Welcome to the ChatGPT Era and the Rise of the Marketing Juniors

Cross-border communications are on the cusp of a major AI-driven shakeup.

Welcome to the ChatGPT Era and the Rise of the Marketing Juniors

Cross-border communications are on the cusp of a major AI-driven shakeup.

Cross-border communications are on the cusp of a major AI-driven shakeup. But amid all the fear, uncertainty and doubt, this is actually great news. For one, ChatGPT just gave all marketing juniors a Level-10 ability boost. And what’s more, the over-engineered cross-border communications set-up is getting a much-needed reboot.

The trials and tribulations of cross-border comms teams

First, here’s how cross-border communications usually work from an operations standpoint. Samsung, DJI, Anker, Xiaomi are all household names in the U.S.. But none of these companies are headquartered in the U.S.. While local market decision-making takes place at the local office (e.g. in the U.S., EU, LatAm, and so on), high-level communications strategy for APAC brands (for example) is almost exclusively set at HQ. 

More often than not, there are misaligned expectations and miscommunication somewhere along the chain, from the in-house director who sits at HQ, to the regional in-house lead, and then the regional vendor. Once you factor in language, cultural, and local business practice barriers too, information readily gets lost in translation across borders and time zones. 


 

The structure is just as complicated at agencies. At most ‘Big 4’ agencies, a local account manager sits within the same time zone as the client HQ, while execution is shouldered in another time zone by a regional consultant or colleague. Account managers will generally bow to the client’s pressure, and leave regional colleagues scrambling to deliver on impossible asks.

“ChatGPT is accelerating the impact even entry-level employees can have on a business. It’s like a shot in the arm for startups entering unfamiliar terrain, and an invaluable asset for marketing juniors eager to prove their worth. “

This disconnect is most evident when brands make their first attempts to break into overseas markets. And that’s taking into account that the tech giants have the budget to spend time figuring out the details. For startups, surmounting these cross-border barriers is an even greater headache and risk.

ChatGPT is changing all this

The bottlenecks above essentially arise from the insistence that the work needs to be coordinated on the ground in the local, target market. But ChatGPT is changing all that. Here’s how.


 
  • Language barriers

ChatGPT isn’t close to replacing even entry-level employees (yet). But for a non-native speaker in an overseas marketing role, ChatGPT puts them on an even playing field with local, native speakers, assuming at least an intermediate language ability. 

To put this into perspective, in-house marketers in Asia (where I’m based) are often fresh grads or have just a few years of experience. Now with ChatGPT, even entry-level employees can instantly proofread and refine emails, a client reply, or even a press release, all without taking up a manager’s time. ChatGPT can even customize the content according to the target market. 

Image by Mohamed Nohassi

Let’s face it, poor grammar and spelling make a bad impression on native speakers. But now that disadvantage has been eliminated. In fact, as a native-English speaker based in Asia, that’s one of my main competitive advantages eliminated too.

  • Cultural & business practice barriers

High-level managers or executives back at home base often lack direct cultural knowledge of the markets they’re responsible for. But now, they can enter a few prompts and quickly identify major trends, learn about niche cultural penchants, or validate their hypothesis in record time, without having to scan through reams of reports and articles, or conduct lengthy interview and research processes. That’s not to say any of the latter are now obsolete. It’s more that a team lead based at HQ can quickly get to grips with the general lay of the land in a new market, or at least know enough to tell if a local vendor is toying with them.

“Your marketing junior basically just got a Compound V shot, and might already be exhibiting suped-up cross-border communications capabilities.”

But crucially, marketing juniors have access to that same information portal. True, their relative lack of experience will limit their ability to spot some of the basic mistakes that still plague generative AI. And manipulation of information delivery within these generative AI systems is a whole other conversation. But it certainly raises the overall bar for having basic context and market awareness, not to mention removing the need to ask managers stupid questions.

What this means for cross-border comms

HQ teams will be able to handle everything closer to home, from strategy to execution, all in the same time zone. Or for teams that work remotely, from wherever you like, basically. Agencies and vendors will still play a role given their niche expertise. But the key difference is that it’s no longer a prerequisite to find vendors located in the target market. There’s probably a scrappy upstart agency closer to home that can get the job done, and probably for cheaper. 

What’s more, your marketing junior basically just got a Compound V shot, and might already be exhibiting suped-up cross-border communications capabilities. It’s not only about ChatGPT itself. With the API powering all these emerging tools like automated presentation slide generation, juniors never had it so easy.

Startups now have more options, with ChatGPT opening up the ability to choose from a diverse pool of talent from around the world, or if preferred, closer to home. Plus, now everyone can have stronger familiarity with the target market.

ChatGPT is accelerating the impact even entry-level employees can have on a business. It’s like a shot in the arm for startups entering unfamiliar terrain, and an invaluable asset for marketing juniors eager to prove their worth.


Image by Annie Spratt

 

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