What’s The Future Of Conversational Marketing? Four Predictions CMOs Should Know About What Lies Ahead

CEO and co-founder of conversational marketing automation platform Spectrm.

You’ve probably experienced the following trends that are making you question your current marketing efforts:

• There are so many businesses marketing to customers that it’s hard to stand out.

• There’s engagement coming from dark social channels, yet you can’t track it.

• Messaging captures audience attention.

What’s the solution to outdated methods, uncertain attribution and standing out from your competition? Conversational marketing, where you connect one-on-one with interested individuals, guide them in an interactive conversation to understand their needs and serve them up the products they’re looking for. In a mobile-first, messaging-first world, it’s the way to make your marketing efforts more personalized, actionable and convertible.

As the CEO of a company that has built a platform that helps businesses reach their customers through messaging channels, here’s where I see the future of conversational marketing is going and why you should join in.

Where B2C Conversational Marketing Is Today

Conversational marketing focuses on brands having conversations with their customers, much like a concierge or sales assistant would do in a store. According to a report from Drift, customer use of live chat has increased from 45% to 61% from 2020 to 2021, and chatbot usage increased 25% to 35%. Facebook also found that 55% of consumers worldwide messaged a business during the holiday season and that 40% of worldwide consumers say they are more likely to buy from a business if they could message them.

But conversational marketing efforts tend to be limited to chatbots on a brand’s website. While it’s useful, it’s also passive: You’re waiting for customers to find you to start the conversation.

Why not meet them on the apps where they’re spending their time? Why not have those conversations in native messaging channels like Messenger or Instagram or WhatsApp? Why not be part of their messaging inbox alongside their friends and family?

This is the future of conversational marketing—not just chatbots on a website, but automated one-to-one messaging across platforms engaging customers where they are, at any time of day, at scale.

Four Predictions On Where Conversational Marketing Is Headed

Conversational marketing brings brands and customers together in personalized, one-on-one interactions and will quickly become a leading approach to engagement, acquisition and retention. Here’s where conversational marketing is headed, but more importantly, here’s how to get involved today to reap first-mover rewards before your competitors do.

1. Messaging will become one of the top marketing channels for customer acquisition and retention.

Today’s world consists of growing digital natives who live their lives mobile- and message-first. Of the over four hours users spend on mobile per day, 44% of that time is spent in social media or messaging apps. Shouldn’t marketing efforts meet customers where they are?

That’s why one-to-one automated messaging in the apps they already use will become a top channel for acquiring and retaining customers. An ad inviting them to chat with your brand is unique, and once in a messaging thread, your customers will have a personalized interaction with a responsive and knowledgeable chatbot that, with a few questions, can lead them to specific products that will fulfill their needs. Building a directly reachable audience on messaging channels also enables you to reengage them one-to-one with mobile notifications. You can send personalized offers, or upsell and cross-sell them with related products that are highly relevant to them. These notifications come from the apps they use every day to message friends and family, so you can be sure you’ll get their attention.

2. Messaging will become the dominant way customers choose to engage with brands online.

Customers want to interact with brands who want to know their customers’ needs and interests and who can guide them along their purchasing journey. Customers don’t want to click on your ad only to find themselves taken to your website, where they have to accept your privacy policy banner, close all your pop-ups and still have to search around to find a product. They want to chat with you to discover if you have the product they need, get answers to questions that come and then continue on their purchase journey.

In our recent report on “State of Social Conversational Commerce,” we found that the majority of respondents prefer to engage with brands online via messaging, more so than through email or a phone call. This is why messaging will become the dominant way customers engage with brands. One-to-one messaging is quick, easy and personalized, and it provides the convenience customers are looking for.

3. First movers who develop brand-specific conversational AI will create competitive moats.

Being a first-mover in the automated messaging space means that you’re significantly differentiating yourself from others and carving out deep moats that will put you ahead of your competitors and land you in customer inboxes first. You don’t have to program your chatbot with all the answers when you start, either. By leveraging brand-specific conversational AI, you’ll also create experiences that aren’t just different but that are better, as conversational data will make your chatbots smarter and more responsive.

4. Messaging channels will add value to your greater marketing efforts.

Interacting one-on-one with customers means collecting a large amount of declared data volunteered by the customer, including interests, needs, preferences, budget, who they’re shopping for and more. All of that data is yours to use to improve the messaging experience. You can also integrate that data into your CRM, CDP, ad platforms and more to better inform your marketing efforts and better target your audience.

No More Waiting for Engagement

If most of your marketing efforts are passive, and you’re not finding much engagement and fewer conversions—or if you aren’t even sure of the results your marketing efforts are producing—it’s time to add one-to-one messaging to your multichannel approach. Customers are eager and waiting for you to do so.

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