5 Key Considerations for Marketing Bot Success
According to stats shared by Facebook at its annual F8 conference, more than 60 billion messages are sent per day through its two chat products, WhatsApp and Messenger. That’s three times the number of traditional SMS text messages sent per day. Couple that with the facts that Messenger has 900 million monthly users and over 50 million companies are on Facebook itself, and the idea of facilitating real-time communication between people and brands via Messenger crystallizes quickly.
Hence Facebook’s announcement of the Messenger Platform which now provides brands with APIs to create their own natural language bots that can communicate with people for sales, service, and more via Messenger. Having helped grow this market space for years now, I can tell you that we are fans of this announcement as the marriage makes great sense or marketers.
As illustrated by the figures above, Facebook Messenger is a natural platform for chatbots because it is trusted by both consumers and brands for conversation and conversion. As consumer attention moves from social networks to private 1:1 communications, it’s becoming imminently important for brands to have a presence in the new dark social paradigm.
However, simply having a presence is not enough. Marketing organizations really need to think through and build several key considerations into their chatbot roadmaps. Specifically:
1. Utility & User Experience: While enabling consumers to engage with your natural language bot is a step forward in user experience, organizations should challenge themselves to create a better experience driven by the utility that modern consumers demand, and by which they measure today’s brands.
For brands to be successful engaging consumers with chatbots, they will need to connect the interface to meaningful experiences, back end business processes, and consumer programs that already exist within the organization.
2. Loyalty: Loyalty programs are an ideal example of an existing program designed for utility as program members can engage deeply inside messaging apps. Providing this level of utility allows your most loyal customers to interact with the brand in ways that are meaningful to them and encourages a symbiotic relationship with points and/or other rewards in exchange for participation.
3. Conversion: One of the commonly cited hurdles of chatbots is that they are reactive in nature and attempts to be proactive can come off as pushy or trying too hard at best. Chirpify helps brands with this issue by allowing marketers to activate offline media like television, events and in-store calls-to-action to conversion using chat, thus increasing the effectiveness of all channels involved.
4. The Right Mix of Automation and Moderation: Automating 1:1 consumer marketing communications and conversion inside messaging apps like Messenger can be a boon to your marketing efforts. However, as I shared earlier, it is important that brands determine their strategy for balancing personalization empowered by a smart rules-engine with human moderation backed by automation.
For example, a brand may choose to let a bot interact with a consumer if they are activating a campaign call-to-action to enter a contest. While brands may elect to moderate conversations that require greater knowledge (e.g. past transaction history with the brand) and personalization, such as a request for a hotel upgrade.
5. Data: I mentioned backend systems above, but it’s worth its own callout as it is really important to tie chat identity, demographics, and other first party data to email and other information in your CRM and/or marketing database. Being able to connect the dots on this information not only gives your team more extensive knowledge of your customers but also serves to provide a significant competitive advantage.
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new interface – especially one that is as disruptive as this. Yet, I encourage marketers to think about Messenger Platform bots (and chatbots more generally) as an opportunity to build a customer experience focused on utility that can convert. Brands across industries and client types can benefit by thinking about existing, internal programs such as loyalty that are a natural fit for extending customer relationships to maximize customer lifetime value.