Marketing is really about communication. No matter the medium, brands are trying to convey a complex message of value, prestige, utility, and community with every single product they create. Technology hasn’t changed that essential quality of advertising, but it has revolutionized the pace at which that conversation happens.
If you were forced to go to a brick and mortar store, and you were forced to look at a project you didn’t know everything about, and you were forced to interact with a real human-being to ask about that product, how long would you expect their response to take? A second? Five seconds? Let’s say they needed to check on another size or color. Would you wait five minutes? Ten minutes? Of course not. You’d expect some kind of response immediately. You’d expect a personal, friendly, and expert reply and anything else would cause you to bust out and move on to the next store.
The explosion of eCommerce has shifted those expectations to a digital platform, and new technology like live chat with a real human on the internet or artificial intelligence living in those servers have only just caught up to the real-time conversations that are changing online sales. At the end of the day, conversational marketing is communication on your customers’ terms, on their timetable, and on their chosen platform.
- It’s About Information. Maybe the most important aspect role of conversational marketing gives customers information. This goes well beyond asking about a specific product. The best conversational marketing can provide updates on help or support tickets, past sales, sizing, delivery updates, and more. Take Facebook, for example. With over 2 billion users, brands can use the platform to get in front of an unbelievable amount of potential customers, but also offer those customers a place to interact in a space they already chose to occupy. It teaches those customers to rely on a brand’s Facebook presence for everything they need, including sales, returns, and more.
- It’s Scalable. The biggest misunderstanding around conversational marketing is that it’s one-to-one. It’s not, and great conversational marketing works whether it’s focused on a single customer or tens of thousands. 85% of social media users spend time on just five apps. Using avenues like Facebook lets brands message on more than Facebook. That single account can help them connect seamlessly between Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and, if Zuckerberg has his way, WhatsApp. The information or technology built for one platform works for another, and the response of one customer can structure future interactions through AI that can be utilized for other conversations in the future, potentially thousands of times.
- It’s Human. Yep, even the automated stuff. Responses and replies from a brand’s messenger platforms shouldn’t be yes and no. It should drive real conversation and further assistance by suggesting other products, asking how else it can help, and offering personalized deals later on. Conversational marketing should fit the tone of the brand and support the product, but it works best when it also matches the expectations of the communicating platform itself. The tone of Slack, for example, is different from Instagram, and the expectations of your customers may change accordingly.
Our favorite example of conversational marketing is Domino’s AnyWare program. We all like pizza, and we like it so much that we’ll order it on a moment’s notice. The days of having to call are over. Instead, AnyWare lets users order pizza by simply texting the pizza emoji on Slack, Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Facebook Messenger, and more. The initiative asks and answers questions, offers updates on the order’s delivery, and even sends deals based on your previous pizza choices. As these technologies become more and more affordable for businesses of all sizes, it’s going to set the standard for what customers expect from their favorite brands.
The pace of marketing has gone from static to instant, but that immediacy creates an opportunity to take your brand and sell to customers on their terms. To learn more, let’s chat.