Me vs. ChatGPT

Just for fun, I decided to compare myself to ChatGPT (v. 3.5). So, I posed this fairly generic question: In 200 words, tell me the single biggest opportunity for FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) brands over the next five years. I wrote my 200 words, then I put this question to ChatGPT. Here are the two answers, mine first. I’ll give you my two cents worth on the differences, but you be the judge.

Here we go.

J. Walker Smith: “Over the next five years, all things health will transform FMCG. This is not wholly new, but it will play out in bigger ways.

“To begin with, the new class of GLP-1 weight loss drugs will change habits, behaviors and expectations. These drugs need only scale to critical mass to have a big impact, which they are sure to do notwithstanding costs and side-effects.



“Wearable devices have hit critical mass already, but most applications have been sports related. Data and privacy concerns have been a big hold-up, but those issues will work themselves out as better applications are introduced. Particularly applications that utilize AI to personalize feedback and regimens.

“Mental health has become a much bigger concern since the pandemic, especially for young people. The debate over this goes well beyond FMCG, but like anything involving wellbeing, there will be tie-ins to supplements, foods and retail experiences.

“Gen Z is now coming of age. Health has been front and center for them all their lives (pandemic, anxiety, vaccines, etc.). Boomers are headed into the challenges of aging, so health will be bigger for them, too.

“And the pandemic raised the bar on being watchful and proactive about health, so caution will linger for everyone.”

ChatGPT 3.5: “The single biggest growth opportunity for global FMCG brands over the next five years lies in leveraging digital transformation to enhance customer engagement and personalized experiences. With the rapid adoption of e-commerce, social media, and emerging technologies like AI and AR, brands have an unprecedented opportunity to connect with consumers on a deeper level.

“One key avenue is through data-driven insights. By analyzing consumer behavior, preferences, and purchasing patterns, FMCG brands can tailor products, marketing strategies, and distribution channels to meet evolving demands. This includes offering personalized recommendations, targeted advertising, and optimizing supply chain efficiencies.

“Moreover, embracing direct-to-consumer (DTC) models enables brands to bypass intermediaries, establish direct relationships with customers, and capture valuable first-party data. This facilitates greater control over branding, pricing, and product innovation, fostering brand loyalty and repeat purchases.

“Additionally, sustainability and social responsibility are becoming increasingly important factors influencing consumer choices. FMCG brands can capitalize on this trend by prioritizing eco-friendly practices, transparent sourcing, and ethical production methods, appealing to conscientious consumers and differentiating themselves in the market.

“In summary, the convergence of digital technology, data analytics, and sustainability presents a transformative opportunity for FMCG brands to drive growth by delivering personalized experiences, fostering consumer trust, and staying ahead of evolving market trends.”

I have three takeaways on this side-by-side experiment.

First, in my answer, I’m trying to get past consensus thinking while ChatGPT can only report consensus thinking. Second, I am more focused on the environment external to marketing while ChatGPT is focused more on changes in marketing assets. Third, I am looking for opportunities that go somewhat beyond extrapolating current trends while ChatGPT is stepping through the impact of things already in place and underway.

ChatGPT and other generative AI technologies are rule-bound thinkers. They excel with structured outcomes based on structured inputs and structured queries. But this strength is also their weakest point, at least for now. This sort of AI depends on somebody else making the connections first, then it can find those connections and report them quickly.

AI is the perfect way to catch up and stay current. But without meaning to pat myself on the back -- apologies -- it is not yet the best way to rethink received wisdom and stay a step ahead. Perhaps that’s coming. For now, that remains the human part of the human-plus world of AI.

5 comments about "Me vs. ChatGPT".
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  1. Stephen DiMarco from SDM, April 3, 2024 at 12:47 p.m.

    Walker - Quoting Talladega Nights - With all due respect, your content above falls below the high bar you have successfully set over your career.  Comparing your refined response to the reponse you received from a vague, single prompt is misleading and potentially negligent. Since you are an incredibly gifted and influential futurist, please read up on LLMs, prompts, etc. Quite a few people, especially those who are in the business of providing insights-based recommendations to C-Level business leaders, are taking their game - and their clients' games - to the next level through GAI. You may need to play some catch-up!

  2. Michael Lynn from ECD Consulting, April 3, 2024 at 1:52 p.m.

    Stephen, agreed. I have read several "competitions" and the issue is always the same. The prompt is broad sounding and the bot gives a farily lengthy and comprehensive answer. But the human narrows their response and gets into certain details that a better prmpt (or even the simple promt I ofetn use, "Contniue") might have elicited.

  3. M Gingrich from GI, April 4, 2024 at 9:27 a.m.

    It's pretty well established that AI regurgitates and does not actually innovate itself - they are, for the most part, all based on stolen, existing information. Ask a simple question, get a simple (but smart sounding) answer. The trouble with the original query is that you're expecting the LLM and model to predict what's next, what could be or really "think" through a SWOT analysis. Those are some long odds.

  4. Jim Meskauskas from Media Darwin, Inc., April 4, 2024 at 9:56 a.m.

    In ChatGPT's response, one can replace "FMCG" with "QSR," "automotive," "pharmaceutical," or any other category and the answer would hold. The response consists of vague marketing corporateese boosterism. Perhaps a better prompt would get a better response.

  5. Joel Rubinson from Rubinson Partners, Inc., April 4, 2024 at 10 a.m.

    I'm pretty sure ehrenberg Bass would disagree with ChatGPT's response, so not banal at which I would say, "ChatGPT 1, EBI 0."

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