As part of the IMPACT Toolbox series, I had the opportunity to interview Will Murphy, CEO of MessagePath. He shared the company’s origin story, as well as some insight into what the future holds.
This article is part of our IMPACT Toolbox series.
With IMPACT Toolbox, we’ll discuss all of the latest (and even underrated) marketing tools that you need to try. We’ll make recommendations by category, helping you figure out what tool is best for your situation, and introduce you to tools you may not have heard of otherwise.
Have questions about a marketing tool, whether or not we’ve reviewed it?
Reach out to us and we’ll see how we can help.
What Is MessagePath?
Just in case you’re not an avid IMPACT Toolbox reader (I’ll forgive you just this once)… MessagePath is an AI-powered writing tool that helps you fine-tune your business communications.
Described as “the business-focused brainchild of Grammarly and the Hemingway App,” it helps you write more effective and successful customer-facing messaging.
Where Did The Idea Come From?
The company itself is relatively new, founded in the middle of 2018 and launching its app in the second half of the year.
The idea started with Will Murphy, sitting in a conference room, surrounded by a team worth thousands of dollars per hour (chief legal counsel, PR, marketing, executive team - basically, anyone who needed a say in the final wording), all working together to prepare a single press release.
“There had to be a better way,” he thought.
Surely there is a set of principles and guideposts governing how business-focused marketing copy should be written?
With a background in artificial intelligence startups, Will knew he had an opportunity on his hands.
He teamed up with his technical co-founder, Rick Yost. And to build their initial product they dug into some of the best business communication books in order to surface business writing patterns from the experts. They then built those patterns into their AI-augmented software editor.
Their mission: Facilitate global business communication.
How Does MessagePath Work?
At the moment, the MessagePath app is essentially a text editor that scores your writing, letting you know if certain words are weak, your sentences are too long, or a myriad of other linguistic and semantic indicators.
The suggestions that MessagePath makes depend upon the purpose you’ve stated for the copy you are looking to edit. You can select from a few business purposes:
If you don’t think there is much differentiation between them, then that’s all the more reason to give it a try.
Depending on your audience and the intent, you'll want to keep an eye on your writing's Statistics, Document Tone, and the newly added Sentence Tone. This will help you fine tune your message to match your intended tone and context (which Liz Murphy and Will Murphy dig into during an episode of Content Lab).
MessagePath is available as a Chrome extension, allowing easy access from Gmail, LinkedIn, etc.
Who Is MessagePath A Good Fit For?
While anyone who communicates in business could reap the benefits of MessagePath, the two main audiences seeing the best results right now are marketing and customer support / success teams.
For marketers, when a single email could be worth hundreds or thousands of dollars, words matter. And while we don’t necessarily want someone looking over our shoulder checking copy, having a second set of “eyes” can make a big difference.
For customer support and success teams, clarity and efficiency of communication are fundamental, and it’s easy to underestimate how challenging it can be to get the right information across in a way that can be easily understood. A good set of guideposts can be quite helpful.
What Features Can You Expect In The Future?
The team at MessagePath has many new features in the works.
The big one coming for early 2019 is an admin control panel.
Stay with me, this one is pretty cool.
Right now, individuals can use the app to improve the effectiveness of their own communication, but they have to put additional effort in to maintain consistency across the brand.
The admin control panel is going to change that.
By grouping users together as a team and enabling central control of a brand’s messaging, MessagePath will provide feedback to keep the team’s communication aligned.
Also coming in the next few months are some direct integrations with a few currently unnamed content management tools. Those will be the first in a series of direct integrations, which will help improve the user experience for anyone working in those tools.
Longer-term, the context-specific feedback will be fine-tuned to not only give feedback based on the goal of the communication, but also take into account the preferences of the recipient.
Another under-the-hood feature expected over the next few years is a shift in data security and collection.
At the moment, there is no data storage included with MessagePath. All text is securely analyzed, with suggestions given locally based on a set of core rules.
In the future, as with most AI-based tools, data will be stored to help train the AI through machine learning. Before that can happen, a full set of security practices will be put in place. That includes SOC 2 certification and a secure, end-to-end protocol setup.
While AI and machine learning are important for the future, the team at MessagePath wants to make sure it is done correctly with high standards.
What Is The Long-Term Mission?
MessagePath strives to be a ubiquitous business tool - the canonical place where you can get as close to optimal language as possible for your organization.