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Episode 13: Why AI is to Marketers as Calculators are to Mathematicians

In episode 13, join Ron Green as he explores the intersection of artificial intelligence and marketing with Jasper’s Al Biedrzycki, an expert with over 15 years of experience in scaling up organizations.

In this episode:

-Explore how generative AI is transforming marketing strategies and budgets, while navigating the crucial ethical considerations in balancing human creativity with automation.

-Discover how Jasper serves as an AI co-pilot for enterprise marketing teams, focusing on empowering marketers to scale their efforts efficiently.

-Uncover the dominant use cases of Jasper's generative AI tool, from orchestrating campaigns to ensuring brand consistency through tailored content generation.

-Delve into the delicate balance between human creativity and AI automation, as Al shares insights on the necessity of human oversight and editing in content creation.

-Explore how Jasper ensures responsible AI usage through thought leadership, technology, and governance measures, ensuring transparency and accountability.

Ron Green: Welcome to Hidden Layers, where we explore the people and the tech behind artificial intelligence. I'm your host, Ron Green, and I'm pleased to be joined today by Al Biedrzycki to talk about a range of topics at the intersection of artificial intelligence and marketing. In particular, we'll discuss how marketing strategies and budgets are being affected by generative AI and important ethical considerations when balancing human creativity with automation. With over 15 years of experience in leading ecosystems, platforms, and partnerships, Al Biedrzycki has been instrumental in scaling up startups, pre- and post -IPO organizations. One of his most notable achievements is helping grow HubSpot's platform product ecosystem to 500 -plus app partners, and his channel program to 3,000-plus agency partners. He also helped build and scale other tables, extension, marketplace, and service partner program. At Jasper, Al leads the affiliate marketing and solutions partner program strategies. Welcome, Al. Thanks for joining us.

Al Biedrzycki: Thanks for having me, really excited to be here.

Ron Green: Well, let's kick off a little bit. How did you make the transition into AI?

Al Biedrzycki: Yeah, so AI looks like my name, so it was a natural transition. But joking aside, I've been in tech for, as I said, about 15 years, and I've always been in the partnership space as it pertains to marketing. And I kind of found my way serendipitously to AI in a Jasper where I've been for a little bit over a year. A past colleague of mine, actually, the head of marketing, Megan Keeney Anderson, had been here. And she brought me over. AI had been taking off. It has been, but even more so over the past year or so. And they were getting more and more interest from the partner side of things or working with service organizations. So I spent a number of years building that at different tech companies. And there was how to partner with these organizations. So I came on board, and I decided to kind of crack the nut around how service providers need to change with the onset of AI as a new technology.

Ron Green: Well, it's perfect timing. I think everybody's going to be impacted and working in AI one way or another soon. The stuff you're doing at Jasper, I'm really excited about. And I want to just dive right in. So let's set the table for everybody listening. What is Jasper doing with generative AI and how is it addressing the changing marketing landscape?

Al Biedrzycki: Yeah, so Jasper is an AI co-pilot for enterprise marketing teams, and we're really focusing on that ideal customer profile, the marketer. I think there's a lot of solutions out there that are trying to solve it all for the organization. We made the conscious decision of focusing on the marketing use case. We saw that a lot of our initial customers over the past couple of years were marketers using our platform, Generative AI Power Tool, to produce blog posts, social media, campaigns, etc. So we had a lot of traction and momentum there. So I said, hey, you know what? We're really solving for what marketers are trying to do at scale, and we feel like this is going to be a transformative technology for them. So let's really dial in and focus on solving for that particular use case. Yeah, so that's what we do, and that's what we're focusing on.

Ron Green: Let's peel back just a little bit more for people who have never used the tool. So Jasper is a generative AI tool capable of producing marketing content in a range of sort of formats. Can you maybe talk about the dominant use cases that most of your customers are using to kind of tee up the rest of this conversation?

Al Biedrzycki: Yeah, I think first and foremost, it's the idea of orchestrating a campaign. Marketers know that it's not just a landing page that you build with a tool. It's a landing page, it's an email, it's a follow -up sales email, it's a blog post, all the components that bring the customer through a journey. And that's what we predominantly see our customers doing is not just thinking one discrete piece of content to produce it. How do we tell that narrative? How do we tell that story across multiple assets in a buyer journey? And how can we solve for that? Predominantly, that's what we see folks using. One other really key component too is because we are focusing on the marketer and the marketing use case, they care about brand tone, voice, making sure that the content sounds like the organization wants to. Nike sounds different than a Coca-Cola, sounds different than Adidas. And our technology enables marketers to train Jasper to sound more like your brand style guide the way that you want to sound to your audience.

Ron Green: And you do that by allowing your customers to provide examples of the content style they're going for as a context for any type of generation output. Is that right?

Al Biedrzycki: Yeah, exactly. You can pull in a URL and we typically recommend, if you've got a pretty prolific blog, use that because generally that has an external way that you speak to your audience. But if you have a brand style guide that you've spent a lot of time developing, that's probably the most valuable thing that you could train Jasper on because it has all the rules, the terminology, the tone, and those details, and that's how you can get the most comprehensive understanding.

Ron Green: Okay. Okay. What are your thoughts on balancing, you know, human creativity with this automation and where's the line? Because, you know, at KUNGFU.AI, when we're working with generative systems, we'll often find that as powerful as they are, you have to be really careful about just taking the raw content, the raw output and using it in any way without human review or maybe sometimes even a little bit of iteration where you kind of loop over, uh, the generative process until you get what you want.

Al Biedrzycki: Yeah, so I think the answer is it depends where the line is. I think it depends on the piece of content, what the intended goal of the content is. And it probably also depends on the level of comfortableness or how comfortable the person is in terms of how much is AI powered and driven and versus where the human touch is. At Jasper, we 100% always require a certain degree. Make sure that there's a human lens on this. You just don't produce something and ship it. You want to have the human adding polish, ideating, or even editing. Editing is must. But I think it depends on a lot of factors that go into the decision-making process or producing the piece of content.

Ron Green: Okay, okay. And we talked a little bit offline about governance, and this is something that I'm really passionate about. Let's talk a little bit about how you and the Jasper team is ensuring that these tools are used correctly.

Al Biedrzycki: Yeah, so I think first and foremost, because we go after the marketing use case and we're working with SVPs, CMOs, as the main decision maker to purchase and integrate Jasper, we build a lot of thought leadership content around the idea of governance around the usage of AI and how a CMO can be a champion to lead that at the organization. From an education standpoint, that's definitely what we're doing. From a technology standpoint, we have, if you go to security.jasper.ai, you can see how we work. We pull in from LLMs like OpenAI, Google's Gemini. I think it's about a dozen of them. So we show that here's where the data goes, here's how it works, and we don't train the larger models on this data either. So we do have the technology layer and then also just the sort of the philosophical and just the general governance aspect of it across the organization through education as well.

Ron Green: Okay. Okay. That's great. Do you have any advice about marketers who might be listening to this thinking how they can stay ahead of the curve, meaning with all of the generative techniques that have exploded really in the last 18 months, any advice on how to leverage them, any best practices, and what do they need to do to stay ahead of where we're going with this explosion and capabilities?

Al Biedrzycki: Yeah, there's this analogy that I keep coming back to because I think it's really effective with where we are right now with generative AI and where it's going. It's the best hockey players, so the greatest hockey players don't skate toward the puck, they skate towards where the puck is going. And in my perspective, I've been kind of shoring up a point of view and kind of where I see it going for marketers. In the next couple years, I see this layer of AI co -pilots, AI agents that are running a lot of these knowledge worker tasks as it pertains to marketing, drafting up that initial blog post, putting together ideas for a campaign rather autonomously. So kind of thinking like, how does my role as a marketer change when I have these autonomous AI -powered agents doing a lot of the knowledge work that I might have done manually or my team might have done manually on a normal basis? And how do we need to start preparing for that? Not it's going to happen tomorrow, but start looking where the puck is going and start to build like, what do we need to change organizationally in order to facilitate that structure? What tools do we need to use in order to start getting towards that gap that you have to bridge across? So I think that's kind of where it is. Look at where we're going to be over the next couple of years, at least as far as you can see when you squint and as you hear what people are saying, and how can we start building now for that future? We're still serving your customers with what they're used to today. Don't go all in like that. Think of what that transition strategy looks like. Thank you.

Ron Green: Absolutely. The way I think about it, and you mentioned this in your analogy, is, you know, these generative AI tools within marketing are kind of like co -pilot for coding, right? And I think it's interesting that both marketing and software development have maybe been affected the most by these generative AI tools day -to -day, right out of the gate. And, you know, they're obviously very different domains, but you're talking about generating content based upon some context, right, within software. It's whatever code you're trying to write. And I feel like both of these tools, or maybe I should say it like this, generative AI tools within both those domains are kind of at the same place, meaning co -pilot within software development is massively helpful as sort of maybe a recommendation or autocomplete, but you definitely don't want to use it to just generate code, not look at it and release it. Do you have any advice for people out there on the marketing side to balance sort of expectations versus reality? Like, where do you think we are right now on this path towards more powerful generative AI capabilities in marketing?

Al Biedrzycki: Yeah, I think, um, I think what's interesting is like when, you know, when ChatGPT got released about a year and a half ago and people like it was mind blowing in terms of what it could do for those who weren't quite familiar with where that the technology was going. It's like you put in a pro, wow, the output is holy moly. It's like somebody wrote this, like, and I think that sort of, you know, that sort of experience led people to kind of jump to conclusions for what they expected the software to be able to do. They're like, Oh wow, like it can do all this stuff. And maybe in the next couple of years it's going to get a lot closer to doing all the things that, you know, um, are very knowledge worker focused right now. But I think, you know, right now it's, it's kind of looking at it as, as a tool. It's like, you know, the, um, the calculator didn't make the mathematician obsolete. It made them focus on higher impact problems. So how could we view AI through that, that lens, you know, it being a tool for folks using it and setting the right expectations for, you know, what it's going to be able to do and what it's not going to be able to do. It's not going to give you a finished product right away. Um, it's to help you move faster to help you, you know, get to, um, you know, your goal more efficiently. Um, yeah.

Ron Green: Yeah, absolutely. I wanted to talk a little bit about authenticity as well. You know, one of the big fears out there that I see, I see a post on this probably maybe every week is that with generative capabilities now, we're at the end of human-based content creation and that the future is just going to be this flood of AI -based content. And do you have any thoughts on what that future might look like, what we can do to maintain authenticity as we're leveraging these tools?

Al Biedrzycki: Yeah, a lot of thoughts on that one. So I think, you know, I think first and foremost, like, there's largely a part of it that's out of our general control as like, you know, search engines kind of change and shift their algorithms to understand, you know, what makes good content when AI is part of the picture, right? Like, you know, I've heard updates recently on how they're going to start weighting AI generated content or content that has at least, you know, some component of it that's been AI generated in terms of rankings. And this part that's kind of out of our control is like, okay, let's understand how the SERPs are going to adjust and then, you know, adjust our strategies accordingly. So I think that's like, that's one component as it comes towards authenticity. It's like, we, as marketers don't have real control over what is going to be sort of our domain in terms of, you know, how we go to market, but we can stay abreast of those things and kind of understand and adjust our strategies accordingly. So I think authenticity is always important, but sometimes marketers are subject to their, like the constraints of their environment and kind of got to, you know, stay in tune with what those things are and how they need to adjust strategies.

Ron Green: Right, right. I think we're entering, at least in my lifetime, the second big disruptive wave within marketing. Obviously, the first was the dot -com bubble and this transition to an online presence. It radically affected the marketing landscape. I think that this next wave is going to be about as disruptive. Do you have any recommendations on skill sets that marketers need to be focused on from not just a corporate perspective but a personal perspective to maintain relevancy going forward?

Al Biedrzycki: Yeah, this is very topical for me, especially as it pertains to service providers in this space because I'm trying to build programming for marketing agencies and marketing service providers at Jasper. And the internet transformation and now the AI transformation, I think are very analogous in a lot of ways to your point. They had to reinvent themselves. I mean, the internet came along, right? They were doing newspaper ads, branding, and then digital came along and they're like, oh shoot, we got to learn stuff to be able to compete or else we're going to become extinct. So they learned web design, they learned SEO, they built services around them. And those are doors that opened up because the internet became a thing. And I think with AI, we need to be on the lookout for what those doors are opening in terms of AI and the skillsets that you need to be able to effectively thrive and grow your career or your professional skillset in this environment. So again, using that prognostication, if in like two years, there's this layer of AI agents or copilots, who's going to be training them? Who's going to be managing them? Who's going to be integrating them? I think that's probably where the puck is going to start skidding towards, especially as it pertains to service providers. It's like, no longer are you going to be able to charge for the work that you did producing content and building campaigns because AI agents can probably take the heavy lifting out of that. So think about how you're going to transform your service offerings to that new world and think about it through that lens.

Ron Green: Yeah, it's exciting, but also a little bit of an anxious time, I imagine, for marketers right now, because things are moving so quickly. I want to ask you just a couple more questions. Any common misconceptions that you run into around the abilities of marketers to leverage generative AI in certain scenarios? Or do you find that most people come to the table and they're pretty buttoned up. They understand what capabilities they have at hand.

Al Biedrzycki: I think we're so early on, even for senior leadership who's still trying to wrap their head around, what does it mean? I think at the surface, people can understand the value of the technology, but I think there's an underlying misconception of you snap your fingers and you give to your team and it just works. But there's change management that needs to happen. I think there's going to be like, I think literal company functions are going to start to merge a little bit, like look at marketing and like BDRs, like the two adjacent functions at an organization. I think they might become one, like marketing might just absorb the BDR aspect when AI comes into the picture. And if I'm a CMO or a CRO and I'm thinking about that, it's like, geez, I might need to consolidate my team, I need to restructure it, especially if we're going to use an AI tool. So I think that is the big old long tail that people maybe aren't quite grasping just yet and are starting to say like, oh geez, this is actually not just a magic trick, this is actually something that's going to fundamentally change the DNA of my team and my organization. And I need to start learning how to shepherd us through this evolution effectively so we can come up better on the other side.

Ron Green: Right, right. I completely agree with that. I think that the effect on sort of marketing strategies, we're just barely at the beginning of that. You know, it's going to be just incredibly disruptive. And I think the next three years, we'll certainly see it in place. Al, this has been a fantastic conversation. I want to ask you one more thing before I let you go, which is our parting question, which is, if you could have AI automate anything in your daily life, what would you go for?

Al Biedrzycki: Wow. Um, so the first thing that it can do that I was just very, like grateful for was like helping me write a press release as a market earlier. I just hate writing press releases. And then I had to be like, Oh, I can just use AI to do the first. And like, that just gave me so much joy. But, um, Oh man, automate something in my daily life. You know what it would be? It would be, um, it would be food planning for the week. So we have a second kid on the way coming in April pretty soon. Um, and we have a toddler right now and I can't tell you how much time is spent like food prepping and planning, uh, you know, and just doing that. So I, I actually might just go and try to figure out how to build that thing because it probably can. I just, I need to kind of figure out how that can work because it just sucks up so much time.

Ron Green: Well, with two young children, you need all the help you can get. Well, good luck in April. That's exciting. And thank you for joining us this morning. It was a fantastic conversation. I really appreciate it, Al.

Al Biedrzycki: You got it. Thanks for having me. This was great.