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While many industries struggled to survive during the pandemic, digital health was having its moment to shine. Since March 2020, billions of dollars in funding have poured into the space and startups have continued to boom. As a result, marketers have faced added pressure to keep up — and better yet stand out — in an increasingly crowded and noisy health tech space, causing many marketers to get swept up in the flurry of (sometimes misleading) marketing buzzwords like “interoperability,” “cloud” and “artificial intelligence.”

For years tech companies across industries have used the term AI rather loosely. As Health-tech investor and former CNBC Health Tech Reporter Chrissy Farr fairly and correctly put it in her 2018 interview with Medgadget, AI has come to be used to describe “a wide range of data analysis-type projects” that are in some cases “a little bit more than an Excel spreadsheet.” 

Even in instances where technology is using automation, it still does not necessarily mean it is using AI — a distinction explained well in The AI Journal.

Now, as physicians and health systems are beginning to catch their breath after the pandemic and become more educated on what these terms really mean, many are starting to more closely scrutinize the reality of a technology’s offerings, rather than the marketing hype around it.

Here are three important considerations when talking about AI to help sharpen your company’s messaging and ultimately stand out in the pack:

  1. Don’t oversell your capabilities: Even if integrating AI is in your product roadmap, beware of marketing your company’s vision before it is your reality. Overselling your actual capabilities to customers enters an ethical gray area and if picked up on by journalists will result in your company quickly being tuned out for lack of credibility.
  2. Speak precisely: As AI gets closer and closer to joining the “Buzzword Hall of Shame,” use more precise terms to describe the actual subset of AI being used as validation. Whether it is machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing, etc., ditch the umbrella terms and get into the specifics. Educated customers will reward you for getting down to the details.
  3. Be clear about what your AI does (and doesn’t) do: As much excitement as there is around AI, there is also still a lot of skepticism among certain personas within the healthcare space. When marketing or messaging a complex platform or solution, be clear about where and how AI is being used, i.e., in the operational part of the application, rather than the clinical. Throwing the phrase “AI-powered” around won’t automatically win customers over. In fact, it may give some who are hesitant about fully-automated healthcare pause.

Upleveling your product’s messaging doesn’t have to mean diluting it. As AI continues to become a more legitimate and concrete element of health technology, rather than just a term, marketing teams need to accept the fact that not all AI is created equal. Rather than falling victim to the buzzword hype, marketers should be strategic about how they message their company’s technology. Diving a little bit deeper can go a long way towards standing out in the market, earning customers’ trust and building long-term growth.

Need help standing out in the crowded healthcare media ecosystem? Learn more about our healthcare marketing and PR services team.

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