Live Chat and Offline Ads Partner Up

Allison Howen
by Allison Howen 20 May, 2015

Customer engagement solutions provider TouchCommerce has unveiled a new solution that aims to help advertisers transform a brand's media message into an interactive conversation with consumers.

The solution, dubbed TouchMedia, provides brands with a way to integrate live chat and personalized self-service options into their advertising initiatives. TouchMedia leverages SMS, QR codes and audio identification mobile apps to enable shoppers to instantly interact with brands on any media property outside of the brand's controlled environment. For example, brands could leverage TouchMedia to include an SMS call-to-action (CTA) on a television ad they are running (see image below). On the ad, the brand could feature a new product and include a "text this number for more information" CTA, which leads to a live chat conversation on the consumer's mobile device.

Initially TouchMedia will focus on increasing engagement and conversions for brands through traditional advertising platforms like television, radio, print publications, billboards and classified ads, but the company is expected to address the online advertising segment at a later date.

"TouchMedia is not only an integral component of our omni-channel strategy, but also aligns with our vision to move direct engagement capabilities upstream in the customer journey," said Bernard Louvat, president and CEO of TouchCommerce. "With TouchMedia, we enable consumers who want to learn more about an advertised product or service to start a personalized conversation with a brand on their smartphone. Every offline ad can now have a powerful call to action and cost-effective way to immerse offline ad viewers into a personalized and self-service digital experience."

It is important to note that TouchMedia will also help solve attribution and return on investment (ROI) challenges that are common in traditional advertising. This is because TouchMedia enables companies to link offline advertising campaigns to a digital experience. In addition to SMS campaigns, brands can use TouchMedia to add QR codes on ads that direct consumers to either a live chat session or other personalized engagement-enabled Web page. In addition, TouchMedia works with audio identification apps (e.g. Shazam), also redirecting consumers to a live chat session or personalized engagement-enabled Web page.

On the back-end, TouchCommerce's RightTouch platform uses product information, prior browser behavior (when available) and the company's Web-based customers interface to present personalized content. If routed to a live chat expert, this information is sent to the agent at the start of the chat session. Plus, chat agents can provide consumers with rich content like videos, coupons, guides and surveys.

"Brands constantly seek new ways to prove and increase advertising budget ROI while gaining more precise attribution insights that show direct value from advertising efforts," said Jerry Rackley, chief analyst at global marketing research and advisory firm, Demand Metric. "Today's environment is omni-channel, and there is a pressing need to introduce more cross-device solutions and strategies alongside the customer journey.  Solution providers with proven mechanisms for customer engagement and conversion, along with the expertise and ambition to build a network of evangelists within the advertising and CRM agency ecosystem, have a tremendous opportunity to dominate this market."