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Importance of Chatbots in Global Marketing

Chatbots are gaining popularity and are becoming a useful tool for global marketers. They deliver an interactive messaging service, driven by computer programs or sometimes artificial intelligence (AI) and can conduct online conversations by messaging or “speaking” to users. Instead of browsing a website or having to go through a frustrating “phone tree”, users simply engage in a conversation with a chatbot. For the first time ever, people are using messenger apps more than they are using social networks. As the usage of messenger apps increases, chatbots provide a huge business opportunity to deliver more value and give competitive advantage for many products and services.

“Chatbots are the new apps,” said Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella.

There are primarily two ways a chatbot can function: based on a set of rules, or through using machine learning, which is a more advanced version. A chatbot that operates based on a set of rules has very limited functions, it can only respond to specific, pre-set commands. On the other hand, one that functions using machine learning has AI. AI versions are not limited to commands, as they continuously get more intelligent with the more interactions they have with people.

Here are some reasons as to why chatbots may be the next big thing in global marketing:

Chatbots can be more accessible to a wider range of people.
Chatbots are able to reach people who may not be tech-savvy. For the audiences who are unable to handle complex user experiences and want to feel that they are receiving a personal service, chatbots provide a good solution. They are straight forward and easy to use as they resemble normal text messaging which most people are familiar with.

Today’s consumers are more demanding than ever.
As cited in The Guardian, a study suggests that about 90% of messages from customers to companies on social networks are not responded to, and it takes an average of 10 hours for them to reply to the other 10%. Today’s customers have become accustomed to instant gratification and expect a reply within a couple of hours. Chatbots increase consumer interaction, and are able to assist straightaway. Backed by machine learning technology, chatbots will be able to learn from past conversations and with new ones. They build up data over time, which enables them to respond to a wider variety of queries. Machine-learning technology will gradually improve the chatbots’ ability to interact better, enhancing the customers’ experiences.

They are excellent tools for data collection and analysis.
They can gather important data about consumer behaviors, habits, and purchasing patterns. Therefore, Chatbots play an important role in global digital marketing campaigns, especially when global marketers are planning to cater their campaigns to different segments of a market.

As chatbots become more significant, it is time for businesses to look into utilizing this tool to reach global markets and gain competitive advantage.

Chatbots and Localization
Global businesses need to ensure that chatbots are able to interact as naturally as possible, like that of a real person. This is where language and localization will play an increasing key role in their development. Chatbots who serve multiple language markets must be able to understand the language and any relevant cultural references and colloquialisms. For chatbots that use a synthetic voice, accent will also play a key role. Localization of their software and design will become an important aspect to ensure a truly local experience for any global brand.

Cecilia

Cecilia.tang@welocalize.com

Cecilia Tang is a member of the Welocalize Global Marketing and Sales Support team.

Trends in 2017 Impacting Marketing Localization

As we move into 2017, we look at some of the emerging and ongoing trends that will affect global marketers who are responsible for targeting new markets and driving digital branded campaigns to audiences all over the world.

Growth in Messaging Apps

Messaging apps are growing very fast and more businesses are looking to embrace this trend and seek revenue opportunities. Monthly active users across WhatsApp, Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Slack and WeChat have grown a lot faster than some social networks such as Instagram and Twitter. Facebook Mobile Messenger now has one billion active users and Snapchat, only five years old, has gathered 150 million daily active users. With the millennial population continuing to increase and influence, use of messenger apps will continue to increase. Global marketers need to engage and listen to what is being said on the most widely-use mediums that are influencing their brands. People all over the world sharing the good, bad and indifferent experiences with global brands over these messaging apps. WeChat in China has such broad functionality, influencing and facilitating online shopping and restaurant reservations.  Global marketers have to ensure they drive localized campaigns to capitalize on the leading messaging platforms to gain consumer attention and engagement.

Chatbots

One other growth area is the use of “chatbots.” Chatbots are computer programs that you interact with by “chatting,” by providing information or helping humans with certain tasks. They can resolve issues, answer questions and give the consumer the feeling they are speaking with a human. Chatbots are gaining popularity and are becoming a useful tool for global marketers. Chatbots increase consumer interaction and enhance the overall user and brand experience. With a global market, full of impatient consumers who want things done immediately, a chatbot can assist straight away. They are also an important tool for collecting data and analysis of consumer habits and purchasing patterns. From a localization standpoint, a chatbot needs to speak and type like a real person – and that means speaking and typing in the target audience’s local language and culture. If chatbots are to play an important part in global digital marketing campaigns, then language and localization play an increasing key role in their development to ensure you are reaching your global audience.

Video Revolution

More and more multimedia is being consumed on a daily basis, driving communication and influencing global business in B2C and B2B. According to YouTube statistics, 3.25 billion hours of video is watched on YouTube each month. Innovation in this area is rapid with many of the large technology platforms like Amazon and Netflix are delivering addictive content in new, exciting ways. This will continue to impact how CMOs, content producers and learning managers will develop and distribute media to audiences around the world. Budget has always played a key influencing role in localization of audio and video content types. Producing quality brand videos is getting easier and less expensive for global marketers, as new production software and media channels open all the time. We will continue to see video playing a bigger role in marketing communications in 2017.

From a localization perspective, we’ve seen great advances in multimedia localization, which have reduced the cost and time of developing multilingual videos. Text-to-speech (TTS) and increased use of transcription and on-screen-text (OST) has enabled more brands to distribute more language versions. For certain communication pieces, the quality levels required for the translation and localization of video are now more flexible. For high impact-branded materials, quality still needs to be high; however, there are options for lower level productions such as internal communication, social media campaigns and or quick-turn training videos. Techniques like TTS, subtitling and OST can deliver the right message and quality levels, making production costs realistic and within budgets.

The video landscape is continuing to change for markets. In late 2016, Facebook Live rapidly grew to be a key video streaming service for global marketers and advertisers. With 1.5 billion users worldwide, Facebook has one of the largest interactive content platforms for UGC and brands. Innovations in this space will continue to drive new user experiences in 2017.

Ad Blockers

Ad blocker usage will continue to grow into 2017, which will result in the reduction of banner ad consumption in certain geographies. According to Ogilvy, ad blocking jumped 34% during 2016 in the US. The continued growth in ad blocking may see a decrease in banner advertising, forcing advertisers to think differently in their outreach. Global marketers have to stay ahead of technologies and trends to ensure that their message reaches the right people. More effective content campaigns will become standard and enable global brands to reach consumers and not be blocked. For global marketing campaigns, this means knowing which markets are affected by ad blocking technology and ensuring any local campaign is built with this in mind, from a content, platform and media perspective.

Measure ROI Not Website Hits

Digital marketers have often looked to Google Analytics to measure website hits, clicks and sessions, as an indicator of campaign success. Global marketers will have to look at new ROI metrics, viewing digital marketing content from the perspective of consumption, engagement and investment. Measuring website hits from static web content is not a true representation of success today, as clicks can be “managed” to produce low quality returns. Whether marketing activity drives leads or engagement, revenue is a measure of success. Some dynamic content, like user generated content (UGC), must be monitored in all target languages and markets to get a good measure of consumer satisfaction and levels of engagement in social media campaigns. Global digital marketing is no longer just about generating static web content, it is analyzing online interactions and bridging the gap between content and ROI. Welocalize’s Adapt Worldwide specialize in helping global brands in defining ROI programs for digital marketing, PPC, social media and web SEO.  Click here to learn more.

What do you think will impact global marketing and localization in 2017? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Email louise.law@welocalize.com

Louise

Louise Law is Global Communications Manager at Welocalize.