From advertising and promotion to selling and feedback, marketing chatbots are reducing the cost for companies, saving time, increasing efficiency and creating larger awareness for brands.

Here are five reasons why chatbots are a perfect companion for marketing :

1. Personalized Advertising

Chatbots get rid of the biggest hurdle that advertising faces — unwanted promotional emails.

In a 2017 survey conducted by Adobe Digital Insights, a little more than two-thirds of respondents preferred personalized ads. Personalized chatbots ensure a high level of accuracy for personalizing offerings according to customers’ needs.

Established brands like eBay and 1–800-Flowers were early adopters of personalized marketing system but with IBM Watson, more and more companies are adopting similar strategies.

Rocket Fuel, a predictive marketing software company relies on Watson which allows brands to gain a competitive advantage through better performance, improved brand safety, and deeper intelligence. The collaboration uses natural language processing (NLP) techniques to analyze the sentiment of stories that are collected from multiple sources. It then breaks down the sentiment of breaking news headlines and responds accordingly. This allows brands to reduce the risk of negative news article appearing on the same page as the brands. Examples of chatbots helping across industries now range from retail to banking sector.

The outdoor clothing retailer, North Face employs a chatbot to help people shop for a perfect jacket. Powered by Watson, the shopping assistant engages in a quick Q&A and allows Watson to figure out what’s needed.

Bank of America created a bot, Erica that could be used across a variety of platforms, such as Facebook Messenger and SMS text messaging. The AI bot helped customers make smarter decisions, based on their spending.

2. Prompt Customer Service

A well-strategized marketing chatbot instantly responds to customer requirements (without being intrusive). But there is more to chatbots that make them perfect for providing customer service.

For one, they provide quick and frictionless solutions to customers’ problems. Live support Chatbots allow interactions in real time and are also personalized. Nanorep is a service chatbot that harnesses AI to combine with Natural language processing (NLP) technology for customer service and eCommerce. IKEA, Vodafone, and FedEx are a few customers that employ Nanorep to deliver effortless and simple self-service solutions to their customers.

In 2016, Macy’s mobile app powered by IBM Watson was tested chatbot to improve customer experience and get instant feedback. The company aims to efficiently answer customer queries, specific to the individual store location (so far only for 10 such locations).

Interestingly, IBM Watson also developed the pilot of ‘gift concierge’ for 1–800-Flowers.com

3. Ease of Transactions

By integrating with messaging platforms and voice assistants, brands are creating an engaging platform which automates the transaction process.

In 2016, eBay ShopBot integrated with popular messaging platform Messenger to increase its reach. Messenger remains the most popular social media platform with more than 1 billion per month. Netatmo, a smart home also launched its Facebook Messenger Bot which lets users operate their smart home appliances, heaters, lighting etc. simply through text commands. Pizza Hut launched its own chatbot version by integrating them on social media platforms to receive food orders for delivery. Through Facebook and Twitter, a customer can place orders.

Voice activation and NLP technologies like Siri, Alexa, Cortana and Google Assistant may be taking such orders to another level. BMW, will already start incorporating Alexa in its cars beginning in 2018 enabling drivers to toggle radio stations, obtain directions and get news through voice commands. Last year, online retailer eBay teamed with Google Assistant app to order through the smart speaker, transforming the entire shopping experience.

4. Good Sales Performance

Chatbots make a great salesman through online assistance to customers. The personalized feature shows customers only those options that they are interested in buying.

Kik is already selling products on the messaging platform. The Canadian based app is the official chatbot for H&M, Europe’s largest apparel retailer. Kik sounds more like a human than a bot and gives feedback on outfits like a friend would. After item selection, the chatbot creates outfits for any occasion. On confirming that it looks good, one can order and pay for it online.

Working also in the department of sales — StubHub chatbot sells event tickets using FB Messenger. It wants to make the entire experience more personal and less mechanical. StubHub lets users give feedback, which acts as a database and is used to make the chatbot smarter.

5. Surveys and Customer Feedback

For a brand to evolve, genuine feedback can be valuable. Such responses help in designing future business strategies but only if customers’ responses have high completion rates. Most often, customers leave surveys unfilled half way through but chatbots shredding the tedious surveys and encouraging more users to respond.

Wizu is a perfect example. It is an AI-powered chatbot that understands sentiments, adapting to conversations in real-time depending based purely on customer responses. Currently, it offers an engaging integration with Salesforce.

Hubert is a survey chatbot that replaces feedback surveys that teachers used to improve their teaching. Hubert uses AI and machine learning to chat with students on digital platforms and interpret the data, which then helps teachers understand what improvement is needed.

Polly helps in conducting surveys on Slack. On Slack, a user can create surveys/polls, target an audience and get real-time results. The data collected from the surveys can then be viewed in detail by simply expanding the page.

But interestingly even with all its benefits, the process to create a perfect marketing chatbot continues. For many, emotion-sensing chatbot is the answer and when that happens it could truly unleash the power of a marketing chatbot.

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