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The next level: Voice marketing

02.05.2018 12:50 Uhr PSI
The next level: Voice marketing | The next level: Voice marketing

The next level: Voice marketing

In our last post, we went as far as recommending in general that all companies should encode change in their DNA. We’re continuing the theme today by talking about voice marketing, which is something you as an entrepreneur already have more to do with than you think.

And that’s true even if you – which isn’t unlikely – have not worked with it yet or haven’t even ever heard of the term. It’s more likely that you’ve heard of voice-activated virtual assistants like Google’s assistant “Google Home”, Apple’s “Siri” or Amazon’s “Alexa”.

Maybe you’re already among the steadily growing flock of early admirers and users of Alexa’s services. In 2017 alone, “more than 10 million” buyers ordered an Alexa smart speaker to their home – if you believe Amazon’s own figures. Traditionally, however, both Amazon and Google have kept sales figures close to the vest.

In addition to the two market leaders, other companies, such as Facebook and Deutsche Telekom, are getting ready to launch their own smart speakers.

Voice marketing is important for business – even for promotional products pros

Already, I’m hearing you mumble under your breath, asking: What does this have to do with marketing? Spoiler alert: a whole lot! Voice marketing is a component of digital marketing and has, as such, already developed into a relevant factor. And this isn’t limited just to the work of call centres, as many people still believe.

Voice marketing changes marketing in its entirety, especially inbound marketing (where the customer is supposed to find the company). You know what it refers to: search engines, SEO, content etc. In other words: voice marketing is important for business – even for promotional products pros.

Risks? No direct ones initially, apart from data protection issues for the users themselves. Instead, the real risk for entrepreneurs in this case is that they miss out on business opportunities (the change!), letting others take the bread, meaning sales, right out of their mouths.

So what’s this about? The prevalence of voice-activated assistants and the speed at which they’ve been spreading already amount to nothing less than a triumph in the mass market. 2018 is supposed to be the breakthrough year. In addition, relevant studies forecast escalating sales and user numbers for the next years. While the technology might still appear a bit immature at this time (think of speech recognition, for example), the remedy is just around the corner.

A new touchpoint for the customer

What’s more, increasing user numbers significantly enhance “machine learning”, i.e. the artificial assistants’ self-learning abilities. An additional push will be triggered by the expansion of virtual assistants into additional hardware segments. Right now, the kitchen, living room, office and mobile use via smartphone dominate, but the integration of smart speakers in our cars will trigger another quantum leap.

Not much will run without voice-activated assistants anymore. On top of all that, they’re making us independent of all screens – but without displacing them. Voice communication with smart speakers and the cloud behind it represent nothing less than a new touchpoint for the customer. Communication is changing – once more – in fundamental ways. With that, naturally, user behaviour and marketing are also changing.

Voice marketing will play a decisive role alongside reach

From company websites and their social media channels to Google searches to online shops, voice marketing is emerging as an additional dominant communication and thus success factor alongside reach.

When it comes to voice-activated product searches in B2C, no one currently beats Alexa. The same is true for Google and audio searches – with an increasing focus on B2B. That’s where it gets exciting for promotional products providers.

They, after all, want to be found with their products and services – whether the search was manually input on a keyboard or, now, called out to a virtual assistant. It’s precisely at this point of intersection that voice marketing is having its big moment.

But how does the content of my website and online shop find its way into the answers provided by virtual assistants? The answer to that question isn’t entirely trivial – but it’s not rocket science, either. Either way, the topic is worth exploring, which we’ll do in the next article. To be continued ... !

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