Numerous articles over the past several years have called attention to and attempted to address the short career span of chief marketing officers (CMO).Yet the exodus of CMOs in C-suites continues. The primary basis for this appears to be a shift in focus from branding to proving a return on investment (ROI). Proving the latter is a lot more difficult, as opposed to counting the number of mentions in articles, email open rates or ad placements.
With digital ad spending expected to exceed $375 billion by the end of 2021, according to EMarketer, there will be even more pressure on CMOs to demonstrate a good ROI to their CEOs and CFOs. Some observers suggest that conversational artificial intelligence (AI) may be the answer.
AI to the Rescue?
What if marketers only needed to pay attention to and work with pre-qualified leads in the future? Imagine a consumer seeing an ad, clicking on it, and then engaging in real time with a bot and receiving a personalized product recommendation. More than half of brand advertising budgets (57%) are currently spent on Facebook and Google alone, so the potential is huge, if not challenging. But the opportunity to engage consumers in real time is also huge.
The average successful click-through rate has been debated, and ranges between two and five percent depending on the source. Regardless of the number accepted as accurate, consider how conversational AI could help in real time engagement. Imagine using conversational chatbots via WhatsApp for Google and Facebook ads and converting these visitors into marketing-qualified leads (MQL) and even sales-qualified leads (SQL), and then into paying customers!
Last year, Adobe’s Customer Experience Index survey provided support for confidence in conversational artificial intelligence. It reported that consumers in three regions most likely to be delighted by conversational bots were from India, Southeast Asia and the U.S., in that particular order.
Ready, Set, Go!
CMOs and brands seeking to demonstrate and improve their ROI should be mindful of several things when considering a chatbot company. One of the key things to consider is the company’s NLF or natural-language processing. It’s obviously critical for a chatbot to understand and respond to consumers for the industry it’s serving. Everything that interfaces and will work with the brand’s NLP must also be compatible. This includes the digital assistant as well as any back-end systems it will be expected to interface with. And although many prospects will likely originate from Facebook and Google, invest in a digital assistant and ensure it’s omnichannel so as to allow flexibility in working with other popular platforms.
Among consumers, security is a mounting concern. This and compliance should also be a primary focus in selecting a digital assistant.
CMOs who are still on the fence about conversational AI might also consider this: Gartner, a global IT research and advisory company, predicts that as much as 40% of B2B users will be conversing with chatbots by the end of this year.
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Ronn Torossian: Insights from a Native New Yorker and CEO of 5WPR
Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals.
Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 200 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions.
Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, and a recipient of Crain’s New York 2021 Most Notable in Marketing & PR.
Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and has authored two editions of his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations," which is an industry best-seller.
A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities