We’re being bombarded.
Over 45% of emails sent are spam, of which a third are advertisements.
John Oliver recently released a piece stating that roughly 50 Billion robocalls are sent a year — that number is growing quickly. Everywhere you turn, there’s an ad for something.
It’s now easier than ever for companies to blast out marketing and advertisements, and you’ve probably noticed. At this point, we’re over-stimulated with generic ads, deal + discount offers, and pre-roll Youtube ads. It’s questionable just how effective marketing campaigns and advertisements really are.
It’s almost as if companies and brands have forgotten about….people. They’ve forgotten that individuals like to have conversations to quickly determine value and get help. Thankfully, there’s a coming trend, “Conversational Marketing”.
First, how we got here
The way we engage with potential customers has quickly evolved.
In the 20th century, sales teams lived on their phones to call you and your mothers, hoping to get a sell (Think “Wolf of Wall Street” and “Boiler Room”).
E-mailing was soon introduced to the mix, allowing for quicker and a higher volume of interactions (we all remember the iconic “You Got Mail!” prompt). Folks could try and reach you across email to sell products and schedule demos.
Social media came along in the mid-to-late 2000s, creating a huge opportunity for advertising and influencer marketing.
It wasn’t long before automation appeared — auto-dialers, mail-mergers, and CRMs. Marketing teams could now reach leads at scale across multiple channels. Those who utilized marketing and automation benefitted — these teams were able to process more data, better data, and ultimately could serve more customers.
These innovations have changed the way we communicate, and have led to an ironic problem for marketing and sales teams — genuine leads with real personas have become faceless names on excel sheets. Call centers have taken up on calling “numbers” up to 15 times in a day, and teams look to make thousands of “impressions” on leads across the web.
Enter Conversational Marketing
It’s the ability the connect with customers in a real-time, one-on-one, personalized conversation. It allows for real insights from potential customers and genuine interactions between brands and people.
Conversation marketing is not a new concept; we’ve been having conversations with customers for centuries, and even the term itself has been around for at least a decade. But there is a renewed interest in conversational marketing because advances in technology and shifts in consumer behavior, can allow such conversations to happen at scale — we can have direct, 1:1 conversations with individual customers on their timeline.
Why It Matters
In a world where there’s more noise than ever and where it is more difficult to connect with prospects, it’s imperative to create and foster connections. Advertisements on social media, e-mail newsletters, and robo-reminders to input your credit card don’t cut it anymore. They’re a great way to get your name out and prompt action, but most consumers will need something more.
Brands and firms need to reach out directly to people, foster conversations, ask questions, and step in to provide expertise. You see, people buy experiences, not products; no experience is better than personal connections and conversations.
“People buy experiences, not products. No experience is better than personal connections and conversations”
We’re still in the early days in conversational marketing — this space will grow tenfold over the next couple of years.
The challenge in conversational marketing is how to engage in conversations with many potential clients at the same time without hiring an army of folks to create and manage these conversations.
Thankfully, technology is starting to be at the point where artificial intelligence can initiate conversations with prospects and handle many of the questions, interactions, and processes need to manage these conversations. This means that companies can use technologies like Drift and ScaleRep to hold conversations on their website, and over email, text, and voicemail.