November 2, 2018

Conversational Marketing: Go Beyond the Buzzword

By Robin Shapiro
Strategy Development
Categories

Chatbots may be the buzz marketing term of 2018, but brands shouldn’t overlook the technology’s value. In today’s digital economy, consumers increasingly expect always-on, personalized experiences. Traditional online experiences no longer match the way consumers prefer to buy, and the universal adoption of instant messaging has transformed how consumers prefer to interact with businesses. New technology that applies Artificial Intelligence, such as conversational marketing (otherwise known as chatbots), now provides brands with an innovative and efficient tool for engaging consumers with immediate response.

In fact, 80% of organizations are already using—or intend to use—chatbots by 2020. But brands won’t sacrifice personalization by investing in the new technology. Instead, conversational marketing offers brands the opportunity to get more personal with consumers, allowing users to efficiently explore their most relevant product and brand information without needing to visit a website or speak with a sales person.

Consequently, conversational marketing offers brands a powerful tool for delivering meaningful and real-time experiences for consumers.

Marketers exploring new ventures in conversational marketing can consider these key benefits:

Give Time-Starved Consumers Control and Immediacy

In our on-demand, real-time world, consumers seek immediate answers and will turn to competitors who provide better experiences if expectations aren’t met.

Chatbots are programmed to engage with consumers and deliver rapid responses to users through instant messaging. With the help of AI, chatbots can deliver thoughtful replies faster than humans with near real-time, user-specific replies. In fact, a recent study shows that 69% of consumers prefer chatbots to access quick information from brands.

Further, chatbots allow consumers to drive the conversational experience. According to a Columbia Business School study, when consumers don’t feel in control, they are less likely to try new products. By giving consumers the ability to access answers to their specific questions and receive quick replies, chatbots empower consumers to take direct control over their brand experience. As a result, users can efficiently fulfill their goals and leave conversations satisfied.

Humanize Brands at Scale

Incorporating conversational experiences into marketing activity allows a brand to come to life through scalable, real interactions with consumers. Chatbots can be programmed to follow custom dialogue flows and conversational styles that align to the business and brand. Specifically, brands can tailor the conversational experience to evoke the values, tone, and even personality they want their target audience to feel when interacting with a human sales person.

So, while consumers drive the engagement, marketers can leverage conversational technology to scale the human touch—or emotions—of their brand voice into the channel their target audience now prefers to communicate.

Inspire Consumer Action

By design, conversational experiences take consumers from passive to active engagement. Brands can extend the key features of their website into the conversational experience so consumers are empowered with the tools to streamline their purchase journey and get the answers they need, faster.

Consumers can explore products, locate nearby retailers, discover cashback promotions or even add products they want to purchase to their online shopping carts – all in real-time and within the conversational experience. By helping consumers find the right item faster or reducing overall frustration in the shopping journey, chatbots have the ability to directly alter consumers’ paths to purchase.

Deliver Personalized Experiences to Everyone

Epsilon research revealed that 80 percent of consumers are more likely to do business with a company if it offers a personalized experience.

Chatbots fundamentally provide consumers with conversations that are personalized to their queries. The audience can discover, access and explore the information about the business that is most meaningful to their shopping journey–in real-time, on a 1:1 basis.

And because chatbots reply to users immediately, brands can leverage the technology to deliver customer-specific rapport that builds a scalable and transformative intimacy between customer and brand.

Brands that invest in conversational marketing have the opportunity to deliver on these experiences to gain a competitive edge, and ultimately, realize better marketing results.