By Ravi Kumar
Marketing has been drifting from a competition for consumers’ time and attention to a more personalised engagement. Modern, digitally-savvy consumers are more aware and demand solutions that fit their specific needs. If you want to do business in such a market, you cannot wait for the consumer to discover your products and services. Instead, you should be ready to talk to the customer and aid their discovery.
So, brands’ marketing approaches will have to shift from tracking the consumers to talking to them and knowing them better. Automate AI, an artificial intelligence and automation company that helps brands create personalised shopping experiences, states that conversational marketing delivers a three times higher engagement rate than the highest performing digital assets.
Help consumers discover the solution they need
Digital marketing, in its evolution over the years, has also arrived at this challenge, culminating in moment marketing. But even the moment marketing suffers from the limitation of digital marketing – ‘the consumer has to be looking for a specific solution to find it.’ For example, you will start seeing ads of joggers everywhere on the websites and searches the moment you search and buy a pair.
It is easier for digital marketers to offer solutions to the customers who are looking for them. But, how do you help a consumer in his/her discovery of the solution? Or how do you expedite their journey of discovery?
Conversational marketing offers the solution. Customer interactions on the brand’s chatbots help the brand’s marketing teams figure out the discovery process of the consumer. The digital teams (SEO and Google Search Ads) can address the consumer queries from chatbots through content on various channels. The brand can also resolve relevant problems through other marketing channels including print and TV.
On the other hand, chatbot integrations also benefit customers. A recent Salesforce survey showed that personalised messages from brands have a positive impact on customer experience, drive conversions, and improve visitor engagement for a majority of brands.
Backward integration – not only marketing
It would be an injustice to say that conversational marketing tools are limited to only driving marketing results. Conversational marketing tools have also proven to fill the gap between marketing and production.
The most significant impact for brands with conversational marketing, however, will be the ownership of consumer data. Gartner’s survey points out the rising number of firms using data from their conversational tools to improve products and expand their customer base.
More than 80% of consumers report their interaction with a conversational chatbot as positive. Conversational marketing has driven engagement and conversion for some of the biggest consumer brands, and it’s still evolving.
Ravi adds, “Conversational marketing tools have offered what marketers have been seeking for ages – product evolution with consumers. The single biggest advantage for brands would be the completion of their product development and marketing loop. As conversational marketing builds relevant consumer data it will also help the brands to shorten the go-to-market time for their products and services.”
Conversational marketing headed for rapid adoption
As per the Gartner Hype Cycle published last year, AI Chatbot applications are nearing the plateau of productivity. As the technologies behind the tools mature, the solutions will become more liberalised. Since personalised conversations benefit not only consumers but also brands, businesses must pick up on the opportunity.
Historically, digital marketing has also driven up the threshold for conversion rates in its prime. It was a revolutionary extension of marketing when it began. Now, it is a necessity for businesses. But the relationships between brands and their consumers are mostly defined by tech giants who own most of the consumer data.
Chatbots have not had this kind of straight-to-the-business history. The project began as an experimental extension of the human mind. Yet, the resulting business applications of intelligent chatbots have had a huge impact on customers as well as brands.
With conversational engagement with consumers, brands can start to own relevant consumer data once again. And this won’t be spy data, rather authentic data shared by the willing consumers, which the brands are genuinely helping.
The author is founder, MadHawks, a digital marketing agency