From Push to Pull: the Future of Messaging App Communication
What is conversational marketing and what role do messaging apps like WhatsApp play in this new trend? The future of communication lies in pull communication, not in pure push communication. Companies that don’t react to changing forms of communication and customer needs will lose relevance for their customers, and miss out on the next stages of messaging app communication.
From Newsletter (Push) to Conversational Marketing (Pull)
Professional messaging app communication is always developing. We can sum up the development thus far in three phases.
Phase 1: Content Distribution via Newsletter
The focus of messaging app communication started as content distribution. Customers subscribe to newsletters on WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger and receive regular information about a specific topic. The effort for companies was relatively low in comparison to other social channels, and the content reached all customers (no algorithms) in real-time, with far better opening rates than email, for example.
Phase 2: Direct Communication and Customer Service
This form of push communication via messaging apps was further developed last year through a number of influences. Customers, companies and the messaging platforms themselves all started focusing more on 1:1 communication with a specific concentration on customer service.
a) Customers want a quick, fast, personal answer to their questions and solution to their problems. Telephone hotlines and email can’t keep up with the times here — telephone hotlines are notoriously inefficient and problem-ridden and e-mail conversations drag on endlessly, often end up in spam, and rarely resolve a concern within a reasonable time period. The solution is messaging apps such as WhatsApp and co.
b) Companies want to reach customers and users on platforms that they already use day in and day out. What communication channel dominates today more than messaging apps? In a mobile-focused world, messaging is becoming more and more powerful.
c) Messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or Apple are focusing their business solutions more and more on customer service. With the WhatsApp Business App (for small companies) and the WhatsApp Business API (for middle-sized and enterprise companies), WhatsApp created two different business solutions that are focused on offering direct, one-on-one, dialogue-based customer service on an intuitive and low-threshhold channel.
Phase 3: Conversational Marketing
Conversational marketing is now the third phase of messenger communication. Using automated chat via WhatsApp and Co., content marketing and dialogue marketing can finally be combined. Since WhatsApp announced that it would no longer be supporting newsletters as of December 2019, this type of communication has again gained even more importance. Say good-bye to push communication that floods users with one-size-fits-all messages — the time for personalized pull communication has come.
Pull Communication: Users want relevant content
Relevance doesn’t just mean that content is important — it means that it is important in a specific situation. For pull communication, relevant information can be defined using the three W questions what, who, and when. The content has to be important for a specific person at the right time. How companies can use pull communication to engage their users and offer great content will be explained in the following examples:
Bloomberg Quint: Live Content from the Stock Trading Floor
Bloomberg Quint, a joint venture from Bloomberg News and Quintillion Media, created in 2016, offers C-level executives and other decision makers the latest financial information in real time. The users can request stock market information using the company name as a keyword and pull up the information they are specifically looking for at the exact time they need it.
Lecker Magazine: Information and Inspiration for Cooking and Baking
Lecker.de, an online magazine for simple modern cooking founded in 2009, offers users cooking information and inspiration via WhatsApp. If a user wants a Tiramisu recipe, for example, he or she can send a quick search in the dialogue and will receive an assortment of relevant recipes. This type of information is particularly well suited to pull communciation – your users wants chocolate cake recipe now and not tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. He or she also doesn’t need to be constantly informed about chocolate cakes, so the one time, personalized information model is perfect.
Why not just Google it?
Yes, the user could also use Google to search for chocolate cakes. However, the search term chocolate cake alone has over 3 million results. As a company, it’ll be tough work climbing to one of the first places here! In addition to millions of search results, Google now shows the answer to the query itself on so-called feature snippets. This means that the searcher stays on Google and no longer switches over to the website – so no more traffic for brands and publishers!
To really raise customer engagement, become more independent from Google, and distinguish themself from the competition, a truly direct channel to the user is the obvious solution.
“Alexa for Messaging Apps”
Today, conversational marketing is strongly associated with Alexa, Siri and co. The user asks something and the company offers a personalized answer. Conversational marketing for messaging apps is now catching up, and it even has some advantages over the automated voice assistants. On WhatsApp and other messaging apps, companies can also still answer manually, for example if the user has a more complicated question. Naturally, with Alexa, a human employee can’t take over, so the potential for user frustration is higher than via messaging apps.
Automation is still a huge boon in messaging app conversational marketing though. Virtual assistants that offer 24/7 service are extremelyefficient and save resources. These automated assistants recognizes the text-based request through keywords and commands. It then searches for relevant information for the user and automatically sends it back.
Companies that don’t join the automation trend will miss the opportunity to take the lead in the future of customer service. The modern customer expects information tailor-made for them, on their favorite channel. Companies who embrace current channels and their potential will be better positioned to retain customers longer and develop better customer relationships.
Tip: The use cases discussed here can all be implemented using our Messenger Communication Platform — and naturally, the brower-based unified messaging platform can support a wide variety of other cases as well. Write us using the widget below to set up a live demo with one of our messaging app experts. We’ll walk you through our tool and answer all your questions in a video call.