By 2019, over 160 trillion instant messages will be sent every year — and with most of them read within three minutes, this kind of immediate communication has unprecedented marketing implications. Join this VB Live executive event to learn how to leverage the power of IM to transform customer engagement.

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Quinn Banks, senior mobile marketing manager for Farmers Insurance, has spent the last two and a half years rebuilding their customer facing-mobile application from the ground up. Their focus: to create an exceptional customer experience — and instant message technology is a foundational part of that engagement, offering customers an immediate, personalized avenue for questions about claims.

“Instant messaging is key,” Banks says, especially — perhaps surprisingly — for the insurance industry.

“Insurance is such an emotional touchpoint,” he explains. “You’ve crashed your brand new car or the roof has been torn off of your house. There is that immediate need to hear that voice on the other end, even if you’re just typing. So we’re seeing having that human element is a necessity to maintain the touchpoint between us and our customers.”

It’s a there-only-when-you-need-it product, with all the instant customer service expectations surrounding that, so Farmers needed a way to create an instant connection for their users, both emotionally and practically speaking.

“The primary goal is to position ourselves so that when the customer has the event, the technology is there, the communication piece is there to assist them through their process,” Banks says. It’s part of the strategy to build the long-term customer relationships that an insurance company relies on.

The success of their IM strategy isn’t just because we’re living in an instant gratification world — though that certainly is a piece of it, he says.

“Everyone wants things immediately,” Banks says, “In the past, most companies would offer FAQs, which are stagnant. By adding instant messaging capabilities into the technology piece, our customers are able to reach out to us and maintain that open communication with instantaneous instant message flexibility.”

To implement a successful IM strategy, Banks says, “Being there when the customer absolutely needs you or what fits your business model is key, and making sure that the technology works in an omnichannel fashion, regardless of whether it’s mobile or desktop or even moving to some of the smart TVs.”

But it’s also not rushing out to slap an IM platform on your mobile app and call it good.

“Companies don’t necessarily think the process through,” Banks says. “As the customer becomes reliant on being able to instantly communicate, are you staffed up to maintain that?”

Banks predicts that instant messaging will become a common customer service channel, even as chatbots continue to dominate the news cycles and excite the tech pundits.

“Chatbots are almost like dynamic FAQs,” he explains. “A chatbot misses that personal touchpoint that we need with our customers, so that they know that we’re there for them when they need it.”

For more on current IM applications, the future of the technology, and where not to go with it, don’t miss this VB Live event!

Register here for free.

In this VB Live event, you’ll:

  • Learn how to leverage instant messaging
  • Capture customer details in IM
  • Leverage instant messaging technologies to improve your marketing strategy overall
  • Use the high engagement of messaging in terms of viewabilty


  • Stewart Rogers, Director of Marketing Technology, VentureBeat
  • Quinn Banks, Senior Mobile Marketing Manager, Farmers Insurance


  • Wendy Schuchart, Analyst, VentureBeat