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It's now the age of Chatbots

First came Websites – Then came Social Media – Then Mobile – Now Messaging (and Chatbots)

This is something every marketer needs to pay attention to because the bots are coming.

If you are marketing and providing customer service online, then you will be are well aware of the consumer’s growing desire for instant, one-on-one contact, right?

It will, therefore, come as no surprise that easy to use, convenient and user-friendly messaging apps are no longer just part of social media platforms, but invaluable tools that you can leverage to build your brand reputation.

In addition to the alternative way people like to communicate these days; messaging apps have exploded in popularity.  This highlights a major shift in where people spend their time.

It is bandied about that by the end of 2017; there will be as many people on Messenger (currently around 1 billion) as Facebook (1.674 billion).  Do I have your attention now?

Where brands have in the past, struggled to entice an audience to download and use a separate app, consumers will be far likelier to use a chatbot service that’s part of an app like Facebook Messenger which they already use.

So WHAT is a Chatbot?

My reference articles are listed below, which you may dig into, but for purposes of expediency, herewith a quick run-down.

  • It’s a type of Artificial Intelligence
  • It’s a new step forward for conversational marketing.
  • Chatbots are computer software programs designed to replicate human interaction and will probably take over sales and customer service functions via Facebook’s Messenger platform.

This video provides a quick overview:

HOW do Chatbots work?

  • Users interact with a Chatbot just as they would any other contact in their phone.
  • Bots have the ability to “learn” from conversations, and using specific and increasingly personalised data, gets better at figuring out what people are telling them and how best to respond.
  • Instead of a one-sided question and answer format, increased intelligence allows the chatbot to change the subject, suggest related topics, and even demonstrate humour and emotion.
  • Users essentially feel like they are talking to a human being rather than a faceless brand.

Why doChatbots Matter to Modern Marketers?

  • Chatbots provide seamless, efficient and predictive ways to handle customer enquiries without relying on people, phone, connectivity and so on.  Imagine knowing in advance, how a customer might get in touch and for what reason?
  • Chatbots aim to create a bond that most brands can only achieve after years of loyalty.
  • Chatbots will provide access to increased amounts of data.
  • A chatbot conveniently covers consumers using messaging apps in different locations, contexts, and for varying reasons.
  • Personalising communication through your Sales Funnel by correlating all the factors that impact sales. e.g. ordering of food or shopping.
  • The ability for a business to offer up relevant training and lifecycle advice based on aggregated wisdom.
  • Planning of resources, like having enough people on the phones, is not a critical factor.
  • Local info search e.g. Marsbot provides from inside Foursquare.

Being able to answer customer queries isn’t the only reason for brands to set up chatbots.  Check out these Chatbots that provide a variety of convenient services from inside Facebook Messenger:

Real-time Flight Tracking:  Instalocate

Pocket PA:  Hello Jarvis

Shazam for Facebook Messenger: Audioshot

Helps you track what you eat Fitmeal

For Booklovers: ShelfJoy

To  maintain mental health  Joy

For Pokemon Go Lovers:  Pokemonbot

Fify is a Fashion eCommerce bot that remembers taste and preferences and is context aware of what is happening in the user’s world.

CNN News.

Poncho Weather Bot.

Will chatbots add to a Bright Future?

It’s a little mind-boggling for a dinosaur like me, but considering these empowering example, this is going to be an interesting space:

  • Speech recognition and voice search.  Consider the Chinese market and typing intricate characters.  E.g. Baidu
  • Image recognition is DuLight from Baidu is designed to assist the visually impaired:
  • Better search capabilities from Google which uses RankBrain to provide better natural language processing (NLP) to help find relevance in content and queries, as well as better interpretation of voice search and user context (e.g. Google Now).

The difference between technology aiding our lives and taking over our lives is a fine line for some.  It might not be for everyone, but your customers may just demand it.

What do you think?  Are you using Chatbots?

P.S. Here’s How to Build Bots for Messenger

About Suze Bouwer:

My name is Suze Bouwer, founder and owner of RedMatchstick Marketing created to offer on-the-job marketing coaching to help small business owners and managers.

I show how to do better modern marketing in a way that is simple to understand and easy to implement by making the best use of limited resources and without investing a fortune.

They BIG result is the peace of mind that comes from being involved in developing, and acquiring the know-how, to implement your own digital marketing strategy.


Why should Marketers care?

Forbes list of Bots to try right now

About Artificial Intelligence

Facebook Launched Bots in April 2016

It's now the age of Chatbots







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