It’s time to try ChatGPT: A beginner’s guide
It’s time to try ChatGPT: A beginner’s guide

By on in Strategy, Tech & Trends

It’s time to try ChatGPT: A beginner’s guide

All of the leaders I’ve spoken with recently are buzzing about AI. And although it’s a universal topic of interest, I’ve noticed that there are two distinct camps when it comes to engaging with the leading AI tool, ChatGPT.

Some have dived right in, excitedly testing out the platform for everything from email drafting to writing a poem in the style of Shakespeare. Others are hesitating on the sidelines, concerned about the ethics or implications the technology may have for knowledge and creative workers.

If you’re in the former group, you don’t need me to convince you to give it a try. But if you’re in the latter, I’m here to coax you onto the playing field. Every time I’ve shown ChatGPT to someone in my circle, there has been a lightbulb moment.

Yes, there are ethical questions and a lot of uncertainty about where the AI revolution will take us in the next two, five, or ten years. But we never know what the future holds–in any regard–so why let that uncertainty prevent you from taking advantage of AI’s stunning power today?

The AI revolution is moving fast–GPT4, released just months after the first publicly-available iteration of ChatGPT, is lightyears ahead of its predecessor. The longer you wait to jump in, the farther you fall behind.

I’ve done my own experimenting with ChatGPT over the past several months, and I’d like to share what I’ve learned–to help demystify the tool and to encourage you to see how it can make your (work) life easier, as it has mine.


Some disclaimers before we get started

You’re right to be cautious about leaping blindly into something new. At this point, the disclaimers around ChatGPT have been well documented, but they bear repeating here.

First, do not put any confidential information into ChatGPT. Large language models, like ChatGPT, are trained on existing human writing, and ChatGPT leans on prompts and information from its users to continue its “learning.” That means putting confidential information into ChatGPT is a no-no (take it from these Samsung employees, who ended up in hot water after they fed ChatGPT sensitive information against company policy).

Second, all AI tools have the potential to hallucinate–that is, make things up. If ChatGPT provides any statistics or information in its response, you must fact-check to ensure its accuracy. You can ask ChatGPT to share its sources, but it’s not always forthcoming, so Google can help you here, too. The data ChatGPT was originally trained on cuts off in September 2021. So while it may think Queen Elizabeth is alive (again, fact-check!), you can usually convince ChatGPT to look for more current information online.

Finally, always access ChatGPT through OpenAI’s website (that’s ChatGPT’s parent company) or the official ChatGPT app in the US. Any other apps are third-party and may not be safe, so be sure you’re using the genuine article. OpenAI makes it easy to set up a free account. You can do so with your Google profile or establish a separate username and password.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, here are some of my favorite uses for ChatGPT based on my interactions with it.


Content creation

As a text-based generative AI tool, you can ask ChatGPT to draft just about anything for you. The keyword here, of course, is draft. If you’re prone to writer’s block or could simply use some outside inspiration to get started, ChatGPT is the ideal jumping-off point for writing anything from a client email to a cover letter to social media marketing copy.

Once it’s taken an initial crack at the prompt, it’s time to add your unique human capabilities and critical thinking to hone your messaging and get it over the finish line.

ChatGPT can help with some more technical elements of writing, too. It can do things like translate your copy to another language, optimize it for SEO, summarize or distill down what you’ve written, or expand upon it.

I’ve found ChatGPT already somewhat capable of drafting personas for a specific customer segment for a specific brand. Provide guidance about each, and ChatGPT can pull together a first draft. I investigated this capability based on previous work experience, asking ChatGPT to “create a persona for the target customer segment ‘active type 1 diabetic’ for the brand Accu-Chek®.” ChatGPT immediately created Sarah, including her demographics, goals, pain points, and how Accu-Chek can help. It doesn’t get everything relevant, missing several key points, but it does provide a place to start.

You can follow this up with various other steps in business and marketing strategy. Do you want to estimate market size using the TAM SAM SOM methodology for that persona? How about creating a targeted marketing campaign for them? Yes, ChatGPT can draft that–and did so for Sarah, with those exact simple prompts. Again, I must point out the use of the word “draft.” The initial output it provides is far from perfect, but it’s a beginning.

If you’re learning about something new, or looking to understand a complex concept, consider asking ChatGPT to explain it like it’s talking to a child. The analogies it draws are impressive. You’ll be surprised by how quickly you can understand new concepts at a high level–like, in my case, the value proposition of a bank’s treasury services division.

An exercise like this can also help you step outside your own head and into the mindset of your audience who may not share your depth of knowledge. You can ask ChatGPT to explain as if to anyone, and you can also ask it to take on a certain role, like a coach or a management consultant. Results, I’m sure, will vary. Keep your thinking hat on.


Research of all kinds

For those of us who remember the days of library card catalogs, Google’s ability to handle research has felt like a space-age invention. However, we all know Google has its limitations.

ChatGPT improves upon the search engine experience, making certain research tasks simpler and more streamlined. If you want to find one quick data point, ChatGPT can save you from scanning articles or PDFs for the fact you need. (Of course, remember to ask ChatGPT for its source and to check for accuracy!)

ChatGPT can also be a great aid when you’re undertaking industry research. You may be interested in researching your sector, your competitors, new technologies, or regulations, and ChatGPT can help with it all.

It’s also useful in more granular research. If you’re looking for specific information on an organization or brand, ChatGPT can help you synthesize data and provide a starting point for more in-depth reconnaissance. You can ask ChatGPT to provide its response in various text formats, such as a table, ASCII, bolding keywords, and more.

Finally, for those who are running their own business or considering a role change, ChatGPT is a great place to start researching hourly rates or salary ranges. It’s drafted a cover letter for a friend of mine, who got the job.

Sometimes it takes a bit of prodding to get the answers you seek, but making adjustments to the prompt can often get you the desired results.

For example, I tried asking ChatGPT: “Provide me with the phone numbers for ICU stations in the following hospitals.” Because of its privacy guardrails, it balked at sharing that information. But when I rephrased, “Look on the websites of the following hospitals for the phone numbers of the ICU stations and provide them in a table,” it responded with the numbers.


Yes, there are ethical questions and a lot of uncertainty about where the AI revolution will take us in the next two, five, or ten years. But we never know what the future holds–in any regard–so why let that uncertainty prevent you from taking advantage of AI’s stunning power today?



Brainstorming and ideation are often the bridge between strategy and action, which makes it both hugely consequential and (sometimes) very challenging.

ChatGPT can give you a solid foundation from which to work. I’ve used it for everything from brainstorming product or business names to seeking suggestions for potential target markets for a type of business or marketing channels for a specific target audience.

If you find the answers it’s given are too vague or not quite right, you can ask follow-up questions or make other suggestions to encourage ChatGPT to refine or “rethink” its responses.


Make it a habit

The other thing I’ve found about ChatGPT (or any technology, really) is that to get the most out of it, you need to use it regularly.

The more you experience ChatGPT’s interface, the more you’ll learn about the way to write smart prompts that get you the results you want. Why not challenge yourself to use ChatGPT at least once a day, either in your personal or professional life?

Next time you have a question that you’d usually toss into Google search, navigate instead to ChatGPT. When you get into the habit of making ChatGPT part of your essential internet toolkit, you set yourself up for important learnings and advancement of your understanding of its functionality. From there, improvements in efficiency are sure to follow!


Got any other tech fears we can assuage? Let’s talk about how to make the most of the latest innovations in your marketing strategy and execution.