Last Updated:
April 18, 2023

Riding the AI Wave: A smart move or just hype?

AI is the hottest new trend, so companies big and small are giving their homepages a makeover to play up their AI capabilities. But is this a smart marketing move, or just a flash in the pan? Let's dig into the AI phenomenon in product marketing and help you decide if your company should be shouting "AI" from the rooftops.

The AI Trend in Homepage Messaging

Notice how all of these companies have added "AI" to their headlines:






The Power (and Pitfalls) of Layering on Trends

Think of your product's strengths, your market context and a trend that is relevant to your customer base as three overlapping circles. You are aiming for the center, where all three intersect.

Obviously Awesome by April Dunford

Being in tune with the latest trends can make a product seem more exciting and relevant. People love shiny new things!

Adopting new AI framing is especially helpful if you have a "boring" product. It's like throwing on a trendy outfit — it might not change who you are, but it sure can turn some heads! If done well, it can reinforce your positioning and make you stand out in your product space.

As CEOs everywhere scramble to figure out what their AI strategy is, let them score a "win" by adopting AI technology through you while solving the existing problem that your product is built to address. The AI trend has created urgency. Nobody wants to get left behind when the "next big thing" comes along. Connecting to the trend in a meaningful way means you can offer customers an opportunity to solve two problems at once.

How trends fit into product positioning (Image source: Obviously Awesome by April Dunford)

Unless layering on the trend is done thoughtfully and with a genuine connection to your product, it can backfire! Take the infamous example of "Long Blockchain". A company that sold iced tea, Long Island Iced Tea, decided to ride the blockchain hype train by changing their name. While blockchain was a hot trend at the time, it had absolutely no link to their iced tea business. So, when the company couldn't explain how they were going to use blockchain, it became obvious that they were just trying to cash in on the hype.

The result? A plummeting stock price and a one-way ticket off the Nasdaq stock exchange. Ouch.

The rise and fall of Long Blockchain (Image source: Yahoo! Finance)

Don't just jump on the bandwagon for the sake of it. Keep it real, and your customers will appreciate it.

What the Data Says

Patrick Campbell, founder of ProfitWell, conducted a landing page study to determine how much customers actually care about a product having AI. The study involved 2.4k users and measured how mentions of AI impacted people's willingness to pay.

The results were shocking. He found that adding AI to your sales and marketing materials can boost people's willingness to pay by a whopping 17%! I mean, who wouldn't want a slice of that action?

He also found that a staggering 82% of people would choose a product with AI over one without. Talk about a crowd-pleaser.

But don't get too excited just yet! Campbell warns that trends wear off, and we should be cautious when jumping on the AI bandwagon. As an example, he points out how interest in blockchain technology (and willingness to pay for it) plummeted after a period of hype.

As a trend fades, so does willingness to pay for it. Look no further than Blockchain to see for yourself. (Image source: Patrick Campbell's tweet)

Deciding if AI Belongs on Your Homepage

Before you hit "update" on that homepage, take a moment to consider the bigger picture.

Make sure AI isn't just an empty buzzword you're slapping onto your website. It should reinforce your positioning and add clear value to your offering. Otherwise, it can dilute your message and confuse potential customers.

But if you've got it, flaunt it! Including AI in your sales and marketing materials boosts customers' willingness to pay. Plus, it can make people more likely to choose your product over a non-AI alternative. Make the most of that AI advantage!

Ready to go all-in on AI? Keep in mind that trends can wear off. Remember the rise and fall of blockchain interest? So, while you're riding the AI wave, don't forget to focus on your product's core value. That's what'll keep your customers coming back for more.

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