Messaging as a platform in omni-channel marketing

Facebook has just announced the launch of their Messenger Bot Platform and chat SDK at their F8 developer conference. The significance of this announcement for marketeers and the way we have conversations with our audiences across channels is huge. Marketeers can now extend marketing, sales and service channels with automated and integrated one-to-one messaging. But what does this mean for your marketing campaigns?

Messaging already is a big thing everywhere but primarily as a person-to-person channel. The messaging platform of choice in the Netherlands is WhatsApp, other countries have different services that dominate the market, like Facebook messenger in the US. Facebook is now allowing developers to deploy bots and integrate communication channels on their messenger chat platform.

From a user perspective this means we can use messenger in the near future to order pizza, schedule meetings using your virtual personal assistant or control Sonos. From a business perspective companies can start using messaging for customer service, marketing and delivery of their services. Imagine Facebook messenger letting you know your Uber is standing outside or rescheduling your 4 o’clock meeting directly from messenger.

Messaging as a platform is the new e-mail

If a significant amount of brands, apps and services become available on Messenger and the experience when using these services is great, messaging has the potential to replace e-mail. A lot of this years’ South by South West (SXSW) topics were on Artificial Intelligence and their applications. Bots, programs that handle specific tasks, were amongst the solutions that were mentioned frequently. During the keynote by Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield he mentioned a number of bots that were already running on their platform and their popularity.

A lot of specific AI / bots are currently under development for very specific tasks. But without a platform to run on and the exposure a marketplace can provide, their adoption is almost doomed to fail. So with Facebook messenger as a platform and an actual marketplace to monetize the conditions for successful AI deployment are met. But this is only part of the story.

For marketeers this is something to really look forward to as this will add to an already rich set of interaction channels. Messaging as a platform, or better, conversations as a platform will potentially replace e-mail as the channel of choice for customer outreach and to initiate conversations.

Facebook messenger bot platform impact for marketeers

The obvious application examples we read about are sales bots and artificial intelligence powered assistants. For marketeers Facebook messenger can be a new service channel, the default chat app on your website, an extension of your mobile app or a means to extend or replace your customer life cycle campaigns.

This development does not stand on its own. Microsoft Cortana, Google Now, Amazon Echo and others will continue to develop as a platform for other services. They will open up for companies and new initiatives.

For marketeers this means they need to learn how to use actual conversations in their campaigns. Campaign systems need to accommodate these platforms and conversations in their campaign cycles. As the data is less structured we also need new ways to analyze effectiveness.

As an omni-channel marketing company, Oxyma closely looks at these developments and will actively seek to integrate Facebook and other conversation platforms in your campaigns and customer contact strategies in order to increase customer value. Maybe we’ll even develop our own Facebook messenger bot for all your questions! But in the meantime, you can talk to us in real life :).

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