Ever heard of Prompt Engineering? That’s what was at the heart of a keynote by Lee Odden at the B2B Summit 2023 that took place in Paris last June. As technology makes headway, more and more jobs may well be transformed. As marketers, we too are being urged to change. In the age of generative AI, it means that being able to put together a prompt becomes a crucial skill. Whether you’re already involved in AI-related subjects or you’ve just been playing around with the software, you’ve all found yourself trying to play ‘Prompt Engineer’ at some point. Let’s take a closer look at this new skill, Prompt Engineering, which might become so important in the future.
Is Prompt Engineering that Important?
With the use of generative AI, as much as it seems to allow anyone to create anything, comes the importance of prompt engineering. If you do not know how to prompt the software correctly, it will not return good results. Most people tend to think that being able to engineer perfect prompts is a gift when in reality, it is a skill that can be honed by anybody.
Knowing Your Goal
By understanding what it is you expect to get from the software, you can reverse engineer a prompt to suit your needs. For example, when Lee Odden entered the prompt ‘a group of smiling astronauts’, he didn’t mention why they would be smiling. By spicing up the prompt with the keywords ‘friendly’ and ‘waving’, you can imagine how different the results could be.
This can be challenging, though. With AI software you need to be patient. You can input a prompt, find what’s missing from your result, and then re-input as needed.
Choosing Your Tool
Along with knowing your goal, you also need to consider what AI tool you are going to use. AI tools come in various forms, from image generation to creating talking avatars to use in media. Finding the right tool to suit you is just as crucial as a prompt. If you needed to generate an image, using ChatGPT would be as useful as trying to hammer a nail with a pillow.
There are many free versions of generative AI you can find all over the internet. ChatGPT, Midjourney, Rytr.me, Synthesia, Poe, Adobe Firefly/Express, and that’s just to name a few I’ve personally tested. All AI tools contain their own positives, negatives, and quirks; a good idea is to gain experience all across the board and find what works for you.
Elements of a Good Prompt
Where you are using your prompt matter just as much as the prompt itself, there are some easy-to-remember rules when engineering these prompts. The key to understanding what these prompts need is actually quite easy.
Gen AI is a tool, but a tool is only as effective as the expertise of the person using it. Right? So master the prompt
Such were Lee Odden’s words. But how can you ‘master the prompt’? You first need to discover the main subject of what you want to generate, this will go first. Then, you should describe the action the subject is taking. After this, you can start to go into more specific details (ex. especially characteristics to add to the background or subject). That in its most basic form is a prompt. To take it even further you can change the style of the image or text. If you want a watercolor picture simply add a comma and say, ‘in watercolor style’. If you are generating text to be in the format of a video script simply add ‘in video script form’, and voila, you have your prompt.
‘I want to see a group of smiling astronauts.’ Well, technically, that’s a group of smiling astronauts. But they look like the kind of astronauts who are going to cut me apart and eat me for dinner […]
Lee Odden explained at the B2B summit in Paris 2023 a few weeks ago. In Lee’s example, he displayed what could only be described as sci-fi thriller-looking astronauts. By engineering his prompt with a few more explanatory words, he could have transformed his result. The key to understanding what these prompts need is actually quite easy.
Potential Impact on Marketing
One major concern being brought up repeatedly is generative AI and its impact on marketing. One major struggle of the new age of Marketing is creating more personalized content for a larger audience. This can be seen specifically in the B2B Market definition in B2B and B2C - The very notion of "market" is at the heart of any marketing approach. A market can be defined..., with marketers needing to create better advertisements for other companies, this is severely different from the way B2B marketers would operate.
So, how can generative AI change this? Well, generative AI is now allowing creators and marketers alike to be able to push the more mundane tasks out of the way and be able to focus more of their time on more creative tasks.
So the prompt and the ability to master the prompt is absolutely crucial when you’re thinking about how to use these natural language input tools.
If a marketer needs to create a 500-word product description page across a list of 100 products, this is where you might be able to use a tool like ChatGPT and have it craft these for you. If you are able to master the prompt, you should be able to take the formula and repeat it with different inputs and really save a lot of time. Then with all that time you save not writing every word, you can then focus on the more creative side whether that is coming up with an advertising campaign or sprucing up your product pictures.
But don’t forget Lee Odden’s advice: Gen AI will only make you more of what you are. And if you’re bad, the only thing AI will do is make you worse.
A prompt engineer, why not, but if the starting point is bad, the end result will be even worse with generative AI, explains Lee Odden.
Prompt engineering: a $335,000 job?!
Time Magazine has this story about these new jobs at $335,000: prompt engineers!
We have to wonder how long these jobs will stick around. One of the major issues with generative AI and associated jobs is, how long this technology will remain relevant. The issue with technology is that it progresses exponentially, as it remains we can see companies start to adopt this technology more and more. ‘A study by McKinsey shared that 90% of B2B marketers expect to be using generative AI tools often over the next two years. […] They’re seeing a 3 to 15% revenue lift and 10 to 20% increase in sales are a lot,’ explained Lee, so how long with their revenues and sales continue to increase?
So, is Prompt Engineer a job with a future? Lee Odden believes that you can learn how to master the prompt and I readily agree. With anybody being able to master prompting, rather than hiring a prompt engineer, you will have staff that just have prompt engineering as a skill on their resume.
And you’ll have saved $335,000 (plus expenses).
What should we think of Prompt Engineering?
While this new era of generative AI is undeniably exciting, who can predict the future of this technology? Although the field of Prompt Engineering has a certain potential, it’s hard to say whether this job has a future. The accessibility of these tools will no doubt outweigh the exorbitant rates at which prompt engineers are paid nowadays. Similarly, it’s a safe bet that marketers won’t lose their jobs to AI. After all, generative AI should be seen as a tool and is only as effective as you are.