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AI research assistants that are not all hype

Ai research assistants

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Happy New Year, Inbox Hackers. Im glad to see 2024. Fresh start, fresh ok, whatever. Weve gotta get over it folks, because all that circling back and pin in it work is crashing down upon us.

Below, youll find The Knowledge Base with inspo mixed in, how to prevent losing money on returns, and Todays Hack gives you two options to take advantage of a supply chain-related trend.

Our feature story highlights AI research tools that are not overhyped garbage. These tools will save you time researching topics that make your marketing more effective. The bonus? Im tossing in B2B / B2C online review facts produced by the AI research assistants used for this article. 

3 Takeaways: AI Research Assistants

#1 Too many lists of AI research tools are full of empty promises of speed and ease

#2  Citations are wonderful, but you still have to click on those links and read more to ensure the credibility

#3 Perplexity.ai gives you links + citations by default + this tool is truly fast and easy

Googles Bard as an AI Research Assistant

Howd Bard do with research tasks? Not bad. 

Ive been playing with Bard a lot lately, so being familiar with this bots tendencies helped.

One issue was having to ask Bard for links. It gave me citations for my prompt, Give me 5 studies about online reviews in general. Asking for links added a step for me. Not good, since the point of talking to Bard is so I can skip steps and nap more.

The research was insightful, however:

  • 5-star reviews can be seen as “too good to be true” and may not be as effective as reviews with a mix of ratings (Northwestern)

  • Negative reviews have a stronger influence than positive ones (Pew)

  • Reviews from verified buyers are more likely to be trusted (Journal of Consumer Affairs)

Wait if you didnt double-check the facts I listed above with the source I noted, how do you know they arent made up? They are true. Just a reminder about looking beyond what an AI research assistant says, even when citations / sources are listed – gotta look at them!

Oh, when I asked Bard to make up a fake study about online reviews. It gladly complied. Concerning? Yeah, and this is part of what it spit out.

AI research assistants

Testing Perplexity.ai as My AI Research Assistant

While Bard (and the free ChatGPT) couldnt check a link to give me comparable studies, Perplexity could and did. 

Including the two links below that were similar to my original link I used in the prompt.

1儭Gartner

2儭G2

I used the free version of Perplexity. Pro is $20/month, or pay yearly to save roughly $3 per month.

AI research assistants

*62% of B2B buyers find online reviews more influential in their purchase decisions for business software than consumer reviews (G2)

What else makes Perplexity helpful?

This AI Research Assistant Plays 20 Questions (good ones)

The follow-up questions to my research questions were great. Many of which I would not have come up with on my own – not without beer.

Here are some of the follow-ups this AI tool handed me

  • How do B2B buyers use social media to verify online reviews?
  • What are the differences between B2B and B2C reviews?
  • Most important factors B2B buyers consider when reading reviews?
  • How do B2B and B2C online reviews differ in terms of length?

*One nuance with reading B2B vs. B2C reviews the consideration process is more collaborative in B2B

Last Two AI Research Assistants

Consensus: hunts down research papers and provides the number of times theyve been cited.

You can ask yes or no questions to get a consensus answer meter based on analysis of multiple papers. See screenshots below.

AI research assistants
AI research assistants

Use the filter feature to find recent papers and specific types of studies. Shown below.

AI research assistants

Epsilon: More scientific focused but could be helpful for deep dives into human psychology that provide marketing insights. (Not user-friendly).

AI research assistants

Suggested follow-up questions were very creative. My original search for papers on engaging headlines that get more clicks led to this deeper research suggestion

What role does punctuation or special characters play in headline click rates?

Lets wrap this feature story up.

AI Research Assistants Summed Up

I can find no fault with Perplexity.ai. Consensus was my second favorite robot researcher.

No doubt the paid versions are even better. Just depends on how much youd use them. 

Me? Ive no need for an AI writer. If I wanna go to sleep, Ill go to bed, not read robot prose. But if I can avoid looking up page after page of facts, stats, and tactics, then I am all in on using AI research assistants. They give me more freedom to focus on writing the copy.

(Coming up below most read stories of 2023 relevant to marketing agencies)


WallyWorld Effect [But in Email Campaigns]

Brands beg to be put on Walmarts shelves.

They go to great lengths, like slashing production costs, so Walmart lets them in their walled garden.

Whats that tell us?

The network effect is crazy powerful. Get your product seen by countless shoppers who stroll inside a Walmart and your sales will soar, guaranteed.

Inbox Mailers gives you this same network effect by triggering your emails to arrive next to other emails your subscribers are interested in. Not just interested in, but emails they are actively reading when your new email arrives. This produces more opens, more clicks, more sales.

This Walmart-like network effect is only available with Inbox Mailers! Why? Because of the size of their network of emailers that produce the email triggers. Using this strategy will improve your email marketing revenue faster than any tactic youve tried.

Schedule a demo to take advantage of the network effect using Inbox Mailers triggered emails.

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book demo

Knowledge Base

Knowledge is power, so is regulating yourself

Most read stories of 2023 covering marketing agency news 

Why LinkedIn ad prices have shot up

Need a coaching sales funnel? Examples to follow

Social media referrals are dropping like a rock (& how it affects your content strategy)

How can you use constraints to light a creativity inferno?


self help

Self Help

Sometimes all you have to look forward to is that next trip to Chick-fil-A.

Is that a low point?

Maybe, maybe not. 

Youre doing alright in my eyes if you have sense enough to recognize a treat. And youve got enough sense to look forward to anything. Aaaannd enough cents to afford a #1 w/ a Coke.

* Inbox Hackers Shout-out:

Andrew at Hagerty (car insurance)

Ansleigh at Berks Homes (builders)


Facts and Stats

  • Returns were up 35% YoY on December 26, but brands retained over 40% more revenue via return strategies like exchanges over refunds (Loop)

  • ChatGPT can bypass media paywalls when asked to do so (1440 Newsletter)

  • Only 49% of consumers polled receive an email after a purchase & 27% never hear from the business again (Media Post)
Bonus: Top-dog email clients remain #1 Apple & #2 Gmail – but what are the percentages? Apple: 66.83% / Gmail: 22.82%

New AI Lead Gen Tool Identifies Email Address Of Your Visitors | Smart Recognition

  • Identify the email addresses of your anonymous website traffic with Smart Recognition. The next evolution in lead generation. 

*sponsored (US-only audiences & monthly traffic of around 15k)

潃You could be eligible for a 7-day free test drive after your demo


Todays Hack

Get Hacking

WSJ just reported a wide range of industries are benefiting from no longer offering customers endless options. Covid started this by jacking up supply chains. And businesses report things are going swell without too many choices that paralyze buying decisions anyway.

  • Coca-Cola reduced its brands by half in the past few years
  • The Logan (furniture company) reduced its products by roughly 7,500 items

Way more examples than those two, but you get the picture. 

How can you hack into this trend? A couple of options.

  1. Cut back on your products that dont produce many sales or are aggravating to procure, house, or ship.

  1. Find crumbs in the couches of big brands that cut out products/varieties with enough demand to be worthwhile for smaller brands, perhaps like yours. (In other words, sell the crap they wont bother with!).

(BTW, RIP Tab Cola. Yep, it tasted terrible but I wouldve liked to have known Coke pulled the plug.爬)


Other Inbox Hackers liked:

儭Confidence in communication from dude who went from novice to Toastmaster World Finalist in 7 months (video)

Case study on lead generation resulting in subscription rate doubling

Draft emails with Microsoft Outlooks new AI-powered dictation tool (what could go wrong)