AI and machine learning are already revolutionizing the distribution industry by automating and optimizing processes. AI-driven technologies provide companies with tools that can help them identify customer trends, recommend products, automate order fulfillment and delivery, and more.
AI is also helping companies better understand their customers’ needs and preferences to provide a personalized customer experience.
With AI in distribution, businesses can make decisions quickly and accurately while reducing costs associated with manual labor. This will ultimately lead to improved efficiency and increased profits in the long run.
It’s clear, AI is hard at work improving operations in the distribution industry.
But what about its use in B2B distributor marketing, content creation and copywriting?
I clearly see the benefit of implementing AI into a business’s content strategy.
AI can help distributors analyze customer data to better understand their target audience and develop personas. Marketers can use this information to brainstorm emails, social media and other content that may resonate with the customer base.
Distributors can use AI to gather insights from the following sales and business processes to develop content targeted to their buyers:
- Order automation data
- Remote inventory tracking
- Product recommendations
- Sales team performance
- Customer behavior data
- Lost sales data
However, some drawbacks are associated with using AI strictly for content creation. AI may not always be able to generate relevant or accurate content for certain applications or products requiring specialized knowledge and expertise.
And it certainly doesn’t reflect your company’s values.
Current AI tools can’t perform original research or subject matter expert interviews.
Nor will an AI tool speak to sales reps and customers to learn more about the relationship dynamics that are the cornerstone of distribution. They can’t tap into a person’s well of occupational expertise, gather their unique point of view and create an external presence, turning seasoned professionals into respected industry thought leaders.
For this reason, businesses that rely on the transfer of accurate and technical knowledge must be cautious of the extent to which they use AI tools currently. We caution AI users to:
- Fact check content output
- Monitor for plagiarism
- Never enter confidential information into an AI tool
- Review for inappropriate content
Remember that bot-generated response to the prompt, “What are the implications of using AI to generate content for distributors?” from our previous blog, Decoding AI-Driven Content Creation for B2B Marketing: The Pros and Cons?
Below, I took a stab at answering that question myself. Through my own research, I found some insights that may be more helpful to you than the bot’s answer.
What Implications Exist When Using AI to Generate Content in Distribution?
If you know 3 Aspens Media, you know writing for distributors, consultants and end-users is our sweet spot. We often base our content strategies around subject matter expert interviews and conversations with company leaders. I’ve spent years talking with executives, leadership teams, sales professionals, delivery drivers, warehouse managers and various trades to learn the intricacies of their businesses, their people and their customers.
So, as I write this exposition on AI, I’m not only looking at it through the lens of a content creator, but also at how it can help my distribution clients.
What does this mean for distributors? How will AI impact your content needs?
For this, I looked to Benj Cohen, Founder of Proton AI, to get his take on the benefits and limitations of ChatGPT and AI for distributors. I came across his article, What Distributors Can Learn from ChatGPT, featured in National Association of Wholesale Distributors.
He mentioned the benefits of using ChatGPT for real-time writing assistance in creating responses to customer emails, freeing up customer service and sales reps to perform other job functions. He also discussed how ChatGPT could help distributors in other areas, such as order processing and market research.
However, he cautioned distributors to proceed with equal doses of optimism and caution.
He wrote, “Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, the company that created ChatGPT, said, ‘ChatGPT is incredibly limited’ and ‘it would be a mistake to rely on it for anything important right now.’
In its summary of the technology, OpenAI listed its limitations, including:
- Writing nonsensical and incorrect answers that may sound accurate when there is no source of truth
- Generating excessively verbose responses or repeating phrases
- Biases in training models
- Instead of asking clarifying questions of the user, the chatbot usually guesses what the user intended
- Rather than refuse inappropriate requests, it will sometimes respond or exhibit biased behavior
Cohen recommends that distributors invest time understanding these technologies and deciding which AI investment will yield the best return for their business but be aware of its limitations.
Dirk Beveridge, Founder of UnleashWD and Distribution Consultant, also shared views on ChatGPT and other AI tools as they relate to the rapidly evolving world of distribution.
In a weekly edition of his company newsletter, he says, “ChatGPT is undoubtedly making its mark quickly. It almost seems like the modern-day Gold Rush. There is a rush to try to understand it and its implications. Companies and organizations are, for example, learning how to use ChatGPT for content creation, language translation, Chatbot development, customer service and other applications. This AI tool represents the acceleration of change that is rapidly changing everything.”
Did you notice how the human-generated response to the question was based on real human insights from authoritative sources that are both trackable and current?
Was this more informative than the AI-generated content? I’d love to know your thoughts. Reach out at [email protected].
Below is handy infographic our amazing design team created for an at-a-glance look at the pros and cons of using AI in creating content for the distribution industry.