How can brands approach the upcoming voice-activated world?
For the last 10 years, mobile created a marketing revolution and now voice is about to become the next catalyst. 2017 has already been called “The Year of Voice” — more and more we’re bypassing screen time, interacting through the voice medium. More than 30 million voice-activated digital assistants are expected to enter US homes by the end of this year.
Marketing will have to adapt to this new, logo-less space. Until now, brands typically included some form of visual real estate (e.g. a TV commercial, billboard, website, mobile app or something else), to vy for consumers’ attention and guide them through an experience where brands could be visually recognized through their logo and brand image. With voice these elements simply disappear.
A new craft must emerge enabling consumers to search, consider and shop for products and services using voice commands. Brands need to be able to track and understand voice interactions to provide the right experience at the right moment, making sure all strategies, websites, apps, TV and voice play nice together.
In order to meet consumers’ expectations, marketers have to knowingly orchestrate their channels, understanding the roles each platform plays to naturally engage with audiences. For example, it makes sense to ask for the current weather through voice, but won’t be ideal to inquire about the upcoming week’s forecast. A quick glance at an app provides a better experience by displaying a visual snapshot. This deeper understanding of channels and formats will be necessary to add real value to brand interactions.
Adopting voice-enabled devices provides a growth opportunity for brands to be useful advisors for consumers in their field. Alexa skills can bring value to the home environment by lending useful tips at critical moments like the Tide Stain Remover or the Zyrtec Daily AllergyCast skills.
The true potential of voice-enabled devices relies on assisting people in performing desired tasks with less effort. Exploring entertainment options on big screens, asking for information and making decisions on offers are natural voice commands that can be served on screens, presenting a more streamlined experience. Combining voice, screens and gestures (connected interfaces), may empower activities while allowing brands to show real value.
Marketers can prepare for a voice-activated world by realizing how voice interaction could add value or remove friction from the consumer experience. Brands should ask themselves why and how voice can enable their customers to have a better #ConnectedLife.