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AI – Latest Insights, Applications, and Tools We Use

Nick Hupp

Nick Hupp is the Senior Digital Strategist at Proof Digital, a strategic and creative performance marketing agency partnering with organizations to create data-fueled marketing for tangible growth and ROI. As a data-driven professional, Nick has over five years of experience in digital marketing, content development, e-commerce, social media, and SEO. Nick’s proactive approach to industry trends and unwavering work ethic underscore his commitment to continual growth.

Meghan Lund

Meghan Lund is the Content Marketing Manager at Proof Digital, where she is instrumental in orchestrating SEO efforts and crafting bespoke strategies that propel clients toward resounding success. Meghan brings expertise in content marketing, digital marketing, and SEO, analyzing trends in organic traffic and conversion rates to optimize existing pages across websites. Before Joining Proof Digital, Meghan began her marketing career at a start-up company, boosting web page views by 72% and increasing sales by 26%.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Nick Hupp and Meghan Lund discuss AI’s impact on marketing and sales
  • Leveraging AI tools for content creation, research, and brainstorming
  • The importance of specific prompts and inputs to get accurate and relevant results
  • How is machine learning shaping online advertising
  • AI for content optimization, including voice tone, word choice, and SEO
  • The crucial role of predictive analysis in sports for predicting player actions and improving the viewing experience

In this episode…

Artificial Intelligence adoption in marketing is on the rise, with an estimated 84% of organizations globally implementing or planning to implement AI. As the pace of digital transformation accelerates, the demand for AI-driven solutions becomes more pressing than ever. From content creation to predictive analytics, businesses are witnessing a paradigm shift in efficiency and effectiveness. How exactly are firms leveraging AI to stay ahead in the digital race, and what tools are leading the charge?

Nick Hupp and Meghan Lund delve into the latest advancements in AI-driven marketing, including predictive analytics and machine learning. Stressing the importance of harmonizing AI-driven tools with human ingenuity, they underscore the pivotal role of tailored prompts and inputs in eliciting accurate and relevant AI-generated insights. With a keen focus on content creation, marketing strategy, and predictive analytics, they provide insights into their preferred AI tools, including Gemini, Chat GPT, Loom, and Google’s AI features. Nick and Meghan highlight the strategic utilization of AI for content ideation, research, and targeted advertising, accentuating its transformative impact on enhancing efficiency and precision. 

In this episode of Proof Point, Stacie Porter Bilger hosts Nick Hupp and Meghan Lund at Proof Digital to discuss emerging AI trends and tools shaping marketing strategies. They delve into the importance of data-driven insights, the profound impact of predictive analysis, their preferred AI tools, and the evolving content-creation landscape.

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by Proof Digital.

We are a strategic and creative performance marketing agency partnering with organizations to create data-fueled marketing engines that drive growth and deliver a tangible ROI.

Founded by Stacie Porter Bilger in 2012, Proof Digital employs a strategic marketing approach by blending today’s marketing tools like SEO, PPC, and paid social ads with traditional sales funnel processes.

Ready to get results? Visit https://proofdigital.com/ to learn more.

Interview Transcription: AI – Latest Insights, Applications, and Tools We Use

(0:02 – 0:16)

Welcome to the Proof Point Podcast, where we decode digital success, one click at a time. We share key takeaways fueled by data and insights that your team can implement today to drive growth. Now, let’s get started.

(0:20 – 0:50)

This is Stacie Porter-Bilger, your host for the Proof Point Podcast, where I feature B2B and D2C businesses and thought leaders sharing marketing tactics, tips, and sales strategies to kickstart your growth in a rapidly changing digital space. This episode is brought to you by Proof Digital. Proof Digital is a strategic and creative performance marketing agency where we partner with companies to create data-fueled marketing sales funnels.

(0:51 – 1:22)

Visit proofdigital.com to learn more. Today is going to be a fun day. I am here with two colleagues of mine, Nick Hupp and Meghan Lund. Nick is our SEO and digital marketing manager, and Meghan Lund is our SEO specialist and content specialist. We are going to chat about AI. It is a topic that everybody has on their mind.

(1:22 – 1:40)

We are at the forefront of it as a company and leveraging it from a marketing standpoint so that our clients benefit from this rapidly changing tool in the digital space. Welcome Nick and Meghan. Awesome.

(1:41 – 1:52)

Thanks for having me on. Yeah, awesome. Nick and Meghan, you guys are, I mean, we all on this call are a little bit, I hate to use the word nerds, but we love our data.

(1:52 – 2:05)

We love leveraging digital tools to help our clients grow. Things are changing rapidly as they do in the digital space, but faster than ever. AI is a game changer.

(2:07 – 2:26)

It doesn’t change the human component that we need from a marketing and sales component, but it can make it more efficient and accelerate it. Any high-level thoughts you have on where we are in AI and how quickly it’s changing on a day-to-day basis? Nick, you’re up. Oh, yeah.

(2:26 – 2:41)

Yeah, sure. It’s definitely a hot and trending topic. One rule of thumb I’ve had when working on SEO-related projects is write for humans and optimize for robots, and it feels like it’s in reverse with AI.

(2:42 – 3:39)

There’s a lot of use cases across the board in our world in digital marketing, and a couple that I’ve started to dabble in is predictive analytics, looking into different tools, how we can apply that, and then machine learning within advertising and things like that. Can you, what, not everybody might understand what predictive analytics is, but what is predictive analytics and as it relates to, I mean, the tool, I mean, AI and how that is accelerating that? Yeah, it’s really the use of data, algorithms, machine learning to identify likelihood outcomes based on data. So instead of like in Google Analytics, you look at past user behavior and you try to identify trends there, but now we’re allowed to look at predictive analytics and make decisions based on that.

(3:40 – 4:03)

So I think it’s going to be a big, big part of our analytics and marketing strategy going forward. Yeah, absolutely. And Meghan, from a content strategy, any other, I mean, it’s a critical tool as far as developing content in a strategic way, not necessarily copying what the AI generates because that’s bad.

(4:03 – 4:31)

Google punishes you for that, but any insights on what we’re seeing from AI and content? Sure. Yeah. I think about when I first started as a content marketer and everything was from scratch and now it just looks totally different because I can use AI to help me generate ideas or even help me build an outline for a blog and just kind of a tool that really expedites the process.

(4:32 – 4:49)

And then I’m still able to put the human in it and the brand voice in it, but it’s just overall more efficient and it’s a really helpful tool, especially when I have writer’s block. Right. So we’re able to predict the behavior of folks and how they responded.

(4:49 – 5:35)

We can get a little insight to the words in which they may or may use and then combine that with the overall sales strategy and the brand voice. When you have those tools, it’s just where in the past people would spend months trying to get that data where now we’re able to get that more rapidly and quickly and then test it with AI tools. I mean, Meghan, you use it for, like you said, you know, brainstorming headlines, which ones are, we test those all the time still, but now we’re rapidly changing and building out additional headlines, social posts, it helps with research too, right? Yeah, I’ve used it for even competitive research.

(5:35 – 5:59)

A tool like Gemini, you can paste a URL in there and it can analyze that URL. It can tell you about competitors. You can paste in multiple URLs and tell them to compare, you know, where can I find some gaps or where can I differentiate my client from their competitors? So just from a research standpoint, it’s covering bases that I wasn’t able to cover before.

(6:00 – 6:09)

Yeah. And the key piece to do it right, you have to have the right prompts. I mean, if you give, if it’s input, you’re still inputting information to get what you want.

(6:09 – 6:22)

So if you have the wrong prompts, you’re going to get wrong information. I know we were looking at some research for a client of ours, but then we had a conversation with the goals and then we understand, okay, we need to change the prompts. We needed to change some of the inputs.

(6:24 – 6:53)

So what are some, from your standpoint, and I want to come back to the data side here. So what are some thoughts on how you can make your prompt more specific? Yes, specific is key. So for example, instead of saying, write me a blog about solar panels, you need to say, I want a blog that is 750 words and has three sections, and I want it to cover the top three benefits of solar panels on my roof.

(6:53 – 7:10)

That’s going to give you a way more specific answer than the first question I asked it. And then if it still isn’t exactly what you want, you can still ask a question and you can still ask it to narrow it down. It remembers the conversation you’ve already had.

(7:10 – 7:26)

It remembers everything that you’ve already asked it to do, and it just keep honing in on until you get the result that you want. Absolutely. Nick, you’re seeing, I mean, we’ll talk about tools in a minute, but I know you’re looking at it in AI and analytics and ads.

(7:26 – 7:54)

What are some things that you’re seeing from that perspective on AI? Yeah, and just to follow up on the content thing, Meghan is the content guru here, but when working, there are tools like Jarvis, that Jasper, that are really great for Google ad headlines, descriptions, things like that. And you can adjust the tone of voice. But another use case is machine learning in advertising.

(7:55 – 8:55)

And Google and Facebook and other platforms really have taken advantage of that, whether it’s responsive search ad, showing the testing and showing the best performing content, or showing the ad to the audience that’s most likely to convert. So there’s been a lot of integration into those platforms with machine learning and AI. Yeah, and you see, when you’re leveraging those data points and machine learning, and Nick, I know when you’re seeing the ROAS on some of our clients that are just beyond any kind of standard, it’s a lot of just really leveraging machine learning to get up to the, you know, I don’t know, some of those, you know, nine times on ROAS on some of those campaigns, I know, and a lot of it has to do with just really understanding and leveraging those data points.

(8:56 – 9:19)

Yeah, and a really, really popular certain campaign type in Facebook is Advantage Plus. And that uses a lot of machine learning and the campaigns that we’ve launched with various clients using that campaign type, we’ve seen really, really great results like ROAS being as high as nine or 10x. And standards usually two to three.

(9:20 – 9:52)

Correct. And so this not only increases sales, but it leverages dollars to the best that a client can see, which is exciting, because, you know, you want to find quick wins for our clients and ways to leverage their investment in ads, especially with our small to medium sized companies that we work with. What are some of those favorite tools that you both use from an AI standpoint? I mean, it’s changing daily.

(9:53 – 10:10)

We’re testing things daily, it seems like we have a new tool of the week. But what are some of your favorites? Meghan, go ahead. Yeah, so since I am the content person, of course, I’m using it mostly for that.

(10:11 – 10:25)

And I’d say my top two tools that I use every day is Gemini and ChatGPT. And sometimes I even use both in tandem to see which one gives me a more desired result or just to compare results. But those are definitely my top two.

(10:26 – 10:40)

Awesome. Nick, you want to add a couple to those next? I know you use those two a lot. Yeah, and it’s, again, there are AI tools within the major platforms now like Google and Facebook, things like that.

(10:41 – 10:52)

So I use ChatGPT as well. There’s a Chrome extension, which is a browser that’s called Merlin, which is another AI tool which is useful. Yeah.

(10:53 – 10:59)

Ranked Math, which is an SEO tool, has some AI features now. Right. Just to name a couple.

(10:59 – 11:16)

Yep. Do you like Gemini? I like some of the results from Gemini too, but it’s, I mean, it’s not talked about as much as Chat, but they had some new releases as of late, so. I like it when I am writing content.

(11:16 – 11:34)

Sometimes though, I think ChatGPT is a little bit better at the idea generation. So that’s why I like to compare them, but I like Gemini. I think the best thing that it can do versus the free version of ChatGPT is analyze those URLs, because ChatGPT cannot do that.

(11:34 – 11:54)

So that is one difference that I’ve noticed. As Nick said, a lot of these already existing tools are incorporating an AI component, and I think that that’s really interesting to see, and that’s how some of these already existing tools are going to stay on top of the game, is by having those AI integrations. They do.

(11:55 – 11:59)

Absolutely. I mean, like you said, Zoom has it. We’re on Zoom today.

(11:59 – 12:17)

They have it. And Nick, you were talking about Loom. We use Loom from a standpoint of taping kind of educational things for our clients or our team members or sharing ideas or problem-solving, and what you saw, I mean, Loom is a great tool, and you were saying how great that was on its AI features currently.

(12:19 – 12:46)

Nick? Yeah, and it’s cost-effective when there are AI tools within the platforms that we currently use. You don’t have to pay for a third party for certain AI capabilities, which is nice. And one thing on ChatGPT versus Gemini, just ChatGPT itself, it’s funny how much of a difference you notice when you use ChatGPT 3 or 3.5 versus ChatGPT 4. Results are way better.

(12:47 – 12:50)

Game changers. Really. I mean, it’s not even the same.

(12:50 – 12:55)

It’s crazy. Yeah. And it’s only going to get more refined.

(12:55 – 13:20)

Of course, you know, our focus is on the marketing space. I mean, there’s lots of tools in how you leverage AI, and in the future, we’ll maybe even touch on some of those innovative ways AI is being used. But we use it from a standpoint of content, idea generation, research, predictive analytics, like you were talking about, Nick, to better target ads.

(13:21 – 13:41)

Anything else that I’m missing on that list? I mean, it’s a pretty big list, but obviously, it’s an idea generator. We’re going after target markets for our clients. We’re looking at kind of the pain points various markets might have of, you know, what their words are using.

(13:42 – 14:03)

So we’ll definitely work on brand development from that standpoint and getting to that, you know, what kind of problem you’re solving for the client so they get clicks and yeses. So any other things I’m missing on that? I think as the space continues to grow and evolve, we’re going to continue to learn more and more ways where we can use it to help streamline our processes. Yeah.

(14:04 – 14:21)

Voice, tone, words use, SEO will change and shift. And you’re still going to, I mean, everybody kind of, I mean, people are still searching for something and you still need to be the answer. And the words that you use when you begin the answer to get somebody to say yes still is relevant.

(14:22 – 14:39)

But it’ll look different all the time. But we’re using it for email subject lines, social media posts, blog titles, meta descriptions, lots of different things. Let’s talk about some fun things.

(14:42 – 15:05)

What are some ways you’ve used it from a final? I’ll put Meghan on the spot here first. And how have you used AI for just a few fun things? I keep chat GPT and Gemini pulled up as a tab on my phone because I use it in my everyday life. One way I’ve used it is for creating recipes.

(15:05 – 15:16)

You know, I’ve got too much of an ingredient in my pantry and I need to figure out a way to use it. So you can type in on a chat bot. These are all the ingredients I currently have.

(15:16 – 15:26)

What can I make with it? And it’ll actually give you the entire recipe. It’s awesome. I’ve used it to for maybe vacation planning.

(15:26 – 15:34)

Maybe you want to go to a couple of national parks on a road trip. You got five, six days or whatever. Just tell it what you want.

(15:34 – 15:41)

And then it builds itinerary for you. It can do a lot of really cool things. I like that.

(15:41 – 15:55)

Next time I travel, I know you’re a national park person. I’m a national park person. And so if I have three days, how do I optimize my time? So not only can we optimize content, we can optimize our time and where we spend it on a trip.

(15:55 – 16:19)

Nick, have you tested it on anything fun? Well, yeah, I think I’m a big sports fan. And what we’ve discussed in the past is how they’ve used predictive analysis in sports. If you watched football or NFL, when games were on Prime Video, Amazon Prime Video, they have predictive analysis based on data of what a player will do on a play.

(16:19 – 16:32)

And I think we’ll see a lot more of that rolled out across different sports and networks that televise them. So it was really cool to see that. I should have used that when I did my March Madness draft MMI picks.

(16:33 – 16:38)

I should have used it. I did not use AI for when I was doing my bracket. I should have used AI for my bracket.

(16:38 – 16:54)

But, yeah, those who I know who love to get involved in betting on some of those, they probably shouldn’t be looking at predictive analytics for sports teams. Anyway, that could be dangerous. We do live in a state where it’s legal, so it’s OK.

(16:54 – 16:58)

That’s right. That’s what we do. So if you don’t live in the state, we want to look at your state laws before you do that.

(16:59 – 17:16)

But anyway, it’s fun. It’s fun to use it. But we use it from a standpoint of improving our effective processes and efficient processes so that we can make a bigger dent for our clients.

(17:17 – 17:50)

And really what this does help, it helps a small to medium sized company that might not be able to afford that talent in-house. And so, really, this is, from my standpoint, it’s a really good way to leverage the playing field on some data pieces that everybody now has access to if you know how to use it properly or use a company like ours to help you use it. And, again, we use it every day to get results quicker and faster.

(17:51 – 18:16)

Any other thing we want to mention today on AI? Again, this is the first of many topics on AI. Any passing thoughts of what to watch in the coming months? I think it’s just the sheer amount of growth and ubiquitousness in the past year. I mean, two years, but it’s everywhere now.

(18:17 – 18:58)

It’s in every industry. It’s starting to be used within certain big platforms, like you said, Zoom and Amazon, things like that. Yeah.

Meghan? Yeah, I think I echo the fact that it’s just an efficiency tool. I think that some might say that it’s scary and that AI is coming for your jobs, but I’m not scared of it because it’s a tool that I use, that I manage to make me more efficient at what I do and to make me produce more with less time. So I love it.

(18:58 – 19:11)

I can’t wait to see where it goes and how it continues to evolve. Yeah, I would agree. I mean, I get that there’s always, anytime you have new technology that come out, there are bad players who leverage it in a bad way.

(19:12 – 19:35)

We’re embracing it from a standpoint. I mean, cars, the computer, social media, no matter what, all those types of things have had the bad actors who take advantage of the technologies. We’re using it from a standpoint of helping our clients, nonprofits, our for-profits, our e-commerce sites to grow and to have an economic impact.

(19:36 – 20:08)

So it’s a great tool that will help our clients grow if they know how to use it right or use us to help them leverage it so they are more efficient and effective, especially using predictive analytics like we love, to look at the data. Because, Nick, you and I and Meghan, we all know that if you really look at the data, it tells a story, and now the data is telling a better story. So when we use that story and that data, only good things can happen.

(20:08 – 20:12)

So it’s an exciting time. Absolutely. Okay.

(20:12 – 20:42)

Well, this is one of many from a standpoint of talking about AI. Thanks, Nick and Meghan, for joining me today. You’ve been listening to Proof Point Podcast. We’ll see you next time. Thank you. Thanks for listening to the Proof Point Podcast. We’ll see you again next time, and be sure to click subscribe to get future episodes.

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