Welcome to the next installment in our #botboss series, a collection of blog posts from experts in the chatbot industry. We’re gathering their advice to help you get the most out of your chatbot marketing!

The last decade brought us a lot of innovation. Technology evolved quickly, so digital marketing did too. Before we start strategizing for the new decade ahead, it’s important to reflect on how we got here. Understanding how the marketing landscape has evolved in the last ten years is a key part of planning how to move forward.

So let’s take a look at the most important developments in digital marketing since 2010, and how they’ll impact the next ten years. My name is Bojana, and I’m a Content Manager here at Chatfuel. I’m going to guide you through:

  • The top five developments in the marketing industry in the last decade 📊
  • How they’ve changed the way consumers think and what they expect 👥
  • How you can use this knowledge to your advantage when strategizing for the future 💪

Oversaturation of the market(ing)

During the last decade, the flood of the uncreative spammy, scammy ads escalated. Everything is an ad now, and many of them are low quality. How did this happen?

The answer is that creating ads has become easier than ever in the last 10 years. With $5–10 and access to Facebook Business Manager or Google Ads—voilà! You don’t even need an agency, or a big marketing budget. Soon, everyone started doing it. But after few years of being bombarded with irrelevant and poor-quality ads, audiences got sick of it.

digital ads market saturation

It takes more to be a good marketer than just knowing how to set up an ad campaign. Digital marketing is a customer-focused process that depends on constant iteration. It requires keeping up with frequent changes to digital platforms, and following the regulatory policies now in place to protect users from spam.

How to elevate your brand above the noise

The only real way to stand out in the oversaturated world of marketing is to always have your ideal customer in mind. The key is to recognize their needs, to deliver content that speaks to those needs, and to do it in a creative and authentic way. But what does that look like in 2020 and beyond?

There’s no magic formula. However, there’s a lot we can learn from the way things have changed and developed over the last ten years. I’m going to cover five top takeaways for your marketing strategy in 2020 and beyond. Each one is inspired by how consumers and advertising tactics have changed over the past decade.

#1. 24/7 availability

The 2010s trend that got us here: Smartphones became ubiquitous 📱

The first smartphone maybe didn't make a big splash, but the first iPhone released in 2007 certainly did. Since then, the attention of consumers has shifted towards mobile screens, where the world is at our fingertips. You can order your favorite pizza for delivery, book a trip, talk to a friend across the world, check your child’s grades, track your health, and even Tweet to the president—all instantly from your phone, at any time of day or night. This incredible expansion of smartphone technology has opened a ton of new options to marketers. But it also means that customers now expect brands to be available 24/7 too.

How to adapt in 2020 and beyond: Use a chatbot for 24/7 responsiveness

Chatbot technology has brought a lot of beautiful things to businesses in the last few years. For one thing, you can now have someone (or something, in this case) available 24/7, on your website or in an app. A chatbot gives your customers that instant responsiveness they demand—but there are other benefits too. Your support team can now focus on more meaningful tasks instead of handling the same questions again and again, and your HR or sales reps can save time by dealing only with warm, pre-qualified leads.

➡️ Chatbots allow you to rethink the way you’re doing certain things. What information about your brand does your audience need 24/7 access to? What are the most repetitive tasks in your business that you can automate?

✅ There are lots of ways you can use a bot to be more responsive and save time. Start by building a Messenger bot for your FAQs. Prospects can access it on demand, and you won’t have to spend a bunch of time on the same questions every day. You can also consider automating your hiring process by personally talking only to qualified leads. Or, you could guide prospects through the entire buyer's journey with a bot.

#2. Marketing as a two-way dialogue

The 2010s trend that got us here: Social-media growth exploded 💬

During the 2010s, social media changed the way we search and apply for jobs, how we share our opinions and important life events, and even how one can become famous. Facebook and Instagram especially changed the way people shop and consume, and how we market and sell. But for some reason, many marketers forget that social media was made for socializing.

How to adapt in 2020 and beyond: Bring conversation back to commerce

Instead of one-way communication like billboards and magazine ads, social media offers the chance for a two-way dialogue between your business and your audience. It allows for a more personal and engaging experience that will help customers trust and remember your brand.

➡️ To take advantage of conversations at scale to benefit your business, consider a Messenger chatbot.

conversational commerce
Use a Messenger chatbot to initiate two-way conversations at scale with your prospects and customers.

Anyone can build a bot. And as long as you know your audience’s pain points, you can make its content relevant to them. Give your bot a name and make it friendly, but also let users request to speak with a human if they prefer. Remember: If you have a well-written and personalized welcome message, users will be more likely to stay engaged with your bot.

Design your chatbot conversation carefully. Try to think outside the box—because conversation with a bot can be more than just asking and answering FAQs. A bot can collect data using interesting quizzes, and even offer product recommendations. And if you have broad audience across the world—don’t worry! You can make your chatbot multilingual so it can converse with even more users.

#3. Transparency and storytelling

The 2010s trend that got us here: Transparency became a must 👀

In the last decade, accountability and transparency became must-haves for brands. User-generated content like reviews have become powerful social proof, and bad news about a brand now travels lightning-fast. Many consumers have become more interested in supporting businesses that do the right thing (and own up to it when they don’t). As a result, companies that are transparent and authentic in their efforts to treat their employees, their customers, and the environment right are getting more visibility and support.

transparency seth godin

How to adapt in 2020 and beyond: Engage authentically

I can’t stress it enough: This is the most important element of your product(s), your content, and your marketing strategy. Catchy click bait and cheap shortcuts won’t bring you long-term success. People tend to remember things that trigger their emotions. That’s why they remember stories, not ads. They want authentic information and storytelling from your brand rather than artificial sales tactics.

➡️ Do more storytelling, less selling. Don’t tell your audience what you think they want to hear if that means being fake. Be real, focus on the stories, and you’ll attract a community of people who support your brand.

✅ Make sure that you respond to all comments and reviews on your social media posts. And of course, practice what you preach. For example, if you proudly advertise selling vegan-friendly products, don’t test on animals! Consumers will find out and your business will suffer the consequences. Start viewing marketing as a field of education and socialization. Craft every message carefully, educate your audience with every piece of content, and always be honest.

#4. Personalization and relevance

The 2010s trend that got us here: Collecting data became easier 📊

Oh, mighty analytic tools! During the past decade, gathering all kinds of data and using it for targeting became easier. Now you can know almost everything: who visited your website, where they came from, which device and which browser they used, which pages they visited and for how long, if they put anything in their cart, and more. You can gather all this data in one tool, then use others to utilize it to drive more sales. Select a target audience, set a budget and a goal, then sit back and watch the leads come in! Right?

How to adapt in 2020 and beyond: Use data to offer personalized marketing

Not exactly. You’ve got to use this data to improve the customer experience, not just boost your bottom line. If you pass up the opportunity to personalize your marketing for prospects, you’re passing up the chance for higher customer satisfaction (and sales). I wouldn't say that today's customers are spoiled, but they are more aware. They know you have the tools to customize their experience because they’ve seen it from other brands, so they expect you to do your job—properly. They want personalized everything, and they want it now!

➡️ Start using all that data to boost your creativity instead of just to target your ads. If you’re reaching your ideal audience but not tailoring your messaging to them (like if you’re forcing generalized, fluffy content full of manipulative CTAs)—it won’t work anyway. You need to craft your message to be relevant and have value for your potential customers.

✅ Chatbots can offer users more personalized and relevant messaging at scale than was ever possible before. I already mentioned how bots can greet users by name and give custom product recommendations. You can also set your bot to gather user attributes that’ll let you group your reachable users according to certain traits or preferences. (If your bot contains any external links, you may want to use Button Actions for this purpose as well.)

Track stats for user progress through your bot’s flow to see where they drop off, so you can optimize the experience for them. Finally, you can run A/B tests to find out which elements of the flow are most interesting and valuable to users, so you can create more content like that.

#5. The human element

The 2010s trend that got us here: The rise of memes, videos, GIFs, emoji 🥳

Let’s not forget how these four elements took over social media in the last ten years! They each represent a new, engaging way for people and brands to connect and express themselves.

How to adapt in 2020 and beyond: Humanize your brand. The beauty of all these changes in the last decade is that now, customers can see more easily that brands are run by people. They’re no longer looking to buy from faceless corporations. They want to connect with the humans behind the logo. Be open and inviting, give a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes, and show your humanity—mistakes and all.

➡️ Don’t be a copycat. Focus on building relationships with your unique customers, and seeing them as people too—not just more invoices. Don't fake your social proof; earn it.

✅ There are so many ways to humanize your brand and grow your audience. Show who you really are and what your brand stands for, instead of just telling your audience what you think they want to hear. Add a little humor if that’s right for your particular business and voice. Share memes, GIFS, and emoji in your chatbot. Your audience already gets them from friends and family; getting them from your brand will help create that same casual, familiar atmosphere. Remember that you’re a human marketing to other humans and your audience knows that—so don’t be afraid to show it. Consumers appreciate and even expect that authenticity now from brands they choose to support.

Learn from the past, look to the future

It all comes down to doing good, listening well, communicating honestly, and focusing on your customers. They have the power to sink or save your business, so every marketing decision you make in the next ten years should revolve around their needs. That’s how to build a community of loyal customers who will support your brand indefinitely and bring you long-term success.

Our mission is to make it easier for you to manage and grow your business. If you’re ready to automate tasks and increase sales and satisfaction—all while being transparent and showing your human side—sign up with Chatfuel for free today. There’s no coding knowledge or previous experience required to build a chatbot—we promise! And when you're ready, you can upgrade to Pro for unlimited users and priority support.