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How to Sell AI: 10 Practical Recommendations for Marketers

Are you promoting AI to consumers, clients or colleagues?  If you’re in marketing today there is a good chance that you are. But how do you sell artificial intelligence effectively given all the hype and hysteria that surrounds the technology?

Here are ten evidence-based recommendations for how to communicate AI effectively from a new Syzygy study that captured people’s feelings towards AI across the US, UK, and Germany (n = 6000).  You can check out the presentation below and download the full study for free here

1. Develop a charter for the safe, transparent and responsible use of AI. With all the hype and hysteria around AI, people are suspicious and skeptical.  And they also want to see some rules about what businesses will do, and will not do with the technology.

2. Provide clear, trustworthy and compelling evidence about the positive benefits AI can deliver. People are unsure about what AI is, and what it can do for them – and so they need practical proof points. No technobabble. So stick to marketing basics (don’t sell the hand creme, sell soft hands).

3. Focus on a specific problem that your AI solution solves. Human intelligence has one functional purpose – to solve problems.  AI that doesn’t solve human problems is neither ‘intelligent’ nor will it have market appeal. No human problem, no AI solution. It’s that simple.

4. Position AI as convenience technology designed to make people’s lives easier. When we asked people about the top benefit they see AI delivering, the majority said time and effort saving convenience.

5. Communicate AI as augmenting human intelligence rather than replacing it. The warnings (or fearmongering depending on your point of view) about AI stealing jobs has entered the public consciousness, so people feel threatened that AI may make them redundant. So reframe AI positively as augmenting rather than replacing human intelligence.

6. Humanize, humanize, humanize.  Humanise AI with a human name, female voice and a human personality built around conscientiousness.  Our research shows that people want their AI humanized.  Like in the movies.  Ava, JOI (Blade Runner 2049), Samantha. Asking people for the most desirable personality trait for AI, revealed a widespread preference for conscientiousness.

7. Consider opportunities for promoting AI as more than mere technology – a coach, counselor or companion. Our research shows that people see AI as more than mere technology (getting intimate with a sex robot would count as cheating for most people). So give your AI social agency – as a coach, counselor or companion.

8. Promote AI as a deeply personal technology that always has the best interests of the user as its prime directive. With all the talk of killer cars, killer robots and job stealing AI, people appear fearful that AI may not have their best interests at heart. Take a lead from Mercedes, that has come out saying that its autonomous cars will put the safety of passengers above that of pedestrians.

9. Frame AI as a defender that helps people stay safe and secure.  Contrary to our expectations and to the opinion of many commentators – people (in the US and UK at least) are positive about AI used in defense – the majority support the use of LAWS (lethal autonomous weapon systems – AKA killer robots) in armed conflict.  Framing AI as a personal defender plays into this narrative.

10. Do not conceal the use AI in marketing or allow AI to conceal its identity and pose as a human (Blade Runner rule). People are open to AI playing a greater role in their lives, but they want to know when and where they are interacting with AI and not humans. The overwhelming majority support a ‘Blade Runner rule; with would make it illegal for AI to conceal its identity or pose as a human.

Written by
Dr Paul Marsden
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Digital wellbeing covers the latest scientific research on the impact of digital technology on human wellbeing. Curated by psychologist Dr. Paul Marsden (@marsattacks). Sponsored by WPP agency SYZYGY.