Drift Conversation Cloud - Integrating SMS Marketing


Product Design Consultant (Contract)


Sep 2022 - Jan 2023


Esther Li-Chen

Cecilia Gao

Halley Chang

Jeffrey Shen

Jessica Huang


User Research

Market Research

Interaction Design




laying the foundation

Given that this was our first time working in the B2B space, we had a lot to learn. To familiarize ourselves, we first wanted to understand the pain points of Drift users, specifically marketers, as well as how SMS has been used in other conversational marketing companies.

To accomplish this, we looked into:

Project Overview

Drift is a conversational marketing and sales tech company that aims to humanize the way businesses buy from businesses. Their current platform has chatbot and email offerings, but the product team wanted to explore possible expansions of their product, with one case being SMS marketing.

With that, Drift challenged our team at Berkeley Innovation, a human-centered design consultancy at UC Berkeley, to uncover the value of SMS, and how it may interact with their current product and platform.

Thus, we asked

How might we leverage SMS in Drift’s B2B space to improve the marketer experience?

User Journeys of Marketers

Marketers use Drift to create chatbot conversations and email campaigns to bring in buyers and schedule meetings. A marketer’s goal is to understand buyers and collaborate efficiently with SDRs, which is currently hindered by loss of data from constantly switching modes of communication.

SMS Marketing Trends

SMS marketing is significantly more effective than email, with 98% of recipients opening the message, and 45% responding. Its capacity for personalization and high ROI make it a valuable tool for marketers and SDRs.

B2B Competitors

The most notable features used in other platforms were:

‘Creating mobile messages’ combined data from multiple sources and CRM tools

‘Personalizing messages’ included segmentation & used buyer data to craft messages

key insights


SMS alters the dynamic of the way relationships are formed between marketers and buyers.


SMS makes conversations more personal and easy to respond to, reducing the fatigue that many buyers and marketers face.


SMS can be used in conjunction with existing chatbot functionalities.

Conversation Flows

Once we understood and established Drift’s specific problem scope, we were ready to create potential conversation flows a marketer or SDR would have in order to cultivate relationships with buyers and sell their product. This flow below is an example of how SMS may be used to reach out to old buyers.

User visits website

User on email list, opts into SMS messaging

User receives SMS on exclusive offers

Is the user interested?

Appointment occurs

[Post-Meeting] Meeting notes and follow up sent

Automated review survey sent out

Recommendations and products sent to user

Automated SMS reminder one day before

User schedules meeting



User visits website

User on email list, opts into SMS messaging

User receives SMS on exclusive offers

Is the user interested?

Appointment occurs

[Post-Meeting] Meeting notes and follow up sent

Automated review survey sent out

Recommendations and products sent to user

Automated SMS reminder one day before

User schedules meeting



working towards a solution

Use Cases

After drafting out end-to-end conversation flows, we then ideated potential use cases for SMS marketing. Given our project’s time constraints, we decided to focus on one specific use case, appointment reminders, to prototype because it was one of the more widely applicable use cases for new and returning buyers.


This is a confirmation for your Drift meeting on 11/30/2022 at 10:20am with John Doe.

Reply Y to confirm

Reply N to cancel


Design Solution

Chatbot/SMS Toggles

If SMS combined with the chat builder, how might we mitigate any confusion that may arise from it (such as the same nodes being used for different functions or combining bot flows)? In our ideation, when addressing questions like this, we thought of toggles!

By labelling the nodes and applying a new color scheme based on Drift’s brand book, these toggles establish a clear distinction between SMS and chatbot while still encouraging more complex flows. Nodes specific to SMS or chat would be disabled depending on what flow the user is currently building.


Example: “Hi there! We’re here to chat”



Example: “How’s your day going?”



Enroll visitor in SMS or drip campaign

Send SMS

Platform Pain Points

The key points that we saw in Drift’s user research & our own testing of the site were:

  • many of the nodes were confusing (ie publish & preview)

  • it was unclear how certain actions would affect the final bot flow

  • navigating around was hard and required a lot of ‘clicks’

the product goal

We wanted to create a seamless experience when creating chat playbooks in which users are able to create SMS marketing flows that increase buyer response rates and address redundancies in the platform.


We started off our ideation with an in-person meeting with our client, Taylor Wagner, the lead product designer at Drift. In our session with her, we reframed our original question to be “How might we create SMS campaigns in Drift’s playbook builder?” and did brainstorming exercises like Crazy 8s to begin discussing our plans for the builder. After, we all met as a team and explored a few ideas to guide us into higher fidelity prototypes.

From here, we held an informal critique with the Drift design and research team on which suggested improvements were viable, and which needed to be scrapped or iterated on more. The key comments that we took from the session were to create a chat-and-SMS conversation flow template to prototype around, and to distinguish the marketers from the SDRs more.

Final Design Recommendations

Chatbot-and-SMS Hybrid Builder

When creating a Bot to SMS conversation flow, the playbook would first populate with a template for appointment reminders that users could then customize to suit their own marketing goals.

Using the toggles to determine whether a node is SMS or Chatbot specific, users can then drag and drop them into the flow. Specific nodes in the builder space are also dependent on the overarching nodes, and toggling the latter from bot to SMS would affect the branching flow.

SMS Preview

We also introduced a preview modal for SMS conversations to address a lot of confusion that Drift users have on how their decisions in the builder affect the final conversation flow.

By showing an intuitive and responsive interface for what the conversation would look like from the buyer’s perspective, marketers and SDRs are able to better personalize their messages for more effective marketing strategies.


The project with Drift gave me the experience of exploring design through its intersection with the B2B space, a rare opportunity for students and designers as a whole. This project was unique in its capacity to allow the team to design with different mediums in mind — a web interface as well as SMS on mobile. It was an amazing learning experience to collaborate with both a UX researcher and a product designer throughout this process, because we received comprehensive mentorship on what both can entail. We also got the chance to ideate with our client Taylor in person, as well as present some of our progress to a team of designers at DRIFT. Thank you to Laura and Taylor for introducing us to the B2B world and to our project mentor for supporting us and pushing us to think critically and design our best work!