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AI and the Future of Digital Marketing – Thomas Helfrich
AI Agent

Can a bot market better than you can? Probably not, at least not today, but AI can help you become a better, more effective marketer now.  “AI Nerd” Thomas Helfrich gives us a closer look at what AI can do, the tools that are available, and how to put it into your workflow and content marketing process.

 

Rich: My guest today is a self-described AI nerd and CEO and founder of Instantly Relevant. He’s a B2B influencer marketing technology guru, business innovator, podcast host, and GTM mentor. He brings incredible energy, sincerity, and leadership to every customer and employee. And today we’re going to be delving into artificial intelligence – AI – and content creation with Thomas Helfrich. Thomas, welcome to the show.

Thomas: Thank you for having me. I need to work on that intro for you. I think it should just be, “This guy smells nice.”

Rich: But see, we don’t know that. That’s just your word that you smell nice. We’re not in the same room.

Thomas: Onions are delicious smelling when you cook them, right?

Rich: Absolutely. The whole trick is you just make sure that your significant other is eating the same meal as you. So if they have garlic and you have garlic, or they have fish and you a fish, it’s all good.

Thomas: And you never, ever take fish or broccoli to the office. For those who’ve really never gone to an office before because of Covid, young people, listen, don’t ever do it. Don’t bring fish, don’t bring broccoli, and don’t cook it in the microwave. You’re rude.

Rich: Yeah, that’s probably good advice for sure. Hey, so what was your pathway to artificial intelligence? Just to shift gears here for a second.

Thomas: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you, by the way, for having me on. I’m flattered to be invited here. The ‘AI Nerd’ was available for $8.99 on GoDaddy, so I bought it. That’s the answer. I was like, man, I better figure out how to spell ‘AI’. No, listen I’m born outta the .com time. I definitely remember myself being a better developer than I was. But I’ve always spoken pretty well about technology. And in particular the little trick of speak to it in an executive level, business application, purpose. And then in the same conversation, same meaning, to be able to explain the tech technical aspects of it to delivery or implementation or change management. Takes you down the consulting career path when you can do that.

In the last about 10 years or so, I developed a high expertise for intelligent automation, AI innovation systems in particular, applying those technologies or those solutions to existing business problems or new ones that have come up because of other technologies. So my experience on the AI side is certainly on the solving of a business problem for the purposes of outcome, how you buy it, how your organization does a center of excellence, change management around it, and how do you apply some principles of automation to those to enable it to go further, faster? Less so maybe on the data science, machine learning, real nerdy stuff.

But in that thing, I was like, somebody called me an “AI nerd” once, and I typed it in and I’m like, hey, look at that. It’s available. So I bought it.

Rich: All right. So when you are at a cocktail party, or wherever you may network and stuff like that, and somebody says, “So what is AI?” How do you define AI to the average person out there?

Thomas: It’s everything we can’t do in technology that we think we can. No. So AI, I explain it very simply. It’s a combination of systems to solve a very narrow, deep problem, and they require lots of data. It requires some incredible computing power. And in particular, it still needs to be human led.

Rich: All right. And I think that’s going to be a recurring theme today. Why should we consider AI when we are creating content or engaging in content marketing? Shouldn’t our content marketing be human to human?

Thomas: It is, right? So I agree with you. Content marketing is absolutely human to human. With some exceptions of maybe narrative manipulation, where large scale things are created to manipulate an algorithm to reshare. But for the most part, humans are doing content to content at a human. Where AI I think plays in, and I know you know this as well, is it’s in the acceleration of the content creation, it’s in the acceleration of the curation, or spell checking, or tonality of that content, the titling. It’s just general relevance if you will, discover on what people are searching for. So it’s an accelerator and not, I personally wouldn’t trust AI to write content and blindly put it out autonomously. It has to have a human in the lead.

Rich: All right. So tell me a little bit, let’s take a step back. Just tell me a little bit about Instantly Relevant and how you work with your clients, and then how AI is a part of what you’re doing.

Thomas: Yeah. I love the opportunities for shameless plugs, so thank you. So in the marketing swimming pool, we do two swim lanes really well, we really try to stay in those. Which is creating things that could be, we call it content, but that sometimes has a narrow label. So anything from pitch deck, sales decks, things that go on social media, post carousels, video, audio what we don’t do, we don’t do landing pages typically. We don’t do websites typically. We use partners that know that stuff better because we know our swim lane and what we do really well. Which is creating content for the purposes of prospects or customers, interact with it at a social media level.

And the other piece we do is we manage social media. And when we do those things together, we drive engagement organically on content, either be yours or the stuff we’ve created. We take the absolute time savings that it’s needed for founders and entrepreneurs and startups and other companies. We just take over that hand on plow activity. If you don’t plow the field, you don’t plant food, you don’t eat, but you’ve got to do it. But it takes an incredible amount of time. So we make sure we take those things on, do it professionally, do it customized, and stay in those two swim lanes, and then work with partners like yourself to do some of the other pieces that we just don’t do.

Rich: And so how much of your day-to-day work, or your team’s day-to-day work, is working with AI to generate this content and all this other sort of work?

Thomas: Yeah. I appreciate you bringing back the question, I to the answer the AI portion to this. So I’ll back up just a second and I will answer it. I found that our customer, we used to lead with AI, “Hey, we do AI…”. It not only shut off half the market of the people who cared about us, because people are afraid of it. The other half who really weren’t afraid of it, don’t care.

And what I found was just through some asking plus class customers and other prospects, no one cares. They don’t care if you’re using AI or not. What they care about is good content at a really good price that has high value, and that you’re doing the things you say you’re going to do to help generate inbound interest or leads or whatever. So we took it out of the initial story, and it’s become part of the ‘how’. And we use it to summarize articles and blogs and other things we like. We use it to check for plagiarism. We use it to do note taking, doing interviews or summarization of videos, or better titling, or just SEM rush, like those types of things. We leverage a bunch of these technologies because we find our customers have technology fatigue in trying to figure out which ones they should use for writing, Jasper or this or that or Otter, and it’s just fatigued.

So we take that into a black box and know which is the best ones to use in the right time, which accelerates our teams to go faster and more consistent, more on point. And that delivers a better product in a more timely fashion for the customer, which is what they care about.

Rich: Now that you’re not leading with the AI message, do you ever get pushback from people after they started working for you? That’s like, “Why am I paying you and why am I not just paying the computers?”

Thomas: It happens. And we actually tell people if you have people lined up to go do it, you should do it yourself. What we provide is that moment when you can no longer scale it without hiring. And so I tell founders, and it’s typically smaller companies, you should do it yourself for a while if you have the bandwidth to do it. To learn your brand voice, to learn what your messaging is, your unique offerings and your differentiators are. And once you have a grip on that and you’ve gotten customers in that, that’s when it’s time to scale. That’s when you need to go higher or partner to take it to the next level. Because you can’t do all of it.

My own personal story, right? 30 hours a week in social media for a long time and then get the team set up and done it. And now I’ve scaled way beyond that because I have headspace to go do customer acquisition podcasts, things like that. You don’t have the time when you’re just living in the weeds with doing this stuff or you forget to do it. That’s the other piece.

Rich: I’m brought back to an early memory of me running my company and having a client, after we had built his website out, telling me that he didn’t feel like he should have to pay the full bill. And I’m like, “Why, exactly?” He goes, “Because I understand you used Dream Weaver, a website builder at the time, to build this website. You didn’t do it yourself.” And I was just stunned. I’m like, “Would you complain if somebody built your house and they used power tools rather than handheld tools?”

So I think it’s one of these things where I understand that people might get excited by AI, but you’re using it in such a way that it’s just helping you. So really, does it matter whether you’re using this tool or not, as long as you’re getting these results?

Thomas: Absolutely. And if one individual or a company used all the tools we use in a month, they’d be spending about a thousand dollars a month to leverage all the things we put together distributively to all our customers to get it done right and to get it done at the right moment.

Because not every week do you need the AI, the GPT3, or every week you need an SEO title. You need them in different moments. And so you can go spend these licenses yourself. You’re right, you should. If you can get them all done and you can just look at it and it can read your mind, by all means, let me know and I’ll sign up for that as well.

I love this by the way. I love when I get these Facebook ads. I love Facebook ads, because that’s where they get me for LinkedIn to go check some. I don’t know why I’m never on Facebook. When I’m there though, I’m excited to see the ads. And the one I love is “all your marketing done for you for $99”. And I’m just like, what poor soul is signing up for this. It’s not even possible. And people might be like, “No, it is.” It is not. And getting custom, and you’ve been doing this for plenty of years – not going to date you – but don’t you love that when you see that and people are abusing what they’re saying with technology to get all… it just comes out flat sometimes.

Rich: I’m glad you think it’s funny. I sometimes just get angry about it because it just means that we have to spend more time educating people on really how much work marketing actually is.

Thomas: I don’t think you have to educate people. I really think you just let them fail and then they come back and they just shake their head like, “No, I didn’t do that.” They wouldn’t admit that they spent $99 on it. That’s why I find it funny.

Rich: That does happen to me quite often. Or their brother-in-law turned out he didn’t know as much as he thought he did. So I was going to ask you how AI fits into content creation and can we just set it and forget it?

We’ve already learned you cannot set it and forget it. So can you walk me through, I don’t know if it’s the tools you use or the process you use, but how can a digital marketer these days use AI to generate better and more and scale up their content?

Thomas: Yeah. I’m not going to name tools because by the time this airs and it’s six months from now and someone’s going through your old ones and will be like, “Hey, that tool’s done.” But I will give you the concepts that we apply at least.

First of all, before you write a single piece of content, social media, blog, anything, it has to be tied to a very distinct, narrow, deep business goal. I want to do X by this and this, and defining maybe three goals. You don’t need a ton, but you need to have a small handful that are 12 months out but can do a path from next 30 and need to do this next, and back up. That goal is one. Because once you have the goal, then it determines who your audience is and where they live, what social media platform they are, or where they exist in person or not. And once you have that, then you know what kind of content to go create and where it needs to exist. So now you’re two things, three things, layers in before you thought about what content needs to be created or where it needs to be created, and what the length is, and what the engagement model of that content should look like, the cadence, the editorial calendar.

Then now we’re onto like, okay, let’s create some content and what are the visuals? What are the brand? Have you done all that work? And if you haven’t, that’s got to be done before you’ve written a piece of content. And now we’re back into, okay, we have the brand, we have what the goal is, we know where it needs to live, we know how we’re going to use it and how often. How do we accelerate this content now that we spent all this great strategy time? Which this is like maybe you could do this in a week or less if you got it down. But how do we go accelerate the content to be as agile as possible, to be as high volume, high quality?

This is where the AI comes in, and there are certain GPT AI writing companies that do things better than others because they’re modeled differently. So knowing when to use some for post versus titling, versus summarization versus maybe longer form. There are other technologies that enable that are like the note takers of the world, the captioners, the summaries and the titling, let’s say of SEO. And then there’s other things like data lists and technologies that helps scrape data from LinkedIn or other people to get more of your CRM in line and figure out what kind of content they should be leveraging. So those are the technologies that come in the weeds, where there’s lots of little things going on and those become the accelerators, but you only do them in the context of chasing a goal. And if you can’t line it up to the goal and it doesn’t line up to revenue today or revenue tomorrow, so you don’t do it. And you just don’t do it for vanity, you don’t do it for followers and likes. Unless your business is getting followers and likes, there is no reason to get a follower, like, or a view unless it’s tied to a goal that’s got a number on it.

Rich: You mentioned GPT. Can you define what that is? I’m not familiar with that.

Thomas: I actually don’t know what the thing stands for.

Rich: Oh, okay.

Thomas: GPT3 is an AI writing tool. It’s from OpenAI. And OpenAI has different models. It allows for really powerful language generation, basically what it is, natural language generation. There are free versions of it, sorry, open-source versions of it, I should say and other things. But there’s a lot of companies out there today in 2022, late 2022, it’s the Jaspers, the Craftlys, these types of things, any words of the world. Those are built upon the same technology, and they have great power but all have the same limitations.

Now, this GPT4, which is the next version coming, or five, or these other ones that are coming out on the nerdy side. Those will get more and more powerful, and they’ll get more and more distinguishable. And then it’ll expand the other things you’ve already seen, like deep fakes. And so deep fakes aren’t all bad. There’s actually some cool stuff you can do with that. But this is where AI starts playing a huge automation part that’s going to be just complete fatigue is emails and videos of things that say, “Hey John, it’s you”, but you just said the word “John” like two months ago and it’s plugging it into a video. It’s a lot. I think you’re going to see a big revert back to people still just being authentic. I don’t know about you. I’ll be quiet a second, I’ll ask you a question. Have you seen the social media algorithms pull back to really favor more authenticity of humans from the phone that you can tell it’s actually them versus the amount of bots that are hitting social media?

Rich: To be honest, I have pulled back from social media in many ways. Like I just spend time on LinkedIn. I occasionally go to Twitter for news. But I just, I got social media fatigue, so I’m not using it the way that I used to. So I may not be the best person to answer this.

But it does sound like… so I remember the first time I saw AI content created out in the wild. I was visiting somebody’s website and at the bottom of the article it said, “This article was created by AI.” And I was like, “Oh my God.” Mind blown. So what you’re telling me though, is either that was a slight exaggeration, or it was a one in a million shot. Twe can’t just say, “Hey Jasper or Hey newish AI tool, write me a blog post about five things I need to plan to do before my next camping trip.” And it’s just going to spit out that kind of content.

Thomas: That it probably would. Now the reason is because that’s generic and it can be easily sourced on the web. Where it doesn’t work is when you have IP original thought, the customization and differentiators in your own brand. That’s very, it’s almost nearly impossible to have AI create that because there’s not enough referenceable data to do it. So yes, what to do on your next camping trip in Montana, sure. That’s going to probably write something that’s probably useful and it’ll be okay. What are the best things to being a thought leader or being a great boss? Yeah, there’s lots of stuff.

What I’m seeing, it doesn’t really work as well from just an autonomous standpoint, is when you’re brand specific, doing your differentiators in the moment, trying to reference things that are current today that are relatable. You can’t let AI, in my opinion right now, do that because it would be off brand, it would have different tone. It wouldn’t really work. It does very good for more just views, likes, just driving traffic.

I did this on AI, the original experiment was with GPT2, generative pre-trained transformer, I think is what the thing it stands for. But the version before, and we monetized the blog in 42 days with just crappy articles. But it drove traffic, which is cool, but also disappointing.

Rich: That’s very disappointing.

Thomas: But I was like, there’s no way I’m putting that on my personal brand. So I wiped all that back off because I was like, this is like nonsense. Some of the stuff it’s writing, but the point being is that’s where it’s good for is for high value. You’re just trying to get ad revenue. And to me, it’s a little junky. Long forms is a struggle for any of these writers, but that’s why I don’t think it’s quite there yet. When it gets more mature, five years, seven years, yeah. I think you’ll see things that you plug in your brand and it works with consistency.

Rich: I’ve started playing around with Jasper.ai and one of the things I noticed, because I went through all the videos, was that it only has data in it from 2019 and before. And so if you want to write about say Covid19, it understands enough to be able to figure some things out, but it doesn’t have any new data. So that’s maybe one of those examples. But I think the better point is what you said. Is that if you’re doing anything thought leadership, if you are trying to plow a new field, that’s where you’re going to run into problems. That maybe is where AI, at least content creation AI, is not going to be as helpful. It’s not going to be able to generate a brand-new thought leadership piece anytime in the near future.

Thomas: Exactly. And for us, we do thought leadership pieces because we’re not really industry specific. I built a career on not being industry specific because I know how to get information from the industry expert sitting across from me. We leverage the summation technologies for meetings and other things to get the words of those people, then summarize it back in their own language in a way that becomes an article that’s thought leadership or allows them to become an editor of that content. Because a lot of people struggle with a blank piece of paper, me included. But if I can talk through it and just formulate my thoughts, then it becomes an original piece. There’s where AI helps, because then it’s not me transcribing or listening or taking notes. It’s already been done for me. Different leverage, different solution or technology, but still AI.

Rich: And AI also seems to be you hinted at this or touched on it, that it can be good for summarization or maybe pulling out certain elements of a longer piece or the highlights or something like that to create say, email newsletters or headlines or whatever they may be.

I find for myself, because I imagine myself as an excellent writer, that it’s never as good as what I can do. But I also see people on my team who struggle to come up with that social media post based on the blog post, or the email newsletter based on the podcast I just did. It seems like that would be a good use of the tool for them where they could use that AI to generate something that is probably going to be pretty on point for that medium. Is that another way that a lot of people are using it?

Thomas: Agreed. It’s the perfect use case, right? The people who create really well, it’s still not scalable because you’re probably very good at other things even better. But if you can’t, if edit mode for you on a piece of content is the exact equivalent, it’s probably more time because you might as well just rewrite it. Then by all means when you write, you should just write and just make it worth your time. For someone who struggles with that, using something that gets them to edit mode where they can really accelerate, is a fantastic tool. And it takes somebody from maybe making one thing every 10 hours to making 10 things every hour. That’s a great use case for it, for sure. Because then even if you’re the final stage of that workflow in that case and you’re doing final edits or reviews, it’s pretty good at that point. You’re like, good enough. Go ahead. Not what I would do maybe, but you know, you’ll see your team accelerate. Absolutely.

Rich: How much AI do we need to understand conceptually for us to properly leverage it? I don’t know how my car works, but I can drive it. Is AI like that, or is AI something where the more you understand it, the more you’re going to get out of it?

Thomas: I believe it’s to the point you don’t need to understand how it works. You just need to be able to understand what you want, and what’s considered good versus needs to be better. It’s dead if you have to understand AI, because very few people understand the models that go behind that. And as well versed as I may be in AI, I couldn’t explain to you the inner workings of it. I’d fail that test. I could tell you what they’re trying to accomplish, but I couldn’t tell you the models.

To answer your question in short, you just need to know what you want. You have to have some kind of starting point and then learn the tool. I’d say you went through the help videos, I died off after four or five because my attention was like, done with it. Because I was like, “Team, use it.” But you have to be able to have some patience to learn the tool, and then you’ll get much more value out of any of the technologies. Just beyond just the writing technologies, just any of them. Just knowing how to use them correctly. Once again, you need a person [inaudible].

Rich: Right. And that’s a great point. So you don’t have to understand conceptually what AI can do. But if you are going to use a tool, it’s very helpful to understand what that tool can do and maybe what it can’t do as well. Which I’m of curious. I wonder, what do you see being in this world, what are some of the strengths and weaknesses of where AI is?

Thomas: The biggest weakness is in the over hype of it. And in particular the valuations that have gone with companies who have gotten funding. So that the reason that’s a problem is because it has an over promise. And then the common consumer who’s, “Well, I’d like to have my problem solved by what you claim will be done.”

Rich: For $99 a month.

Thomas: Right. Exactly. Then it’s underwhelming. It’s novel at that point, and it’s something that you use once or twice. I’m sure you’ve had this happen. You’ve used it for a day for fun, for creating art, or creating this, and then you never went back to it.

Rich: So literally my next question was about, like we’ve talked about copy, but what about AI for generating other types of content like imagery, video, or audio? And just to your point before I let you answer that question, I got early access to DALL-E2 or whatever they’re calling it now, and it was phenomenal. And I loved it. And I had a beer in my hand, and I had Spiderman having dinner with David Bowie in a romantic Italian restaurant and all this other sort of stuff. And then when my credits ran out, I almost never have used it since. Yeah, it was great, but then after a while you start to see some of where the seams are, and it is what it is. But for those people who haven’t yet had that moment of excitement and then exhaustion, what other ways can we be using AI outside of the written?

Thomas: Well definitely this is very popular on TikTok, right? The AI voiceover. I find it creepy and annoying. But definitely on some type of voiceover if you just need some audio to explain, that’s a neat, that’s a really cool one that some people really like. I don’t personally line up to it, but that’s one on the other is just on recommendations of videos.

So there’s some technologies, and it’s escaping my mind what it is, of when you have hashtags or a theme, here’s some recommended B-roll you can use for your videos and others. Anything around, if you really want to be successful on YouTube, most of them use a bunch of technology and understand what people are searching for, what the context of that is. There is some work of just the flow and the piece, but there’s a lot of stuff around that you can leverage as well. It just, you just got to understand what your goal is for business for even doing it.

Rich: That sounds to me like you are using AI, or one is using AI, to find photos or videos that were created by humans. I don’t know about video, but there is definitely photos out there like DALL-E and other ones where you basically just say what you want to see. I think one of mine was Spider-Man holding a gun, painted like Banksy would paint it. And I just got this very awesome image created. But obviously they must have pieced it together from a million different things and then put it together. But is that a use of AI right now? Are people doing that or is that really just for play right now and maybe one day it’ll be ready?

Thomas: Yeah, I think it’s the early stages of a very cool technology that will be able to create custom art that’s NFT behind it, so when you do it, it’s an original, it’s been confirmed that there’s nothing like this out there, that then it just can’t be used again unless it’s inputting something else. This starts getting like the centralized organizations and web 3.0 things, where if you’ve used the AI to create things, there’s a tie back to the AI, there’s a tie back to the email of somebody who leverages yours inside the model.

I believe that is a direction for sure for creating unique art or imagery based on just words and video or audio. Today, I don’t see it as being a, like an immediate business application at scale because it’s novel, right? If you really found value out as an individual day to day, You’d be using it day to day. It’s one thing to have it on a Friday or sitting there on your phone playing with this is so cool, but then you’re like, I don’t know if I’m going to drop a hundred bucks in this again. Right? Unless you’re going to go create NFTs because you’re early and then maybe you’ll start selling them from there. But I don’t know if you could because it was created by somebody else. So I’m not sure who exactly owns your copyright exactly.

Rich: Interesting.

Thomas: But there’s videos that could be created from scratch. There are websites, like you can set up a website from an AI typing in a few words and other things. But it really depends on your model of business if you can find value in that. Because you need that speed in that, and you don’t care about some of the edges and the smoothness. But I just don’t see the majority of larger companies or any companies that care about their brand doing that anytime soon without humans involved.

So AI is an accelerated technology or accelerated intelligence or augmented intelligence, not artificial. And less so of an automated intelligence or truly what be people think of it as this general AI. To go back to your original question of, it’s everything you can’t do, consistently at least.

Rich: If you are using AI generated content, how upfront do you have to be that this was created by AI? I know when I used the DALL-E software it said if you’re going to use this in any sort of commercial space, you have to let people know that it was created by artificial intelligence. Is there similar things, either ethically or legally, that we have to worry about when we’re using AI generated content?

Thomas: Yeah, you should be sourcing anything. At least have them available or at least note that sources include AI. We keep sources for content we create, and no one’s ever asked us for one ever, but we keep it and it’s all sourced as part of when we create the content that we looked here, AI pulled it this way, here’s, there it logs. But typically, you can always put a note. You should always give credit where credit is due, for whatever it is. And at the very least, it’s better to have some kind of reference to credit than none. But definitely want to keep yours for audit. I think this is a future problem for sure, especially if business models move to this kind of web3 nature where there’s more pieces, is making sure you’re sourcing things correctly and it’s immutable and all that. But today I haven’t seen a big problem with it. I’m sure people are having problems and challenges with it, but just source it. That’s easy.

Rich: Right. And I can see it more at the bottom of a long blog article that says, “this article was at least helped or created by AI” versus, I wrote an article and AI generated an email subject line for me. I’m not necessarily going to reference that. It’s just yeah, I had a computer basically tell me what the best words were from my article to put here.

Thomas: Yeah, I don’t think there’s any culpability there to have to do that for sure. Because that’s just. You’ve already written something and absolutely. Especially if you’re doing A/B split testing. No one wants to read a title that says, “Hey by the way, this is an AI title, but I promise you it’s not automated.”

Rich: So as we think about how we’re using these tools, we’ve talked about how you can use it for content creation to create a blog post, or at least give you the framework of the blog post, fill it out, what the best title is, email, subject lines, grabbing pieces, things like this. How about when it comes to actually publishing this content? Are there AI tools out there that not just in Agorapulse can schedule post, but will somehow understand when the best time to post it is so you could create 50 tweets in a row or Instagram posts, and it can just sense when is the optimal time to post it. Is there anything like that out there right now?

Thomas: Yeah. I wouldn’t call them AI, it’s just more analytics. They’re looking at data sets of when things tend to do better than others, given your content or your profile. They’re definitely more on the analytics side and just more predictive analytics. There’s no learning loop, there’s no real machine learning with those kind. Given the price points of automation and posting, which the end of the day the human on the other end of that interacting with it is probably more valuable than anything or who you tag or how you do that kind of stuff. But I would call those more analytics.

But yeah, they definitely exist, and you should be using things to schedule. Part of the consistency piece is you need content, you need the consistency, and you need an engagement model. And if you’re lacking or overbearing any of those three, the messed up in the middle. So you kind of have to have a balance of good content, good consistency, and good engagement to get the optimal center of our nerd event. And if it’s too big, it doesn’t matter. It’s too little, it doesn’t help.

Rich: All right. As you take out your AI crystal ball here, what do you see as some of the most exciting advancements coming down the road when it comes to artificial intelligence? Specifically, I would say more towards the digital marketing sphere.

Thomas: I’m going to throw this in here somehow, but I do think the RFDI tags of knowing when things have been opened in email or the stuff that’s available today, you’re walking past a camera, and a camera is positioned for the block that says, “Hey, you’re walking a dog, up here on the corner is a pet store that’s giving you free treats.” Those types of things for digital marketing in real time in the event I think are very cool.

I also think the switch in this web 3.0 world might be interesting. I don’t want to go down the crypto path, but more of the centralized ownership around concepts are communities of marketing for the purpose of viral. Because when you market and you’re part of the community, you own part of it. So I think that’s, if that gets solved in a way that’s not so dependent on a very fluctuating market of crypto, I think that’s pretty cool, for sure.

And I also think that some of the deep fake things are very interesting from an application of appealing to your customer in a persona that they want to see, and a voice that they want to hear saying your words, but just redone. I’m in favor of that as long as it’s used responsibly. I’m a fearful of it on the other side of political and geo-economical issues. But on the day-to-day marketing, it might be kind of interesting. So send me the persona that you want to be pitched on, or at least Google or somebody will know the one you want.

Rich: Interesting stuff. This has been great, Thomas. Very eye opening. If people want to learn more about you or Instantly Relevant, where can we send them?

Thomas: Instantlyrelevant.com is easy. You can always connect with me on LinkedIn if you search Thomas “Ai Nerd” Helfrich, that’s simple, or just grab my Calendly, it’s calendly.com/instantlyrelevant and I’ll meet with you. This is what I do with any person, it’s how I built a good network on LinkedIn is I don’t sell you anything. You can buy things if you want, that’s fine. But I always try to connect somebody with somebody else they need to meet in their network. And that’s how I’ve built a network, is just helping others. So if anybody comes on there, the worst they’ll get is probably a connection that’s going to help them.

Rich: Awesome. All those links are going to be in the show notes. Thomas, thank you so much for coming by today.

Thomas: Hey, thanks for having me. Have a great day.

Show Notes: 

Thomas Helfrich is an “AI Nerd” that is obsessed with helping brands create customized and personalized content, and has a vast knowledge of intelligent automation. Connect with him on LinkedIn for his expert knowledge on all things in the AI landscape.

Rich Brooks is the President of flyte new media, a web design & digital marketing agency in Portland, Maine, and founder of the Agents of Change. He’s passionate about helping small businesses grow online and has put his 20+ years of experience into the book, The Lead Machine: The Small Business Guide to Digital Marketing.