Google’s $100B AI Marketing Fail is Just the Beginning

Google’s disastrous launch of their Bard AI tool, which cost them over $100B in market cap in two days, is just a very high profile example of the kinds of AI marketing fails we are going to see this year.

We recently wrote about how ChatGPT and other AI tools are going to change the marketing landscape, but Google’s stumble puts the spotlight on what other brands and marketers should avoid when it comes to using these tools.

AI Platforms Are Tools

ChatGPT, Bard, Midjourney—these are just tools. They are not replacements for your marketing team and the strategy guiding them. You cannot yet rely on them to create all of your content, develop your strategy, provide customer service, or even to provide correct answers or data you request.

The flood of new AI tools are an exciting, powerful development in general but especially in terms of what we do on the Internet and how we do it. Yet the same could be said for each evolutionary step forward we’ve seen with new social media platforms and tools, including smartphones and their ever-improving hardware and software. We still can’t rely on any one tool or platform to do our work or solve our problems. Perhaps one day, but not today.

The AI Fails You Must Avoid

Google’s stock price will bounce back from Bard’s troubled launch. They can afford to make these kinds of mistakes.

What’s truly troubling is that small businesses and brands are not going to learn from this and make much more costly mistakes.

What happens when you let AI write your next company blog post and it’s published with glaring factual errors or obvious biases?

What happens when an actual human photographer or graphic designer recognizes that your AI-generated images are just a poor rip off of their work?

What happens when your customer service AI chatbot gives the wrong answer or reveals explicit bias in a chat?

What happens when an overzealous CEO decides to save money by replacing their social media manager with AI generated strategy and content?

Most importantly, what happens when you experience an AI fail and have to explain it to your customers? Are you going to be able to bounce back as easily as one of the biggest companies on Earth?

This is Just the Beginning

Although these AI tools have been in development for a long time, we are just barely scratching the surface of what they can do and how we will use them. They are already  powerful, but we are still using some of the earliest generations of technology that will continue to become ubiquitous on social media, the Internet and the rest of our lives.

For now, use these tools just like you use any other—they are a resource to help you develop content, strategy and serve your customers and community.

The banner image for this blog post was created with the AI tool Midjourney by using prompts like “a Terminator in a business suit sitting behind a desk in a high rise corporate office” and “a Terminator in a business suit leading a board meeting at a high rise corporate office”.