Are robots hijacking marketing?

You’d be forgiven if you don’t know much about “marketing bots”—even if you work right smack dab in the middle of a marketing team. When most of us think of bots, we think of the irritating spambots that create bogus accounts on Twitter and Facebook, or that bomb online forums with incomprehensible gibberish about free sunglasses or trips to the Bahamas. Sure, hackers and spammers probably get some benefit out of sending out these bots to wreak havoc on the internet’s general population. For ethical and reputable marketers, though, what genuine benefit could bots ever have?

Marketing Bots: The Rise of the Machines

However, despite all your misgivings, you might not want to dismiss bots just yet: according to Melissa Chacko, the product manager for Foursquare, “bots are the new apps.” Chacko sees bots as a massive growth opportunity for businesses, a way to offer “seamless user experience,” and a means of creating “emotional connections” with users. In Chacko’s view, bots can make digital marketing easier for the marketers and more satisfying and helpful for the consumers.

For the record, when Chacko talks about bots, she isn’t talking about the spambots that like to disrupt the fun of posting on your favorite internet message board. Rather, the bots that populated her slideshow presentation (linked above) are quite like the text-based equivalent to Siri. Users can text questions to these bots and get answers. In Chacko’s slideshow, a user is shown interacting with a bot called “Marsbot,” asking for recommendations of bars or sushi restaurants.

continue reading »

More News