Only a few years ago, marketers could only dream of a time when machines would have the ability to extract value from the unique conversations between a business and its customers. Thanks to natural language processing (NLP) and artificial intelligence (AI), that dream has become a reality with conversational analytics, a platform designed to give marketers a new way to gain actionable insights.
“We’re living in interesting times,” said Dee Anna McPherson, CMO at Invoca, the leading AI-powered call tracking and conversational analytics platform. “Customer data and insights can play a strategic role inside your company and marketers are in a great position to have a major impact on the organization.”
A former Hootsuite and Yammer executive, and a pioneer in enterprise social networking, McPherson joined ITWC President Fawn Annan in February 2021 for an installment of CMO Talks, a podcast series presented by ITWC and IDC to address pressing marketing challenges. A lively discussion focused on the enormous potential in automating the data of customer conversations to create a better buying experience.
Learning about customers
“Conversations with customers are really your moment of truth,” said McPherson. “You can uncover so much information around the customer’s experience and pain points and leverage that data to make significant improvements across the board.”
McPherson described Invoca’s primary focus as paid media optimization, which involves understanding which campaigns are converting and then taking steps to optimize the entire buying journey, particularly the e-commerce experience. She was enthusiastic about the March 2021 release of a new product designed to help managers monitor and improve the performance of agents during individual calls.
Most marketers, said McPherson, don’t have the visibility from a digital experience carried through to a phone conversation and are therefore unable to link those two journeys. Using conversational analytics to pull those two information sources together helps understand what drives conversions and provides valuable guidance on improving the digital experience to the point that customers follow through with an online purchase.
“A lot of the magic of our product is in understanding what’s happening with consumers and being able to feed those insights back into your organization so that you can adjust your buying journey,” said McPherson. “That’s incredibly powerful.”
As a marketing leader, she tries to keep marketing centralized for as long as possible. “I prefer to have regional marketing managers in place and I want them to be very embedded and ingrained in the local market,” she said. “Working closely with our general managers helps keep consistency of brand and drives efficiencies.”
When asked by Annan to share her top three reasons for investing in an Invoca application, McPherson began with the need for visibility in marketing spend in order to understand conversion value. Next, she spoke of the need to reduce any friction in the buying process, especially during a health crisis. In her opinion, the third driver for an investment in Invoca’s conversational analytics was to stay current with rapidly changing consumer needs.
McPherson describes information gained through the new marketing tech category of conversation intelligence as ‘gold’. “Buying behaviour and consumer behaviour in general have dramatically shifted,” she said. “The insights that come from these conversations are critically important.”