There's an old advertising maxim: "When you talk to everyone, you talk to no one." This is where business-to-business advertising has failed for years. Too often, it's been companies attempting to talk to companies and not the people in between.
The actual people who make these key buying decisions want an honest voice, not marketing speak, acronyms and nonsense clichés.
Enter bots. Bots allow brands to speak for themselves -- not in some Turin test kind of way or just to wow audiences with Watson-like AI. It is simply about a customer having a conversation with a brand, in the moment, about their wants and needs.
You may have heard the term "Conversational Commerce." But what does this mean for enterprises? It means search is now a conversation. It means FAQs are now a conversation. It means customer service is now a conversation. It means everyone gets an assistant with bots like X.ai. It means you can be anywhere your customers are now that 1. 5 billion people use already-bot-enabled messaging. It means there's another reason not to build that temporary microsite or app. It means important information can be conveyed at the right time throughout the purchase cycle.
Bots are already proliferating in business faster than you've likely realized. They are common in travel, news, retail, banking, and much, much more. (This list could go on for a while, but I'm not a bot so I'll just stop here.)
But none of this is possible (or effective) unless your business invests in human relevance.
That means you need copywriters that can turn a decision tree into the right responses no matter what the question is. It used to be tedious work, but with machine learning, it's getting easier every day. And it means building a human support system that can seamlessly accept a handoff from a bot that's reached the end of its capability.
Yes, bots can also be very easy to build, but they aren't without their challenges, as seen by this recent headline in the Verge: "Twitter taught Microsoft's AI chatbot to be a racist asshole in less than a day." And we're just scratching the surface of this ironically 50-year-old technology. Like every technological advancement before it, we're bound to overblow its potential. But make no mistake; it has already altered the business world as we know it. We've already begun to see it with the work we've done for our clients in the space.
Now it's time to seize the opportunity that bots offer and use our learning and our creativity to make b-to-b as humanly relevant as possible so our brands are as humanly relevant, useful and trusted as possible.