3 things every CMO needs to know about chatbots


Evan Wray and Swyft Media

July 6, 2016

In case you haven’t noticed, chatbots are having a moment right now. It’s easy to see why.

In their simplest form, chatbots help brands deliver intimate, one-to-one engagement, at scale. Bots are all about creating interactions that feel personal instead of transactional. It’s an approach that isn’t lost on discerning millennial and Gen-Z consumers who value uninterrupted, genuine user experiences over those that seem forced or too self-serving. Plus, bots live in mobile messaging apps — the fastest-growing online sector within the social landscape over the past five years.

Brands can no longer afford to ignore mobile messaging apps as a viable marketing tool. The race for real estate in the mobile messaging world has intensified even more recently, with Apple teasing the introduction of its iMessage app store. This would put the company on pace to better compete with the likes of WeChat, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and even Facebook Messenger.

The end game is to turn mobile messaging into an all-encompassing platform that consumers can essentially live in; they’ll soon be able to make payments, access enhanced visual content (e.g., emojis, stickers, GIFs), and even shop or call an Uber. For brands who were reluctant to jump on the Facebook or Twitter marketing bandwagon in 2006, chatbots, specifically, offer a shot at redemption.

In the few weeks since “bots” have become a buzzword, I’ve seen a whole host of different chatbots emerge from publishers and entertainment companies, ecommerce sites, and even makeup brands. There are bots to help you find a job, bots that keep you current on politics, and bots that can help book your next vacation. There’s even a bot to help regulate your dating life.

Everyone wants a chatbot right now, but not everyone knows why or even how. If you fall into that category, read on. Here are three things every chief marketing officer (CMO) needs to know now, before entering the chatbot space.

1. Have a broader mobile (messaging) strategy

The way consumers communicate today is much different from the way it was 10 or even five years ago. Sharing and interacting is happening in a digital environment, on smaller screens via mobile messaging apps. As a result, companies have had to evolve the way they advertise, moving away from things like banner ads and interstitials.

In their place, a new age of advertising tactics has emerged. Chatbots are one such example. And like any advertising campaign, branded chat campaigns perform best when rooted in strategy — specifically, a mobile messaging strategy. This means ensuring everything from the objectives, key performance indicators (KPIs), key messages, and creative content are aligned and working cohesively.

2. Pick the right partner

Once you have prepared a broad mobile strategy, you’ll need to find a partner to help with the execution. As with any good relationship, there are certain “checkmarks” you should look for. First thing — pick a partner who is platform agnostic; work with them to develop a proposal and strategy that ladders up to your campaign goals and can be deployed across the appropriate messaging apps.

It’s imperative that this partner can also deliver real-time analytics of campaign performance, including message-read rates, average length of conversation, how many people were funneled through to reach the KPIs, etc. These metrics will provide useful insight into user behavior and attention, which you’ll need for continued success and development. And they will allow you to pivot, invest more in particular areas, and adapt the campaign in real time.

3. Layer your engagement experiences

Like any other branding, marketing, or advertising campaign, chatbot campaigns perform best when wrapped with other engagement experiences. At least for now, bots lack the ability to sustain interest and engagement when deployed solo.

If your bot is going to drive awareness, interest, or traffic, you need to embed other elements into your campaign; you need to issue some sort of call to action, whether you’re driving users to download a new app, visit a webpage, or watch a video. The longer you can extend the user experience, the better your chances of keeping your audience engaged and attentive.

Now that you’ve been schooled on chatbots 101, what are you waiting for? Take the leap, and get started building a chat bot for your brand today.

This article was written by Evan Wray and Swyft Media from VentureBeat and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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