As businesses strive to forge meaningful connections with their clients, the art of engaging dialogue has emerged as a potent tool. Conversational marketing, once a niche approach, has now become a cornerstone of successful B2B strategies, as 83% of customers said they would be more loyal to a brand that offers a chatbot for menial tasks.

In this era of information overload, capturing and retaining the attention of potential clients requires a delicate balance of technology, empathy and strategic finesse. From the deployment of AI-powered chatbots to the orchestration of multichannel conversations, businesses are deploying an arsenal of tools to stay ahead in the race for customer engagement — especially because 52% of customers are inclined to make repeated purchases from a company if they provide assistance through live chat.

“The world we live in is in a constant state of communication, we can all agree that we’re short on one valuable resource: Time,” said Jeanne Kirby, VP of Marketing for full service marketing and communications agency Inviso Corporation, during her #B2BSMX presentation. “We’ve never been as connected or reachable as we are today. There are a lot of distractions that can happen, so you need to win the battle for your customers’ attention, reach them through the noise and connect with them in a way that they’ll remember you.”

Throughout this report, we’ll unveil how successful practitioners are quickly getting in front of buyers with the right messaging. Drawing from real-world case studies and industry insights, this report will equip you with the knowledge and tactics needed to not only captivate your audience, but also convert them into devoted advocates of your brand. Specific topics of discussion will include:

  • How continuous testing of messaging strategies, calls-to-action and chatbot responses refines conversational marketing efforts for maximum impact;
  • The power of AI for dynamic, context-aware conversations that can help with lead qualification and improved customer satisfaction;
  • The role content plays in conversational marketing, with a focus on content-rich conversations such as interactive guides and product demonstrations;
  • The tools and technologies needed to ensure consistent messaging across various channels, including website chat, social media and email; and
  • How to leverage analytics and customer data to facilitate real-time decision-making to optimize strategies.

Crafting Content That Engages & Stands Out

Perhaps the most difficult component of conversational marketing involves actually engaging with a prospect. With the world in content overload and attention a valuable resource, it’s difficult for organizations to craft compelling assets and messaging that grabs prospect and customer attention.

“They say that the human attention span is eight seconds long, but I don’t think it’s necessarily our attention spans that short — it’s our consideration span,” said Kirby. “That’s the amount of time we’re willing to consider whether we’re going to keep reading that article, following that influencer or watching that show. For us as marketers, it means that we have eight seconds to hook our customer before they’re off to the next thing. We don’t have time for facts and stats and evidence — we need something that’s going to keep them planted right where they are, by lighting up their interest.”

Kirby continued that Inviso operates with a “customer-first” focus, which means the company’s marketers ask themselves what their customers really care about and identify the one thing they want their customers to remember. Being that “talking through a whole bunch of stats or benefits is forgettable,” Kirby said the team instead focuses on:

  • What’s the one reason the customer will say yes to this?
  • Why will they take that next step?
  • What do they care about?
  • What’s the biggest problem in their lives right now, and how long has it been an issue?
  • Have they tried anything to eliminate it already?
  • What’s the cost of the problem?

With that baseline established, Peter Prodromou, Founder and President of AI-marketing agency Boathouse Group, noted at #B2BSMX that marketers should weave those insights together to condense and correlate their messaging across all channels.

“We align issues with audiences, look at the narratives that they are shaping individually and start to figure out how those can be interrelated to create a tapestry that gives you control over the dialogue,” continued Prodromou. “Whether you’re selling a product, in charge of marketing or developing creative, everything must be consistently tailored to the needs of your target audience.”

Proof Point:

Inviso’s Kirby explained that when she first started, the company would create partner launch kits in the form of a zipped file that partners could download. Within those files were folders which, when opened, had many different pieces of content within them. Given the sheer amount of information provided and the company’s desire to streamline the kits, they turned the files into flipbooks with a table of contents that the audience could self-navigate. Within the flipbook, the audience could download a flyer, watch a video, quiz themselves or even watch a GIF.

Analyzing The Latest Tech To Provide Always-On Conversations

Given the challenges of engaging modern buyers due to their unpredictable work hours and a more competitive field, practitioners are turning to various tools and technologies to better meet prospects where they are. Most notably, this takes the form of AI and predictive learning technologies. 

“When you don’t have complete control over an organization, you need to be more flexible,” said Prodromou. “You need the tools, solutions and ability to assess in real time what kind of narratives are being shaped in real-time so you can get in front of prospects. There’s just an enormous sense of fear in our industry that we’re going to be displaced by AI. What we ought to be focusing on is the AI that makes us smarter, not the kind that displaces us.”

Prodromou shared that there are several tools that are “phenomenal” at identifying conversations in real-time, which includes chatbots and predictive analytics. He continued that chatbots and their corresponding dashboards let Boathouse Group assess what conversations are happening in real-time across key constituent groups.

However, Phyllis Davidson, a Principal Analyst at Forrester, noted in her #B2BMX session that marketers need to proceed with a little bit of caution when deploying chatbots.

“Everybody has chatbots, and the technology is certainly there, but we need to understand how strong these technologies are,” Davidson continued. “Arguably, not too great right now, and that’s because of the humans interacting with AI. We aren’t quite there with feeding it the right information, but I think that’s going to change a lot over the next few years. That will take the form of developing a predictive AI engine that understands and begins to deliver those more customized experiences.”

Proof Point:

State Street Global Advisors (SSGA), the investment management division of State Street Corporation, traditionally relied on in-person interactions to sell their services. But after realizing its clients were looking for a different experience where they could conduct their own research, ask questions on their own terms and make the majority of their purchases digitally. The company turned to chat bots to help meet those needs and, as a result, achieved its six-month $15 million revenue goal (and more!) in just three months, in addition to generating $65 million from leads and achieving 2X of attainment goals in Q4.

Conclusion

The B2B marketing realm has undergone a transformative evolution with the integration of conversational AI and innovative content creation strategies. The symbiotic relationship between artificial intelligence and engaging content has proven to be a game-changer, enabling businesses to forge deeper connections with their target audience. Embracing this synergy not only enhances customer engagement but also empowers businesses to adapt to the ever-evolving demands of the digital era.

“It’s not about attitudes,” concluded Prodromou. “It’s about breaking down barriers and understanding how individuals consume information day-to-day. Once you have that behavioral analysis and prospect and customer channel preferences, then you can start building your strategy and narrative. Organizations that drive narratives are going to be the winners in the courts of public opinion, customer acquisition and value.”