DialogTech Wants to Close the Last Gap

It’s just a display ad. It appears on the screen of your smart phone. So you click on it. What happens next? That depends on what sits behind the ad.

DialogTech, the Chicago-based calls analytics and automation platform, wants to take that click and do something with it, announcing DialogTech for Display to that end. “When you target with a display ad, there is no way to measure the efficacy of the display spend.” said Irv Shapiro, CEO of DialogTech. “We close the loop.”

To make this work, DialogTech has teamed up with LiveRamp, which specializes in connecting data. LiveRamp grabs the data about the digital ad, correlating it with all the caller data DialogTech has collected. That fusion of data should allow a brand to pursue a conversion, Shapiro explained. “LiveRamp is the clearinghouse.”

What DialogTech brings to the table is the phone call as part of the selling process. Rather than routing the call to a call center following the user’s click, DialogTech wants to route the call straight to the brand. “Voice as a channel is critical,” Shapiro said. “The phone call is someone waving a white flag: I need information right now.”

Getting the call to the right person sounds simple, but in practice, and at scale, requires a lot of technology. You want to get to the business all of the relevant customer information, geo-locate the customer so that the call goes to the nearest business supplying the sought-after good or service, and make sure the call goes straight to the business—no routing via a call center, Shapiro explained. Even the words used in the conversation can be analyzed for patterns and opportunities to persuade, he added.

DialogTech for Display can channel data to the business’ data management platform or demand side platform. View-through attribution links the ad seen on the smartphone with an action the user takes in another channel—the loop Shapiro spoke of closing. DialogTech’s call data can be integrated with “multi-touch platforms”, to see what combination of channels a user taps when checking out and then buying a product. (Knowing these patterns can also be helpful in turning queries into sales.) And finally, click-to- call capability can be embedded into display ads, again turning a query into a phone call going directly to a business.

To Shapiro, voice is a sales channel. “At DialogTech, our premise is that humans want to talk to humans,” he explained. And they want to talk to the right person on the first call, without getting the runaround to other humans who don’t know who the customer is or what they want.

This ties into the ubiquity of the smart phone. People made 30 billion phone calls on these devices. While these handhelds are data conduits, the killer app is still voice. “Consumers could have opted for PDAs (personal digital assistants) and save paying $50 a month to the telcos and still have data,” Shapiro noted. “We still opt to pay the ‘telco tax’ because we want the device in our pocket to be a phone.”

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