Finding A Place For "The Bot Girl"

Sara Pion
November 10, 2021

I didn't want this to be just another blog post where I introduce myself, my background, and my ultimate motivation for joining a new team.

And while I'm new to Voiceflow, I'm also new(ish) to a whole new industry – conversation design, and that's what this is all about.

A Little Bit About Me

I joined Drift 10 days after I graduated from college in 2017. 9 months into my tenure at Drift, I went from the first technical support rep to the person running Drift for Drift - building conversational chatbots that lived on the Conversational Marketing company's own website. It was pretty meta.

During my 3 years at Drift, I watched the product evolve from single messages to automated conversations, acquire an AI company to help customers design better sales conversations, as well as hire an entirely new team of conversation designers.

The conversation design team was a new team and a new concept, the first time I had ever heard of this new career path. Instead of your typical array of product managers, designers, developers etc. This team was comprised of linguists, UX designers, and support reps which created entirely new jobs at the company focused on training and optimizing Drift's AI product. They were creating their own systems and methodologies, working around UI constraints, and iterating on incredibly complex chatbots for Drift customers.

Drift popularized the addition of chatbots to your marketing site to help with site navigation and site conversion, but I don't think they ever nailed down the persona who should be administrating and owning their product at companies.

Marketers, by nature, aren't always technical and marketing operations professionals who own marketing systems generally aren't professional copywriters either. That left a lot of chatbots on websites that either weren't optimized or conversational.

When I left Drift I didn't think the conversational world was for me anymore. I was tired of being "The Bot Girl". I felt like I was in my own bubble and disconnected from the rest of the marketing team but didn't yet belong on the Conversation Design team either.

I went to be a traditional marketer somewhere else.

Fast forward two years and I'm back in the conversation space. A space that feels eerily familiar while being lightyears ahead in its development. Creating cross-industry norms, defining a new career path, and capitalizing not just on one medium but two: Chat and Voice.

The Evolution Of Chat And Voice

The voice assistant application market size is projected to grow from USD 2.8 billion in 2021 to USD 11.2 billion by 2026, and the global conversational AI market size is projected to grow from USD 6.8 billion in 2021 to USD 18.4 billion by 2026.

"Just like you cannot imagine a company without engineers today, you cannot imagine a company without conversation designers 5 years from now." says Hans van Dam Founder & Dean of Conversation Design Institute.

After experiencing the push and pull of who should be owning conversational marketing within an organization, seeing this transformation to an ownership around conversation design as a whole was thrilling.

Like the evolution of most new concepts in tech, conversation design tech stacks have been hacked together. UX designers and copywriters take on the responsibilities of designing conversations in the tools they have at their disposal that get them 75% of the way to the end goal - spreadsheets and flowchart builders, but few that allow conversation designers to prototype both chat and voice experiences.

With a market that's growing exponentially, met with an increase in customer expectations, and more people dedicating their careers to the space, conversation designers need tools in their tech stack that are legitimizing the tactics, methodologies, and industry standards for conversation design.

Hence, the move to Voiceflow. A company that fundamentally understands the gaps in the market and wants to be a resource for all conversation designers, customers or not.

Why Voiceflow

For many customers, Voiceflow is the design and prototyping tool they've needed. For others, Voiceflow is a platform to build, launch, and host their conversation experiences – whether for Alexa, Google, Chat, IVR, and anything in between.

The ultimate goal for the product is to give customers a unified platform to design, test, launch, and manage great conversations across every channel and every level of technical expertise.

But it's the foundation that the Voiceflow team has set that gets me really excited. Voiceflow customers not only find immense value in the product but they also find value in talking to each other. On top of their 80,000 designers & teams, Voiceflow has a community of close to 8,000 conversation designers that's active every day.

Not every company creates a tool that people build their careers around, but Voiceflow has. Beyond the tool, they've also cultivated the community to help educate, motivate, and inspire each other.

The world is changing rapidly, and conversational AI is transforming how the world communicates. Conversation designers are at the forefront of this shift. For them, it's about finding a tool that helps them visualize their flows, prototype conversations, and have seamless handoff for development. And one thing I know for sure is that great conversations start with Voiceflow.

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