Is your marketing team ready for artificial clients?

Digital assistants will negotiate on your behalf

Did you ever work with an assistant?

Somebody who takes care of a job you have to get done? Organizing the company Christmas party, plan a trip to San Francisco, Refurbish the conference rooms? What happens is, that you lose contact to the companies doing the actual work. Your opinion on those companies is based on what feedback (if any) you get from your assistant. You often don’t even decide which vendor to choose – your assistant does. At least the preselection part of it. Your assistant creates a walled garden around you and takes over communication, negotiation and decision making.
You have a much more trustful relationship with your assistant than with the vendor.

Key Takeaways

– Companies replace employees with artificial agents – often in form of chatbots or speechbots
– Clients will trust their own artificial agents to communicate with company agents
– Companies lose direct communication with clients
– Marketing might have to become client agent centered
– There is a huge business potential both in establishing the agent marketplace

  and / or the trusted AI agents for clients

Well, not all of us have assistants, but we are all facing digital assistants of companies to deal with us and our wants. Chatbots, which efficiently guide us through any problem we might have with a company’s service or questions we have about their offerings.

Here is the good news: In the future, not only those companies will have digital assistant – us as well. And that future is quite near: Tim Baarslag, a computer scientist at Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica in Amsterdam has some examples: „There are simple bots on eBay, for example “sniping agents” that bid at the last possible second. And there’s software that bids for ad placement online. Then there are negotiation support systems, software that assists humans by suggesting win-win outcomes. In a job negotiation, the system might suggest: “From the proposals received so far, it can be deduced that the salary level is very important for your boss, while you have previously indicated you value family life most of all. Perhaps asking instead for a work day at home could be in your mutual interest.”
(full interview with him can be read here)

Both assistants will be digital agents, with whom we might chat or talk. Between themselves they will talk code. Let’s call them bots. The company bot will have a new sort of client, the bot of the client and he will stand in competition with many other vendor bots. Vendor bots will have to offer unique propositions to win the favor of our client bot. Client bots will be wooed by vendor bots and that will happen most likely at new kinds of trading platforms, which will regulate and match supply and demand of any kind of services or products. (goodbye comparison sites!)

There are many ways Vendor bots could create USPs to convince a client bot. It could offer smarter or more sophisticated services, run the better negotiation engine, offer more or better APIs.

And the vendor bot could take specific actions to increase the trust and loyalty of the client bot, which might sound a bit strange. But why not? The German sociologist Nikals Luhman defined trust as „confidence in one’s expectations“. The goal of Predictive Analytics is exactly the same.

A complete new set of cards – and Marketing will play a major role in the game. Today vendor bots are seen as additional communication and service touchpoints to reduce customer care costs and increase sales. In future, a lot of marketing budget will be used to market those vendor bots themselves to artificial clients – the client bots. The battle on who provides these client bots started a while ago with Alexa, Siri and friends.

In the long-run, trustworthiness will eat convenience when we decide which one to choose.

Bot centred Design and Marketing will adopt existing processes. Bot personas, bot segments, bot moments of truth along bot journeys – of course all applied to the digital world. I can’t wait to experience this new world of marketing and run my first iterative Co-Creation workshop with bots!