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PropTech Innovation

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Why did you want to enter The Revo’s? 

I believed the Revo’s would highlight our content management platform, CentreChat, and a swiftly evolving sector in digital marketing known as chat or conversational marketing, in which we are experts. Since Revo is a prominent networking organisation for the UK Retail Property sector, it was logical to join in 2022 and to enter our submission under the PropTech category. Being shortlisted was an unexpected surprise.

What makes your entry standout?

Our submission is notable because it represents an opportunity that is conspicuously present. It leverages the existing Facebook Page or Instagram of any Shopping Centre as a starting point to engage in personalised conversations with shoppers on a large scale. Moreover, it doesn’t require shoppers to download any additional app. It interacts with shoppers in applications they have not only already installed but also use several times daily, such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram. By integrating additional triggers into current social media posts – prompting followers to respond to a post or story with a comment, click a link, scan a QR code, or simply send a direct message – shoppers are smoothly directed into an automated conversation in the relevant app. That’s where the magic occurs. When shoppers initiate an interaction with a chat channel, it opens a 24-hour window for automated conversation with them. The possibilities are limited only by imagination but could include a giveaway, survey, treasure hunt, etc.

CentreChat provides marketing agencies and centre management with a handy tool for managing content such as events, shops, services, featured products, and promotions in the centre. It even features an advertising engine using conversational adverts introduced at set times, and a loyalty engine. Supporting this content are robust Natural Language Processing and Generative Text platforms, namely DialogFlow and ChatGPT, ready to assist users in getting the information they need around the clock. Building an accurate, segmented, permission-based marketing list using chat marketing is simplified as Facebook often already has the shopper’s email and phone number, reducing data capture errors. Such a list is valuable and of a capital nature and should be reflected on the balance sheet of the centre as goodwill under current assets. Lastly, chat marketing is disruptive. Where emails struggle to reach an inbox and then to be read, messages sent to chat applications have delivery and read rates approaching 95%.

How do you envision the future of your industry, and how do you hope to contribute to it?

Meta has only recently opened its APIs to the public which would perhaps explain the relatively low adoption rate of adding messaging automations to chat channels. DialogFlow was a good antidote to annoying chatbots that couldn’t understand what the user wanted. But it could only use replies programed into it offering a high degree of control.

ChatGPT generates its own replies with a low degree of user control. Which is where training ChatGPT on your own data has become essential. Just last week, ChatGPT announced that it will be opening an App Store and already people are creating GPT’s for a multitude of use cases.

In so far as chat marketing goes, Meta has offered a massive opportunity to use its chat channels and to extract user data (with user permissions) for no cost. Sending 300000 messages to your Messenger or Instagram subscribers today costs nothing. And 95% of them will be read. WhatsApp on the other hand, charges 5 pence each.

I have started work on my own Conversation Marketing coaching program which will be ready by the end of the year. On completion, the students will know everything they need to on Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp and Telegram chat marketing but also how to train DialogFlow and ChatGPT on their own data. There will also be a private support group to support those who have completed the course.

Locally, the Kedge Business School in Bordeaux https://student.kedge.edu/ has asked me to offer a course in chat marketing for their master students in the 2024 class.

What one word best summarises your entry?