It makes sense that messaging apps are the new wave in marketing strategies.
They bridge the gap between brands and users, offer more privacy than highly public social media platforms, and they target the most coveted consumers of our age: Millennials and Generation Z.
But it’s hard to understand all of that without looking at concrete examples of actual businesses using this intimate method of communication in their marketing.
In this post, we’ll dive into five businesses using messenger apps in their marketing strategies and what you can learn from each brand.
More and more businesses are leveraging their marketing strategies by using messaging apps. It’s for several cogent reasons.
To start, people are glued to their phones.
Millions and millions use Facebook Messenger and other messengers.
And they want quick contact with companies online.
Welcome to the era of conversational marketing! Are you ready to learn the secrets of the top 5 businesses using messenger apps in their marketing strategies?
1. Immerse Users In Brand Storytelling Like Clarks
The Clarks Desert Boot is one of the most iconic shoe designs of the past century. But most people who wear it don’t know the dynamic history behind this sophisticated aesthetic.
That’s why shoe brand Clarks chose Whatsapp to tell the captivating journey behind the Desert Boot design, which spans over three distinct cultural movements. It was a sensible choice to make; at the time of the release of the Desert Boot advertising campaign, Whatsapp had over 600 million active users.
[Source: Mobile Commerce Daily]
Users were invited to directly interact with the historian Steve Barrows, reggae legend Major Stitch and photographer Bruno Barbey. Through interaction with these famous men, users learned the role the Desert Boot played in the Parisian angst of the ’60s, the fashion mania of the sexy Mods, and the Reggae generation of Jamaica.
Takeaway: Clarks made the Desert Boot’s 65-year-old history much more fascinating by offering a character-focused experience that tapped into the millennial consumer approach. By giving your users an interactive experience with your brand through images, videos, playlists and more, you can narrate the journey of your product much more effectively.
2. Gain Consumer Insight Like Sephora
Sephora became the very first beauty retailer to use a messaging app for its consumers by introducing a chatbot on Kik.
The Kik chatbot offers makeup tips, product recommendations, item reviews, video tutorials, and allows consumers to make purchases directly from the app. For Sephora, Kik was the right place to be considering its millennial-heavy platform with 300 million registered users of which 70% is between age 13 and 25.
The bot also asks, “Do you want to take a short quiz so we can get to know you?” It’s the perfect question to ask a generation of consumers raised on a heavy diet of Buzzfeed questionnaires. You’re asked for your age, favorite brands and what your top go-to makeup item is. The responses allow Sephora to derive user-specific insight and deliver a more enhanced experience of their brand.
Takeaway: By mimicking an in-store interaction with a friendly sales associate (and her emojis), the bot cultivates consumer insight and delivers a more personal experience for users. You can see why this kind of authenticity in communication encourages users to become paying customers, which is win-win for Sephora.
3. Offer Real-Time Customer Support Like Hyatt
Tweeting for customer service is the virtual equivalent of begging for help at the reception desk. No one enjoys it. It’s why Hyatt decided to personalize its customer service presence by using Facebook Messenger.
With one billion users (an active base that makes up 11% of the world’s population), Facebook Messenger serves as the prime messaging app for Hyatt’s operations that are spread across the globe. By using the Facebook Messenger integration, users can make reservations, ask for room service and check vacancies right from the app.
Users can have real-time conversations with Hyatt by simply searching for “Hyatt” in the messenger’s search bar. This kind of instantaneous communication gives customers the comforting impression that they are heard—like they would be in any Hyatt lobby around the world.
Takeaway: Instead of being whisked off from one platform to another, customers can direct their questions, be effectively heard, and maintain their privacy in a single place. The move to use Facebook Messenger was not only smart on the marketing frontier; it added much-needed accountability and seamless navigation to Hyatt’s customer service channel.
4. Promote Your Product In Real-Time Like Taco Bell
Sometimes a lone image on Instagram fails to tell a story just like 140 characters on Twitter won’t always do the job. Taco Bell was aware of these technical limitations and launched their Spicy Chicken Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos (whew) through Snapchat instead.
Snapchat was the optimum destination for Taco Bell given the fact that millennials account for 45% of its users. Taco Bell timed its snaps with the MTV Movie Awards and sent them throughout the day, creating a six-minute long film for users to view. The MTV Movie Awards served as a dazzling backdrop for the film, allowing users to view fun moments directly from the red carpet.
The product launch follows a film script on Snapchat where an overworked employee is demanded to find out what the new Doritos Locos Taco will be and bring it to his boss. There’s romance, drama, comedy, and a cliffhanger.
Takeaway: Taco Bell used an exciting visual narrative to launch its product. By combining an engrossing plot and their new product in real-time, Snapchat had the recipe for effective product promotion. Esquire, Advertising Age, and The Huffington Post covered the integration plus Taco Bell got 74 million PR impressions. To top it off, its Snapchat follower base took a gigantic leap from 49,000 to 120,735.
5. Improve Brand Perception Like The Washington Post
You wouldn’t expect a news publication to be among brands incorporating chatbots into their marketing strategies, but The Washington Post went ahead and developed its own news bot for readers to interact with.
The WaPo bot does well on Facebook Messenger, which reaches 87 million monthly users among adult Americans. Users can send open-ended commands like, “What’s the latest on the presidential debate?” The purpose of the bot is to provide information to readers the way a typical Washington Post article does.
The bot offers five news items and an option to go beyond the headlines. For American users, it allows them to share their zip code to get election results based on their geographic location through Associated Press polling data. For journalists and subscribers alike, it’s the quickest way to retrieve information on a plethora of issues.
Takeaway: A messenger app integration like Facebook allows The Washington Post to sharpen its brand perception among readers. By experimenting with an automated bot to generate news headlines and stories, the WaPo bot customizes news experience for users but, most importantly, it cements its credibility in the eyes of a modern readership.
Messaging Apps: The New Frontier In Marketing
As time goes on, more and more brands are becoming aware of how powerful messaging apps can be in their marketing strategies.
But before you jump into the world of pleasant-sounding bots, make sure you know why users like messaging apps in the first place.
It’s because they’re intimate and immediate. People like personal messages but they can also easily spot forced and contrived language. By making sure your tone is natural, your interaction is personal without being pushy, and the message is clear, you’ll know how to use a messaging app to the robust advantage of your own marketing strategy.