Brands have historically communicated with their customers in many various ways. As marketers know, the level of interaction you are able to establish with your customers is closely dependent on the channel.
In other words, a TV commercial is certainly great for reaching a wide audience, but doesn’t allow you to get close and personal with anyone in particular.
Chat is quite the opposite.
It’s not a great choice for top of funnel campaigns, as it’s mostly based on consumer initiative. What chat and any conversation-based channel, including voice, excels at is in the intimacy and personalization.
Oh, and in making the user’s journey faster. And more efficient.
Of course, there’s also the fact that you may end up with better customer insights.
And… well, there’s a lot to unpack here.
In this article, we’ll be addressing about all you need to know about Conversational Marketing. We’ll discuss:
- what Conversational Marketing is, reflecting on some of the latest statistics on chat as a marketing channel
- why is now the time for Conversational Marketing
- the benefits of Conversational Marketing
- two success stories: the German retail platform Snocks and global cybersecurity and compliance solution leader Proofpoint
What is Conversational Marketing
As the name suggests, Conversational Marketing is an approach that relies on interacting with your customers and buyers through conversations, that applies to B2C and B2B contexts alike.
The dialogue between the company and the customer can virtually take place through any platform enabling conversations. So, it can be applied in channels like:
- Livechat or chatbot on a company website and app
- Livechat or chatbot on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Instagram
- and -as we’ve already discussed in our article on voice marketing- also through Voice, e.g. with a branded Alexa Skill, or adding a voice assistant to your proprietary channels
What implementing a Conversational Marketing strategy translates into is opening up your business to the possibility of having quicker, yet more meaningful interactions with the customer.
This allows you to truly meet buyers and customers where they are at. As a 2021 Drift research shows, the frustration in the B2B sector is rising, with 27% more buyers feeling frustrated at old school forms in 2021, compared to the previous year.
At the same time, more than ¾ of B2B sales and marketing professionals think personalization is key to better customer relationships, as a Folloze research suggests. This belief is confirmed by the continuing rise in buyers’ expectations for quick, personalized experiences, which is reported by Drift to have grown by 26%.
Immediacy, of course, is another big theme amongst buyers and consumers alike, as the demand for it has grown on average by 64% year-on-year.
It seems like all the biggest needs of marketers and user preferences today are aligned to be met by Conversational Marketing. In the next section, we look at the reasons why this is happening and consider the way the communication paradigm has been shifting.
Why Conversational Marketing and Who Is It For
A sign of the times
Different media have defined different eras.
Without going into the details of the history of marketing and brand communication, we can broadly speak of 3 different modes of communication that have characterized recent times:
- Mass media
- Social media
- Conversational media
Mass media, like newspapers, radio, and television, allow you to reach a lot of people, whether they care for your product or service offering or not. The relationship between you and your target audience is one to many, as there’s little room for personalization on your end and the customer doesn’t have the chance to respond to your message.
This has changed as social media have taken on, enabling brands to speak to a more targeted audience (shoutout to the algorithms) and, for better or for worse, allowing them to reply. Rather than one to many, here the relationship shifts towards one to few.
The proximity to the customer reaches its peak in conversational media. Here, anyone can decide to enter into a 1-on-1 with the brand, not only getting all the information and help they need, but also receiving personalized recommendations and perceiving a feeling of humanity. After all, conversations are the way humans are used to interacting with each other and conversational media are the closest in replicating that.
What this overview shows is that there has been a gradual move towards getting more up close and personal with the customer. As technology advances, people increasingly want to be treated like people and to be listened to.
A generic post for people who kind of have my same demographics, or habits doesn’t make me feel understood in my own, unique needs. An assistant that can answer all my doubts about a product in the moment I need it and is able to pick up on my tastes, to offer special offers based on that, does.
To be clear, conversational media have been around long before chatbots or voice assistants ever existed. Think phone, email, and -one could argue- even in-person shop assistants. These are all great ways to match that need for personalized experiences and building rapport with your customers. In fact, they’re probably better at bringing in the human, 1-to-1 element. Naturally, these are all labor-heavy, less scalable roads to building relationships and making businesses feel personal.
Conversational Marketing relies on the tools that allow you to answer to the necessities that customers today are expressing in both of these areas:
- Proximity, as you’re effectively engaging in a 1-on-1 conversation with the user
- Efficiency, as you’re able to swiftly respond to their immediate queries as they arise
The Benefits of Conversational Marketing
As Drift - a Conversational Marketing platform for the B2B sector - underlines, Conversational Marketing allows brands to embrace the way of customer centricity. A concept that gets thrown around a lot, but that could not be more fit to represent what Conversational Marketing brings to the table.
In fact, to the question of who is Conversational Marketing for, we’d probably argue that those brands who are losing touch with their customers are probably the ones who can benefit the most. On the other hand, any company who’s been looking to meet the customers where they are and develop a closer relationship with them is a great candidate to implement a conversational strategy.
These are just some of the benefits you can expect from implementing a Conversational Marketing strategy:
- Faster user journeys and less steps to conversion, as it’s easier for the user to find the information they need to complete the check out
- More leads, as you’re taking out the friction and allowing users that are truly interested to engage and receive a response from you directly
- Better leads, as you can get to know your customer better through chat and build a closer relationship with them
- More personalized recommendations, leading to cross- and upselling, as well as building customer trust and loyalty
- 24/7 availability, allowing your customers to make the first move and come to you when they actually want to speak to you
- Adding a more human touch to your brand, embracing the power of conversations
Conversational Marketing Success Stories: Snocks and Proofpoint
B2C Conversational Marketing: Snocks’ Success Story with WhatsApp
If you’re from Germany, you will probably be familiar with the fashion ecommerce Snocks. The brand has been making a name for itself among consumers for its comfy and quality basics, while professionals admire their engaged community and fast growth.
Nonetheless, growing fast while maintaining close relationships with customers can be hard to keep up. That’s where conversational marketing came in to support Snocks. With the support of Charles, their first step into it was introducing a WhatsApp newsletter that very seamlessly interacted with their website and other touchpoints, in full omnichannel logic.
By now, Snocks have dove further into conversational marketing and are taking advantage of the full potential of WhatsApp as a marketing, sales, and service channel. Still, even the results of their first campaigns, as reported by Charles, speak for themselves:
- 80% average opening rates
- 32% conversion rate
- 150% boost in open and conversation rates compared to email
B2B Conversational Marketing: Proofpoint’s Success Story with Chat
Conversational marketing is a great way to ensure smooth customer experience, but that’s not all. As global cybersecurity and compliance solution leader Proofpoint’s case proves, it can greatly improve buyer experience, too.
Introducing chat to their platform, with the help of Drift, has allowed Proofpoint not only to improve their real-time engagement with buyers, effectively streamlining their sales process, but also to coordinate their international teams.
The results Drift shares are astonishing:
- 147% year-over-year increase in website visitor email submissions
- 578% year-over-year increase in opportunities generated directly from chat
- 628% year-over-year increase in pipeline generated directly from chat
What’s interesting is that in both the case of a B2B tech company like Proofpoint and in that of a B2C fashion retail brand like Snocks there was much more to benefit from Conversational Marketing than one could have imagined.
From their initial approach into using these powerful channels, both have gone on to further integrate respectively chat and WhatsApp into their strategies and exploring new areas of potential.
Inspired to explore a Conversational Marketing strategy for your company? We can help.
And if you’re still hungry for knowledge, follow us on LinkedIn for weekly updates on the world of conversational AI, or check out our article on 3 of the most successful chat-based products out there: DoNotPay, Cleo, and Lark Health.