The New Charge For Digital: Conversation Not Just Conversion

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By Tara Cooke at PB&

For marketers, the glamour of digital has often been its ability to drive conversion, generate leads, and simply get people to shop – with immense accountability. And while a year inside has made people more apt to shop online, for marketers the opportunity for digital has morphed into something a bit more complex, and a lot more meaningful. People’s expectations and relationships with brands and their online presence is shifting, and the more humanity brands can convey through digital, the better. This is no longer just an environment for efficient transactions. It’s a prime environment for relationships and connections that build consideration and favorability – not just conversion.

Talk With Me

Over 80% of businesses were predicted to adopt chatbots in 2020 and 2021. It’s not surprising, as they offer an effective digital solution to our now more limited in-person interactions, and our hunger for instant replies, and answers to simple questions.


In fact, Providence, the first health system in the U.S. to treat COVID, deployed chatbot technology early on to help triage COVID symptoms – enabling over 6 million patients to get information quickly from a trustworthy source.

But beyond the ability to offer unbeatable customer service and accessibility 24/7 – chatbot technology offers unique opportunities to drive a deeper brand experience and engagement.

Casper, the digital-first mattress company, implemented a chatbot particularly well earlier this year. By tapping into the humorous, yet probably very real needs of their consumers, the Insomnobot 3000 was born as a landing page where a chatbot for insomniacs will message you in the middle of the night when you can’t sleep.

Simple yet effective, this chatbot caught the media’s attention quickly and went viral for its popularity, seemingly overnight. Instead of just answering specific questions about mattress costs, shipping speeds, or product specs, Casper created a truly memorable and relatable experience for their customers around why they understand their need for a good night’s sleep better than anyone else.

The potential to have a more human and engaging interaction is there, right in the palm of your hand. Conversational marketing isn’t just one thing or one tool, rather it is the ethos that a brand adopts so their customers can get answers in a more pleasant and personal way. And for brands, it’s a chance to hear quite candidly from their consumers in their own words, something not often found through traditional marketing.

Speak My Language

Beyond creating experiences that drive conversation and connections, the context is critical. Just looking at our habits within mobile, spending our days on Instagram, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and more; we’ve become preferential to messaging-based interactions. According to a recent study, almost 4 out of 5 customers said they wished that businesses would text them more.

That changes the way brands communicate with people — and not just by “being on” those platforms. The strongest brands see the opportunity to use those platforms to better meet people’s needs and demonstrate why they are a ‘brand for them.’

A clever recent example: Domino’s AnyWare Initiative. This is quite literally a tool that allows customers to order pizza from anywhere. You can pick the messaging platform of your choice (Text, Slack, Google Home, Alexa, Facebook Messenger, to name a few) and after an initial set up all you have to do is send a pizza emoji for your order to arrive at your doorstep.

Instead of just having a conversation with their customers, Dominos delivered service with that desired brand behavior in mind. And instead of making their customers come to them to order, they brought the service to them on the platforms they already utilized. A truly personalized 5-star experience for a pizza brand, and one that’s sure to leave a lasting impression.

We’ve all experienced a major disruption in our lives since COVID-19 hit, and it’s changing how we interact with brands on a daily basis. As our digital strategies continue to evolve and become faster and more seamless than ever before, implementing new ways to enhance interaction at home will be paramount. And after our year inside has kept us relatively apart, one thing is clear, technology will remain a key player in keeping us connected.