‘Conversation’ is the C that can shrink the time, resistance, distance and effort that a marketer has to travel to reach the ultimate C – The Customer
Any marketer worth his/her salt would swear by the advantages that pull marketing has over push marketing. The fatigue, frustration, and friction that ‘push-tactics’ leave behind are just too much of a strategic burden and operational baggage. That is why the importance and impact of two new Ps are loud and clear today – Pull and Precision.
Thankfully, both are not just possible but easy and effortless in the era we have just embarked upon. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Analytics are now equipping marketers with the magic of ‘Conversations’ to talk to, listen to, understand, engage and delight customers like never before.
Now marketers can hold a timely, engaging and quality conversation just when the prospect is in the right frame of mind. Conversational marketing is allowing marketing teams to align their thoughts, tool-boxes and, of course, offerings with a prospect’s curiosity and engagement at an opportune moment.
Let us understand it first and see why it is creating so much buzz.
Conversational Marketing has two key and obvious parts – Conversations and Marketing. It is the process and mechanism of being there for a quality conversation with a prospect when s/he is seeking information, is in the consideration phase or/and has doubts to be clarified. Add the element of marketing here, and you get a smart and savvy way of inserting the message/product propositions without turning a customer off.
This is in stark contrast to push strategies where a prospect is bombarded with marketing noise without careful targeting or time-assessment. When prospects smell desperation, especially in the cluttered world of too many marketing messages, they turn their back. However, when they initiate a dialogue and get a quick, informative, engaging and marketing-oriented response and discussion, this is a whole new playground of possibility altogether. Now the customers not just hear a message. They listen. And most importantly, talking in response.
Thus, it is easy to see the numerous outcomes that arise from a well-crafted and ably-executed marketing conversation:
- Enhanced and enduring customer loyalty since the offer is consumed in a new context and without any distractions around
- Real-time conversations derive opportunities of having a customer in a ready frame of mind
- Sharper targeting and deep personalization
- It is a feedback-oriented approach that allows marketers to improve their products and services
- Better responses and comprehension than cold calls, emails (recall how the average email open rate is around 20 per cent), website (average landing conversion rate is between two to three percent)
- Opportunities to move people up the marketing funnel
- Unprecedented cross-selling and up-selling opportunities
- A problem-solving approach that builds long-term salience, association, experience and loyalty around the brand
- Humanized and contextualized experiences that were impossible on cold channels like a website or an app
- Faster lead-closing time and shortened sales cycles due to the one-on-one approach deployed here
- A chance to learn more about customers and devise better products and strategies
No Chinese Whispers Please
Consider this; a report by Gartner has indicated that over 50 percent of medium to large enterprises will have chatbots by 2020. Another report “2019 State of Conversational Marketing” that studied 1,085 adult consumers in the United States showed the growing prominence that conversational marketing is garnering.
So while more marketers are waking up to the new power that this new genre is unleashing, it is important not to neglect the execution part. Having a chatbot is not equal to good conversations or good marketing or both. Algorithms have to be designed well. Conversations have to be handed over to human elements at the right time. The blurred boundaries between marketing and sales have to be handled without any goof-ups. Execution of conversational marketing is a daunting job that necessitates a thorough understanding of what this new area entails as well as the skilful ability to turn conversations into revenue, loyalty and engagement.
Tap into the power of conversations but keep someone proficient and experienced by your side. It is more than bots. It is about conversations that can make brands. Or kill them!