When I say that chatbots are going to completely change marketing you probably think back to that idiotic customer service bots that you have to deal with for 20 minutes before finally getting through to a real person and wonder how I got so detached from reality.
I agree with you; bots have a long way to do and they aren’t that clever. Already in their primitive state, they are taking marketing by storm and fundamentally changing the customer experience, in some cases for the better. People are already being replaced by these algorithms and tech companies, on the front lines of marketing, are investing millions into these talkative bots.
This is my take on how chatbots are going to change marketing.
How Chatbots Will Change Marketing
1. Why the Sudden Interest in Chatbots Anyway?
Mobile users now exceed their desktop counterparts by hundreds of millions – Smart Insights. In recent years, we have also seen a massive uptake of messenger applications. Around 1.5 billion people use Facebook Messenger – Expanded Ramblings.
That’s an incredible audience and companies wanted a way to engage with it. The conditions for digital life were ripe and the first chatbots were born.
2. Facebook Discover Is Turning the Messenger Platform into The Mobile Google
What good is a chatbot if no one can find it?
“With now 20 million businesses actively responding to messages and 100,000 bots out there, we have a shot at becoming the Yellow Pages of messaging apps as well,” Facebook’s VP of Messenger, David Marcus, said in an interview in April, with Marketing Land.
Facebook created their Discover tab and gave the world a search engine for bots. Using a user’s search query Discover ranks chatbots according to relevance and popularity.
Does this sound familiar to you? Because it sounds a lot like SEO to me, and I am not alone in this realization. The exact workings of the algorithms used by Facebook to rank messenger bots aren’t known, but we do know it considers the following.
- User engagement with the brand
- Your location and Facebook profile
I predict that optimizing chatbots for search will be as important as SEO in the very near future.
“Facebook is expanding its M Suggestions feature that uses AI to scan your conversations and recommend Messenger features to use.” – TechCrunch
Recommendations are something that marketers haven’t needed to think about with SEO, but chatbots are already suggested based on what people are typing in their kind of private conversations.
3. Chatbots Can Reply to Leads and Stop Them Going Cold
Sending out enough emails or messages to nurture leads and stop them going cold normally takes a whole team of salespeople with a natural instinct for when a prospect is at risk of falling out the funnel.
Chatbots are already being used to automating lead qualification and saving time and money in the process. You have probably encountered a chatbot like this in its simplest just browsing the web. A loud ‘ding’ alerts you to a message and down the bottom of the screen is a virtual assistant asking if you need help with anything.
This is just scratching the surface. There are already chatbots out there that are following up with emails left on lead magnets, asking questions, and once the lead is qualified passing it onto a member of the sales team. This can help marketing weed out the 75% of leads that aren’t legitimate and shouldn’t advance to sales. – Gleanster Research
Conversica is a startup that uses an AI assistant to respond to emails. As far as I can tell there is a limit to how many emails it can reply to. 24/7, 365 days a year this AI bot can chip away at as many leads as you send it. The ramifications of this kind of tech for sales and marketing border on the scary. Will it be possible to personalize the entire customer journey by having chatbots qualify them in the top of the funnel and walk them to the shopping cart hand in hand?
Using analytical data, the chatbot can engage with leads before they have historically gone cold and instead of sending a generic email chatbots are a conversation partner that responds instantly.
4. Natural Language Process Will Revolutionize Customer Feedback
Keeping track of customer feedback for a midsize business with a large online presence is a massive commitment. Unfortunately, it isn’t something that we can just overlook. Millennials, in particular, are especially responsive to customer feedback, and there is study after study that shows customers will pay more for a product with feedback or choose to buy from a company that can show them the sentiment of previous buyers.
Chatbots and AI are proving their worth when it comes to analyzing customer comments and ascertaining if the feedback is positive or negative. I predict that in time chatbots will be able to respond to this feedback, or better yet intercept it and fix potential problems by asking customers to leave their feedback with a bot.
The customer service that never sleeps can be used to streamline all kinds of processes. An example from my own life, is I recently activated an e-wallet linked to an app on my phone. The verification was all handled within Facebook Messenger by a bot. It is hard to complain about instant service that just works.
I think that chatbots are going to play a massive roll in customer service and won’t be limited to ‘I have a problem how do I fix it’ conversations.
5. Chatbots will Dominate Services
I think that e-commerce and online shopping will pale in comparison to the volume of services booked through chatbots. Ridesharing, parcel delivery, tradesmen, accommodation, flights, and food delivery will be the space where chatbots really dominate. The blossoming sharing economy struggles from app fatigue, and an emerging company might never get the exposure it needs if users have to download another application on their phone.
It’s possible we won’t even know the names of the service we are using when we buy services through chatbots in the future. Assi.st connects to the APIs of GrubHub, Eat24, Postmates, Uber, Lyft, OpenTable, and StubHub, and organizes these services like a personal assistant. Through Facebook Messenger , ou can interact with a company and know absolutely nothing about it but trust the chatbot to take care of it.
6. Chatbots Will Improve Opt-Ins with Personalized Content and Ads
The biggest strength a chatbot has is they can engage with customers on a platform they use a lot. Unless you are famous, you open every single message you get on Facebook and read every word. The platform is reminiscent of pre-2000 email marketing. It isn’t saturated with marketers and brands, so you assume every message has been sent to you personally by someone you know or have business with.
Take a look at TechCrunch’s chatbot, in a conversational style it asks users if they would like to see relevant content. By analyzing the types of articles that you read, TechCrunch sends your personalized content that is likely to interest you and if it doesn’t you just seen zone the robot. It won’t get upset. This is nowhere near as disruptive as email, and I think that this will make it easier for chatbots to convince users to opt into their ads, lead magnets, and offers.