Understanding Generative AI: A Comprehensive Guide for CMOs


26th September 2023


11 min


Antonia Hayianni

What is Generative AI?

Without realising it, you’ve likely already encountered emerging Generative AI technologies. Heard of ChatGPT? We thought so. ChatGPT stands for Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer. And as we know, it’s an AI-powered language model developed by OpenAI, capable of generating human-like text that’s based on context, past conversations and prompts that the user has entered.

This is possible because it has been trained to understand content from various sources online. The machine learning process is known as large language models or LLM. 

The world of AI – if used correctly – should be seen as fascinating, rather than feared. It has the potential to revolutionise many aspects of our lives. Some other emerging generative AI-based tools worth knowing about include MidJourney (a text-to-image AI art generator), AlphaCode (an LLM designed to build code in response to natural language descriptions of a problem), Bard (an experimental conversational AI tool built by Google), Claude (a next-generation AI assistant for your tasks) and DALL·E 2 (an AI system that can create realistic images and art from a description in natural language).

Generative AI in marketing.

Generative AI is a fantastic tool that can help marketing teams do more in less time. We have seen examples of generative AI tools used to both ideate and write outstanding content. 

These pieces of content range from social media posts to blog titles, email campaigns and designs for various marketing collateral. 

It’s also being used to power interactions with customers using chatbots and even voice-based chatbots, which are trained to answer some of the basic queries that customers typically have for businesses. 

How businesses are using Generative AI in marketing.

Here are some examples of global brands who have used generative AI for successful marketing campaigns:

  • Under Armour: We partnered with Under Armour to leverage the power of AI to create ‘The Ultimate Team Talk’, an inspirational speech for the start of the European football season, harnessing the best possible language, sentence structure, cadence and energy.
  • Coca-Cola: Coca-Cola launched a campaign called “Create Real Magic” that uses generative AI to allow people to create their own art with Coca-Cola assets. Over 130,000 pieces of art were created and shared on social media.
  • Nike: Nike launched a campaign called “By You” that uses generative AI to allow customers to design their own shoes. Over 100 million pairs of shoes were customised using the “By You” platform.
  • Gucci: Gucci launched a campaign called “Gucci Garden” that uses generative AI to allow people to explore a virtual garden filled with Gucci products. Over 1 million people visited the Gucci Garden.
  • Samsung: Samsung launched a campaign called “Samsung 837X” that uses generative AI to allow people to create their own virtual reality experiences. Over 500,000 people created VR experiences using the Samsung 837X platform.

P.S. Some of these examples were generated using Bard, so, we’re not too proud to tell you that generative AI actually helped us write part of this article.

Benefits of using Generative AI.

Generative AI has many benefits for marketers. Here are a few advantages we’ve identified and supported by other industry marketing peers.

Improved productivity

Marketers can quickly generate content and content ideas using generative AI solutions. This improves their productivity and assists them in being able to do more in less time. 

For instance, we spent some time searching for examples of generative AI used by businesses and couldn’t get the results we needed from ChatGPT, as its last knowledge update was in September 2021. However, using Bard, we quickly found some relevant examples, which saved us time.

Equally, Grammarly, which I’m currently using to support this article creation, has launched a tool called GrammarlyGo that uses generative AI to improve, ideate or rewrite content quickly.

Better personalisation

Generative AI can crunch through a lot of data on your business and customers, enabling it to generate a personalised set of solutions. 

Businesses like Mastercard and Nike are already experimenting with generative AI to provide automated services and personalised products for their customers.

Increased content output

One of the most significant benefits of using generative AI for marketing has been the ability to create content. It started with text-based content for writing articles, social media posts and emails. 

Then it was adapted to creating images and audio and video clips, which marketers use to promote the products and services of businesses using various platforms, such as Midjourney.

Idea generation

Marketers can use generative AI-based tools to create ideas for everything from campaigns to blog titles and keyword research. 

This improves creativity as the generative AI can provide additional ideas the marketer might not have initially thought of or would have missed.

Risks to consider while using Generative AI.

While there are a lot of benefits to consider when using generative AI, CMOs need to fully understand the potential risks that can arise from using these solutions as well. 

Here are a few risks that should CMOs should be aware of:

Quality of data

Generative AI or any form of AI is built using large sets of data, which the machine learning algorithm understands and generates solutions based on the prompts that the user is asking it.

Suppose the data sets used by the generative AI platform to train it are not of excellent quality. In that case, the output these platforms generate would also be of low quality, damaging the work of the marketers using it to create marketing campaigns for brands.


Another impact that data has on the solutions being output is the bias that already exists in data sets being uploaded into the machine learning algorithm. 

The algorithm can learn this bias which will then be shown in the results. All the data sets you might have uploaded will show the effects of email marketing working well for campaigns but no results in social media marketing campaigns. 

When a marketer next asks for the generative AI tool to ideate a new marketing campaign, it will likely suggest an email marketing campaign, not a social media marketing campaign. 

As a CMO, you need to realise that marketing is always about testing new ideas. If all of your business campaigns are focused on email, they might generate good results. Still, they might struggle to create the best results for an organisation.

Ethical challenges

We know that there are some unconventional ways of creating marketing campaigns. Users who intend to spread misinformation or defraud customers into buying fake products are very likely to use generative AI platforms to replicate marketing designs and collateral of the original brand.

Furthermore, if there are any backlashes for any controversial topics covered as part of AI-generated video or audio content, the question of validity and responsibility for the campaigns comes into question.

These instances create an ethical challenge for businesses to explore generative AI solutions. Like with every new technology, how it is used is entirely based on the individual using it. 

Lack of creativity

Yes, generative AI creates some fantastic content for marketing purposes. Still, the honest feedback that many marketers will provide you is that it lacks the authentic creativity that comes from telling a story that a human can truly connect with. Ultimately, irrespective of your business being B2C or B2B, you are selling to a human; and humans respond best to emotion, empathy and personal engagement.

AI generates content based on what it was trained on. So it is very likely that a large portion of the content it creates is similar to someone else using a related prompt to generate a new piece of content. 

Unique content will always set businesses apart from their competitors, so generative-AI should be used creatively and sparingly.

Integrating generative AI into your existing marketing strategies.

CMOs need to audit their existing marketing strategies to identify opportunities for generative AI integration to improve productivity and embed efficiencies in their business.

Let’s consider the process of creating a content calendar. Ideally, CMOs would task the marketing team to sit together for a meeting to ideate quarterly content topics to attract their target audience. This could involve numerous meetings, lengthy research sessions and time-intensive CMO-approval before content creation can begin.

Instead, the marketing strategy could include a step for a marketing strategist to use a generative AI tool to create a list of topics for the content calendar, which can then be sent straight for approval or directly added into the content calendar for the team to start executing. 

For instance, we asked Bard:

Give me 4 blog post topics and 4 social media post ideas around generative AI as the topic.

Here’s what Bard generated:

4 blog post topics around generative AI:

  • What is generative AI and how does it work?
  • 5 ways to use generative AI to improve your marketing
  • The future of generative AI and its impact on society
  • How to get started with generative AI

4 social media post ideas around generative AI:

  • Generative AI is the future of content creation!
  • Here are 3 ways to use generative AI to boost your social media engagement
  • Check out this amazing piece of art created using generative AI!
  • Generative AI is changing the way we create and consume content. What do you think?

Making your marketing team generative AI-ready.

The best way to make your marketing team generative AI-ready is to create accounts on these platforms and get familiar with them. 

Once they’re comfortable using some valuable platforms, work with them to create a set of prompts unique to your business requirements. Distil these prompts into a master document that can be accessed by existing and future marketing team members to streamline the use of generative AI solutions and ensure brand consistency throughout marketing campaigns. 

The future of generative AI from a marketing perspective.

New generative AI-focused solutions are being launched daily. AI tools can generate landing pages, create a pitch, write a newsletter and even assist in LinkedIn messaging.

But this is still just the beginning of what generative AI can do. There are virtual influencers right now being created who can become the face of businesses and promote their brands. 

Brands can create their influencers or even bring their existing mascots to life. This will help them launch new, immersive marketing campaigns without having to shell out a lot of budget. 

Apart from that, video and podcast generation will be become easier for businesses using generative AI. 

With so much opportunity, the businesses that find the best and most unique ways to deploy these technologies will be limitless in their customer engagement potential.

Implementing generative AI into your digital strategy.

Many businesses are currently updating their existing software products with generative AI capabilities. Think of a travel website which can generate a custom itinerary for your customer based on their visit duration and interests. Or a consumer goods company that uses AI algorithms to analyse their consumer data and create more personalised advertising campaigns for their products. Businesses deploying these types of techniques will be far better equipped to handle demanding and fast-changing customer behaviours than those who are still stuck relying on their manual, outdated, time-intensive marketing tools. 

Dipping your toes into Generative AI can begin with using chatbots to interact with potential customers landing on your website. This can enhance the user experience and increase engagement from first load.

Measuring the outcome from the use of Generative AI.

One of the big questions that CMOs will receive is the ROI of implementing new generative AI technologies into existing business processes or tools. 

The biggest KPIs that CMOs should track to identify the ROI on implementing this are:

  • Number of tasks (content pieces) published by the team
  • Cost of production of content
  • The number of new initiatives, strategies or campaigns implemented by the marketing team and their results

This is because the marketing team will be able to open up and speed up a lot of campaigns in half the time it would have taken for team members right now.


Generative AI is an excellent opportunity for CMOs to double the output of their marketing teams while using the existing resources and budgets. 

That’s a dream come true for CMOs everywhere. It also opens up the opportunity to quickly test and experiment with new campaigns in half the time it would have previously taken to set them up.

If you’re interested in exploring Generative AI for your business, take a look at our AI services that allow you to quickly test and implement generative AI-based solutions into your business.