How the Conversation Flows (Benefits of Conversational Marketing)

Conversation as the primary medium for effective communication is an age-old idea. What’s new now is how savvy marketers and brands are leveraging conversations to deepen consumer engagement and drive real business outcomes.

Conversational marketing is an emerging marketing channel that uses personalized, one-on-one conversations to learn about and remember client interests through automated, conversational technology.  The result is better targeted messaging that delivers higher response and conversion rates.

If your marketing campaigns still rely exclusively on one-way channels like email (Read: Why Email Is Not Enough, Forbes, 2016), you’re missing opportunities to grow your business.

How the Conversation Flows

Traditional marketing channels flow in one direction. When you only send emails, mail postcards, or buy online or print ads, you’re doing all the talking and learning very little.  One-way communication wouldn’t work in a relationship, and it isn’t effective marketing.

Conversational marketing uses personalized, two-way communication to identify and remember clients’ interests and deliver the information and special offers most relevant to—and desired by—them.  When you know what your clients want, you can offer discounts, special events and information in your marketing campaigns that resonate, are more likely to convert and generate more business.

Conversational apps, or ChatBots, effectively bring the latest two-way communication channel to marketing for any size business.  They create interactions that feel like personal, uninterrupted, real conversations.

These apps or bots can identify clients’ interests in products and services—even glean their hobbies and personal preferences to deepen connections—and engage them on topics of their choice, with appropriate responses throughout the conversation. Automated conversations can progressively become more personalized, and they remember and cue interests or other information from prior interactions.  The client data collected can be used to enhance offline interactions or to segment information sent though other marketing channels.

The result:  Leads from conversational channels tend to convert at higher rates than other digital marketing because it is the truest permission-based marketing.  Clients choose to engage in bi-directional interaction, and these interactions build long-term value through stronger, longer, more loyal relationships—all essential for business growth.

How important is conversational marketing and the associated technology?  It’s clearly worth investigating for any small- to medium-sized business that wants to deepen relationships to fast track growth.

And it’s no passing fad.  At Microsoft’s 2016 annual developers event, it announced a number of initiatives to position itself as ready to ride the bot revolution, focusing on conversation as among its next important technology priorities.  Read more about “Conversation as the new UI: Microsoft makes its chatbot pitch at Build 2016” on Marketing Land.