By Hayley Goff, Chief Executive Officer
For a business with genuine artificial intelligence capabilities, the world should be one of significant new opportunities and strong growth.
Automation, AI, analytics and low-code platforms have been converging for several years and the appetite for advanced, data-driven technology has increased rapidly. Research by analysts Deloitte found more than 50 per cent of organisations plan to use or implement AI and automation this year (2023) and almost all (94 per cent) see AI as critical to success.
This is a huge opportunity for AI companies, especially in mature markets such as the US and UK. Surprising as it may seem, however, companies with AI capabilities often underperform when it comes to explaining themselves.
Tech businesses that have immense talent in applying machine learning, computer vision, or natural language processing to significant business problems, are frequently lost for words when it comes to telling their own stories. Once they seek to get their message out, they may feel they are adrift in a very unfamiliar landscape of media organisations and marketing events where it is difficult to determine who or what matters and how long or how much it takes to achieve any impact.
The problem is that if a business fails to explain itself well, the B2B tech media may simply ignore it. A business with AI capabilities will achieve little if it is unable to talk interestingly and succinctly about what makes it stand out or why it is relevant to what is happening now. We can all send emails to publications, but are they the people with any real clout or connections? Getting this wrong can cause a significant loss of momentum, even in a hot area such as AI, where competition is intense and potential customers are very careful about how they spend their budgets.
This is especially true when a B2B tech business enters a new territory. It’s a little too easy, for instance, for US-based firms to assume they speak a common language with all their potential prospects in the UK, Europe and Scandinavia, even though the entire tech world is so heavily influenced by US innovators. Failing to address the specific circumstances and challenges of companies in the UK and Europe or to use idiomatic British English in the UK undermines any growth strategy. Audiences quickly feel they are being considered as an add-on or after-thought.
Crafting the message out for AI companies and getting it out there takes skill
Achieving any benefit from B2B tech PR can take time, hard work and requires insight and skill. A company with an AI solution or function should work with B2B tech PR specialists with local knowledge and connections. It is important to develop the true story about a company’s AI – which is not always easy to explain in simple terms. How does your AI make you stand out? What does it do that matters to the distinct audiences in the UK or France or Germany? Can this be developed in a way that makes relevant media take notice and increases credibility?
Many companies offering AI capabilities may also struggle because they have a purely anecdotal understanding of how rivals are perceived in these markets and the kind of language and terminology used. A B2B tech PR specialist like Whiteoaks International can conduct marketing, content and share-of-voice audits and craft strategies and tactics that make an AI business stand out. This will be informed by an understanding of the challenges and opportunities in each market and how other businesses currently address them. A business can, for example, see how perceptions of it are shifting over the course of a PR campaign, gauged by quarterly monitoring of the terminology the market uses when considering its offering and capabilities. This is a measurable outcome. A campaign can be divided up into specific topics or business challenges to achieve tighter focus.
Strategies to increase awareness and influence opinion will target the media and people that matter most with articles, eBooks, blogs, tips and best practice guides that relate the benefits of a distinctive AI capability to the challenges prospects face right now, or pressures and opportunities from economic, political or social events and trends. Integrated content marketing, as part of an over-arching PR campaign, enables AI companies to work on development of a full array of marketing and content assets, mapping on to agreed and carefully thought-through objectives.
An integrated campaign respects the distinctive characteristics of each market, and for Whiteoaks, involves the WIN PR Group of tech PR agencies who understand one another and work in similar ways. For a company in the AI sector, this is important. The messages in a PR campaign need to be tailored to each market, but maintain overall consistency – otherwise, credibility is quickly lost and coordination breaks down. With the WIN Group, companies gain the right balance between local knowledge and consistency in methodology, messaging and reporting.
AI may be the hottest topic in town, but it still takes skill and expertise for an AI company to get its message out clearly to the right people, with outcomes it can measure.