Chatbots have exploded onto the scene over the past few years. Whether you’re being updated about an order, giving feedback, or making a donation – they have many purposes. There is even a magazine dedicated to talking about all things chatbot. While some people say this is just a fad – a few things tell us otherwise. This technology is being used worldwide. In fact, Facebook makes lots of money from these bot services. There has been some speculation that as Facebook runs out of advertising real estate there may be a move to advertising via Messenger. With over 1.3 billion people on Messanger, I feel like it’s only a matter of time before chatbot conversations start to take hold in this space. Chatbots also will save some companies money – “Messenger is going to save us time, and anything that saves people time is going to have a strong chance of winning.”
So yes, there is a large opportunity for content distribution through chatbots. But I would argue, that for time being, it’s more fun than functional. Chatbots are not yet intelligent enough to serve as a replacement for customer service. Companies who move in this direction as a replacement for customer service by an individual will see huge drawbacks. It’s basically a digital version of an automated phone call – and we all know how much we love those. While it can be helpful for very simple tasks – when it comes to customer service there is just nothing better than a person.
But chatbots can also be fun. There can be many applications to interact with a character to get something entertaining and surprising – this takes a lot less artificial intelligence and a lot more creativity. We have been planning to use a chat box for our Day of Giving – one day dedicated to raising money for the university. The idea – on this one day a year, you can chat with Temple’s beloved founder Russel Conwell. While he passed away many years ago he comes back to life during this one day to talk with you – Oh! and did I mention he tells jokes?
It’s a great way to engage with our younger audience, who is the most disconnected from our current content distribution channels. The verdict is still out on the obstacles ahead – firstly, will it be approved that we will get to represent Russel for a day – and if so, how likely is it that we can make him funny? Additionally – will it work? Will we be successful in branding our giving day and engaging with a new group of youngsters that previously have been untouchable? Only time will tell.
Content Marketing Institute: Developing a Content Strategy
Slideshare: Mary Meeker’s 2017 Internet Trends