India’s top creative agencies talk Voice Marketing

A whopping 57% of marketers feel Voice Search can make a lot of difference from a digital marketing effectiveness point of view. (Source: The Modern Marketing Reckoner, The MMA)

Voice Marketing is all the rage, but why? And what seems to be the catalyst for its growth? Are brands gearing up to ride the wave? How would you make it happen in an environment that works with only voice and audio?

Voice for Marketers

In December 2020, we organised a Twitter AMA session with two voice experts with their ear on the ground. And as a lead-up to our ‘Voice For Marketers’ webinar at the on-going series of VOICE Talks India, Agrahyah Technologies organised and moderated a fireside chat on Twitter with two leading creative agencies in India on Voice Marketing, on February 19, 2021. The panellists were Pooja Jauhari, CEO, The Glitch and Sanjay Mehta, Joint CEO, Mirum India. This blog is a compilation of the discussion, that was informative and provided a perspective on the advent of Voice Technology in India.

Voice For Marketers Panelists

Q1: As creative agencies that service some of India’s most well-known brands, what can you tell us about Voice Adoption by Brands in India?

Pooja — It has been a steady focus for brands across categories. With internet penetration growing every day, especially outside of metros, voice will continue to play an impactful role in being able to reach and interact with customers.

Sanjay — Brands cannot afford to ignore the Voice marketing phenomenon. Consumers are engaging with Voice — and marketers must respond and keep up with changing consumer behaviour if they want to stay relevant. Having said that, it is a new and emerging space — lot of room to grow!

Q2: What do you think is driving this demand?

Pooja — Quite clearly, hand phone sales and internet penetration. Almost every person has a personal device today.

Sanjay — 1. Voice breaks the language and literacy barrier. I can speak in my own language, and do not need to worry about typing the right spelling on a tiny mobile keyboard. Which is the primary device of access. This is important for tier-2,3, rural consumers. 2. Hands-free convenience! What I mean by the latter is that voice is the only medium you can consume or engage in, while actively doing something else. Like driving or jogging or cooking etc. We all want to make the most of our time, and having this medium to do something more with our time, is valuable!

Agrahyah — On the plus side, voice heavily reduces our screen-time while also getting the work done. We would say that is a pure win-win.

Q3: Can you highlight some exciting applications of Voice that have inspired you or your work?

Pooja — Like any technology, voice has its massive perks. Being able to reach a variety of demographics in their native languages, at efficient pricing has led to so many projects. Let’s take an oldie but goodie, KKT by Hindustan Unilever as an example. Simple yet effective.

Sanjay — As a user, I’ve been a convert to voice for a long time! When I think of voice, I see it as the overall umbrella of podcasts, audio books, voice-based ads, voice assistants, voice activated website content, transactions triggered by voice, everything. That is the larger ecosystem. So, I’ve been a podcast consumer and an audio book reader for more than 10 years now. That was my first trigger. Voice activated home automation has been another great inspiration for me. Booking engines that enable reserving seats using voice have impressed too.

Agrahyah — KKT is the boss-level campaign like you mentioned, oldie but goodie. And yes, audio becomes the soul of voice platforms. Like we say it at Agrahyah, Voice is the input, Audio is the output. It is pertinent to focus on audio-led content for voice.

Q4: What should brand managers and marketers do to make it work?

Pooja — The basic principles of marketing apply to voice as well. Understand the medium and have fun with it. Endless possibilities.

Sanjay — There’s no one-size, fits all, first of all. And the basics are important here, as in any marcom effort, viz. think of your audience, think of your objective, figure the right medium, language, tonality, ensure you are delivering on the consumer requirement, etc. Fundamentals!

Some thoughts, though:

· If you are looking to have your brand show up on a voice search, remember there are no “10 results on a page”! How do you make your brand show up?

· 2. If you are delivering a solution for rural consumers, ensure your language is simple, CX is intuitive.

Agrahyah — Solid points here. The platform must evolve with the requirements too. For an effective solution, it is necessary that the VUI or Voice User Interface (user’s journey) is mapped out in detail.

Q5: Share your predictions for voice marketing for 2021. How do you see the market and the platform evolve this year?

Pooja — The voice economy is already on the rise. With Alexa and Siri in quite a few urban homes and devices, I predict marketers will experiment. With more seriousness. As long as we can continue to measure the impact of voice, the practice will continue to gain prominence.

Sanjay — I see a strong growth for voice this year. These are the kind of tech that get taken by storm once a user senses the comfort and convenience. Voice is reaching that kind of critical mass! And if user adoption grows dramatically, brands have to adopt equally fast as well!

Viewer Question 1 (Namita Ved): What is the general biggest problem statement by brands when it comes to adopting Voice?

Sanjay — If you mean problem statement in terms of brands to get convinced about adopting voice, it is perhaps, the same fear of the unknown. They start with baby steps, learn, and then get bolder. That is where a lot of brands are, currently. If you meant, problem statement in terms of their consumers’ needs, say if it is a rural consumer, the Internet has reached, but the existing brand content is not consumed as much. Needs to be converted to voice. Or a millennial consumer needs to engage with his voice asst. And the brand better be there.

Agrahyah — That’s why brands must act now and have a presence on voice. Few brands have taken action, but many might miss out if continue with contemplation. It is better to lead with an example than play catch-up.

Viewer Question 2 (Saran): We all know the usage of voice for service. That is a default use case. But marketing, not so much. Can you share some examples form brands?

Agrahyah — Information and Service become testing-grounds for brands. Delight with content is the next step. Have you tried one of the most entertaining solution #GaanaAntakshari which lets you play the game with Google Assistant?

Another is built by Cadbury’s 5-Star as part of their on-going campaign where a user could activate Google Assistant and make it ‘Do Nothing’.

Sanjay: You’d agree that branded content is marketing?

So, a food brand doing recipe videos is marketing, right?

How about if brand created an interactive voice app that has the consumer in the kitchen or at her fridge and sharing what she has, and app recommends a recipe? Works?

That’s all folks. Interestingly someone pointed out that we were doing a typed Twitter Chat on voice marketing. But we’re hopeful that, that reality isn’t far away either, and we are looking forward to our second version of the chat on voice.

(The structure of the answers has been modified slightly to suit the flow of the article. To read more about the raw tweets, click here)

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