Chatbot is nowadays, the new buzzword. Chatbots are being touted as game-changers as far as marketing is concerned. Several analysts are adamant that they are about to disrupt not only the industry marketing, but several others at their very core.
At this point you’re probably asking yourself the following questions: What is a chatbot? What does it do? In what way it is about, or already is, disrupting the marketing world?
What is a chatbot?
In essence, a chatbot is a software application, in and of itself, that conducts an online chat via text or text-to-speech, or both.
In other words, it is a computer program that engages a conversation with humans, in a smooth, fluid, and seamless way.
How do chatbots apply in the marketing industry?
Through the aforementioned definition, one can quickly deduce that chatbots are effectively, a form of conversational marketing.
Back when they were first introduced, chatbots for marketing were perceived as an uncharted territory.
Nowadays, more and more companies are getting on board with bots and adopting them as an essential component of their marketing strategy.
Several studies have suggested that chatbot marketing has yielded very positive results for corporations and is about to grow exponentially as a market segment:
- According to an article by Business Insider, the chatbot market is projected to grow from $2.6 billion in 2019 to $9.4 billion in 2024, with an annual growth rate estimated at 29.7%.
- In a study made by Oracle, over 50% of customers expect a business to be open 24/7.
- According to Outgrow, 56% of consumers prefer to message than call customer service.
- Also according to Outgrow, 53% of individuals are more likely to shop with businesses that they can message.
There are several high-profile chatbots available on the market, for example:
- Apple’s Siri: First appeared in 2010. It is Apple’s virtual operating assistant that uses voice queries, and is a “natural language user interface” that helps users in different ways: Recommendations, questions, assign tasks, give reminders etc.
- Amazon’s Alexa: Appeared in 2015. It is a smart device capable of voice interaction, playing music, setting alarms, to-do lists, streaming music and podcasts. It also serves as a news, traffic, weather and sports provider.
The chatbot marketing revolution is essentially being fueled by the progress and advancements made in automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI), and companies are making the most of it.
They are effectively leveraging the rapid progress made in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI), and drastically changing the way they interact with their customers.
What are the benefits of using Chatbot marketing?
There are several benefits that prompt companies to adopt chatbots as part of their marketing strategy.
- Chatbot marketing enhances user engagement: Consumers are increasingly demanding instant forms of communication. Messaging apps and social media platforms are supplanting emails and phone calls. Chatbots have the ability to bridge the communication gap between a business and its consumers.
- Chatbots are available 24/7 and are scalable: Chatbots provide businesses the ability to service their customers throughout the day.
- Chatbots harness the evolution of AI: A modern and robust chatbot allows businesses to have a deeper understanding of how customers speak, and what are the latter’s needs. By integrating chatbot as part of their marketing plans, companies will be able to develop strategies to quickly and efficiently address those needs.
- Chatbots are cost-effective: Chatbots help businesses to efficiently accomplish tasks that would have required extensive human labor not long ago. They enable businesses to cut costs without sacrificing service or product quality. Since chatbots are powered by automation, they offer rapid customer support at a lower rate.
All-in-all, AI and Machine Learning’s progress have enabled chatbots to become an irreplaceable marketing tool. The added value that it can provide to companies is not to be underestimated.
However, it should be noted that the most successful chatbots are the ones that are able to initiate and provide a good conversational experience that mimics human behavioral patterns.
In other words, the real value of chatbots lies in the ability to enhance the overall customer experience.
Some businesses have latched onto the idea of AI products and services as a way to reduce overall costs, and to achieve that objective alone.
Businesses should still work WITH, and not AGAINST, humans, and still connect with them on an emotional level marketing-wise.