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Whose Line is it Anyway? How Higher Ed Marketers can Utilize ChatGPT

Amusing yet astonishing, AI chatbot Chat GPT has taken social media by storm with conversations and concerns surrounding its capabilities. Having gained an astounding million-plus users five days after its release, its popularity speaks to its potential to revolutionize the field of higher education and content development as we know it.

Setting the Stage for GPT Technology

One month into the charming chatbot’s rise to fame, the New York Times set the marquee: “Social media’s newest star is a robot: a program called ChatGPT that tries to answer questions like a person.” Chat GPT has become a viral sensation with users capturing its ability to instantly generate code, copy, compositions, and even comedy sketches.

In fact, upon opening this newest iteration of the Open AI model, this quippy exchange entertained me while I waited for it to load:

Write a comedy routine about the status of chat GPT:

Comedian: “So I was trying to use this new AI chatbot website called ChatGPT and I got an error message that said ‘A lot of people are checking out ChatGPT right now. Please check back soon!'”

(pauses for laughter)

Comedian: “I mean, seriously? The website is so popular that it can’t handle all the traffic? And my only option is to ‘check back soon’? It’s like they’re saying ‘Sorry, we’re too popular right now. Try again later.'”


Comedian: “I guess I’ll just have to stick to talking to my cat for now. At least he doesn’t have a waiting list.”

(laughs and claps)

Upon loading, my first question to Chat GPT was to tell me about itself:

ChatGPT is a large language model trained by OpenAI to generate text in a conversational style. It is based on the GPT-3 model, which is a state-of-the-art language processing system that has been trained on a massive amount of text data from the internet. ChatGPT is specifically designed to generate natural-sounding responses to user input, making it suitable for use in chatbots and other conversational applications.

GPT-3 is an artificial intelligence tool that can understand and generate human-like language. It works by breaking down text into smaller pieces called “embeddings” which represent the meaning of each word in a given context. These embeddings allow the AI to understand how words relate to each other and generate output that is coherent and relevant to the input it receives. The Transformer architecture used in GPT-3 is more efficient than previous systems like Recurrent Neural Networks and LSTM at understanding the relationships between words.

Higher Ed & GPT: Whose Line is it Anyway?

Dear Marketer, if you have read this far and are concerned with how much remains to be seen with the ever-advancing GPT technology, we hear you. Though the speed and skill of this sensational chatbot are impressive, content marketers must exercise prudence and careful attention in employing this technology. However, we invite you to view Chat GPT and other emergent AI tools as collaborators rather than competitors in your quest to advance your institutional mission.

For illustration, you can better understand this dynamic by calling to mind the famous improv comedy show Whose Line Is it Anyway? A favorite sketch of Whose Line was “Scenes in a Hat;” The premise was simple: scenes were randomly pulled out of a hat (all audience suggestions, at that) and all of the performers had to act them out.

As marketers, this is often the task that we feel we are given – to take a narrative and run with it. If Chat GPT was our co-star on this show, sure, it may generate a script or sketch quicker than we might have, analyzing millions of transcripts with its sheer machine genius, but we as human marketers understand best what emotional appeals make for a compelling story. It is our own flair and finesse that elevates copy to stories and headlines to invitations to engage with our communities.

Marketing is both a science and art, so collaborating – rather than competing with – artificial intelligence may help us to automate and scale our efforts to engage with prospective students. Nevertheless, the matter remains that the betterment and advancement of education is our priority, regardless of the additional costs that may present.

4 Reasons to Share the Stage with AI in Higher Ed Marketing

Artificial intelligence ought to serve as a supplement, not a substitute, to the efforts of higher ed marketers. Here are four tactics for cultivating and communicating value with the help of Chat GPT.

1. Improve efficiency and productivity for higher ed marketers.

Across all mediums, the demand for quality content marketing is increasing. Potential students often embark on an “information mission” through multiple platforms and channels. Consequently, marketers are challenged with divesting time from other marketing functions to emulate their brand voice and messaging. When utilized judiciously, Chat GPT can assist with content syndication and elevate the sophistication of brand messaging.

2. Create personalized recommendations for potential students based on their interests and goals.

Program finders and academic interest tools are incredibly common on higher education websites since they empower students to explore their interests to more clearly envision themselves in that community. ChatGPT can help supplement these tools so that students can explore topics more deeply. For example, if a potential student is interested in pursuing a degree in computer science, ChatGPT could recommend relevant programs, clubs, and student stories to entice them in learning more.

3. Create targeted marketing campaigns that are tailored to specific groups of potential students.

Identifying where prospective students and families are in the admissions funnel is difficult enough, nevertheless taking the time and energy to craft an individualized offer or invitation. Chat GPT could be leveraged to respond to this dilemma. For instance, if the school is trying to attract students who are interested in sustainability, Chat GPT could be used to craft messages that highlight the school’s commitment to environmental issues and the ways in which students can get involved in sustainability initiatives on campus.

4. Engage with potential students in a more informal and conversational way, through social media platforms like Twitter or Instagram.

As marketers, perfecting the tone and style of our institution’s brand voice can prove difficult across platforms, since each caters to an audience of different preferences. With specified parameters and a thorough review, ChatGPT could be used to create engaging and humorous posts or replies that showcase the school’s personality and culture.

In Summary:

Overall, ChatGPT has the potential to transform higher education marketing by providing a powerful new tool for communication, personalized marketing, and advertising. By using ChatGPT to engage with potential students and create targeted marketing campaigns, educational institutions can better reach, attract and retain the right students for their programs.

One thing we know for sure is that technology of this nature will only continue to proliferate as time marches on. To ignore or dismiss it as a viable tool to be harnessed for the betterment of your institution is a mistake that will leave you in the rearview mirror of technological ‘progress.’ Regardless if you love it, hate it, think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, or have grave ethical concerns, it’s important for anyone who calls themselves a professional marketer or communicator to not only be aware of it, but understand how it works and how it could benefit you, your team, and the institution you serve.

Are you interested in learning more about how you can utilize AI in your marketing efforts? Let us know, we’d love to be part of the conversation.


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