While some say we’ve mastered the art of messaging, businesses still feel left out of the messaging world.
That’s it. We’re done. It seems like everyone in the world has a smartphone. Every smartphone in the world has at least one messaging app installed. Probably more. Check your phone right now. You might be surprised to find you have three or more messaging apps that you currently use to chat with friends and colleagues.
The global messaging market is saturated. We have messengers to chat to friends and family, messengers to chat with fellow gamers and messengers to help you hook up. We send text and images, audio message and video messages. We send group messages, encrypted messages and messages that self-destruct.
In short, we humans have mastered the art of messaging. As Alexander the Great noted, “there are no worlds left to conquer.” And yet, there is so much value that messaging has yet to deliver. Every consumer is able to message every other consumer, but, for the most part, businesses still seem to be locked out of the messaging world with no clear idea how to deliver relevant messages to relevant consumers without upsetting everyone.
So Why It is Time For Brands and Consumers To Get Specific?
In the early days of push messaging there was an idea that retail businesses could use geo-location data to push offers to potential customers walking past a store front. The theory that anyone who happened to be walking past the pet store might also be in the market for some discounted cat food was short lived. Geo-targeted push locations were less useful than well-timed local radio ads. The issue, of course, was that other than being able to target users based on their geographic location there was a complete lack of specificity.
The next generation of messaging apps will deliver that specificity. They will bridge the gap between brands and consumers by encouraging consumers to get specific. Chatmaker from Matech is a perfect example of a messaging app that understands specificity and understands the value of messaging beyond your contacts (full disclosure: Chatmaker is a Blonde 2.0 client).
Mobile messaging is perhaps the most intimate of all media. Your pocket vibrates when someone is trying to tell you something. Your desk gives a little hum to let you know there’s a useful bit of information that’s just arrived and it’s just for you. If consumers want access to this intimate medium, then they need specificity. They need the kind of specificity that only a consumer can provide.
Chatmaker solves the issue of specificity through Tags. Tagging allows every consumer to volunteer information about who they are, what they like and what they are willing to talk about. Tags define who we are to the world. We all curate our own tags to show the world exactly what we stand for. Chatmaker has even included an additional level where users can add a motto to their tag to further expand the effectiveness of the tag. Expanding your Tag means greater precision. Greater precision provides contextual specificity.
The advantage for the user of an app like Chatmaker is clear. Chatmaker — like Twitter, like Snapchat, like Instagram — understands that communication is performative. But unlike those earlier iterations, Chatmaker isn’t merely a broadcast medium. Chatmaker understands that while performative, the best chat also delivers authenticity. Chatmaker users perform the best, most authentic version of themselves because they are reaching beyond their contacts to find people who share their interests, hobbies and passions to make new friends in the real world.
Brands require a new kind of messenger. They need a messenger that connects them to consumers without abusing the trust of the consumer. Nobody wants a messenger that spies on the contents of its users’ messages and provides that information under the table to greedy brands. And brands, if you’re getting your data under the table, sooner or later consumers will find out and abandon you. Brands need data that is freely offered. They need data that is part of a user’s self-definition, part of the user’s declaration to the world.
So there is one more world left to conquer and it’s a world where brands and consumers co-habit in a messaging environment that leverages consumer self-identity and the desire to be discovered and befriended with targeted and relevant branding and advertising that delivers real value to the consumers making time to read it.
The next generation of messaging apps, like Chatmaker, will provide APIs to brands to help them integrate their messages and target consumers who have already agreed to be targeted. Contrary to popular myth, the modern consumer isn’t turned off by ads. She or he is turned off by irrelevant ads. The messenger that manages to make every message a relevant message will be a boon for both brands and consumers alike.Ayelet Noff is a partner in Socialmedia.biz and founder and Co-CEO of Blonde 2.0, an award winning digital PR agency with branches in Boston and Tel Aviv. Contact Ayelet via The Blonde 2.0 website , email, or follow her on Twitter and Google Plus.