Sometimes, Intarget and our clients are so eager to hear about what’s likely to be new on the mobile marketing stage for the next 12 months, we forget to analyse what went down during the current year.
So many mobile marketing predictions are made annually, it’s difficult to determine which ones came true and which ones remained proverbial “pie in the sky”. For me, one mobile marketing prediction for 2016 that kept coming up was related to the ability, as Mark Zuckerberg says, “to be able to message a business in the same way you message a friend”.
That’s quite an interesting concept and “conversational commerce” as it is increasingly being called is a brand new opportunity for mobile marketers and one that they grasped with both hands in 2016. Chatbot technology has already been integrated into Facebook Messenger and it is InTarget’s belief that it will spell big news for mobile marketers and their brand clients over this coming year.
If you didn’t already know, chatbots are designed to replicate human interaction using algorithms and are very similar to digital assistants like Apple’s Siri. The idea is that the consumer is able to interact with a chatbot just as they would a contact centre. Artificial Intelligence (AI) allows the chatbot to change the subject, suggest related topics, and even demonstrate humour and emotion to the customer.
The relevance for mobile marketers, of course, comes in because the numbers tell us that this interaction is more than likely to be taking place on a mobile handset. Leading South African insurance firms, financial institutions, airlines and others realised the potential of using messaging platforms to engage with customers over the past year. We can only expect more of the same in 2017 as South African consumer behaviour reflects the growing consumer demand for instant, text-based, one-on-one contact that solves customer issues really fast.