As part of Solutions Review’s Premium Content Series, a collection of columns written by industry experts in maturing software categories, Chris Maeda, co-founder and CTO of Botco.ai, shares some insights experts on why now is the time to start investing. in conversational marketing automation technology.
The proliferation of marketing automation platforms, tools, and software solutions suggests that marketers have caught the digital effectiveness bug. The ability to effectively and scalably manage marketing efforts across multiple channels simultaneously is very appealing, especially in today’s digital environment. But even as marketers learn to automate their messaging and launch omnichannel campaigns using these tools, one aspect of automation hasn’t yet had its due: conversational marketing.
Conversational marketing automation solutions use advanced technologies like artificial intelligence and natural language processing to provide customers with two-way chat experiences that not only feel useful but also human. Where consumers once expected to be able to pick up the phone and call a business to get their questions answered or interact with a representative, consumers now expect a more self-service experience from brands.
Two-way conversational automation is about to fundamentally change the marketing landscape. Major tech players such as Meta, Apple, Amazon, and Google have incorporated conversational marketing and AI chat tools into their business strategies. Here are three top reasons why it’s time to invest in conversational marketing automation.
1) It allows buyers to do their research
According to the Pew Research Center, 81% of US consumers rely heavily on their research when making important purchasing decisions. This search mostly happens online and even plays a role when shoppers consider shopping in person at a physical store. This may include researching online reviews, comparing prices between multiple competitors, and consulting brand websites for product literature or company mission statements.
With a conversational marketing solution in place, businesses can leverage automation to give consumers access to all the resources they might need throughout the research process, including:
- Details about a particular product or service
- Answers to frequently asked questions
- Assistance in choosing the right offer
- Testimonials that talk about specific pain points
- Access to downloadable marketing materials such as brochures, one-sheets, etc.
In addition to providing the chat experience consumers expect, conversational marketing tools also free up sales staff to focus their time on more demanding tasks. Instead of interacting with every potential customer or prospect, sales staff can focus on downline deals and qualified interactions. At the same time, an automated chat solution helps customers complete self-directed research that will guide them through the funnel.
2) Consumers expect mobile-first brand communications
It’s also important to understand that shoppers have moved entirely to mobile-first interactions. 90% of consumers open text messages within three minutes and 45% respond to text messages, typically within 90 seconds. These stats skyrocket email open and response rates, likely because consumers receive so many marketing emails that it’s nearly impossible to track. Additionally, over 81% of consumers have actively opted in to at least one branded SMS marketing program.
By emulating texting, conversational marketing tools deliver the cadence and quality of communication consumers expect. They get the satisfaction of synchronous communication, instant interaction, and one-on-one personalized support that feels like real human help.
3) Companies are already investing in conversational automation
Traditional marketing automation is a powerful tool, but you’re missing out on an important opportunity if you don’t invest in AI-powered conversational marketing. According to research by Business Insider, retail consumer spending on chatbot technology is expected to grow from $2.8 billion in 2019 to $142 billion in 2024. This growth pattern indicates that, more likely than not , your competitors are already investing in conversational technology above and beyond traditional marketing automation.
This market saturation has led consumers to not only expect interactions with chatbots, but to adopt and learn from them. A Salesforce study found that 58% of consumers say technology tools like chatbots and AI voice assistants have changed their expectations about brand interactions. At the same time, 77% of consumers expect conversational automation to transform their interactions with businesses over the next five years.
Chatbots allow businesses to get consumers the information they need and walk them through the buyer’s journey without forcing a phone call or in-person visit. Conversational marketing also helps sales reps target the most qualified leads faster and more effectively. But to achieve those results, it’s critical that AI-powered chat tools are human enough and adaptable enough to engage consumers in useful and relevant ways.
Your chatbot efforts will backfire if consumers feel they are being marketed. Today’s conversational marketing automation tools must tick all of these boxes: deliver the experiences consumers expect while enabling marketing teams to increase efficiency and improve results without overburdening human staff. who works hard. If conversational marketing automation isn’t already on your roadmap, chances are you’ll lose out to your competitors and disappoint your customers.