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Unlock Audience Personas With the Power of LinkedIn



Unlock Audience Personas With the Power of LinkedIn

I failed.

I helped a client with an account-based marketing (ABM) initiative. We had third-party intent data of companies searching keywords and phrases related to their services. We also had the LinkedIn profiles of those companies’ employees – people who would be likely buyers.

I analyzed the LinkedIn profiles to identify buying signals. Did they post asking about vendor capabilities? Did they ask for vendor recommendations? Or did they request proposals?

The result of my work?

Nothing. None of those LinkedIn profiles signaled that type of buying intent.

While the process failed to deliver actionable results for my client, it better informed my ability to provide well-developed personas to create more effective content marketing.

Researching LinkedIn profiles can provide a wealth of insights. In this post, I show you what you can uncover.

@LinkedIn profiles can provide a wealth of insights about audience personas, says @Dshiao via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Finding your personas on LinkedIn

You first need to generate a list of people to research. Enter a broad descriptive term in the search bar. I usually start with “marketing.”

From there, click on “people” and “all filters.” It returns over 49.5 million results:

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Next to the results view are the filter options – a lot of them, including:

  • Connections (i.e., degree of connection to your profile)
  • Locations
  • Talks about
  • Current company
  • Past company
  • School
  • Industry
  • Profile language
  • Open to
  • Service categories
  • Keywords

Choose the filters based on the nature of your research. For instance, if you focus on a Middle East-based audience, use the locations filter accordingly. Pick “current company” to research people at targeted companies.

To find people in specific roles, filter for title (under the keywords filter). Then type the job title in quotes, such as “senior procurement manager.”

To research B2B content marketers, I typed B2B and “content marketers” into the title search field:

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You can create a broad or niche list depending on your filter criteria.

Research LinkedIn profiles

Now that you compiled a list of people, you can assess which ones will be most helpful to your research and identify other profiles to add to your tracker.

Skim past the underpopulated profiles and spend your time on the detailed ones. Give them a glance from top to bottom. Don’t focus solely on the About or Activity sections at the top. The bottom of the profile – volunteering, recommendations, publications, and honors and awards – can reveal interesting nuggets.

Spend research time on detailed @LinkedIn profiles, perusing their information from top to bottom, says @Dshiao via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Use one profile to find more people from the same persona. Much the same way a hyperlink in an article takes the reader to a related article, LinkedIn users provide pathways to profiles from the same persona. Convenient widgets to check on a user’s profile page include “people you may know” and “people also viewed.”

Now, let’s walk through section by section to identify their relevancy and potential insights.


The headline is listed under their name on the profile page. It also appears when you browse the LinkedIn feed. While many list their job title and organization, others see the headline as an opportunity to make a statement or to stand out.

Think of these custom headlines as a clue that tells you a bit about the person’s missions, motivations, and ambitions. That information can help your understanding of the audience persona they represent.

Let’s consider a few examples of different personas taken from existing profiles, along with the lesson learned:

Functional Role



Product management Entrepreneur with passion for developing great products that solve real-world customer challenges The importance product managers place in having their products solve real-world challenges
Product management Passionate about creating software users love, and working with good people to build them Idea: Explore the concept that product managers want to work with “good people” to build products.
Entrepreneur Make video content 10x faster for better marketing, comms, and client services Understand the tangible goal of the product, as well as common use cases.
Digital health leader Growth Focused Commercial Digital Health Leader Committed to Transforming Patient Care with Novel Solutions | Making Big, Innovative Ideas Actionable for >25 Years The tenure mentioned is interesting. This digital health leader strives to make an impact over the long term.
Engineering leader People are any company’s biggest asset; I pride myself on putting people first. ex Twilio, Microsoft, Komodo Health A leader of software engineering teams who places her team first
Social media marketer Building stronger relationships through effective content and social media marketing It’s not all about impressions, shares and likes, it’s also about relationships


LinkedIn users have 2,600 characters to describe themselves in the “about” section. This free-form area only allows plain text – no special formatting, images, or clickable links. The detailed description of their roles and responsibilities can help build a better picture of their associated persona. Let’s look at two examples.

A detailed about section on a @LinkedIn profile can help build a better picture of the associated persona, says @Dshiao via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Cristina Crespo is vice president of product at Paytient. The first sentence of her about section concisely explains what product management leaders do: “Product management leader with more than 10 years of experience ideating and launching technology solutions that solve real problems and achieve business outcomes.”

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She further describes her comfort with ambiguity and creative mindset “to identify quick wins and a roadmap that evolves through constant learning and experimentation.” Next, Cristina explains how she’s helped organizations achieve revenue growth and includes this bulleted list:

  • Conducting qualitative research to identify customer insights
  • Articulating the problem and business opportunity
  • Defining a compelling product vision and strategy
  • Prioritizing solutions and defining a clear go-to-market strategy
  • Facilitating iterative design and rapid prototyping with continuous validation
  • Testing new product ideas in market with a fail-fast approach
  • Measuring and using data to inform product decisions
  • Meaningfully growing products to address pain points and market needs

If your audience persona is product managers or product management leaders, this list gives a good sense of their activities.

Next, let’s look at Bernie Borges, vice president of global content marketing at iQor. In his about section, Bernie details his activities and goals:

  • Lead the strategy to produce relevant content that represents iQor accurately.
  • Represent iQor’s core values through storytelling and case studies.
  • Empower iQor Business Development to create more sales conversations through relevant content.
  • Enable iQor recruiters to source more candidates through relevant content.
  • Inform prospective iQor customers to learn how we can drive CX results for them.
  • Give iQor customers insight into where we’re headed in the future.
  • Help Inform the analyst community of insights into our CX capabilities.
  • Host the Digitally Irresistible video podcast from iQor.

1691580367 651 Unlock Audience Personas With the Power of LinkedIn If your company sells a product for content marketing teams, you can learn from Bernie’s list what a content marketing leader does. You can brainstorm blog posts, e-books, and webinar topics that assist someone like Bernie with these activities or help them achieve some of these goals.


Featured is an optional area that enables LinkedIn users to prominently display their LinkedIn posts, newsletter, and articles, as well as external links and uploaded media.

Brett Durrett is director of product management at Google. Brett’s featured section includes a number of SlideShare presentations from his time at IMVU, including:

  • Continuous Deployment at Lean LA
  • Learning Fast With A/B Testing and Continuous Deployment
  • Lean Startup Pitfalls Uncovered
  • Building a Successful Business After Launch
  • Leveraging Open Source Software to Maximize Your Development Resources (and the problems you can expect with success)

In each entry, Brett describes the presentation, such as this one for Building a Successful After Launch:

GDC Online 2010 presentation of how IMVU built its product after launching. Includes examples of the testing/experiment systems, reporting, continuous deployment, and process improvement.

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If you’re researching the senior vice president of engineering persona, reviewing Brett’s presentations tells you a lot about that role and, in particular, specific attributes of that role at IMVU.

Experience (job detail)

In the experience section, users list their employment history, including job title, organization name, years worked, location, and job details.

A localization program manager at a technology company provided this nugget in her job detail:

Drove $1.4M in cost savings, together with a 20% time-saving, leveraging scalable automation, cross-team process improvement, and company-wide operational efficiencies. This includes utilizing the latest localization technology, workflow automation to reduce manual efforts, and overhauling creative processes for faster time-to-market.

In just two sentences, you learn:

  • The quantifiable impacts of her team’s efforts
  • The technology she used
  • The processes or process changes she implemented
  • Additional benefits achieved (e.g., reduced manual efforts, faster time-to-market)

If you create content for localization program managers, you could look to see if your customers have achieved similar results, then interview them to learn more. With those findings, you might conceive a content campaign that shows other localization program managers how they can achieve similar results.

Experience (associated media)

When providing details on a current or past job, LinkedIn lets you add media, such as an image, video, or slide deck, as I did with my presentation 10 Quick Tips for Effective Content Marketing in the example below:

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Lisa Gately is a principal analyst at Forrester. She was a senior director of content strategy at Genesys. In that listing, Lisa linked to an article, Confessions of a Content Strategist: Lisa Gately, based on an interview she did with Ahava Leibtag, who published the article on her LinkedIn profile.

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The article details what a content strategist does. Some of the questions Lisa answered include:

  • How did you get started in content strategy?
  • How did you formalize your role as a content strategist in your current environment?
  • What was your number one challenge in getting the content strategy team up and running?
  • What do you see happening in the future of content?

That interview provides a wealth of information about content strategists and the industry.


The activity section groups together posts, comments, videos, images, articles, newsletters, and more. Navigate across the tabs to look for interesting things. I like to peek at comments to discover new people to research. After all, someone in one audience persona is likely to engage with other users from the same persona.

Jose Palomares is the director of localization at Coupa Software. In his profile’s posts, he shared industry webinars on which he was a panelist, including the Globalization and Localization Association’s webinar on headless systems:

1691580367 458 Unlock Audience Personas With the Power of LinkedIn

If your persona was a director of localization, watching the on-demand recordings of these webinars would be helpful. You also can think about whether the webinar topics should be added to your editorial calendar.

Groups (mutual)

LinkedIn users also can add organizations to which they belong in the groups section. Their profiles don’t list all the groups to which they belong. However, the highlights section indicates groups you have in common.

When I visit Rich Schwerin’s profile, I see we have six groups in common, including the Content Marketing Institute and The Content Wrangler Community.

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Find relevant LinkedIn groups, visit them, and see what users are posting about. Through Scott Abel’s The Content Wrangler Community, I noticed this post from Heather Hedden about her appearance at Lava Con, a conference for content strategists:

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LinkedIn recommendations can be useful because they may detail how a person was exceptional or useful within the context of the role you’re researching. Karen Budell is the chief marketing officer at Totango. When she was vice president of brand marketing at, she received a recommendation from her boss, Leela Srinivasan:

1691580367 94 Unlock Audience Personas With the Power of LinkedIn

Here’s an excerpt of the recommendation relevant to Karen’s role in brand marketing:

She brought every ounce of her strategic marketing brain to the table as my partner in crime on the complex and sensitive rebrand of a public company with a global footprint. She adeptly managed multiple agency relationships, helped steer the executive team through a mountain of change, and proved to be a clutch player throughout the journey. She is super smart about creating impactful content and experiences.

With these details, you learn brand marketing executives lead organizations through rebrands, which requires them to navigate agency relationships, as well as relationships with their executive team.

Go deep into LinkedIn profiles

LinkedIn hosts an ocean of information on your audience personas. It also requires no financial investment. You can hit the highlights or go down the rabbit hole of connected research to craft helpful audience research.

Please share in the comments some of the tricks you’ve used in doing persona research on LinkedIn.

 Register to attend Content Marketing World in Washington, D.C. Use the code BLOG100 to save $100. 


Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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Intro to Amazon Non-endemic Advertising: Benefits & Examples



Intro to Amazon Non-endemic Advertising: Benefits & Examples

Amazon has rewritten the rules of advertising with its move into non-endemic retail media advertising. Advertising on Amazon has traditionally focused on brands and products directly sold on the platform. However, a new trend is emerging – the rise of non-endemic advertising on this booming marketplace. In this article, we’ll dive into the concept of non-endemic ads, their significance, and the benefits they offer to advertisers. This strategic shift is opening the floodgates for advertisers in previously overlooked industries.

While endemic brands are those with direct competitors on the platform, non-endemic advertisers bring a diverse range of services to Amazon’s vast audience. The move toward non-endemic advertising signifies Amazon’s intention to leverage its extensive data and audience segments to benefit a broader spectrum of advertisers.

Endemic vs. Non-Endemic Advertising


Let’s start by breaking down the major differences between endemic advertising and non-endemic advertising… 

Endemic Advertising

Endemic advertising revolves around promoting products available on the Amazon platform. With this type of promotion, advertisers use retail media data to promote products that are sold at the retailer.

Non-Endemic Advertising

In contrast, non-endemic advertising ventures beyond the confines of products sold on Amazon. It encompasses industries such as insurance, finance, and services like lawn care. If a brand is offering a product or service that doesn’t fit under one of the categories that Amazon sells, it’s considered non-endemic. Advertisers selling products and services outside of Amazon and linking directly to their own site are utilizing Amazon’s DSP and their data/audience segments to target new and relevant customers.

7 Benefits of Running Non-Endemic Ad Campaigns


Running non-endemic ad campaigns on Amazon provides a wide variety of benefits like:

Access to Amazon’s Proprietary Data: Harnessing Amazon’s robust first-party data provides advertisers with valuable insights into consumer behavior and purchasing patterns. This data-driven approach enables more targeted and effective campaigns.

Increased Brand Awareness and Revenue Streams: Non-endemic advertising allows brands to extend their reach beyond their typical audience. By leveraging Amazon’s platform and data, advertisers can build brand awareness among users who may not have been exposed to their products or services otherwise. For non-endemic brands that meet specific criteria, there’s an opportunity to serve ads directly on the Amazon platform. This can lead to exposure to the millions of users shopping on Amazon daily, potentially opening up new revenue streams for these brands.

No Minimum Spend for Non-DSP Campaigns: Non-endemic advertisers can kickstart their advertising journey on Amazon without the burden of a minimum spend requirement, ensuring accessibility for a diverse range of brands.

Amazon DSP Capabilities: Leveraging the Amazon DSP (Demand-Side Platform) enhances campaign capabilities. It enables programmatic media buys, advanced audience targeting, and access to a variety of ad formats.

Connect with Primed-to-Purchase Customers: Amazon’s extensive customer base offers a unique opportunity for non-endemic advertisers to connect with customers actively seeking relevant products or services.

Enhanced Targeting and Audience Segmentation: Utilizing Amazon’s vast dataset, advertisers can create highly specific audience segments. This enhanced targeting helps advertisers reach relevant customers, resulting in increased website traffic, lead generation, and improved conversion rates.

Brand Defense – By utilizing these data segments and inventory, some brands are able to bid for placements where their possible competitors would otherwise be. This also gives brands a chance to be present when competitor brands may be on the same page helping conquest for competitors’ customers.

How to Start Running Non-Endemic Ads on Amazon


Ready to start running non-endemic ads on Amazon? Start with these essential steps:

Familiarize Yourself with Amazon Ads and DSP: Understand the capabilities of Amazon Ads and DSP, exploring their benefits and limitations to make informed decisions.

Look Into Amazon Performance Plus: Amazon Performance Plus is the ability to model your audiences based on user behavior from the Amazon Ad Tag. The process will then find lookalike amazon shoppers with a higher propensity for conversion.

“Amazon Performance Plus has the ability to be Amazon’s top performing ad product. With the machine learning behind the audience cohorts we are seeing incremental audiences converting on D2C websites and beating CPA goals by as much as 50%.” 

– Robert Avellino, VP of Retail Media Partnerships at Tinuiti


Understand Targeting Capabilities: Gain insights into the various targeting options available for Amazon ads, including behavioral, contextual, and demographic targeting.

Command Amazon’s Data: Utilize granular data to test and learn from campaign outcomes, optimizing strategies based on real-time insights for maximum effectiveness.

Work with an Agency: For those new to non-endemic advertising on Amazon, it’s essential to define clear goals and identify target audiences. Working with an agency can provide valuable guidance in navigating the nuances of non-endemic advertising. Understanding both the audience to be reached and the core audience for the brand sets the stage for a successful non-endemic advertising campaign.



Amazon’s venture into non-endemic advertising reshapes the advertising landscape, providing new opportunities for brands beyond the traditional ecommerce sphere. The  blend of non-endemic campaigns with Amazon’s extensive audience and data creates a cohesive option for advertisers seeking to diversify strategies and explore new revenue streams. As this trend evolves, staying informed about the latest features and possibilities within Amazon’s non-endemic advertising ecosystem is crucial for brands looking to stay ahead in the dynamic world of digital advertising.

We’ll continue to keep you updated on all things Amazon, but if you’re looking to learn more about advertising on the platform, check out our Amazon Services page or contact us today for more information.

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How Does Success of Your Business Depend on Choosing Type of Native Advertising?



How Does Success of Your Business Depend on Choosing Type of Native Advertising?

The very first commercial advertisement was shown on TV in 1941. It was only 10 seconds long and had an audience of 4,000 people. However, it became a strong trigger for rapid advertising development. The second half of the 20th century is known as the golden age of advertising until the Internet came to the forefront and entirely transformed the advertising landscape. The first commercial banner appeared in the mid-90s, then it was followed by pop-ups, pay-by-placement and paid-pay-click ads. Companies also started advertising their brands and adding their business logo designs, which contributes to consumer trust and trustworthiness.

The rise of social media in the mid-2000s opened a new dimension for advertising content to be integrated. The marketers were forced to make the ads less intrusive and more organic to attract younger users. This is how native advertising was born. This approach remains a perfect medium for goods and services promotion. Let’s see why and how native ads can become a win-win strategy for your business.

What is native advertising?

When it comes to digital marketing, every marketer talks about native advertising. What is the difference between traditional and native ones? You will not miss basic ads as they are typically promotional and gimmicky, while native advertising naturally blends into the content. The primary purpose of native ads is to create content that resonates with audience expectations and encourages users to perceive it seamlessly and harmoniously.

Simply put, native advertising is a paid media ad that organically aligns with the visual and operational features of the media format in which it appears. The concept is quite straightforward: while people just look through banner ads, they genuinely engage with native ads and read them. You may find a lot of native ads on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – they appear in the form of “in-feed” posts that engage users in search for more stories, opinions, goods and services. This unobtrusive approach turns native ads into a powerful booster for any brand.

How does native advertising benefit your business?

An average Internet user comes across around 10,000 ads a day. But even physically, it is impossible to perceive this amount of information in 24 hours. So, most of them use adblockers, nullifying all efforts of markers. Native ads successfully overcome this digital challenge thanks to their authenticity. And this is not the only advantage of native advertising. How else does your business benefit? Here are just a few major benefits that prove the value of native ads:

Better brand awareness. Native ads contribute to the brand’s visibility. They seamlessly blend into educational, emotional, and visual types of content that can easily become viral. While promotional content typically receives limited shares, users readily share valuable or entertaining content. Consequently, while you incur expenses only for the display of native ads, your audience may go the extra mile by sharing your content and organically promoting your brand or SaaS product at no additional cost.

Increased click-through rates. Native ads can generate a thrilling click-through rate (CTR) primarily because they are meticulously content-adaptable. Thus, native ads become an integral part of the user’s journey without disrupting their browsing experience. Regardless of whether your native advertising campaign is designed to build an audience or drive specific actions, compelling content will always entice users to click through.

Cost-efficient campaign performance. Native advertising proves to be cheaper compared to a traditional ad format. It mainly stems from a higher CTR. Thanks to precise targeting and less customer resistance, native ads allow to bring down cost-per-click.

Native ads are continuously evolving, enabling marketers to experiment with different formats and use them for successful multi-channel campaigns and global reach.

Types of native advertising

Any content can become native advertising as there are no strict format restrictions. For example, it can be an article rating the best fitness applications, an equipment review, or a post by an influencer on a microblog. The same refers to the channels – native ads can be placed on regular websites and social media feeds. Still, some forms tend to be most frequently used.

  • In-feed ads. This type of ad appears within the content feed. You have definitely seen such posts on Facebook and Instagram or such videos on TikTok. They look like regular content but are tagged with an advertising label. The user sees these native ads when scrolling the feed on social media platforms.
  • Paid search ads. These are native ads that are displayed on the top and bottom of the search engine results page. They always match user’s queries and aim to capture their attention at the moment of a particular search and generate leads and conversions. This type of ad is effective for big search platforms with substantial traffic.
  • Recommendation widgets. These come in the form of either texts or images and can be found at the end of the page or on a website’s sidebar. Widgets offer related or intriguing content from either the same publisher or similar sources. This type of native ads is great for retargeting campaigns.
  • Sponsored content. This is one of the most popular types of native advertising. Within this format, an advertiser sponsors the creation of an article or content that aligns with the interests and values of the platform’s audience. They can be marked as “sponsored” or “recommended” to help users differentiate them from organic content.
  • Influencer Advertising. In this case, advertisers partner with popular bloggers or celebrities to gain the attention and trust of the audience. Influencers integrate a product, service, or event into their content or create custom content that matches their style and topic.

Each of these formats can bring stunning results if your native ads are relevant and provide value to users. Use a creative automation platform like Creatopy to design effective ads for your business.

How to create a workable native ad?

Consider these 5 steps for creating a successful native advertising campaign:

  • Define your target audienceUsers will always ignore all ads that are not relevant to them. Unwanted ads are frustrating and can even harm your brand. If you run a store for pets, make sure your ads show content that will be interesting for pet owners. Otherwise, the whole campaign will be undermined. Regular market research and data analysis will help you refine your audience and its demographics.
  • Set your goals. Each advertising campaign should have a clear-cut objective. Without well-defined goals, it is a waste of money. It is a must to know what you want to achieve – introduce your brand, boost sales or increase your audience.
  • Select the proper channels. Now, you need to determine how you will reach out to your customers. Consider displaying ads on social media platforms, targeting search engine result pages (SERPs), distributing paid articles, or utilizing in-ad units on different websites. You may even be able to get creative and use email or SMS in a less salesy and more “native”-feeling way—you can find samples of texts online to help give you ideas. Exploring demand side platforms (DSP) can also bring good results.
  • Offer compelling content. Do not underestimate the quality of the content for your native ads. Besides being expertly written, it must ideally match the style and language of the chosen channel,whether you’re promoting professional headshots, pet products, or anything else. The main distinctive feature of native advertising is that it should fit naturally within the natural content.
  • Track your campaign. After the launch of native ads, it is crucial to monitor the progress, evaluating the costs spent and results. Use tools that help you gain insights beyond standard KPIs like CTR and CPC. You should get engagement metrics, customer data, campaign data, and third-party activity data for further campaign management.

Key takeaway

Summing up the above, it is time to embrace native advertising if you haven’t done it yet. Native ads seamlessly blend with organic content across various platforms, yielding superior engagement and conversion rates compared to traditional display ads. Marketers are allocating higher budgets to native ads because this format proves to be more and more effective – content that adds value can successfully deal with ad fatigue. Native advertising is experiencing a surge in popularity, and it is to reach its peak. So, do not miss a chance to grow your business with the power of native ads.or you can do digital marketing course from Digital Vidya.

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OpenAI’s Drama Should Teach Marketers These 2 Lessons



OpenAI’s Drama Should Teach Marketers These 2 Lessons

A week or so ago, the extraordinary drama happening at OpenAI filled news feeds.

No need to get into all the saga’s details, as every publication seems to have covered it. We’re just waiting for someone to put together a video montage scored to the Game of Thrones music.

But as Sam Altman takes back the reigns of the company he helped to found, the existing board begins to disintegrate before your very eyes, and everyone agrees something spooked everybody, a question arises: Should you care?

Does OpenAI’s drama have any demonstrable implications for marketers integrating generative AI into their marketing strategies?

Watch CMI’s chief strategy advisor Robert Rose explain (and give a shoutout to Sutton’s pants rage on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills), or keep reading his thoughts:

For those who spent last week figuring out what to put on your holiday table and missed every AI headline, here’s a brief version of what happened. OpenAI – the huge startup and creator of ChatGPT – went through dramatic events. Its board fired the mercurial CEO Sam Altman. Then, the 38-year-old entrepreneur accepted a job at Microsoft but returned to OpenAI a day later.

We won’t give a hot take on what it means for the startup world, board governance, or the tension between AI safety and Silicon Valley capitalism. Rather, we see some interesting things for marketers to put into perspective about how AI should fit into your overall content and marketing plans in the new year.

Robert highlights two takeaways from the OpenAI debacle – a drama that has yet to reach its final chapter: 1. The right structure and governance matters, and 2. Big platforms don’t become antifragile just because they’re big.

Let’s have Robert explain.

The right structure and governance matters

OpenAI’s structure may be key to the drama. OpenAI has a bizarre corporate governance framework. The board of directors controls a nonprofit called OpenAI. That nonprofit created a capped for-profit subsidiary – OpenAI GP LLC. The majority owner of that for-profit is OpenAI Global LLC, another for-profit company. The nonprofit works for the benefit of the world with a for-profit arm.

That seems like an earnest approach, given AI tech’s big and disruptive power. But it provides so many weird governance issues, including that the nonprofit board, which controls everything, has no duty to maximize profit. What could go wrong?

That’s why marketers should know more about the organizations behind the generative AI tools they use or are considering.

First, know your providers of generative AI software and services are all exploring the topics of governance and safety. Microsoft, Google, Anthropic, and others won’t have their internal debates erupt in public fireworks. Still, governance and management of safety over profits remains a big topic for them. You should be aware of how they approach those topics as you license solutions from them.

Second, recognize the productive use of generative AI is a content strategy and governance challenge, not a technology challenge. If you don’t solve the governance and cross-functional uses of the generative AI platforms you buy, you will run into big problems with its cross-functional, cross-siloed use. 

Big platforms do not become antifragile just because they’re big

Nicholas Taleb wrote a wonderful book, Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder. It explores how an antifragile structure doesn’t just withstand a shock; it actually improves because of a disruption or shock. It doesn’t just survive a big disruptive event; it gets stronger because of it.

It’s hard to imagine a company the size and scale of OpenAI could self-correct or even disappear tomorrow. But it can and does happen. And unfortunately, too many businesses build their strategies on that rented land.

In OpenAI’s recent case, the for-profit software won the day. But make no bones about that victory; the event wasn’t good for the company. If it bounces back, it won’t be stronger because of the debacle.

With that win on the for-profit side, hundreds, if not thousands, of generative AI startups breathed an audible sigh of relief. But a few moments later, they screamed “pivot” (in their best imitation of Ross from Friends instructing Chandler and Rachel to move a couch.)

They now realize the fragility of their software because it relies on OpenAI’s existence or willingness to provide the software. Imagine what could have happened if the OpenAI board had won their fight and, in the name of safety, simply killed any paid access to the API or the ability to build business models on top of it.

The last two weeks have done nothing to clear the already muddy waters encountered by companies and their plans to integrate generative AI solutions. Going forward, though, think about the issues when acquiring new generative AI software. Ask about how the vendor’s infrastructure is housed and identify the risks involved. And, if OpenAI expands its enterprise capabilities, consider the implications. What extra features will the off-the-shelf solutions provide? Do you need them? Will OpenAI become the Microsoft Office of your AI infrastructure?

Why you should care

With the voluminous media coverage of Open AI’s drama, you likely will see pushback on generative AI. In my social feeds, many marketers say they’re tired of the corporate soap opera that is irrelevant to their work.

They are half right. What Sam said and how Ilya responded, heart emojis, and how much the Twitch guy got for three days of work are fodder for the Netflix series sure to emerge. (Robert’s money is on Michael Cera starring.)

They’re wrong about its relevance to marketing. They must be experiencing attentional bias – paying more attention to some elements of the big event and ignoring others. OpenAI’s struggle is entertaining, no doubt. You’re glued to the drama. But understanding what happened with the events directly relates to your ability to manage similar ones successfully. That’s the part you need to get right.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.


Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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