"Coca-Cola is typing…" – Dialogue marketing via Messenger

Daniel Kostyra

We are somehow used to the fact that brands, similar to the government or Netflix superstars, are unapproachable despite an omnipresence, even immaterial. They offer exchangeable touch points with regular commercials, large-scale outdoor advertisement or semi-popular layer ads on websites. Segmentation one way or the other - you don’t feel valued individually as a consumer. And when you do wish to communicate with the brand personally: Good luck trying to find the contact form. Although there is so much value in direct communication. Brands essentially know this, too, but there are a lot of question marks concerning the implementation.

Messengers like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger are an appropriate way for brands to realize this. Here, we exchange personal messages that we give a lot of attention to since we are having a real conversation with real people. As much as 86 percent of all digital content is already shared through messenger, as we have reported here. Tapping into this channel as a brand is a dream for every marketing theorist. And a nightmare for every budget manager. How are you supposed to start and conduct a personal conversation with all customers? With a B2C-marketing armada? Kind of difficult. That’s why we have summed up three application areas of which at least one should be doable for brands:

1. Service (Pull-Strategy)

Messenger serves as an extension or substitution for live chats, hotlines or service counters. Except that you serve your clients on the channel they already prefer to use. Well-known examples are Sixt, KLM Airline, Hyatt. Expenditures are no more than every other real-time service channel. The challenge: Not all service requests can be sufficiently answered with messenger. 

2.Newsletter (Push-Strategy)

Self-explanatory. For consumers to voluntarily receive brand messages in a private messaging channel (on a regular basis), there have to be additional benefits. Examples are BILD transfer tickets, GoFeminin, N-TV. Expenses don't have to be more than every other newsletter channel. Another challenge: Opt-Ins have to be generated initially.

3.Campaign (Pull/Push-Strategy)

In form of a campaign, you present the consumer with a challenge. The solution then has to be communicated via messenger, for example: “For a chance to win send us a photo of yourself enjoying your McDonald’s coffee at Starbucks.” Or you offer a protruding (temporary) service that is oriented towards the brand essence, such as: “Want to go out in Frankfurt this weekend? Send us a message and we’ll tell you where the best party is. Yours Havana Club Team” A good example is Absolute Vodka: The brand is organizing a huge party in Argentina for a product launch. In order to participate, you have to convince the “bouncer” (represented by a community manager) via WhatsApp that you deserve a ticket. For this purpose the campaign cellphone number was published. Costs: Community management for the duration of the campaign, media investment to get the word out, plus possibly sweepstakes / incentives.

Sven, the imaginative bouncer for the Absolute Vodka campaign

Conclusion: If you are really looking for a dialogue with customers, you can get it with the help of messengers. Requirements are the same as usual: a clever idea and / or good service.

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Daniel Kostyra

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Daniel Kostyra has been working as a Consultant for Cocomore since June 2014. Before he was a research assistant in Marketing at the Goethe University in Frankfurt. If you ask him, what he is doing at Cocomore, he says: “I know, what I do, even if I can’t always explain, what I make”.

Describing Kosy in four words: curious, talkative, black humor, not bearded.