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Inside Ally Financial’s Big Bet On Generative AI

Andrea Brimmer, chief marketing & PR officer, Ally Financial

Lots of marketers are dabbling in generative AI. A gimmick here, a one-off there. The hype is palpable.

But some brands, like Ally Financial, are incorporating AI into their daily operations and workflows, including to support real marketing use cases.

Last year, Ally launched a proprietary cloud-based generative AI platform, built internally using Microsoft Azure’s OpenAI service. Ally decided to develop its own solution rather than relying on commercially available AI tools because banking is a highly regulated industry, which means security is a top concern.

But it’s possible to both tread cautiously – Ally has strict AI governance and risk mitigation policies and processes in place – and to do cool stuff, says Andrea Brimmer, Ally’s chief marketing and PR officer, on this week’s episode of AdExchanger Talks.

Ally’s first experiment with its new platform late last year was to help its customer service associates automate their call summaries and other follow-up tasks, which saved several minutes per call.

Then it was marketing’s turn. A select group of people on Brimmer’s team used the Ally.ai interface to brainstorm campaign ideas, do research and write the first drafts of blog posts. Ally.ai reduced the amount of time team members spend on these tasks by 34%, which translates to around 3,000 hours per year.

But, efficiency and productivity gains aside, the human touch is still very necessary.

Brimmer isn’t aware of Ally.ai ever outright hallucinating, but certain outputs were a little bizarre, especially at the start. Some had the wrong tone of voice or just weren’t what the marketing folks were looking for.

But as the team has honed their prompt writing skills, the results have gotten better. During one test of 80 prompts, the majority (87%) proved useful.

“Sometimes it’s scary how dead accurate it is so quickly, and other times it’s laughable how wrong it is,” Brimmer says. “But we’re early days – and the way AI is growing and iterating so quickly already is kind of mind-boggling.”

Also in this episode: How brand marketing can give performance marketing a major boost, why Ally isn’t planning on hiring a “head of AI” anytime soon despite the brand’s ongoing investment in artificial intelligence and the excellent story behind Brimmer’s tattoo (which involves a midnight visit to a Florida tattoo parlor).

For more articles featuring Andrea Brimmer, click here.

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