Is 2016 the Year of Messaging for Business?

Predictions for 2016 abound around the Internets, but one in particular caught my eye.

Russel Brand from Massively quotes several sources to make the argument that now is the time for messaging apps to become a serious business tool:

 

One of the most consistent predictions is the emergence of messaging apps as a channel for brands to reach and engage customers. Advertising Age’s list of top trends marketers won’t be able to ignore states that “messaging platforms will trump broadcast social networks”, while eMarketer predicts that “marketers will join the conversation (in messaging apps)”. Henry Blodget, the CEO and Editor-In-Chief of Business Insider, boldly stated “the next big platform will be…Messaging”. And just yesterday, TechCrunch concluded their list of eight trends for 2016 by proclaiming that “soon our first entry point for buying things, ordering things, customer service, is likely to be an IM platform with companies bolting into the back end of the messaging experience.

I am a believer in the value that messaging apps offer to business.  For my money, nothing compares to the efficiency of  Instant Messaging when it comes to connecting customers to an organization’s sales and customer service force.  And, with the capabilities that WebRTC brings to every browser, and the ongoing integration of WebRTC into business communication and collaboration systems, it certainly seems like the stage is set for messaging apps to become part of the business landscape.

I am willing to  bet that the day will come when most customer interactions will begin with an Instant Message or text message – as a prelude to a voice or video call, if nothing else.   But, unless a marquee brand like Apple or Amazon sets the pace for others to follow, I just don’t see it happening so quickly.  At least not in 2016.