Connected & Ready

Chatbots’ role in the customer experience, with Natasha Takahashi

Episode Summary

As companies work to create more personal experiences for customers at scale, how should they go about it? In this episode of Connected & Ready Natasha Takahashi, Chief Marketing Officer and Co-Founder of School of Bots, talks with host Gemma Milne about the world of chatbots. In this 30-minute discussion, they consider ideal use cases for chatbots, best practices that business leaders should keep in mind, and the changing needs of customers and increasing demand for personalization that will ultimately guide the use of chatbots. Help your service organization become more responsive to customer needs with Power Virtual Agents from Microsoft. With Power Virtual Agents you can quickly create AI-powered chatbots to resolve customer service issues and answer customer questions, all without coding or AI experience. And you can integrate your chatbots into the apps you use every day. Learn more: https://aka.ms/AA9o2ur

Episode Notes

Host Gemma Milne talks with Natasha Takahashi, Chief Marketing Officer and Co-Founder of School of Bots, as well as the Chief Marketing Officer at Ineffable Marketing, about the continuing evolution of marketing in the digital realm, the changing needs of customers, growing demand for a greater level of personalization, as well as how marketers can connect with customers in the messenger format and how this will look in the future.  

 

About Natasha Takahashi

Natasha is the Chief Marketing Officer and Co-Founder of School of Bots, as well as Chief Marketing Officer at Ineffable Marketing. She has unlocked millions of dollars in revenue for businesses through frameworks for lead generation and closing transactions. School of Bots is one of the leading chatbot education brands in the world for marketers, agencies, and teams whose methods are based on real experiences providing hundreds of clients with chatbot services. Her goal is to help businesses generate real, repeatable, and predictable results.

Learn more about School of Bots:

https://schoolofbots.co

 

Topics of discussion

 

Sponsor link

With Power Virtual Agent from Microsoft you can create intelligent, custom chatbots to look up information, personalize customer conversations, or screen conversations to live agents. Learn how you can integrate Power Virtual Agent into Microsoft Teams, explore demos, and more:

https://aka.ms/AA9o2ur

 

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Episode Transcription

Gemma: [00:00:05] Hello and welcome. You're listening to Connected and Ready, an ongoing conversation about innovation, resilience, and our capacity to succeed brought to you by Microsoft. I'm Gemma Milne. I'm a technology journalist and author. And I'm going to be exploring trends around how companies are adapting to a disrupted world and preparing for tomorrow. We're going to speak to the innovators who are bringing products, operations, and people together in new ways. 

Gemma: [00:00:30] In today's episode, I'm chatting with Natasha Takahashi, chief marketing officer and co-founder of School of Bots, all about automation and marketing chatbot services. We dive into how marketing is continually evolving in the digital realm, explore the changing needs of customers and growing demands for a greater level of personalization, and we look at how all marketers can learn to connect with their customers in the messenger format and how this will continue to progress into the future. 

Gemma: [00:01:00] Natasha, thank you so much for joining us on the show. I wonder if you could start by just giving us a little bit of background as to who you are and what you got up to at School of Bots. 

Natasha: [00:01:10] Absolutely. First off, thanks for having me. I'm really excited for our conversation. So I actually got into this whole chatbot AI Automation world back in 2016 because at the time I wanted to really dive into the marketing agency world and messenger bots had just come out that year to where I was young, this was really actually my first business, and so my co-founder and now husband and I were like, let's just take a stab at this, see if we can get some results with this, see if we can grow some businesses and then from there figure it out along the way. So definitely don't recommend just jumping off the cliff, as they say a lot of entrepreneurs do, because we did quite a few things all at the same time. We started traveling overseas outside the US. We started our agency. And we actually also from our relationship standpoint, because we were together at the time, we also started living together. So long story short, you know, we started our agency really without a whole lot of business knowledge and really a little bit of marketing experience. We had gotten results in other ways, but this was a completely new channel. Now, chatbots are not new in 2016. They've been around since over 40, 50 years at that point. But with messenger, a new angle to chatbots emerged where marketing could actually be utilized. This discovery of new businesses through chatbot channels was finally available. So that was how we got started. And then from there, you know, we've worked with over 30 different niches, over 130 clients at this point, which has been sizable enough for us to have sent over, I think at this point, 20 million messages for our bots collectively. When you look at all of those messages and all the data seeing people just continue to love this environment as a way to talk to a business about anything that they need, both from the B2B and the B2C sides. And then with 2020, the movement of businesses that were primarily in office or storefront, all now moving online, needing a way to talk to their customers, this space has just exploded even more than what was predicted, you know, over the last few years. So and I guess actually I'll add to that as well, didn't really sure exactly what we do. So we are a marketing agency that serves our clients primarily in the online scalable business model area. So e-commerce shops, info commerce businesses that will sell information online, like online courses or quite frankly, any sort of information seminar kind of style businesses that are teaching as well with digital products. So we help those businesses grow under their marketing, their sales, and their operations with chatbot channels, specifically messenger starting out. And then we'll expand into other areas depending on the business. And then we also share then what we are learning and what we're discovering works at our agency, at School of Bots with our overall education, thought leadership, just really helping people understand how you can actually use these channels for marketing. 

Gemma: [00:04:05] So let's dive in a little bit more to some of that stuff you were touching on at the end there around these kind of, shall we say, new ways of doing marketing and thinking about marketing in the 21st century. Let's think about marketing as a field as a whole and some of the current trends and evolutions. What have you been seeing in terms of how brands and businesses connect with their customers over the past few years? 

Natasha: [00:04:26] So if we look at social media and the rise of these platforms that now every business needs to be on. Right? You start a new business or you're thinking about actually growing your business’ presence online, you immediately think I need to be on social media. It's kind of just a given. And so in the very same way now we look at messaging apps as not only a place that every business needs to be on to have some sort of presence, but you have to be on there if you want to be growing in your lead generation, in your sales and in actually being able to support a larger and larger group of customers as time goes on, because a chat bot can do all of that without you having to hire more and more staff or have to over utilize your resources, especially again, given this huge transition of so many businesses to having to be available online and they're, like, oh-my-gosh, we have, you know, three support people. We need the manpower of one hundred support people and they're having to go through these crazy growth spurts without having the infrastructure available for it. So when we compare those two pathways with social media, we saw, of course, so many users gravitate towards it, it's grown exponentially. And so funny enough, though, in late 2014, the number of monthly active users on mobile messaging apps actually outgrew the amount of social media users, and that was specifically for messaging. And now in 2020, with the extreme growth we've seen, they're still really sharing the numbers. But we're seeing that same kind of exponential curve happen with mobile messaging that happened with social media and it's all in the same devices, right, because if you're on your phone already utilizing all these apps to talk to your friends, your family, colleagues and now businesses, it just makes sense that you want to use that as your main form of communication. It's real time instead of having to jump over to a clunky email app or have to even call a business, God forbid, nowadays, you know, especially with the newer generations, they don't want to go and spend time on the phone on hold, et cetera. So that's really been the trend that we've seen, and then comparing that to the previous trend of social media. 

Gemma: [00:06:30] And in terms of thinking about the customers specifically then and expectations. And obviously, you touched on the fact that this year the needs for the ability for businesses to engage online is obviously exponentially grown beyond it being just a trend, but, you know, a thing that businesses need in order to survive. But let's talk a little bit about customer expectations, because I suppose the way I always think about customer expectations with marketing, it's almost like give me something that's going to make me feel good or entertain me or give me something that's going to be useful. And it tends to, in my mind anyway, always has to fall into one of those things for a customer to be receptive to something that we deem marketing. How do you see that in terms of customer expectations? And then how does, I guess, the role of this online messaging, social media behavior fit in to the expectations that customers have nowadays? 

Natasha: [00:07:23] In terms of starting with customer expectations, as soon as - to just start with the conversation of somebody actually talking to a business for the first time or as a continuation of a previous conversation, it's really on the business to set those expectations. And so then being able to set those expectations at the beginning of a conversation or even before somebody actually goes into the conversation, maybe they dive into the chatbot from the website. That's where they see the call to action or maybe from social media. You know, somebody says, hey, message us on Facebook and we'll actually answer these questions for you. So when they get there, it's really important for the business to say, here's what you can accomplish with me here inside of this conversation. That is the number one best practice that I don't think will ever change, because otherwise then you have users saying things like, well, tell me a joke or, you know, just saying all sorts of stuff. People are very open to, you know, just cussing out businesses on chat because they think that it's just an automated thing right and then a human steps in and they're like, oh my gosh, I didn't know somebody was on here kind of watching, etc. So, so you see, when businesses aren't setting those expectations initially of here's exactly what you can do with us in the same way as maybe when it was not as clear with even business apps and that sort of thing, customers will take it all over the place right, where they just expect their wildest dreams from you in that conversation. But setting those expectations not only at the beginning of the conversation, but also throughout, for example, if you are trying to figure out some sort of customer support situation where maybe I need to gather five pieces of information from the customer in order to help them cancel their account, then I'm going to say I have five questions for you. Now, the user is very clear on OK, five questions. Maybe it'll just take me a few minutes. And then as we go through each question in the actual copy of the message, we want to say this is question one, this is question two, etc. And even though that may seem unnecessary to some people, when you do that, it really ensures that the customer has the best experience and that they also know what's going on, because a conversation, unlike a website page or a website contact form, you're not seeing the whole picture all at once. It's very tidbit digestive step by step pieces where if you don't know what's going to be happening from that point on, then you may not be as incentivized as the customer to actually follow through with the rest of the conversation. And so overall, setting those expectations not only at the beginning, but throughout and even at the end to say, OK, this is the end, making sure that people know, hey, just like if you're talking with a friend, you now say bye to each other or we'll talk soon, not just kind of leaving them hanging, being like, OK, I'm just going to leave this conversation that promotes this negative behavior that we don't want people to now start to associate with businesses on conversation. 

 

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Gemma: [00:10:40] And what’s the difference between, I guess, bots and messaging and that kind of specific kind of relationship building with customers, what's the difference between doing this in a marketing context, whether it's acquiring new customers or answering questions about products or being there as a helping hand in the kind of buying journey versus this kind of customer service returns, canceling accounts? You know, because a lot of time you do see customer service and marketing being a very separate function within businesses. So I'm curious as to how you see these two functions and how messaging perhaps bridges them to some degree. 

Natasha: [00:11:14] Absolutely. And speaking of the bridge, it's actually always the perfect analogy that I think describes how in order to be successful with not only generating leads from the marketing side in a messaging environment, but also then converting them, whether that means booking an appointment with a sales representative or actually going to make that purchase, whatever it might be, within the messaging environment, without the intervention of a human. In order to bridge those, you have to have that customer support automation element. Most of the time if the product is above 50 dollars, you want to ask that last minute question before you actually make that purchase from the consumer side, you're just going to spend a little bit more time thinking about a thousand dollar purchase versus maybe a five dollar cat toy that you saw that you think is going to be fun. Right. And so that's the main bridge that we create with support, which is why we look at our chatbot strategy from those three angles, from the marketing, the sales ,and the we call it operations, but also that involves support element. And then from there, with things like retention that we can improve with campaigns that are specifically focused on, for example, a subscription product or maybe something that people are consuming and needing to buy every so often regularly support plays a huge role there as well. So that's the gap that we're bridging there between those two use cases. Now in regards to how we work with the marketing side of things, so what we're able to do there, which then also reflects itself in the support side, is that because in a messaging environment, it's real-time and we're also able to record every response that a user is sharing with us during the lead gen phase or us discovering more about this user before we maybe recommend a product or service to them or let them continue on in the sales journey. We might ask questions around what their motivation is to, you know, buy this product or service, what their experience level is. If, let's say this is more of a digital product like a course and any other information that would be helpful for us to then customize what they might see later on with support or with sales messages and what we call mirroring, being able to say, hey, you know, last week you told me that your main purpose in buying this is - insert what that user had told us. And now all of a sudden you feel so much closer to each other because a user feels like you remember our conversation. And that's actually one of the things that has been really difficult for platform software companies to solve, because you look at voice assistance and that same history of a relationship doesn't always exist. Sure, things are getting better, but it's not like, hey, I remember that last time we talked, you know, we talked about this and how is that going so far for you? So that continuous building of the relationship, which right now is built more manually, but as AI advances this will be much easier. Not every business needs to know everything about you. But if you can do even just one level of that in the marketing phase, then as you start to continue to build that relationship through somebody converting into a customer and then the support elements and you can mirror these types of things back to them that they've shared with you, that's really powerful and ultimately helps create that relationship that no other channel can right now. 

Gemma: [00:14:19] So we've mentioned the fact that you get quite a lot of rich data from these conversations with customers. What is it that companies should do with that data? You know, whether it's a case of storing it and thinking about how to protect and all these things, but also how do you connect it with all the other data that you've been gathering on your customers, whether it's from emails or, you know, accounts that they have on the website and so on and so forth. 

Natasha: [00:14:42] This is one of the first things that we do when we approach any new project is we understand what is the company's tech stack look like and how can we connect all their platforms together that hold customer data, which now a messaging platform is added to that list, where you want to make sure that at any given time your chatbot knows whatever we can about a user in relation to your products and services. Have they booked a call? How many calls have they booked? How many products have they purchased? Are they a subscriber of this subscription that you offer. Any of that information that would also then trigger or prevent from triggering certain types of messages around marketing and sales. For example, you never want to send a cart abandonment email to somebody who has already purchased the product that you're promoting in that email. And so in the same way, we want to use either third party solutions that allow you to connect out of the box platforms that you might be using for a CRM to then be able to send that data back and forth to your chatbot, at any given time, let's say somebody gets a refund inside of your CRM, you want to then send that information to the chatbot so the chatbot doesn't say anything around now, that old product or service that the user previously was a buyer or an owner of. And then in the same way, if you have a custom tech stack or custom solutions that are fully coded and you're not necessarily only having a non-technical team work on this project, then you can very easily create those back and forth, either web hooks or custom integrations, where you can then make sure that data is passed from the CRM, if something happens important there or in the chatbot conversation, if someone takes a certain action being able to actually trigger things like emails or tags and fields, etc., just to get nitty gritty in your CRM that let you know either platform you're looking at, you know, exactly what a user has done and therefore your chatbot or your other communication methods know that as well. 

Gemma: [00:16:36] So that brings me really nicely onto my next question, which was around the kind of appetite for personalization and what you said there about being able to record answers. 

Gemma: [00:16:46] And then, you know, it feels customers can come back and feel like ah, they remember. Well, most customers will know that it's not somebody remembering. It is the data being gathered and it is coming up on a screen, whether it's a person or a bot or whatever. How does questions around privacy and consent come in there? And, you know, because I think the sort of question around creepiness of AI and chatbots is really still there from a behavioral standpoint. I mean, I work in tech and I don't like how that feels. I remember saying that to a person I don't really like that the bot remembers that sort of thing. So how do you guys think about these kind of creep questions when it comes to personalization and marketing and customer service? 

Natasha: [00:17:26] Yes, if we talk about just personalization, and I do believe just based on how the data is showing this, that this continues to become more of a priority for younger and younger generations. And even like in older generations, where they want to come to a website and see everything that's customized for them. You think about Netflix or any of these platforms that thrive on the personalization feature where my Netflix is going to look nothing like my mom's or my friends’ or maybe even yours. And so we thrive on being able to see, hey, this is so customized for me that they knew I wanted this product or I should pair these with these. Right? There's all sorts of different little tactics there. But the main thing is that it is personalized for you. So inside of a conversation where it is much more intimate. Absolutely. There is that potential factor of it feeling a little bit creepy if you do it in a way that feels more robotic or the way that it's phrased. We're all just very sensitive to certain nuances and language. This really needs to be crafted differently for each business when you reflect information back to somebody and also knowing that that information is actually going to be what the bot thinks it is like, if you ask somebody, hey, what's your motivation for buying this? Maybe obviously in a different wording than directly, hey, why? Why do you want to buy this? Then, if you know for sure that that response contains that information, then you can be more certain that it's not going to feel as creepy when you phrase it in the right way. Whereas if there's a chance that somebody said something completely different there like, I like bananas or something, you know, just something very random. Now, all of a sudden that also contains that element of, oh, this feels off. This feels like a bot. Ultimately, there's not a way to get there 100 percent. But what I can say is that with the growth of personalization, because this is one of the trends that ultimately also supports the growth of messaging, is that in 2019 there were a lot of really amazing stats, like, for example, from CLECs that said the average return on personalization is 20 to one. And so looking at just how that plays a role in every part from adding someone's name in a message which is the most commonly used marketing tactic. Right? Hey, Gemma, would you like to learn more about this or in every email and every kind of communication you get from them all the way to find the best whatever service it might be you're looking for in your geographic area. As we start to pinpoint these certain data points, I think that for users and consumers getting more used to this, it's ultimately more helpful than it is creepy. Again, as long as it's not phrased in this very robotic kind of way, that feels ingenuine. But when it's done in the right way, it's kind of a pleasant surprise right now and it'll be interesting to see how that evolves to where it's almost expected. Like if you're not personalizing the conversation or the offer, the recommendation, it's like, well, why aren't you doing that? It might be annoying and you might want to move on to a competitor, is also what the data shows. 

Gemma: [00:20:17] Yeah, it seems to me if you're going to ask a human question, you're going to have to give a human answer. If you're going to want to get the information, you have to also invest in doing in a way that's going to make sense on both sides and not only be beneficial for the brands, but let's move on a little bit, talking about the implications, I guess, from the operations side of businesses, this kind of rise in messaging and the growth in call volumes, demand and service -  A. because a pandemic in everybody's online but also B. because of these changing customer expectations and the sort of behavior of consumers, particularly shopping with brands directly online and all that sort of thing, you know, how can businesses meet these expectations of customers. Is it a technical problem, is it a resource problem? Humans, even though you're using AI, what do you kind of need from the human side, how can you implement this in a way that makes sense, that you have these nice human answers that you don't have a halfhearted attempt? We’d love to hear a little bit from that kind of operation side from you.

Natasha: [00:21:02] So one of the biggest challenges with this is ultimately the business model and how complex a customer's question can be. But typically, the way that this will move through a chatbot system is that when we first look at a business and our main benchmark is by the 90-day mark of any project, we want to be automating up to 80 percent of customer support, incoming inquiries. Now, that may mean that they then stop driving as much traffic to a call center and start to try to channel all customer support inquiries into a written chatbot channel or something on a company's website. And so in these scenarios, when we can actually just create the first baseline, so let's say level one of customer support automation system, then we can usually automate 20 to 30 percent of those incoming responses. And then there's a live chat system that allows us to actually handle the rest of those. Now, that should just bring a little bit more pressure, not an overwhelming amount to the existing support team so that they can now be answering those. But then pressure should be alleviated from the call centers in the emails so that it essentially balances out at that first level. So I know we're getting a little bit tactical, but just to give you guys an idea of what it's looked like over the last four years and even now, this is the way that we approach this, is that then once we're at that baseline where usually the most common questions at this point are programed into the chatbot, we also use AI systems and engines where we're able to now have the bot also learn the nuances of how a question might be asked with ultimately the same response, maybe with a little bit more context at times. And so once that's done, then from there it's very easy to go from that 20 to 30 percent to 80 percent because we can completely alleviate the support team to actually focus on just the most complex inquiries. And what the bot can also do in a lot of circumstances is A. can I either walk somebody through a process that typically a human would, so let's say somebody says, I want to cancel my subscription box, can you help me do that? I don't know how to do it. So instead of a human having to be OK, step one, do this. Have you done this yet? OK, perfect. Let's move on to step two the bot can now walk them through it or a little bit on a deeper level, the bot can accomplish certain things for a user on the back end of their account or with a product or service. And then finally, for the most complex questions, those will get handed off to a human where ideally within that 90-day period for looking at this system that we built, then a lot of that pressure is alleviated from the call center. They're not getting as many calls just in general because people are able to resolve inquiries there inside of the bot. Same thing with email support, whether that's coming from the internal team or external. And so ultimately, that's the way that we look at alleviating a lot of that pressure, especially during this time when there's so many more calls and things coming in from tech breaking, as well as just the fact people can't go into a storefront as much and be able to ask their questions to people there. And I will say also just to delve into it for a moment from the voice bot side as well, we're going to start seeing this more and more where, for example, platforms like voice flow, which are linked to Amazon, Alexa and Google assistant, those platforms that allow you to create assistants there, now, these assistants are starting to pop up everywhere, from the airports to manufacturing facilities and warehouses to actual restaurants where you can order without having to touch anything in those situations as well now these AI systems, whether they're written or they're manually being written out or actual, just voice without any writing, all of these are alleviating that pressure to then allow these support teams, how we like to see it, to do higher quality tasks, to be able to actually help optimize the system instead of having to answer all these repetitive questions and do these repetitive tasks and things. Right? So it's kind of evolving the human workforce, which is a whole conversation in itself. Right? Of, well, what do we do when AI puts all these people out of jobs? But that's a perspective that we have on it. And ultimately, I think it's all for the betterment of humans and people enjoying the work that they do as well. 

Gemma: [00:25:15] Amazing. And I want to just build a little bit because, you know, you were saying I'm getting into it but actually, that's what this podcast is about, is really trying to work out how this stuff works in practice. 

Gemma: [00:25:24] So I would love to hear also a little bit of, you know, say there's a marketer or someone who has some kind of decision-making power listening in. What are the sort of first steps in terms of thinking, OK, we don't really have this kind of messaging capability already in our business, or maybe we've done a couple of pilots, but we certainly don't have a system as such that can ultimately grow and build and so on and so forth to become something that does alleviate a lot of that pressure that call centers and whatnot have on them. What are good first steps for people who are in that position? What's a good way of thinking? OK, I really want to get into this chatbot thing, what should I do next? 

Natasha: [00:26:03] Yeah, absolutely. And I love talking about this. It is a little bit different for mid-tier and small businesses versus enterprise, of course, because with enterprise, it's much more about omnipresence and brand building where they might have more of a fun or interesting experience for people to go through. It's more about entertainment, to be honest, because they want to just draw as many eyeballs as possible. But it's not always trackable for them because people might be buying in different places like retail stores, online, on online retailers and so on. So that strategy looks a little bit different. And to be honest, it's very unique to the business. But I think what will be more relevant for the majority of businesses who want to use bots as a way to increase the leads that are coming into their business, who want to convert leads as much as possible within the conversation, and then bring in a human if needed, but ideally do it without human intervention and then customer support, retention, et cetera, some of the things we've talked about. The best place to start is with an evergreen marketing campaign that has already proven to work for you. That your audience, that your customers have already converted with, that they've enjoyed and maybe even that they found entertaining or that you can add an entertaining element to like a certain mascot or persona that is your bot as people go through that campaign. And typically nowadays you see things like PDF lead magnets that are free, somebody can download on your website, Right? Your guide to doing the top 20, whatever it might be. Those are such common pieces of marketing material that ultimately work really well in a messaging environment because you can not only just share that direct document, but the way that you can make that content engaging by taking people step by step, maybe including things like audio clips or video clips, GIFs, these kind of things that actually make the content more digestible and more human feels more authentic. That's the best place to start. So if I have a PDF that is like the top seven ways to create Facebook ads or something like the top seven types of Facebook ads that you can run for an e-commerce business, then I might break that down into seven different steps of the conversation, might say, hey, setting expectations at the beginning, here's what we're going to go through. And then now step by step to help you guys visualize it, we might say, you know, the first type you can create is blah, blah, blah. Now, do you want to dive further into that, yes or no, or do you want to move on to the next one? And so letting people also pace the conversation so that they can, in a sense, choose their own adventure, that's the best way to set this up to where by the end someone is excited about and interested in the content that you've walked them through and now are either ready to take a step further or the great thing with the chatbot is that it can also pivot the conversation or pivot the offer. So if somebody says, yeah, I'm not ready yet to, let's say book a call, well, OK, that's fine. You know, why don't I send you through this other piece of content or I can check back with you in a few days. Whereas in most situations like landing pages or emails, it's just not possible to customize the end offer for the user based on their live immediate feedback. So that's just a little bit of how we would approach usually any business between the, let's say, under a million mark to 100 million dollar mark in annual revenue. We would look at these business types and as a very wide range. But ultimately this approach will work for any of them as long as they have something that people can experience and go through before actually then saying, OK, we've gone on a date now. Right? We've gone through, you know, the content in the conversation. I know a little bit about you. You know a little bit about our business. So now let's take it to the next level and see if I can invite you on a next date or even continue on to have you buy something from us, which then will lead to maybe a bigger commitment in the future. 

Gemma: [00:29:48] That's awesome, Natasha. I think, you know, having just these concrete actions and ideas is so powerful when we're talking about these high level, sometimes kind of futuristic techie topics. And I want to end on a little bit of a future-y, techie topic, which is around, I guess, what your vision of the future of marketing looks like, whether that's AI automation, chatbots or something that combines everything. And I would love to hear just what you think, how marketing will transform as we move forward and what you think great marketing power by technology really looks like. 

Natasha: [00:30:22] So the future that I see for communication would be, and this actually technically already exists. But it's what I see being implemented across every business’, let's start with their websites right? Their home on the Internet. So when somebody comes to a business and they decide, I want to start a conversation or I want to learn more about them being able to choose what channel you have that conversation on should be the number one priority in the sense that, as we talked about earlier, a new business or a business that wants to move their presence online says I have to be on the main social media platforms in order to have this presence, in order for people to see what we're about. So in the same way, being able to have a chatbot experience or whatever use case a user wants to accomplish on SMS, maybe even just a website chat and soon other platforms that will just make sense for businesses to be on. Now, I don't see every business needing to be on every messaging platform because there are certain platforms that are for very specific use cases maybe that are more internal, not so much for marketing, discovery, and sales and support for a business, but nonetheless, these main kind of consumer facing apps, like I mentioned right now, WhatsApp, Instagram, SMS and Messenger, being able to come to a business' website and then start a conversation on any of those actually seeing those logos, you know, those icons being able to then dive in and then go back and forth to get content, to get more information, to just learn overall before then taking that next step. That would be the vision of communication in the future. Just being able to select what you as a consumer like best in a business should be able to be available on any of these, especially because the technology will become a little bit more applicable to all the platforms where a business won't have to put in so much time like it takes to develop an app right now, for example, into each different chatbot. But they'll be able to repurpose and reuse, you know, different chat bot platforms to create the chatbots on new platforms as they emerge. So that would be the first vision. But in terms of use cases and utilizing these as actual channels that you build a community on, that you build a brand on, even though they're one to one right now and you're having all these different unique one to one conversations, you actually see platforms right now like Community, which is a big SMS platform. It's not a chatbot. It is more of a broadcasting system where you see influencers, for example, different musical artists, you know, overall influencers in pop culture, being able to utilize that to build a community of people where they can actually let them know, hey, here are just updates I have going on. And then businesses can be using it in the same way to just make it feel like there's people behind the brand when you can do that for these small to mid-tier businesses, now you also see this community of people being built, and it's not just about generating leads and qualifying them, turning them into customers, and then really only utilizing those channels when you need to, but actually just having more casual conversations that then allow you to continue to build that relationship up so that when somebody says, I need to buy X, Y, Z product, there's no hesitation in their mind that they're going to be going to you, that you're actually creating that loyalty instead of just continuing trying to have people buy on price or whatever it might be, all these different tactics that have kind of emerged with the rise of Internet marketing. But this kind of brings us back to the roots of what we want as humans to build these relationships with brands that we trust. We are in alignment with their missions and then being able to do anything that we want to in the places that we want to. 

Gemma: [00:33:22] Amazing. Natasha, thank you so much for sharing all that with us and bringing us to a lovely end, which I think, you know, sometimes we lose that message when we get a little bit caught up in trying to work out how to optimize marketing and all that sort of thing. So really appreciate you coming on the show and sharing all your expertise and inspiration with us all. 

Natasha: [00:33:39] Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me, Gemma. This was fun. 

Gemma: [00:33:45] That's it for this week. Thank you so much for tuning in. You can find out more about Natasha's work and indeed some of the broader themes we discussed today in the show notes. If you enjoyed the episode, please do take a few moments to rate and review the podcast. It really helps other people discover the show. And don't forget to hit subscribe and tune in next time to continue our conversation about innovation, resilience and our capacity to succeed. 

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