Chatbots — the Future of Marketing

Nida Sahar
Jan 18 · 5 min read

Marketing has evolved over years. At the beginning of this century, it was dominated by search engines and optimisations. A decade later, with the rise of Facebook, the rise of social media marketing was inevitable.

In more recent time, we have seen mobile marketing rise and plateaus as users have stopped downloading new applications. A user cannot consume unlimited apps, even if one were to believe that everyone can download infinite number, will they actually use that many? And will the storage system on their mobile phones not run out?

Today, it is about messaging, more about communication based interactions. Consumer behaviour has drifted from social networks to more personal messaging platforms. Regardless to say, social networks have their own benefits, but the users have found the more value in personal interactions hence WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Slack, and WeChat etc get used more. The growth of the messaging applications seems to exceed that of social media.

A new marketing channel paves way to opportunity to experiment with fresh formats of advertising and connect deeper with consumers. The Businesses get better interactions and more personalised interaction in comparison to other formats. Messaging has been one of the ways to resolve customer queries or issues. Messaging has also been a way to provide information. There are more than one way in which chatbots are emerging as a compelling and rewarding piece of technology.

Chatbots form a army of conversationalists ready to interact with the users but these are really computer applications that carry out conversations with individuals.The interface withe the Facebooks and Twitters of the world and fit into its application UI. They are have linguistic abilities and built using artificial intelligence hence they converse with users using natural language as opposed to that of a traditional website that just provide information.

Companies are creating bots for Facebook Messenger, Google Assistant, Telegram, Slack and company websites. This allows them to speak directly to users. These bots complete tasks like: set reminder, advocate outfits — giving beauty tips — direct ordering — scheduling, and much more.

Google IO splashed a conversation of the assistant with the customer booking a salon appointment. Some said it was freaky but that’s how natural the interface can get.

How does the engagement work?

  1. Metric of Engagement:

In Traditional online advertising, a link click, a page visit or video play is a metric of engagement. There is just no way to validate if the information on the website read. The engagement could be a false positive.

Engagement with a chatbot, on the other hand, is an active conversation, a metric that exact. Bots created during movie promotions like when Disney created the Officer Judy Hopps bot on Facebook Messenger to tease their audience and drummed up enthusiasm prior to the movie’s release.

The interaction that filled with fun encounters proves to provide a better brand identity, leaves users with positive emotions — a check rarely evaluated for traditional ads or website.

2. One per customer:

Wouldn’t it be great to have a personal customer care executive, who remembers the previous encounter, doesn’t forget the details that are relevant for the conversion and you don’t need to explain the situation again and again. Since users communicate directly with chatbots and with basic friendly communication, the program remembers the background, the interactions get easy.Every single bot program for a particular social media account can get extremely easily easy to use. The bot can remember preferences and the interface will ease communication to intact take survey related questions:

Questions like:

What is your favourite clothing brand?

What do you think of Sandra Oh in Golden Globes?

Survey question over a call or manually feel better with chatbot interactions.

The scope for personalisation is humongous, the virtual front-line agent can be multilingual. The bot can speak in any language.

Victoria’s Secret PINK bot recommends particular styles of bras based on answers to the original questionnaire.

3. Then User Data Remains:

In movie, Minority Report, in some scenes, you can see the ads get targeted to the user in question. Very futuristic movie indeed, which seems to be possible now. In traditional marketing, even in online, it assumed that the target audience may react to the placement of the Ad. Well, that works on probability.

Since chat the program has the user data, and infant knows the what the user is looking for, the ads can actually be ‘targeted’. Hence the metric of knowing who the target audience is or knowing if the ad did make sense or knowing when the ad makes sense is possible now. The human experience and realistic interaction adds value to the programs ability to keep track of the human.

For the users, the unnecessary, infinite ads that keep splashing as an unwelcome storm, can reduced. As an enduser, it is so much simpler to see what is needed not what the brand wants you to see.

One such application is MedWhat, helps users diagnose their medical issues.

NBC launched its NBC Politics Bot on Facebook Messenger shortly before the US presidential election in 2016. This allowed users to engage with the Facebook Messenger bot to identify breaking news topics that would be of interest to the network’s various audience demographics.

But since the users provide unlimited data, in practice, brands must be cognisant and know the responsibility of striking balance between personalisation and privacy breach.

4. Brand Becomes Alive:

The local stores, the McDonalds and even Olympics have over the years build mascots. The mascots represent the Brand — the uniqueness, the quirkiness and that becomes an attraction for the user.

The identity is also pushed to banner ad, videos, billboards, websites, events , etc. Where the user can recognise the essence of the brand, the name, the jingle but not interact. Mascots like Ronald become a selfie attraction because they are live, and you can hug them or maybe say a word or two. A physical mascot can only do that much, be present at the location, work that many hours , etc.

Chatbots allow brands to connect with users on an intimate level, while also allowing users to feel in command of the conversation. Bots can tell your brand’s story, full of personality in personalised setting. This sets the brand apart from the rest.

A branded chatbot becomes a “live entity” that can infuse personality into conversations, be present on the click of button and provide an experience to the user.

Unilever’s Mascot, popular in Britain — The Monkey chatbot was used for creating awareness about PG Tips tea and call raise funds.

The marketing game of chatbots is very different from traditional, legacy, search engine and social media marketing games. It’s a new pillar, rather an innovative methodology to obtain desirable results.


Nida Sahar

Written by

Bangalore based — Entrepreneur, Engineer, Mentor, Writer, Poet [][Instagram @nidasahar]