With Product Launches, Drift Moves Conversational Marketing Into Prime Time

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What happens in the moment is more important than what could happen in the future. That’s the concept behind Drift’s new Conversational Advertising product, one of a handful of new solutions and partnerships announced by the company at its own HYPERGROWTH conference in Boston on Tuesday.

By launching a Conversational Advertising product, Drift is looking to create a new category of online advertising—one that leads potential customers directly from digital ads to real conversations, without relying on the types of static landing pages and lead forms that tend to slow sales processes down.

“The future of B2B buying is all about meeting customers where they are. That means that maybe that’s on Twitter, on video, or on your website. The future of B2B buying is all about now,” says Dave Gerhardt, Drift’s Vice President of Marketing.

Coupling the Conversational Advertising product with Conversational Landing Pages, B2B marketers will be able to create landing pages and set up ads without installing code, and they’ll be able to use those landing pages for just about anything related to their marketing efforts. The products are designed to close the gap and help buyers connect with businesses instantly, by taking them directly from ads to conversations with companies’ sales reps.

In addition to launching its Conversational Advertising product, Drift also used its HYPERGROWTH conference as the place to announce the release of Drift Assistant, a tool that tracks email replies and routes them to the right sales reps in real-time, along with the acquisition of the marketing automation startup Siftrock and three new partnerships with Marketo, Demandbase, and Outreach.

Drift’s interest in Siftrock came as the company began exploring new ways to “reinvent” email, with a sharper focus on conversations and replies, as opposed to opens and clicks. In a press release, Drift Founder and CEO David Cancel credited Siftrock with developing a “best-in-class product that manages email replies at scale” and said he believes the acquisition will help Drift deliver on its vision even faster.

That push to eliminate long sales cycles, or wait times, and to allow businesses to connect in real-time, is playing a central role in all of Drift’s efforts towards expansion. With the launch of Conversational Advertising and Drift Assistant, Drift customers pursuing ads as a strategy will now connect to customers directly from those ads, with the ability to quickly turn those connections into real conversations.

“They don’t have to fill out a form, then have to get qualified and talk to a BDR, then an AE and talk later,” Gerhardt says. “They can get connected right from an ad to that company now. That’s the biggest shift—most of the tools that are out there today are built for later. Later doesn’t exist anymore. It’s all about now. “

The push for shorter sales cycles is one that Drift has seen coming for some time. On top of that, Gerhardt says that over the past year, conversational marketing has taken off to become something that’s much bigger than any one company. He points out that Gartner recently came out with its first official report on conversational marketing, and a publisher has expressed interest in writing a book on conversational marketing together with the team at Drift.

“If you’re not on the conversational marketing train, it’s going to be the moment to now get on it because everything in sales and marketing is shifting to now,” he says. “It’s not about Drift, it’s not about conversational marketing, it’s about the shift to now.”

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.