Caution Needed in AI Adoption for Digital Marketing: Understanding the Limitations of ChatGPT

While ChatGPT does seem like an attractive and cost-effective content-generating tool, the human element of digital marketing is simply too valuable for law firms to overlook.

The arrival of ChatGPT, OpenAI’s free content-generation tool, has experts and authorities across multiple industries discussing how it will impact—or completely reshape—the act of writing. Educators are wondering how ChatGPT will affect their classrooms, while political watchdogs are expressing their concerns about how this technology could generate and disseminate biased or downright false information. So, what about the digital marketing landscape? Can law firms use ChatGPT to handle all of their marketing needs, rendering the need to work with a marketing service obsolete? Before you scrap your current digital marketing strategy and go all in on ChatGPT, let’s take a look at the limitations and potential pitfalls of entrusting your legal marketing needs to this new technology. While ChatGPT does seem like an attractive (and much cheaper) tool, the human element of digital marketing is simply too valuable to overlook.

Understanding the Basics of ChatGPT

First, it’s important to understand how ChatGPT works. Founded in 2015, OpenAI introduced its GPT-3 technology, including an AI text generator. Since then, the company has upgraded the program to a GPT-3.5 version and is currently working on version 4.0. When users seed information and topics into this tool, ChatGPT is able to access enormous amounts of content to generate “new” content. However, the current algorithm can only access information from 2021 and earlier, meaning that the most cutting-edge or evolving information may not be available to this tool. For instance, if there has been a significant policy change in the area of law you practice, don’t assume that ChatGPT will be able to access or use the most up-to-date information to generate content.

Recognizing ChatGPT’s Limitations

In addition to not accessing the latest developments and trends in real-time, ChatGPT also faces other limitations when it comes to digital marketing. Below are just a few potential challenges law firms could face by relying on ChatGPT to generate digital marketing content.

Questioning the Accuracy of Information

One of the most impressive aspects of ChatGPT is how quickly it can generate new content by drawing from an almost unfathomable number of sources and information. However, the quality and accuracy of the information the tool relies upon remain questionable. Users have reported occasional issues in this area, as it sometimes struggles to decode certain information or confirm its accuracy. Attorneys should be wary of ChatGPT’s ability to compose high-quality, reliable content discussing legal matters, as the tool may not recognize more nuanced laws or legal procedures. If you do play around with ChatGPT, review the content to assess whether it presents factual and accurate information about the legal topic in question.

Beware of Stiff or Stilted Emotions

AI tools still struggle with the emotional aspects of writing. While ChatGPT may be able to generate a brief overview of a legal topic, you should review the content from the perspective of a potential client. An effective digital marketing strategy recognizes the importance of connecting with site visitors on an emotional level—most people in need of legal representation want to feel reassured and comforted by their attorney. If you use ChatGPT to write content for your law firm’s website, blogs, or newsletters, you risk coming off as removed and even stilted. Potential clients may not know that you used ChatGPT to generate the content, but they may just get the impression that something feels “off” about the words, tone, or cadence. When it comes to writing content that connects with clients, there is no replacement for genuine human emotion.

Underdeveloped Reasoning Skills

While AI tools like ChatGPT are quite impressive in how quickly they can synthesize information in response to virtually any topic, they have no sense of the big picture. Humans can step back from what they’re doing to focus on the larger goal, but ChatGPT merely accesses information and strings it together as best as it can—sometimes leading to inconsistencies or contradictions from sentence to sentence. As humans weave together a new piece of content, they can recognize conflicting information and determine how to synthesize various sources in a logical way. ChatGPT is far more limited in its ability to take nuanced information, evaluate the accuracy or reliability of each source, and compose a coherent, non-contradictory response. Legal professionals may find glaring inconsistencies or inaccuracies in content generated by ChatGPT.

What’s Next for AI and Digital Marketing for Law Firms?

It’s exciting to see how AI tools like ChatGPT can be used across various industries. As with any new technology, a “proceed with caution” approach is usually best. Before your law firm goes all in on ChatGPT (or swears never to use content-generating tools like this, ever), you should consider your goals and purpose in using (or not using) these tools. There are times you may want to create a short, informative post about a legal topic—why not see what ChatGPT comes up with? However, be sure to review it and tweak it to ensure it reflects your law firm’s brand, mission, and voice. You will likely find that clients gravitate toward posts and content that has that human touch; forging emotional connections with clients is still the root of the most effective digital marketing strategy.

If you are interested in learning more about how to maximize your law firm’s digital marketing strategy, give LegalRev a call today at (800) 893-2590.

February 20, 2023