Mobile Chat Is the Next Killer App for Marketers

Ever think why Facebook would spend 19 billion to buy Whatsapp? And how about the effort making its messenger apps to have payment function? By reading this Adage article, I found the trends and reasons.

Here is the link:

According to the F8 conference, Facebook’s Messenger app has 600 million users, growing 50% last year, faster than its main app. And to think about all the other popular messenger app like Whatsapp and Wechat, there are approximately 3 billion accounts out there. The reason that Facebook bought Whatsapp may be because of the users that it generated. But according to this article, it is also because brands are dipping their toes into the messaging world to nurture a closer relationship with customers.

Think about when customers need to change a reservation, pay a phone bills, they need to either open the browser and pick up the phone. If all this can be done via the messaging apps, it would save a lot of troubles. Brands have been thinking to more effectively communicate with customers through advertising and apps, the next step might be entering a more intimate space—messaging.

This article also gave 5 strategies for brands to enter the messaging era:

1. Tailor interaction to context—Integrating customers’ needs and wants with the right message and the right timing.

2. Exist across marketing, sales and service—This service should  be offered to the customers for their entire journey with the company and the company should deliver cohesive experience across departments.

3. Leverage human-assisted artificial intelligence—Customers will disconnect if they cannot get response for a long time. Using AI would be helpful, but some issues such as complaints and payment should better be handled by real human.

4.Extend engagement through personalized content—Got to be careful to not being perceived as annoyed or robotic.

5. Bring messaging functionality to many touchpoints (platforms)

Questions to consider:

I personally like the chat feature some company offers. Time Warner Cable’s chatting service is much better than its phone services, for some cases. Can you see this trend is fostering? What might be some problems you foresee? What kind of services you would like to use messaging to obtain?


5 thoughts on “Mobile Chat Is the Next Killer App for Marketers

  1. Using message apps to keep engaging with customers and do business is really a trend now. For example, DiDiDaChe (a calling taxi app like Uber in China) can push notification of their promotion and discount information via Wechat. Some years ago a lot of companies like banks engaged with customers via text message, but the thing is that now not many people still using text message that much, and therefore I think switching to message apps is a good idea.

    I think the most essential thing should be addressed here is the quality and timing of the messages. No one would like to receive a nonsense message from companies when they are working or sleeping. So companies should spend more efforts on segmenting customers and finding their interests.

  2. I agree that IM app would be a great tool for marketers to build CRM system and engage with customers. Especially with the help of technology and data, marketers are able to deliver customized message to different types of customers. The problem I can see is how to build the system properly on Mobile Chat message. I would use messaging to obtain everything I want unless it’s emergency.
    I agree that WeChat is among the ones who leading the trend. Hundreds of companies have already opened up WeChat public accounts and try to communicate with customers. Maybe at first, some of them were really annoying cuz WeChat did not set enough limits for corporate accounts. However, after several times of update, business accounts are not annoying anymore as I would not get any notifications from subscription accounts and can only receive on notification on week from a service account. Also, many companies begin to realize the importance of balance and avoid to interrupting users too often.

    • I agree with the other comments here. There is a very fine line between being perceived as useful and helpful or being rude or interrupting too often. I think messaging from companies could be good for both the company and the end user, but I also know that messaging from a company can feel like spam or maybe even an invasion of privacy dependent upon the type of communication, how customized it truly is and under what circumstances it is send to the consumer. On the other hand, if users are able to opt-in to this type of engagement with a company for say, the benefit of coupons, heads-up on sales or promotions and this type of thing, I think it would be welcomed by many. Also, I think the jury is still out on using messaging apps for payments for many things, as the trust level just isn’t there for this to be a major part of business to consumer type of transactions.

  3. There needs to be a fine line with these marketers and consumers using instant messaging. I would find general reminders to be very helpful, but constant advertising for me to buy new services would be very annoying.

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