Strategy: Voice Is Here — Is Your Marketing Strategy Ready?

TL;DR: Voice is set out to be the next big thing in social, but only if brands get their strategies right. We’re here to tell you how to do exactly that.

Most people think that voice doesn’t play a role in the lives of consumers. When Siri first launched on the iPhone in 2011, talking to your phone may have made you look crazy. Now? Talking to your digital voice assistant has become just another part of your everyday life.

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Smart speakers, like Amazon’s Echo or Google Home, have been leading the U.S. market of smart home technology. As time passes, more and more brands are also joining the bandwagon, which we’ve seen with the release of Apple’s HomePod and other brands supporting Alexa or Google Assistant. Not surprisingly, Alexa is still the most popular smart speaker on the market, holding over half of the market share. With the ability to play music or podcasts with simple voiced request , share a weather report, engage users in games and purchase items , smart speakers allow consumers to ask for anything on their mind. And just like Siri became famous for her humorous answers on where to hide a body, these smart speakers also have lots of quirky remarks just waiting for consumers to stumble upon.

With more than 50,000 voice apps released just on Amazon’s Alexa platform alone, you need to make sure that your app is able to stand out from the rest.

Now, the real question is: yes, we see that these technologies may be cool, but how do brands really engage with their consumers without being boring and sacrificing their brand identity? That’s what we’re here to answer for you.

Create Content that Draws Attention

No one wants to listen to a boring podcast. There’s a reason why some podcasts hit that viral sweet spot, while others fall to the bottom. In the same way, voice apps can go one of two ways: up or down. With more than 50,000 voice apps released just on Amazon’s Alexa platform alone, you need to make sure that your app is able to stand out from the rest. So what do you really need to include? Short and sweet content that can be consumed while multitasking. A good storyline, as research tells us that smart speakers are used most in the living room and kitchen. Because it is run by AI, set your voice skill to have easy to understand questions and responses.

Don’t be afraid to give your voice app a strong tone of voice because you want to craft something that people will remember. And most important of all? Don’t name your skill something complicated. Because you want the consumer to actually be able to enable your skill, give it a name that’s easily remembered.

Invest in Your Skill

Now that we told you to create engaging content, we’ll tell you how you can do this. One? Bring in different points of view and narratives to craft a compelling story. Find stakeholders, influencers, and just regular people who you can interview to gather ideas for the story that you want to tell. Two? Work with a developer to create code that’s unique to your skill. No one wants to engage with skills that are not interesting or ridden with errors. Three? Weave in that engaging content into your code, elevating the user experience of your product to leave consumers with a skill that they’ll enjoy using time and time again. Now, managing people and opinions can be hard work, so if needed, find someone to make the magic happen for you. In the end, the work put into creating content that stands out will pay off in the results and interactions with your skill.

Figure out Your Metrics before Building the Voice App

Creating a voice app takes a lot of consideration. Because this is such a new market, KPIs have not yet been fully defined, so here are some metrics to consider when working with voice apps: For voice apps looking to build awareness, story-based content works best of all. Users are able to tell Alexa to enable the skill and then, boom — it plays. Users don’t have to interact much with it, which will help in getting higher numbers for general awareness. On the other hand, if you are looking for solid engagement, build a voice app that is easy to interact with and offers the user plenty of places to chime in. With the Alexa dashboard, you’ll be able to measure time spent on the skill, amount of users enabling it, and their process through the skill. Now, for purchases, only 10 percent of Alexa users will actually use their Echo to order something, so unless your intent is to sell an item, don’t include complicated permissions cards. Unless you’re specifically measuring purchase conversions, don’t make your skill too complicated. In the end, your KPIs for the voice app should be determining the code that is written.

Other Tips and Tricks

  • Getting a voice app through the approval process with either Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s Actions platforms takes approximately five to seven business days. Testing a skill doesn’t magically happen overnight, so count that in when planning your production process.

  • Know what you want to achieve with your skill early on. Having your goals set early will help base everything else in the process.

  • Have fun with your content. With smart speakers now having a display option as well, you’re not limited to only using voice.

Voice is expected to continue growing, with the consumer adoption rate increasing annually. As more and more consumers are using their digital assistants and setting up smart speakers around their home, creating voice apps becomes increasingly important to stay relevant in the market. And with the release of smart speakers that feature a display component as well, consumers will no longer have to pull out their iPads or phones to watch videos while cooking in the kitchen. Instead, they’ll just have to say, “Alexa, watch Westworld...”

Voice is just one of the trends we’ve identified to boom over the next three years. Download our trends deck for more, and follow our blog for the latest headlines in social.

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