Conversational Marketing Ideas - Great Start, Now Let's Think Bigger

Ed Marsh | Mar 5, 2018

What's old is new in industrial marketing - Conversational Marketing Ideas

Introduction to SignalsFromTheOP


Guide to episode

  1. Is Conversational Marketing new?
  2. Is it the right term?
  3. What do buyers want?
  4. What's the value to us?

Transcript follows

I am Ed Marsh. Thanks for joining me for this episode of Signals from the OP, where I talk about issues that I think have strategic implication for industrial manufacturers and their revenue growth.

Conversational Marketing and Manufacturing Marketing Strategy

Today, I'm talking about a buzz word, which I don't do often, but this buzzword that's gotten a lot of attention lately is conversational marketing. Now, nobody has really defined it. I'd say that Drift has not only kind of originated the use of the term, but probably done the most toward defining as anyone, and they say it's about real time, one to one conversation with prospects.

an industrial conversational marketing strategy should focus on improving teh customer experience using conversational marketing tools to help the sales team create qualified leads and run their sales process even while prospects are following their customer journey in the shadows of the internetI would ask, my quick reaction is because Drift talks about online chat, I would ask, can it be a conversation if there's no voice? If it's not two people using their voices, connecting to each other? And I would further ask how is this different? It's this hip new thing, but how's it different than picking up the phone and having a telephone exchange?

So, let's kind of unpack this. I think there's a couple problems with using a term that includes marketing. First, it's not just about marketing. It's about helping prospects. It's about helping buyers and customers, and it's about helping throughout the life cycle, so we need to be talking about not just conversational marketing, but we need to be talking about sales and service, and I would say even some kind of end of life sorts of questions. If I've got an old Kindle that I want to get rid of, I've got to be able to have a quick dialogue and figure out how do to so. How to get the label, where to send it to, etc.

"Real-Time" or just not asynchronous customer interactions?

Second, and probably, I would say, the most important point that we're talking about here is whether this is synchronous or asynchronous. So, it may not be completely real time, although I think that's what Drift envisions, but the important point is it's not like a kind of classic email exchange where somebody sends something and then a couple days later you get this message back. Some communication channels are more like face-to-face conversations than others.

So, maybe conversation in the right time, maybe it is, maybe I'm being too picky or finding a distinction without a difference. I'm more inclined to call it dialogue, and I think it's important in a couple ways. First of all, it means it's about fostering a neutral exchange, a back and forth exchange of information, and that's almost always a better way to ensure better understanding and better communication.

We're also communicating in shorter bits. So, when you have a long email versus this back and forth, you've got fewer assumptions embedded in each message, which leads to fewer misunderstandings, and of course, you also miss that whole problem where nobody reads points, bullet points three through five in an email, right?

Engaging Website Visitors with Conversational Marketing Platforms to Create Personalized Experience

I would say, third thing, Drift just kind of inherently, because of the nature of their product, they embed in this the assumption that this conversation is about online chat. And that's certainly an exciting and interesting and effective medium for many kinds of buyers in many situations, but it doesn't have to be that. It could also be conversation or dialogue with a device, like Alexa. Or with a person, over the phone, or with an AI engine that makes recommendations to you based on what you've done and what you've liked. It could be by voice. It could be by telephone. It could be by video. It could certainly be by online chat, as Drift kind of envisions it and has created it. It could even by an exchange of questions and answers with a bot.

So there's a lot of different channels and media, and so really, conversational marketing isn't about online chat for prospects. It's about this premise of a dialogue, a consistent exchange near real time, with people, for better communication. I think that's the bottom line, and if you've ever gotten an email back, a reply back two days after you send something and you say, "Whose question are they answering?" Or listening to a voice mail that left you no better off than before you started listening to it. I think that illustrate the problem with asynchronous communication that we the opportunity to fix with something that's more real time.

Destination - Better communication and Real Time Conversations

an industrial conversational marketing strategy helps sales teams realize the benefits of conversational marketing by engaging potential customers. Sales reps can shorten the sales cycle and foster customer relationships with inbound marketing leads.So real time, or near real time dialogue, I believe, is where we're headed. That's kind of the means by which we can solve for a lot of business problems. And I would say that's probably ... I would attribute a lot of the success of Slack to the nature of the platform that really is about fostering this real time exchange in dialogue, rather than bouncing emails back and forth, replying to all, you're part of the community. It's like standing there being part of the conversation. You chime in when you need to, listen when you need to, so it's that real time sort of communication.

I think that Drift is doing a great job getting people to think about how to lower barriers to real time communication with prospects. I'd say let's broaden it. Not just conversation, not just prospects. Let's broaden it to solving for the best results for everyone interacting with their business, and further, interacting with our products and with our services. So I think we've got an opportunity to broaden the thinking, maybe it's not just bots and conversational marketing. Maybe it's about more real time dialogue across all kinds of platforms so that we all have more fun and more success working with each other.

Enjoying business more, and reducing the friction in sales are worthy goals. But conversational marketing can do more. A thoughtful conversational marketing approach, tailored for industrial buyers, can facilitate lead generation, enrich the sales funnel, initiate conversations with visitors who would otherwise lurk and leave, and directly feed conversational sales efforts.

For companies willing to experiment with conversational marketing channels, it's a perfect complement to traditional marketing approaches and an important piece of a successful strategy to engage virtual buyers and create meaningful conversations with visitors who prefer to not submit sales forms.

If you like this kind of a contrarian or sometimes cynical look at issues that you hear getting talked about around business, revenue, growth in this kind of digital age, I welcome you to subscribe to my Signals from the OP video blog. You can do that at Thanks for joining me today, I'm Ed Marsh.

Let's chat.

Deeper Dive - Conversational Marketing: Beyond the Buzzword and Integrating Digital Strategies

Embracing Conversational Channels in Digital Marketing

For sales reps conversations are a goal, but in digital marketing, the phrase "conversations happen" is becoming increasingly significant. Traditional email marketing, while still vital, is now just one component of a multi-faceted approach. Marketing teams are recognizing the power of conversational channels to engage directly with potential customers. This shift is evident in the rise of conversational marketing, which leverages various digital platforms to foster real-time interactions.

Incorporating Messaging Apps and Live Chat

The most common of conversational marketing examples is the use of messaging apps and live chat. These tools enable a more immediate and personal way to create conversations and answer customer questions. Unlike traditional methods, they allow for a dynamic and interactive customer interaction, significantly boosting customer satisfaction compared to static "contact us" forms.

Integrating Inbound Marketing with Conversational Tactics from Marketing to Sales

The integration of conversational tactics into an inbound marketing strategy is reshaping how businesses engage visitors, prospects, and customers. Inbound marketing, known for drawing customers through content creation, SEO, and sharing, is now increasingly intertwined with conversational methods. This synergy ensures a more engaging and responsive customer journey.

Building Customer Loyalty through Personalized Interactions

Personalized interactions are at the heart of building visitor engagement and customer loyalty. Conversational marketing, with its focus on one-on-one dialogues, offers a unique opportunity to understand and cater to individual customer needs, using channels they prefer and that fit for each stage in their buying journey. This approach not only nurtures loyalty but also provides valuable insights into customer preferences and behaviors.

Enhancing Marketing Efforts with Conversational Insights

The data gathered from conversational interactions can significantly inform and enhance overall marketing efforts. By analyzing these exchanges, marketing teams can gain a deeper understanding of what resonates with their audience, leading to more effective and targeted campaigns. This also informs sales enablement efforts that provide industrial sales reps with the info and techniques to help them better connect with prospects.

Driving Sales and Lead Generation

conversational marketing strategy should focus on improving the customer experience to foster customer relationships. the marketing team can help a sales rep engage customers to boost the entire business over the full customer lifecycleConversational marketing is not just about customer engagement; it's also a potent tool for generating more leads. Sales reps can leverage direct messaging and live chat to guide potential customers through the sales funnel more effectively. This direct form of communication helps in addressing concerns and questions in real-time, accelerating the decision-making process. It more closely approximates traditional sales approaches like trade shows and networking.

The Future of Conversational Marketing

manufacturing executives are often skeptical of conversational marketing so it helps to see examples of conversational marketing and live chat that actually drive more sales and expand the customer baseLooking ahead, conversational marketing is set to become an integral part of the digital marketing landscape. Its ability to facilitate direct and meaningful communication channels between businesses and customers positions it as a key player in the evolving world of customer engagement and sales strategies.

Conversational marketing, with its focus on real-time, personalized interactions, is revolutionizing how businesses connect with their audience. Its integration into broader digital and inbound marketing strategies is not only enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty but also driving more effective lead generation and sales conversions. The future of digital marketing is conversational, and it's here to stay.