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Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of the Exit Five Weekly Email, a weekly note with B2B marketing lessons & observations, fueled by the community at Exit Five (a private community of ~3,500 marketing pros).

Join us at exitfive.com if you're not already a member.


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You Can't Just Say "AI" and Think You've Properly Positioned Your Product


Let's talk about AI for a bit...


People of the future will talk about the shift to AI the way we reminisce on the shift to mobile. It's huge. However...in the heat of the moment, we've forgotten ourselves and some basic tenants of marketing and business. 

To the SaaS companies out there talking about AI: That can't be the whole positioning for your company now.

Look around. Do you see how many companies are touting their AI capabilities right now? Everyone from IBM to Salesforce to that new seed stage startup is throwing their AI in your face as the leading message. It's in the ads. It's in the in-app pop-ups. It's the home page headline.

But in the minds of your potential customers (and me), AI is now a commodity.

Nearly ever vendor in B2B SaaS is talking about it.

AI is not a benefit. The "what" can't be AI. You can’t just say: AI for email and expect to change the world. 

Don't forget the basics.

Every message that you're putting out there that's trying to sell someone something needs to answer:

  1. What is it?
  2. Why do I need this now?
  3. How is it different from the other products out there?
  4. What proof do you have / who else thinks your product is good?

You need to do more than talk about your "AI" to win. The way that I see it so often is that the business is promoting the capability, instead of the user problem (or even the solution to the problem, which would be a step better than the capability.)


AI alone doesn't differentiate; real value and unique solutions do. Your solution can include AI, and you can explain the value in a number of ways that provide more information than just: “We have AI now."

Outcomes > features

Don't like the lust for AI rob you from sticking to marketing principles... 

just another capability

And beware of over-selling.

UI over GPT

Jasper actually has some great examples on their site of how to show the value and differentiation: 

Jasper 1

👆 This is an interactive demonstration of their differentiation around, and commitment to, brand voice.

Jasper 2

They also share social proof further down the page, and outcomes of using the tool.

They even have a few sections on their homepage that DON’T SAY AI AT ALL. Can you believe it?

Jasper 3

In this case - the differentiation is clear, they say AI less than most, and they're not overselling a thing that barely works. 


The consequence of overselling is diminished customer trust. It's just such a bad experience, which I'm sure has happened to a lot of us. 

Try our new AI

It seems like companies are willing to accept and promote a sub-par user experience because they’re so proud that they’ve “figured out” how to “do AI.” It's like bragging about a participation trophy.  


Marketing doesn’t always have a say in which features get launched (or when), but we can often fight for specific messaging to increase the effectiveness of the launch/adoption.


If your AI functionality is essentially a GPT integration that was slapped together, prioritizing speed to market, and it’s not that great yet, you can reduce a lot of the damage by repositioning. 


See if you can change the narrative and promote it as a beta. Even make it your job to set up a feedback loop for users to pipe straight to the product team. The last thing you want to do is promote something as if it’s fully baked, when you’re still working out the kinks. (This applies to any feature btw…not just AI related…but AI got us doing crazy stuff).


And then, as you promote your fabulous beta, don’t forget #AIisnotpositioning.


A hammer in search of a nail 

A hammer in search of a nail

I won’t focus on this for too long because I'm not a product builder, but from my perspective - the moment you work your way into product decisions from this direction…you’ve lost. 


It reminds me of a few years ago when everyone thought freemium was the thing, and sales-led companies were quickly building free versions and hoping a thriving product led motion would just materialize when they added a "try for free" button on their site.


If you’re starting from a trend, and working your way into a pain/use case, I’m skeptical of how well it will actually resonate in the long term. Someone email me in five years, I’d love to be proven wrong.


Riding the hype train is a short term play 

Hype train

Any benefit derived from boarding the hype train represents a benefit in the short-term. When the hype train runs out of a service (or people wise up on the difference between AI that solves a real problem vs bandwagon AI…honestly i think we’re already there) what then? 


Can you say what it is, without saying AI? 


Here’s an exercise. 


Can you talk about the value of the feature without saying AI? How would you describe it? 


I recently saw a company refer to a feature as an AI bot…like…the thing we’ve been calling chatbots for almost a decade? Sick rebrand pal.


Not only that, but in a hero section of four sentences, every single sentence had “AI” in it. The section below the hero has two sentences…(both say AI). 🙄


This is a reputable and very successful business that is breaking a copywriting rule we all learned in sixth grade English class in order to seem hip. 


People were marketing this technology at Zendesk conferences in 2018. And they did it without AI-washing every sentence to death. #AIisnotpositioning


I’ll leave you with this….

What if i spell it out


Hope you are having a productive week.

- Dave

PS. Are you reading? Reply back and let me know, I love getting replies...


🎧 Podcast #95: The Role of AI in B2B Sales & Marketing and How To Futureproof Your Job


Speaking of AI --> If you want to learn more about this topic: Reid Robinson is Lead Product Manager for AI at Zapier. We discuss the implications AI will have on B2B marketing, various use cases in B2B SaaS, and how to future proof yourself as a marketer.
If you've been interested in AI and want to understand more about where AI could fit into you role at work and inside of your company, this episode will be relevant for you.

Listen To The Episode Now On Spotify


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