Into the Pool #9: The Big Deal Today About Chatbots

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This month’s penthouse ruckus has been started by Jeanniey Mullen who suggests that Ian Truscott throw “The big deal today about chatbots” into the Rockstar CMO Swimming pool. Something he seems only too eager to do. Think they are wrong? Get in touch.


Author of three books, launcher of five companies and the Internet Marketing Association’s Networker of the Year. Jeanniey Mullen knows a thing or two about being a rockstar marketer.

In our Backstage interview Jeanniey shared with us what makes her tick – and she ticks fast – asking us to add “anything I can run to on the treadmill at 5am, so over 160BPM please” to our playlist.

And when it comes to chatbots, this urgency to move fast shines through. It’s not chatbots she wants in the pool, it’s the fact we as an industry are still talking about them as if they are the next best thing.

Chatbots. Seriously, why is this a big deal now? We’ve been using chatbots for over 15 years. People! Catch up, we should have all been using these already. Let’s put some IoT-enabled wearables inside our Cobots and get this marketing party started. Just think of the data we can collect, evaluate, monetize and then create new products that delight clients and customers.
— Jeanniey Mullen

Yes, chatbots are already here, enough with the hype. According to research firm Gartner’s near-term predictions:

24% of customer service and support operations will integrate virtual customer assistant (VCA) or chatbot technology across engagement channels by 2020, up from less than two per cent in 2017.
— Gartner Inc.

And if venerable old Gartner considers chatbots mainstream, then the party is over. If we apply this mood to the Gartner hype cycle model, chatbots in their current form, must be either clunking their way up to “peak of inflated expectations” like a tired seaside rollercoaster, or all the kids are screaming as they rapidly descend into the “trough of disillusionment”.

This is supported by Forrester Research. In a recent blog post they share their findings, looking towards a 2019 backlash against this technology. Although they don’t share Jeanniey’s vision of Cobots for all, they believe that:

Customers will lead a community-based revolt against corporate chatbots. Human resistance against ineffective chatbots is on the way, and a groundswell of jaded customers will crowdsource tips for end runs around chatty chatbots.
— Forrester Research

So, while the established firms may not agree with Jeanniey on what’s next, and how we’re going to get “this marketing party started” – perhaps the swathe of poorly implemented chatbots will set back dreams of Cobot adoption – it’s clear the bubble is bursting on the big deal about chatbots.

They really shouldn’t be a big deal today. We as an industry should be ahead of this, and for this reason: The Big Deal Today about Chatbots has just made a huge splash and the pool guy has a job for the morning.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below, tweet us or get in touch.


Our rockstars were in conversation with Ian Truscott, Editor-in-Chief of Rockstar CMO and Executive Strategy Director for B2B agency appropingo.

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Creating and nurturing our fans, that’s what marketing’s all about. But what does this mean in today’s increasingly faceless, big data landscape? Our Rockstar CMO voices take to the stage to explore the question of connection and more in this December issue. Read More

Ian Truscott

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