Conversational marketing is chatting with your customers in real-time. Whether it’s on your website, or through Facebook, or another service: you’re answering customers’ questions directly, in real-time.
This is made possible by the use of pre-programmed chat bots. The bots are set up in such a way that they recognize certain questions and give specific answers. Usually these answers involve a choice on the side of the customer. Their choice will determine the next answer from the bot, etc.
Some bots are set up to pull in actual reps, when they run into a question they can answer (or if the situation otherwise warrants it).
It’s great way to service people when they need something. You’re addressing a direct need for answers in a very practical and straightforward way.
Isn’t all marketing conversational?
That all being said, I’m not in love with the term “conversational” marketing. In my opinion, all marketing (if done well) should be conversational.
No, of course you can’t directly answer a question whenever you get an email.
What I’m talking about is that every action a (prospective) customer takes when interacting with you should be followed by a logical follow up action on your part.
That next step might very well be sending a email. Or it could, in fact, be a chat message (initiating an actual chat conversation). But it could also be triggering a rep to call the customer. Whatever makes sense in that particular situation.
Conversation marketing has the same principles as marketing automation
I’ve been doing this for years as a marketing automation consultant. The principles are the same.
But don’t get me wrong: I love this new chat bot thing. It surely is more direct than email. I think it’s very useful (I’ve used it myself on multiple occasions – I find it especially useful when I don’t want to get on the phone or wait for an email) and an asset to my arsenal as a marketer.
I first answered this question on Quora: