How CMOs Can Prepare for the Future of Conversational Marketing

What’s a better marketing strategy: Walking into a room full of people, announcing who you are and what products you offer, and then hoping someone will come talk to you, or walking into a room and going up to each person, shaking their hand, and asking them what problems they need solving?

Marketers are looking for solutions that allow them to connect with each person in the room. Talking with each person and discovering their needs will not only create a personal connection, but will result in higher engagement, sales and affinity.

But surely there isn’t a cost-effective, at-scale method for connecting with each and every customer on a personal level, is there?

There is. It’s through conversational marketing — ie, leveraging automated one-to-one engagements on the apps and social media platforms where your customers spend their time every day. It’s an approach that will differentiate you from other brands that choose to only shout out their message to a crowded room, and not get to know their customers individually.

If you’re looking for an automated, at-scale way to chat with each customer, take the following steps to implement a one-to-one messaging strategy into your marketing efforts.

5 Ways to Prepare for the Future of Conversational Marketing

With its ability to meet customers where they are in the apps they use every day and to provide personalized interactions that help uncover their needs, conversational marketing through automated one-to-one messaging has the potential to differentiate your brand, increase loyalty, and monetize interactions — all while bolstering your marketing efforts with declared data. Here’s how.

1. Focus on mobile-first and messaging-first.

We do everything on our phones: keep in touch with family and friends, interact with colleagues, shop, watch entertainment, and more. With the rise in smartphone adoption and better cellular connectivity, and with the growing economic influence of messaging-first digital natives, all things point to mobile-first and messaging-first. In fact, the average time spent on social media is over two-and-a-half hours a dayand 44 percent of time spent on mobile devices is in social media or messaging apps.

Don’t wait until your customers come to your website to engage them in a chat. Go to where your customers are by talking with them in messaging channels on the apps they frequent every day. Not only will it be easy and convenient for your customers, but your brand could be sitting right next to all of their closest friends in their messaging inbox. How different would that be from vying to be seen in a news feed?

2. Create customer-first personalization.

Customers want personalization, and with so many choices and options, they want to know that your product will fit their needs and solve their problems without having to do all the research themselves. Jumping on a chat is a quick, convenient and right-to-the-point way of getting their questions answered. Additionally, 90 percent of marketers can attest that personalization “significantly contributes” to their profitability, according to google. The flip side is that most marketers know implementing one-to-one personalization is a big challenge.

You can provide that kind of personalization with automated one-to-one messaging. Bring customers into Messenger, WhatsApp, or their DMs on Instagram, where your chatbot can guide them through questions to uncover what they’re looking for. Showcase products in carousels with links to product pages that will be the best fit. Providing this kind of instant, personalized and effortless shopping experience will quickly turn messaging into a top channel for customer acquisition and retention.

3. Leverage the rise of social commerce.

Not only are your customers already messaging on social media apps, they’re discovering new products there, too. Facebook reports that 83 percent of consumers say that Instagram allows them to discover new products or services, and 80 percent say the app helps them decide whether to buy a product or service. Additionally, 55 percent of consumers say they find out about new brands from social media, and 43 percent said they’ve increased their social media usage to discover new products. If they’re already looking for products on social media, why not go one step further and provide both product discovery and personalized concierge assistance right in the app?

If a shopper already interested in making a purchase walks into your store, you wouldn’t sit behind the desk and not help them. The same is true on social media. Users are warm and ready to buy, so engage them with personalized attention and close the sale right then and there.

4. Make privacy a priority.

Privacy laws, Apple’s ATT, and browser third-party cookie deprecation are disrupting existing digital marketing efforts by removing traditional ways of data collection, tracking and retargeting. However, messaging channels offer a privacy-first marketing channel that relates on declared data. Customers feel more comfortable offering up information because they know it’s creating the tailored experience they want, and marketers gain the vital audience information they need to inform their efforts. Take back control of your marketing funnel by entering into a direct exchange with your customers that allows you to guide their purchase decisions in a privacy-safe way.

In our report State of Social Conversational Commerce, we found that consumers are generally positive about offering their data for personalized marketing efforts. One-third (33.8 percent) replied that they’re OK with having their personal data used as long as they give permission, and 18.9 percent said they prefer personalized experience but want it to be based on data they give (as opposed to tracking or Cookies).

5. Embrace the evolution of conversational AI.

Automated one-to-one messaging comes with all the benefits of convenience, immediacy and personalization, but it also comes with the ability to collect all that conversational data and turn it into insights that tell you more about your customers. You can use this data to better inform your conversations and provide richer, more nuanced responses to your customers when they chat — which will in turn make their experience more enjoyable and engaging.

According to a report from BCG and MIT, 85 percent of business leaders believe AI will give their organization a competitive advantage. Competitive advantage in conversational AI means developing a better understanding of your customers’ intents and being able to respond to them in real time. That competitive advantage will go to those that are first movers in the space, and those that choose to build on no-code platforms that enable anyone on their marketing team to train and improve their conversational AI.

Messaging-First Marketing Starts Today

What’s the plan when you walk into that room full of potential customers? Automated, one-to-one messaging will allow you to meet each customer at scale, personalize your interactions, get them connected to products they actually need, and leave them inspired and satisfied with their engagement — and ready for more.

Max Koziolek is the co-founder and CEO of Spectrumthe leading conversational marketing automation platform.

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