Chris Messina Discusses Conversational Commerce, Voice and the Erosion of Brands

Today’s guest on The Chat Bubble is Chris Messina. He’s pretty internet famous. Most notably, he popularized the hashtag– like the original hashtag for Tech and for Twitter, that hashtag– and more recently he coined the phrase Conversational Commerce, which has been a label for different strategies as messaging apps and automated messaging campaigns become more common. Here’s the original post on conversational commerce.

Listening to him, it’s clear that Chris spends a lot of time thinking about technology and the strategies behind a lot of the companies in the emerging sectors in the space. This is another one of those episodes that I’ve listened to twice in order to understand everything. We’ve actually also published a few show notes and links below.

If you’re just finding this podcast please subscribe. We talk about messaging channels, SMS and all of the Automation and messaging campaigns happening. You can find us on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts just search for the chat bubble and subscribe.

And the last piece of housekeeping we’ve published a playbook for Facebook Messenger. This outlines the top four marketing use cases for Facebook messenger and shows any digital marketer how to launch Messaging campaigns that focus on their existing KPIs. The only way to get the Playbook is to message into our Facebook page > click here to message in and get access to the Playbook.

Chris used a term that google doesn’t seem to show results for – Ultimate Reality Plasticity. It’s best defined in the show, but the general meaning is > We are talking to services that aren’t human, like Alexa, and then some human relationship are becoming more digital. An example is a kid that talks to grandparents over Facetime. So the delta between human relationships and technology relationships is getting smaller. It might get confusing whether a person is talking to another service or another human.

Chris mentions Scott Galloway and some of his ideas in The Four.

Scott’s also really good on the James Altucher Podcast.

Chris mentions as a service that surfaces interesting articles and uses messaging as a channel.

Follow Chris on Twitter – @chrismessina.

Hope you guys enjoy the show.

Messaging Playbook, Step 2 Test

We are back working through the Playbook. This week we talk about measuring results from conversations, the best ways to compare conversations to landing pages, and the long term benefits of conversations and the data that they generate. 

If you haven’t downloaded the playbook, click here to open Messenger. We’ll start a conversation to collect your information and get the Playbook to you.

Messaging Playbook, Step 1 Convert

This podcast talks through Step 1 of the Playbook – Convert. It’s a review of what’s written in the Playbook with updates (yes, things are moving really fast) as well as additional commentary. Even if you’ve read the Playbook, this podcast has more information.

Please subscribe to The Chat Bubble on itunes, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

We published a Playbook for Messaging. It highlights the top marketing use cases for Messenger. The Playbook lays everything out in a step by step guide so that any marketer can launch Messenger campaigns and focus on their existing KPIs. 

The best way to get the Playbook is to message in to The Chat Bubble Facebook Page. Just click here to go to our Messenger Page and then click the Get Started button.

Part 2: Hillary for America, SMS Campaign Manager Lloyd Cotler

We’re back with Part 2. Be sure to listen to the first half before listening to the second. 

If you’re not already, please subscribe to The Chat Bubble Podcast on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts. 

I’ve launched a Playbook for Messaging. It highlights the top 4 marketing use cases for Facebook Messenger, and lays everything out in a step by step guide so that marketers can launch messaging campaigns and stay focused on their existing KPIs. You can get the guide by messaging in to our facebook Page.

Lloyd Cotler, SMS Campaign Manager for Hillary For America

I’ve been in to a lot of the guests that have come on The Chat Bubble podcast, but I think this episode is the best story we’ve heard so far. On today’s show we are speaking with Lloyd Cotler. He was the SMS Campaign Manager for the Hillary Clinton campaign, sometimes referred to as HFA. As we’ll discuss in the episode, the Hillary campaign did things that no other mobile campaign had ever done. They did it at a scale that most mobile campaigns never reach and they did all of this on a timeline that’s almost impossible.

The campaign had some amazing talent. Specifically Lloyd with his understanding of how to launch, grow and execute on messaging initiatives. The other thing that the HFA messaging campaign had was buy-in at the highest levels. We talk about how that worked and the type of results that the campaign saw which caused them to double down on mobile messaging efforts.

Also, the campaign had a really good platform called Mobile Commons. I want to mention that company. Full disclosure, I used to work there and I own some stock. Not sure if I have to mention that, but everyone seems to do that on podcasts.

Anyway, there is so much in this conversation I’ve listened to it multiple times. I was obviously at the recording, I listened to it during the edit, and this is the first episode that I listened to a third time. Some of Lloyd’s casual remarks are absolutely golden and approaches that I had never thought about.

Finally, we are breaking this up into 2 parts. So if you’re not already subscribed, do that now on itunes or wherever you listen to podcasts.

And a little promotion before we start. I’ve launched a Playbook for Messaging. It highlights the top 4 marketing use cases for Facebook Messenger, and lays everything out in a step by step guide so that marketers can launch messaging campaigns and stay focused on their existing KPIs. You can get the guide by clicking here and messaging in to our facebook Page.

The Playbook Overview: The 4 top marketing use cases for Facebook Messenger

We’re releasing a Playbook for Messaging. The focus is making messaging a marketing channel. It highlights the top 4 marketing use cases for Facebook Messenger and lays everything out in a step by step guide. 

The hope is to share an approach that digital marketers haven’t heard before. Instead of leaving Messenger to the customer service bots or operations teams, the marketing department is actually in the best position to capitalize on messaging immediately. 

The best way to get the playbook is to message in to The Chat Bubble – click here, and then the Get Started button. 

Sandi Fox, Founder of Smart as a Fox shares the organization’s perspective on SMS

On today’s show we have Sandi Fox. She is the founder and principle at Smart as a Fox, which is a Digital Strategy agency.

Recently on the show, I’ve been talking to people that really know the messaging space, but they’ve all been vendors. On this episode we have someone that really knows about messaging, but she’s coming from the client side and the consultant angle. Sandi worked for a non-profit where she took control over the text messaging campaigns and oversaw tremendous growth and success. After that, in the last 6 months or so, Sandi has launched Smart as a Fox, which is an agency that helps organizations with mobile campaigns and of course can help with all kinds of digital and communications needs.

So we talk about all of the SMS stuff that we’ve been discussing recently, but from the organizations perspective rather than the vendors. It’s going to be a really good compliment to the last 5 or 6 episodes.

Alright, a little housekeeping before we start the conversation. To all the new listeners, Welcome. There has been a spike over the last few weeks. People have also been messaging in to the Facebook Page. It’s really interesting to hear what everyone is up to so thanks for connecting. I’ve checked out a few demos and had some excellent conversations about messaging. If you have thoughts, feedback, questions for me or questions that you’d like me to ask guests, message in. The way to do this is send me a message on Facebook.

Click here to open The Chat Bubble Messenger Page

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Max Kamin-Cross from Hustle discusses Peer to Peer SMS

On today’s show we have Max Kamin-Cross from Hustle. Officially, his title is Director of Product Partnerships, but he was the first DC employee at Hustle, and has been a big part of building everything they’re doing in Washington DC.

If you haven’t heard of Hustle, they’re a pretty big deal. They are definitely a darling of the messaging space, and have done particularly well with Peer to Peer SMS campaigns for non profit and political campaigns. They are one of the few companies that are venture backed and also doing a lot of business with campaigns and non-profits.

We talk at length about how P2P SMS works, the type of results that an organization can expect, and where the space is heading.

To check out hustle, visit their website – it’s simply

As always, message us on Facebook with questions, comments or feedback.

Derek Johnson, CEO of Tatango discusses a decade of SMS campaigns

This episode shares some great information about text messaging campaigns. Derek Johnson, Founder and CEO of Tatango is the guest.

We’ll let Derek tell us more about Tatango, but it’s safe to say that his company Tatango is one of the best known text messaging companies out there today. And a big reason why Tatango is well known is Derek’s blogging and conent marketing. He’s an absolute thought leader in the space and he’s very respected by people in the industry.

I can’t say enough about the content that Derek is putting out there. Right now he’s focused on video, so be sure to check out their Youtube channel. Just go to youtube and search for Tatango.

If you prefer to read, go to the Tatango blog. It’s possible they’ve written about every single topic in text messaging.

Facebook Messenger vs. SMS – FBM’s 3 biggest advantages

I’ve been sick, busy with work and expecting a baby. So I missed the podcast last week and this one is short. Actually have some very interesting guests coming up, so stay tuned. Today I’m doing a short overview of the top advantages that Facebook Messenger has over SMS. These are the simple simple basics.

For the last few episodes we’ve been talking through SMS- how it works, FAQs etc. We’re going to make a shift in the solo series and talk about Facebook Messenger. We already discussed a little bit about how messaging apps came into being. I just thought of a new analogy that is applicable.

If you’re old enough, you remember AOL in the late 90s. It basically was the internet or at least indistinguishable from the idea of the internet. At some point the walled garden broke down, people figured out how to use URLs and we all realized wow, there’s a whole lot more here than just aol. Messaging is sort of the same. SMS was all there was for a while – like a decade. Now we’re seeing this shift where there is an entirely new space called messaging and SMS is simply a part of that — but it’s a big big world of messaging.

OK so Facebook messenger. There are downsides and we’ll get into them, but let’s talk about 3 positives first.

Number 1: It’s Free. Yes, you heard that right. Sending a message over Facebook Messenger does not have a cost. You might need a platform to send the message or a developer to build some technology or you need to hire someone to respond manually within Facebook, but… Facebook does not charge for messages the way that carriers do via SMS.

Cost can play a big deal for organizations that are scaled up. Having a million people on an email list is not rare. The fact that sending an email is virtually free has lead to its ubiquity as a marketing channel. 1 Million person SMS lists are rarer, but it can be expensive. If you’re paying 1 penny per text sending 1 million messages to that list will cost at least $10k. It’s just a factor that comes into play.

Number 2: Facebook Messenger is worldwide. We talked about SMS having this amazing ubiquity because it’s installed on every single phone. That’s great, but the market is fragmented. The suppliers of SMS are different in every country. Costs are different and more importantly the setup is different and needs to happen in every country where SMS campaigns are launching.

If you’re a brand that wants to message people in US, Canada, Mexico and the UK. That means 4 different SMS setups, 4 different cost structures and potentially more than 1 aggregator (remember them). If you launch on FB Messengers, it’s one launch and of course 1 cost structure, free, and the build is to a single API.

Combining worldwide and free is a multiplier. One perfect example of these two benefits is messaging for podcasts – go figure. I launched SMS campaigns with podcasts and it went great. The only two problems were – if enough people messaged in to the podcast to actually make a difference, it became too expensive. We could see tens of thousands of people messaging in over the course of a month or so. It’s great response, but podcasts don’t have huge budgets and it’s tough to experiment when the costs are rising a little bit with each message. Also, a penny per text is low…. At high volumes. Almost all campaigns doing thousands of messages, not millions are paying more per text.

Also, podcasts can be worldwide. When a podcast tells listeners to text in, it’s great but the call to action will only work for one country. Doing multiple calls to action isn’t realistic.

So FBM being free and worldwide takes care of these issues and aligns really nicely for podcasts.

Number 3: This is the biggest advantage. Facebook Messenger is connected to Facebook!!

This is probably a 10 hour conversation, but high-level, this connection is a multiplier. Anything that an organization might want to do via messaging can be multiplied by Facebook. One example is a the Facebook Share action. So if my company wants people to take a survey for some type of incentive, at the end of the survey I can ask the person to share on FB and the social aspect means that some of their friends might see it and then click and take the survey.

This isn’t a groundbreaking process – it’s what socials all about. But the multiplying idea comes into play if we can make it easier to share via Messenger (than through the web) then Messenger is multiplying all of the social aspects.

It also works the other way. The first example is Facebook amplifying what the brand does via messaging. The opposite way is that Messenger amplifies what the brand is doing on social. The idea here is that the brand is buying Facebook Ads, can we increase the conversion rates, and value we are getting from the ad by sending the clicker into Messenger rather than a landing page.

This is where I get really excited. With SMS it was always tricky. People wanted to use the channel, but in order to get started they needed marketing to make a TV commercial to drive opt ins. With FB Messenger, marketing can actually get excited about messaging – hey, this will increase ad conversions AND build the messaging channel at the same time.  

This is a big deal and it’s just getting started. We’ll be talking a lot more about all of this soon. So if you haven’t subscribed yet, please do so at itunes or wherever you get your podcasts. You can search for us – just type in The Chat Bubble.

Of course if you have questions or feedback, message us on Facebook – eh – we are The Chat Bubble there as well.

We’ll be back soon with more, thanks for listening.