Behind the scenes: How Cvent built an entire webinar using ChatGPT
“Honestly,” says Brooke Gracey, marketing director at Cvent, “I just wanted to see if it could be done. We came up with the idea when we heard how wonderful ChatGPT was going to be. I wanted to say, prove it! Let’s see what it can do.”
So Gracey and her team set out to use ChatGPT to craft an entire webinar, start to finish, about innovative event technology. For the ideation and outline, the team used the tool as an inspiration, but, she says, the script certainly needed the human touch. And the entire experience cut directly through the hype alarms and to the heart of what ChatGPT will mean for businesses today.
“We probably spent about a quarter of the time we would normally spend on creating a webinar,” Gracey says. “But it became clear very quickly that our jobs aren’t going to be taken over by AI. It can definitely help us do our jobs better, faster, more easily — especially when we live in a day and age where we’re all asked to do more in our jobs every single day.”
Addressing hallucinations and IP
There was some caution right at the start, Gracey says. The technology is known for its tendency toward hallucinations, in which content is made up and not factual, or even nonsensical, the variety of biases it can exhibit, the limits to its knowledge because of the limits of the training data, and its inability to actually reason.
“The topic required relevant and new information, so there was some concern around accuracy, the relevance of the information and just how innovative it could be,” she explains. “It required some manual intervention to make sure all the information was correct. Because of all these issues, it’s not magic, but it’s incredibly helpful. I became even more devoted to the fact that AI needs that human element.”
The other pressing issue, Gracey says, was sensitivity around IP, particularly when using the tool to write the script she’d be reading during the webinar.
“I didn’t want to be reading something that was previously copyrighted,” she says. “I didn’t want to be reading something that didn’t feel like my own. Honestly, I struggled with that a bit while I was doing this. Where do you draw the line?”
They tackled that by inviting ChatGPT to be a speaker on the webinar, designing a character that they named Chatty. Gracey recorded the responses ahead of time, and the team created graphics to accompany the character. From the viewer’s perspective, there were three speakers: Gracey, a colleague, and Chatty, who read the ChatGPT-crafted responses.
The advantages of human-AI collaboration
The other challenge, Gracey said, is finding a way to make the script sound less computer-generated, and more human and personal.
“It was my first time using ChatGPT in this way, and I had to work quite a bit to make sure it sounded like me,” she explains. “I like to make jokes; ChatGPT is not funny — it was pretty snoozeville. It gave me all the main points I needed, but I had to come in and do the work to make it interesting.
It was also crucial to make sure all the content it came up with was useful information, and not just fluff and fancy flourishes, and that required a lot of editing, to make its scripts both precise and concise.
Where it does well is in generating creative ideas, offering a lot of material to jumpstart the process of brainstorming.
“It’s terrific at offering inspiration,” she says. “I get a whole list of topics to talk about, and then I dive in and flesh them out, make them more interesting and more relevant. It’s great for a first draft of content, very quickly. In general, it feels like it helps expand my brain and makes me more creative.”
Gen AI and the future of marketing
While it’s not a plug-and-play technology, generative AI has a number of promising use cases, and many of them were demonstrated over the course of the grand webinar experiment.
“What AI does really well is look at vast amounts of information very quickly, which is, for us in marketing, very valuable,” she says. “In other words, helping us understand what our audiences like and don’t like. Helping us personalize things. Helping us with market analysis. Marketers work with vast amounts of data, and AI can help with that.”
Gracey’s team also launched a nurture program at Cvent, in which they used AI to write the hundreds of emails required. ChatGPT emails didn’t perform well, unsurprisingly, but once the human experts came in, it was a game changer.
“When you add the two together, the ChatGPT and the human touch, the results were awesome,” she says. “It created tons of efficiencies for a large program.”
Gracey’s best advice is that companies start embracing the possibilities now — start small and start soon. There are enough free tools out there to begin experimenting.
“As a leader in marketing, it’s about me becoming comfortable enough with it that I can encourage my team to consider it when they’re trying to do their work,” she says. “And what I want people to walk away with, is to be inspired from this webinar. I want them to be able to learn from some of my mistakes, and then go try and go play.”
For the whole story behind the webinar, from mistakes to breakthroughs and more, don’t miss this VB Spotlight!