The Essential Components of PR and Marketing for AI Tools

The Essential Components of PR and Marketing for AI Tools

By Peggy Tierney Galvin, Force4 Technology Communications 

Generative AI is a major technological breakthrough, with the potential to deliver massive productivity and efficiency gains across a broad swath of industries. But it is still new, and there aren’t yet enough workers with the skills to train large language model (LLM) responses with the right series of prompts to deliver the results companies are looking for. 

Despite being on the emergent side of the hype cycle – or maybe because of it – GenAI is part of nearly every tech headline. In fact, according to CB Insights Research, there are almost 800 generative AI companies, with about two-thirds being Series A or earlier, and less than 15% being mid- to late-stage startups.  

That means marketing teams at companies that sell GenAI tools need to be able to describe, simply and meaningfully, how their target audience would use their tool. Marketers also need to describe best practices for using the tool, share real-world use cases, and share examples of business benefits users could see after using the tool. 

Over the past year, the hype around GenAI has put the pressure on vendors to deliver on these details. Buyers are interested, but with so many companies using the same inflated claims, they’re not sure of what to expect. The marketing team that can describe the use cases, the process and the results as specifically as possible is already at an advantage. 

Prep for success 

While marketing and PR content grows over time as the brand and organization evolve, you can get in front of the curve by having a strong set of foundational materials before your go-to-market campaigns begin. 

Even though GenAI tools are novel, any strategic comms program needs the basics, done consistently and well, to deliver a steady stream of quality results. One classic marketing element that is especially important is real-world examples. Because GenAI is such a new area, case studies, success stories and customer references are worth their weight in gold. 

This includes thought leadership from your team showing that they know how to help your customer. Having an executive bench that can share their experience, best practices and lessons learned from the field shows how to use GenAI tools in prospects’ organizations. Speaking of thought leadership, get your developers involved! Developers – or technical executives, like leads of product – can be great thought leaders who speak from the practitioner’s perspective of authority. 

As you begin to put these materials together, you should also begin to outline your target audiences. Knowing who the GenAI purchase influencer job roles are is critical, since these may fluctuate across organizations.  

The first step is to establish personas by using quantitative and qualitative analysis. Quantitative analysis crunches trend data and focused market research. The findings reveal the behaviors, preferences and demographics of your target audience. Qualitative analysis includes insights from industry analysts, influencers and prospects on customer desires, motivations and pain points. 

It’s crucial to connect with the customer support and sales teams to get their insights. Collaboration with the teams that talk to customers every day gives the marketing team better knowledge of customers’ needs. This collaboration also ensures that the marketing team’s content assets align with the buying process. 

Addressing ethical concerns (where you can) 

Another consideration for GenAI marketing? The technology’s unique ethical questions. Open source GenAI tools train LLMs on publicly available sources of data. They hoover up video, audio and text that often includes copyrighted materials. Now, owners of that content are fighting back with lawsuits.  

That means GenAI marketing teams should anticipate concerns and pushback from their prospects’ legal departments on understanding what data their LLMs are trained on. Marketing teams also need to know how to ensure that the customer won’t run afoul of any copyright or fair use considerations that might expose them to legal risk. 

To anticipate specific questions, marketers should regularly sync with the engineering team to ensure marketing collateral accurately depicts the capabilities of your AI technology. 

Building transparency and trust 

Due to GenAI’s novelty and AI’s dubious role in pop culture (think WarGames, Terminator, Age of Ultron and about a million other examples), trust and transparency are critical for those selling GenAI. 

Just as thought leadership is an important part of the buyer’s journey, it can also aid in building transparency and trust. In new areas like GenAI, customers want to hear from the voice of authority and experience. Customer success stories demonstrate that a product is “real.” Marketers should also consider a customer reference program to connect prospects who have questions with customers who can share their experience with the tool and tips for getting the most out of it. 

Grab your partner 

Technology partnerships can also be a great marketing ally. Any time a vendor can show that its solution integrates with a major tech platform, it has pre-validated several criteria for prospects right off the bat.  

First is the stamp of approval from a trusted third party. The partner’s platform might already be part of the prospect’s tech stack – knowing that your GenAI tool already integrates with that platform is a weight off the prospect’s shoulders.  

Next is a marketing gravity assist: partner marketing budget allocated to helping promote your joint solution, which includes use cases for how your GenAI tool can help solve customer challenges when integrated with the partner’s solution.  

Make your business case 

From addressing concerns to ensuring communication with stakeholders, creating an AI product is one thing, but ensuring it gets the exposure it deserves is another. Consider noise, hype and skepticism when developing your PR and marketing plan. The fundamentals of a holistic and cross-channel PR and comms program are essential for AI vendors, and AI solution marketing teams will benefit from real-world, clear and specific examples for how to achieve measurable business benefits with their solutions. 

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