifically, for growth in digital media is custom automation in higher volumes, especially when it comes to sales. AI epitomizes the evolution of automating the proverbial “sales processes” or even replicating the techniques, communication tactics, and follow-up habits of top sales executives.  

However, it is important to be conscious, balanced, and diligent so that you don’t fall into a silo of convenience alone. Keep an elevated perspective to implement AI tactics that affect and flow seamlessly throughout the entire revenue department.  

The guiding north star in any AI strategy should be to deliver robust, sustainable solutions that enhance all processes and growth opportunities within an organization’s revenue sector and with advertising partners. Add value to products and services by leveraging AI to address advertisers’ specific needs at higher volumes. Don’t send recycled AI-generated communication about the organization’s history to new prospects.  

Actualizing through prompting 

The balance of knowing how to leverage GAI for growth or even enhancing sales communication and output is going to be important to brand value. As prevailing use cases for AI become more established and widespread, so will the need for understanding how to leverage the best prompts or the phrasing used to initiate a conversation or command with various AI technology.  

If adequately equipped and informed, the impact of critical initial engaging touchpoints specific to an advertiser’s needs generated from AI may result in higher close ratios. Prompting may even become a future language or quintessential skill set to propel revenue growth within digital media. This requires the art and creativity in understanding how to position a command or question with AI versus using it to do something just because you can.  

For example, the result generated by prompting an AI chatbot to create an advertising sales script for a local restaurant may seem compelling but needs to be more developed to position an organization as a solution provider. Begin with a prompt asking, “what a restaurant’s most important success metrics are” and then follow it up with a request to create a sales script based on that result. The difference should better convey the organization’s commitment to delivering a solution and not simply selling an audience.  

Opportunity abounds 

Generative AI is still in its early stages and is continuously adapting and evolving because it needs to. Now is the time to begin setting the stage for how digital media can configure and fine tune various applications of generative AI, particularly within the revenue vertical, to support advertising partners, organizations, and communities.  

Certainly, AI is not without its flaws. And, much like the evolution of the internet and search engines, mass adoption will take time. The very existence of AI represents and embodies human creativity and ingenuity, and the optimist in me tends to applaud its boldness and innovation. If you’re concerned, you’re not alone, as I firmly believe in thorough risk assessment and evaluations. However, if fear of the unknown is causing hesitancy about AI, then take a breath, and know that we’re all going to figure this out together.  

About the author 

Richard E. Brown is a News/Media Alliance Rising Star recipient, the former director of renewals and digital sales strategy at LPi, and the former director of digital operations and sales of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He recently served as the head of digital subscriber churn for Gannett | USA TODAY NETWORK and is now the senior director of retention for The Daily Beast. He is also a member of the board of directors for the Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation.   

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