The ever-growing marketing power of chatbots

When it comes to online marketing – and the quest to capture potential customers’ digital attention – many of us default to thinking about social networking.

How can we be engaging on Facebook? What can we do to build an Instagram following? Should we be on Twitter?

But how many of us give much thought to direct messaging as a marketing tool? We should, given messaging apps now boast more than 5 billion monthly active users, surpassing the number engaged on social networks.

“Messaging is the new frontier of marketing,” according to Justin Lee of global marketing and sales software solutions provider HubSpot.

And it’s chatbots that are driving conversion through messaging, Justin says, because these automated, artificial intelligence-powered communicators “give us the opportunity to tap into it by creating scalable, one-on-one interactions directly with consumers”.

Harnessing the marketing potential of chatbots is a topic Justin specialises in through his role as Head of Growth for GrowthBot, an AI-powered chatbot developed by HubSpot.

Why are chatbots a big deal?

Why are chatbots such a game-changer for marketers?

In Justin’s words: “Modern chatbots are, at their simplest, digital assistants that deliver specific results via a conversational interface. At their most complex, they are artificial-intelligence-powered tools that will make highly-personalized marketing scalable.”

HubSpot believes chatbots are the future of marketing because they enable consumers to engage efficiently with a product or service provider no matter where they are or what device they are using. With chatbots there are “no forms, cluttered inboxes, or wasted minutes spent searching and scrolling through content. Communication, service, and transactions intertwine”.

Developing AI-enabled chatbot tools was part of HubSpot’s drive to increase its overall offering to customers, Justin says.

Air New Zealand is one company that’s taken the next step in the chatbot evolution, adding a human factor with the launch of a virtual assistant called Sophie. The airline called on kiwi company Soul Machines, which specialises in creating avatars, to develop Sophie – a bot who is not only AI-powered to learn from her interactions, but also has realistic facial responses to those interactions. She is even dressed in the same uniform as Air NZ’s “other employees”.

It’s not hard to imagine more “Sophies” popping up as the digital faces of other organisations. With its life-like, interactive and AI powered virtual assistant, Air NZ has hit on a formula that ticks many of the boxes bots can deliver on as a sales and marketing solution.

Chatbots have the potential to offer a powerful level of cut-through and connection to customers, so make sure they’re on your radar as a tool you should be considering adding to your marketing mix.

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Further reading about chatbots

The Chatbot Revolution is Here

Justin Lee: How bots can help us win the battle against distraction

How To Build A Charming (And Useful) Chatbot

Infographic: How Chatbots Are Changing the Customer Experience

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