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Jeff Kagan: Marketing is key at IBM Watson Think 2019

Think 2019 is the IBM Watson AI conference which is large, impressive and gives us an annual status report on the development of artificial intelligence.
Equities columnist Jeff Kagan is a telecom, technology and wireless analyst and consultant. He covers 5G, AI, IoT, the metaverse, autonomous driving, healthcare, telehealth, pay TV and more. Follow him at and on Twitter @jeffkagan and LinkedIn.
Equities columnist Jeff Kagan is a telecom, technology and wireless analyst and consultant. He covers 5G, AI, IoT, the metaverse, autonomous driving, healthcare, telehealth, pay TV and more. Follow him at and on Twitter @jeffkagan and LinkedIn.

The moment IBM Watson played Jeopardy on TV almost a decade ago was the time AI burst onto the scene. It was a breakthrough marketing moment. Over the last decade, IBM Watson has remained the go-to player in Artificial Intelligence as the industry grows. Every year IBM holds their Think conference where they pull together thought leaders from companies, governments, think tanks and soon. This has become the AI super-show.

This year, Think 2019 will be held February 12 – 15 in Las Vegas. I am getting so many invitations from different companies wanting to get on my radar at the show. Getting noticed is important for them in a variety of ways including investing, growth and simply punching their way into the global AI dialog we are currently having.

Many of these companies understand the value and importance of good marketing. However, many do not. There are basics that need to be learned by every player if they are to be successful. Without good marketing, these companies will never reach their objectives and goals.

Briefings at IBM Watson Think 2019

Many of these companies are large, well known firms. Many are companies who are as of yet, still unknown to the general business and investing community. Some of these companies will market well, reach their goals and enjoy rapid growth and success. Others will miss.

Only certain companies who have the secret recipe will be successful long-term. Some companies will have an early, but short-lived growth curve. Others will extend much longer.

So much of a company’s success is directly attributable to their ability to capture the imagination of the marketplace through marketing. This is the hardest thing to do well and it does not happen all by itself.

You see, as we have all learned, even companies with great ideas, don’t always survive. Remember Motorola, Nokia, Blackberry and Palm?

At the same time, companies with less impressive ideas can stay in the game and win simply because they know how to market themselves in a loud and chaotic marketplace.

So, while having a breakthrough technological idea is key, so is marketing. Companies who can do both are the real long-term winners.

My speech at IBM Think conference focused on marketing

I was a speaker at IBM World of Watson, a recent IBM Think conference where I focused on the importance of marketing. As I mingled with CEOs from many other companies, I was blown away by the transformative technology that surrounded me. And this advances every year.

AI will continue to be a leading industry going forward. There will be a few home runs and plenty of mistakes as well. Combined with IoT and the virtual world, everything about the world as we understand it is changing.

IBM does a great job with Watson and AI at these Think conferences. They provide an annual snapshot into the rapidly changing space.

They have the marketing muscle to power their way into the future and remain a leader where AI is concerned. Watson is an incredible technology that has saved lives in the healthcare world and helped industry after industry in more ways than you can ever imagine.

And we haven’t even scratched the surface yet. Today, we are still in the Ford Model T stages. Just Think what is still coming. That’s what IBM is trying to accomplish with Think 2019.

IBM Think 2019 tries to translate AI to marketplace

IBM often struggles to translate what the future will look like to the marketplace. It’s sort of like a group of scientists trying to communicate to a room full of ordinary people. However, as the years pass, they have gotten better even though there is still room for improvement.

Marketing is one of the most important keys to success with any new and changing marketplace. You must educate the marketplace which is full of every-day people who don’t yet understand what is coming. This means investors, media, analysts, workers, executives, customers and more.

AI is real and will be with us as an important technology going forward. IBM is a leader in this world. While every new technology presents loads of new challenges communicating with the public, it is also full of incredible growth opportunity.

AI is important and will be a dominant technology going forward. However, today it is still brand new. We are still in the very early, Model T stages of this new world. Still so early in the growth wave. However, this new technology continues to excite and titillate the global marketplace.

So, enjoy Think 2019 and take the temperature of the AI industry. This snapshot will be very informative let us know where we stand today.

Jeff Kagan
is an columnist. Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst,
Industry Analyst, speaker and consultant. He follows wireless, wire line,
telecom, Internet, cable TV, IPTV, Cloud, Mobile Pay, FinTech and
communications technology. Email him at [email protected]. His web site is Follow him on Twitter @jeffkagan.

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