Merritt Group Blog

Is “New” AI Technology Enough to Get Attention? The Answer May Surprise You

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of today’s hottest buzzwords among media, businesses and investors, and the AI market is growing at an unprecedented pace. There’s been a major surge in AI investments recently – venture capital funding of AI companies soared 72 percent in 2018. With so many businesses entering the field, enterprises need to differentiate themselves to the media to successfully secure coverage of their stories and showcase their brands and products. 

While it remains a hot topic with enterprises, the media frenzy around AI has flatlined since 2017 with a significant decline in media coverage beginning this year. For example, by October 2018, media coverage of AI had reached over 50,000 pieces, but this year that number is at a mere 35,000 articles. 

At this point, we are well beyond the initial hype phase around AI. Our Emerging Technology PR experts created a research report and found that journalists are looking for more comprehensive stories focusing on how AI is changing lives instead of writing about the technology itself.

Why is this happening and what can be done to garner media attention for your brand? 

Move Beyond Buzzwords

Although the hype cycle is over, businesses utilizing AI technology are growing at a record pace and are expected to contribute $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030. AI is present in almost every area of emerging technology and businesses utilizing AI grew a whopping 270 percent over the last four years. 

The media’s coverage of AI is changing and AI as the sole story is no longer newsworthy. Reporters are shifting from covering broad AI technologies to the actual use cases. These stories demonstrate the power of AI to change the way we work, live or operate a business by giving real-life examples. 

Stay On Trend

Merritt Group dug into the current technology trends (via ITDatabase) to see if there were specific categories that are more popular, less popular or are on the rise. The five major emerging trends are sensors and mobility, augmented human, postclassical computer and comms, digital ecosystems, and advanced AI and analytics. While some of these trends garner more attention than others, none stand out due to a significant amount of media coverage and all of them have flatlined in terms of hype and media interest.

One factor that nearly all technology trends have in common? AI powers the majority of them, demonstrating that while the conversation is moving away from AI-focused stories, it is not a passing trend. This shift in the market means that the sole topic of AI technology is no longer newsworthy and journalists want to cover life-changing stories about how AI is impacting the world.

You can read a breakdown of all the latest emerging technology trends in Merritt Group’s AI research report.

THE NET-NET:

Yes, the quantity of standalone AI coverage has dropped. But AI, data and analytics companies still own the opportunity to promote their brand, differentiate their technology and tell truly interesting stories to business and technology media. To navigate the fast-changing landscape while leveraging the market opportunity for AI, here are three tips that all technology companies should consider:

  1. Prove You Are Valuable. While media coverage of AI remains flatlined, how AI is powering the most exciting and world-changing technologies remains of interest to press. Beyond differentiating your company/solution, explain how your technology impacts the industry and why it is valuable. This is your opportunity to prove that your product or technology will change how businesses work, increase ROI or make a difference in how people do their jobs. 
  2. Change the Conversation. AI technologies are no longer niche and AI is changing the industry at a rapid pace. The focus of media coverage is no longer on AI tech itself and how it works. Instead, the conversation is about what AI can actually do to power new business initiatives. Start a conversation on your social channels or via thought leadership platforms with your executives that shows reporters your product’s practical use in the real world.
  3. Remind the Public that AI is at the Core of Growth. As of 2019, 37 percent of enterprises have or plan to implement AI. Beyond existing businesses, new technologies are entering the market at a rapid pace and a remarkable amount of money is being poured into AI initiatives. Companies that choose not to hop on the AI train, may be left behind. As a result, storytelling should change to explain that AI is at the core of emerging technologies but the conversation has changed to what is possible with technology. The “sausage making” of technology will only reach a small audience. 

Merritt Group understands the challenges businesses face when it comes to cutting through the hype and marketing to audiences who may be skeptical of AI. We have the expertise to elevate your brand among top-tier media outlets and industry influencers.

If your company is struggling for differentiation in the AI landscape, or if you could use some help telling your AI story, email Suzanne Block (block@merrittgrp.com) for a free consultation.

Topics: artificial intelligence emerging technologies