There’s a shift on the horizon for marketers, and it’s set to be as big as the internet 20 years ago or the app economy a decade ago. It’s the rise of conversational marketing, a term that describes a feedback-oriented approach to driving customer engagement, building brand loyalty and, of course, positively impacting the bottom line.
The engine powering conversational marketing is artificial intelligence. AI stands to be the ultimate disrupter for companies of all sizes. It takes on many forms, but common to marketers and growing in prevalence are intelligent conversational chatbots — also known as intelligent assistants, conversational assistants, digital employees and virtual assistants. These chatbots have become so popular that Gartner predicts virtual agents will participate in a majority of commercial interactions between people and businesses in less than three years.
A Glimpse Into The Future
Take a moment to imagine your business in the future. The next iteration of your app or website is driven by intelligent conversational assistants. This future will yield better opportunities to engage with customers, provide untold value from conversations, and monitor not only what your customer needs but also their tone. This will allow you to make suggestions, solve problems and find new ways of engaging their business.
Imagine, if you will, the benefit of having this dedicated focus group at your fingertips. Not a focus group of a few dozen people for an hour or two, but a focus group that includes your entire customer base — 24/7, 365 days a year.
This new future — which lies at every marketer’s doorstep — offers unprecedented opportunity around data, a brand new network of knowledge and the ability to redefine your brand to lead in a new digital economy.
Bots are more than just simplified customer support; they offer unprecedented first-person, direct voice-of-the-customer insight.
For too long, customer service has been relegated to a formulaic question-and-answer scenario that rarely leaves the customer satisfied and often doesn’t solve the problem at hand. Using conversational AI technology allows you to reimagine the engagement process, even in the most basic of customer service transactions, and collect valuable data that can inform future interactions. Rather than simply helping a customer change a flight, for example, conversational AI for an airline could find lodging and transportation for a customer’s trip and even make suggestions for future travel.
For marketers of tomorrow, targeted collection of voice-driven data will build greater customer loyalty while expanding your existing customer base.
Network Of Knowledge
There is no need for bots to work in a silo. A network of knowledge allows an intelligent assistant access to an army of specialists: other virtual assistants with knowledge for every occasion.
This kind of collective wisdom is unmatched in the human world, particularly for its speed of recollection. What’s more, it demonstrates an inherent value of AI: the ability for individual bots to learn from experience.
Marketers of tomorrow can use AI to harness vast repositories of knowledge, at a moment’s notice, for any customer interaction. This will yield explicit personalization for the end user. As bots connect with one another in a never-ending universe of knowledge and experience, marketers can draw upon that resource and deliver individualized engagement in real time that, rather than feeling unwarranted or intrusive, connects with the user to provide real value.
Chances are you and your company have spent countless resources building your brand. Now for the first time, conversational AI systems are allowing you to develop a unique personification of that brand.
Imagine the campaigns you can pull together using conversational AI. You can talk to your customers — all of them — in a humanlike, intelligent, conversational way through an automated service. Providing platinum-grade support and customer care to every single individual will drive better engagement and understanding.
This level of engagement keeps your brand experience cohesive yet at the same time personalized, across your entire user base. It’s an entirely new way to think about marketing: individualized instead of mass-produced, pulled rather than pushed, subtle over screaming.
In the future, conversational systems will be the face of your brand. They will operate across channels to provide a seamless, omnichannel experience for your customers. They will yield unprecedented data and redefine your brand.
The big question for marketers is no longer how you’ll incorporate AI into your company’s customer strategy — the question now is are you ready?