Chatbots and marketing: is this marriage working for you?

The topic of artificial intelligence seems to be on the tip of every marketer’s tongue these days. The integration of chatbots, smart messaging services, smart search engines and various other forms of artificial intelligence (AI) have all contributed to the creation of more effective marketing campaigns, while simultaneously proving that we aren’t quite ready to totally hand over the reins to our robot friends just yet.

As with the majority of technological advancements, the initial wave of excitement around smart technologies has been duly questioned, leaving many wondering if smart messaging services like chatbots are simply doomed to fail. Some companies are already making huge investments in AI, while others find it to be more frustrating than helpful.

Luckily, tools like chatbots have been around long enough for marketers to get a sense of the strengths and weaknesses of AI based on what’s currently available.

1. They can help you get to know your consumer

Chatbots, for the most part, have been successfully integrated into platforms that seamlessly lend themselves to messaging services. Facebook, for example, now has more than 30,000 chatbots that have streamlined their customer services. Facebook bots can store consumer information like browsing history and credit card details, allowing them to effortlessly target consumers, encouraging them to make more purchases and become returning customers.

For marketers, chatbots can already help to improve data analysis. Today’s consumers spend more time on messaging services than they do on social media channels, thus widening the pool from which marketers gather consumer information. Additionally, as bots are getting better at automatically logging information, e-marketers have access to a consistent stream of up-to-date information regarding consumer needs, thus aiding in the creation of more personalized and effective marketing campaigns.

2. They can remove distractions

For marketers, tapping into social media is a must. Consumer needs and activity can be accurately tracked through social channels thanks to feedback portals, real-time interactions, and customer reviews. Based on this information, chatbots can make their communication with consumers more informative and authentic. AI taps into our human need for communication while also clearing away distractions. Potential customers no longer have to search on their own for answers, potentially resulting in reactions such as frustration or cart abandonment, as chatbots grant them an uninterrupted experience, whether they’re shopping or reading the news.

Smooth communication encourages consumers to give more detailed accounts of what works and doesn’t work for them. But, before you start implementing chatbots into your marketing campaigns, it’s important to know that there have been customer complaints to let businesses know that chatbots aren’t quite human enough for us just yet. It’s vital that you use chatbots to enhance communication, such as offering basic 24-hour customer service, rather than completely relying on them.

3. They can boost brand awareness

Every marketer knows that if you are going to keep up with the competition these days, marketing campaigns need to create brand awareness in a dynamic and creative manner. When used correctly, chatbots can be an excellent tool for creating personalized stories, rather than flat advertising campaigns. For example, English fashion label Burberry created a custom messenger bot for Facebook that coincided with the launch of their latest collection in 2016.

Used to advertise Burberry’s new collection, the fashion-conscious chatbot also incorporated customer service features. The chatbot gave visitors a more personalized experience, showing them the newest Burberry line, while also helping them to navigating the site, providing recommendations and allowing them to make purchases if needed. This is a great example of how utilizing AI that is both promotional and user-friendly can boost brand awareness while simultaneously improving consumer experience.

While artificial intelligence still has a long way to go, it’s safe to say that services like chatbots will continue to evolve, and may replace us entirely one day. Yet that day is still far away, and marketers are in a perfect position to advantage of artificial intelligence.

Ellie Martin
Ellie Martin
Ellie Martin is co-founder of Startup Change group. Her works have been featured on Yahoo!, Wisebread, AOL, among others. She currently splits her time between her home office in New York and Israel. You may connect with her on Twitter at @EllieMartin120.

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