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Festival marketers agree: Chatbots aren’t for them

A panel of festival marketers have admitted they don’t think chatbots are for them, claiming their customers prefer a more personalised form of interaction.

“I’m not a big fan of chatbots,” Matt Langler, group marketing director, Secret Sounds told the audience at Mumbrella’s Entertainment Marketing Summit. “I think the technology will get there and I’ve definitely seen some examples of it getting better.

“But when you pick apart the way that they work, you still – in my mind anyway – need to sit there and write the responses that you would expect your brand to give the person who was asking the question.

“That automation around ‘this question’, ‘this response’, ‘this answer’ leaves me a little cold.”

Meagan Scott, festivals marketing and sponsorship manager at St Kilda Festival, agreed that the technology isn’t quite right as it stands, citing the lack of personalised communication as the issue.

“I have to agree,” she said. “It’s just not right for us. We do find our audience love that personalised communication they have with our team. Even if we are under-resourced and even if it does take a couple of days to get back to them, having that personalised approach is so important.”

Scott explained that getting the balance between traditional marketing and the tech side of things was an important thing to get right.

“There’s a balance between traditional [marketing] and technology in our campaigns,” she said. “There’s no way we can take on all the technology that’s out there, so it’s just choosing what’s right for you.”

L-R: Mumbrella deputy editor Josie Tutty, Secret Sounds’ Matt Langler, RASV’s Paul Guerra, St Jerome’s Laneway Festival’s Chris Zajko and St Kilda Festival’s Meagan Scott

For Secret Sounds’ Langler, having a personal connection with his audience via the customer service team is important, even if it does mean answering a lot of repetitive questions.

“We have a customer service team on our festivals that deal with every questions that we get submitted via our social channels and our email,” he said.

“We get bombarded with questions to the point where it really makes me wonder why people can’t be bothered just clicking a couple of pages deeper on your website to actually get the answer. But that’s indicative of the age and era we’re in the moment.

“Maybe there will become a solution that is able to deliver that empathy in the tone of voice that your brand is famous for, but on the most part, for me, I don’t think they work. They’re probably more geared towards the retail world.”

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