Generative AI in the Promo Industry: Friend or Foe?

Ever heard of Generative AI?
It’s everywhere these days, promising to revolutionise the world. But is it all hype, or will it truly impact the promotional product industry? 

What is Generative AI?

Generative AI is a specific type of Artificial Intelligence that focuses on creating new things, like text, images, or code.

Here’s an analogy to understand the difference:

Think of AI as a toolbox: 

It contains many different tools for making computers intelligent. Some tools might be good at analysing data, others at playing games, and some at making decisions.

Generative AI is a specific tool in that toolbox: 

It’s particularly good at creating new things based on the information it has learned.

Generative AI excels at organising unstructured data. Its models, like OpenAI (which we use at Promodata), can identify patterns invisible to traditional methods. This allows us to not only structure complex supplier data but also enhance it, fill in gaps, and make it more interconnected

The Productivity Gap in Promo

Our industry thrives on excellent service, but managing countless options and variables can be overwhelming. Distributors often get bogged down by administrative tasks like product searches, quotes, and order processing. This limits growth and explains why there are so many distributors – it’s simply time-consuming to manage everything manually. Additionally, complex product data makes it hard for distributor websites to compete with modern e-commerce platforms.

A 2020 study by APPA revealed that a whopping 58% of a distributor’s time is spent on admin tasks! This is where AI shines. AI can automate these tasks with superior efficiency and accuracy, freeing you to focus on other things.

How AI Can Boost Productivity

There are three main ways AI can supercharge your promo business:

Level 1: Off-the-Shelf AI Tools (Available Now)

Think user-friendly tools like ChatGPT that interact with large language models to generate content like product descriptions, marketing materials, or even images. While they have limitations, they’re a great way to boost productivity without needing extensive technical knowledge.

At Promodata, we use tools like Cloudinary, Pebbley, and OpenAI for tasks like image enhancement, product colourway creation, and product descriptions. These tools save time, but they’re still user-driven processes.

Level 2: AI Assistants (2024-2025)

Imagine a supercharged version of ChatGPT trained on your specific data! These AI assistants, also called co-pilots, combine software, your business data, and an AI model to automate tasks or generate desired results. They could handle sales inquiries, provide internal training, or even create custom quotes based on Promodata products. According to Forbes, 4 out of 5 businesses prioritise AI integration for its productivity gains.

Level 3: Autonomous Agents (2025-2026)

This is where things get exciting! By 2025, we might see the rise of “autonomous agents” – AI that can take action independently. Imagine a customer interacting with your website through an AI agent that can answer questions, generate ideas, or place orders – all without human intervention!

Is AI Overhyped?

Right now, AI is more about boosting productivity than transforming the industry. But the future looks disruptive! With AI handling the mundane tasks, you can focus on building customer relationships and the creative aspects you love.

How Can You Prepare for AI?

Learn and Try: 

Explore tools like ChatGPT to see how AI can improve your product descriptions or marketing copy.

Digitise Your Business: 

Ensure your website, order processing, and marketing are all digital for seamless AI integration. Promodata can be your partner in this!

Talk to Your Software Provider: 

Find out what AI solutions they offer and what their future plans are. Integrating AI with your existing tools is key.

Want to See Promo AI in Action?

There’s many platforms out there that have been augmented with artificial intelligence. For a targeted look at how the promo industry can benefit from Ai, have a look at Brandengine – this Australian Made Quoting and Job management platform has already been enhanced with Ai functionality.

Ready to Disrupt?

For a more detailed look at how Ai is set to change promo, and how you can change with it, check out these resources.