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Marketers embrace chatbots

Artificial intelligence computer programs which mimic conversations with humans, commonly known as chatbots, offer a compelling proposition for marketers. In a recent opinion piece for The Grocer Tom Ollerton, Innovation Director at We Are Social, suggests they can be both fun and useful for customers.

Ollerton advises that the best chatbots solve a problem for the consumer, whether that be in customer service, sales, information or entertainment. For example, Heineken’s chatbot encourages football fans to get together to watch knockout stages of the Champions League. Brands hoping to utilise the power of a chatbot must consider what is relevant for the target consumer and create a chatbot which satisfies their needs with a fun character.

Whilst chatbots are an efficient and cost effective tool for marketers, brands should pay attention to detail in creation to avoid poor quality. “There’s a low barrier to entry with chatbots – you can mock one up in ten minutes if you like. The result is chatbots being churned out without any real consideration of their purpose.” says Ollerton.

Marketers should consider building a character profile for chatbots which consumers can relate to. For example, the We Are Social team created an entire backstory and personality for a Dominoes chatbot named ‘Dom’. This included identifying specific information relating to the chatbot e.g. the kind of content he’d share on Snapchat. Ollerton comments “this level of detail is what makes the consumer relate to the chatbot, and prepared to spend time with it.”

Chatbots are a new and innovative direction for marketers which can help to reinforce brand values. However Ollerton warns brands to tread carefully when creating a chatbot. “The technology will be there, but without understanding what the consumer wants from the interaction, it will be powerless”.