Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Mobile Matters Lessons: How Voice Strategy Is Changing

“Alexa, good morning” – lights turn on and the smart speaker tells you the weather and begins to play the news as you roll out of bed. We spoke with Dave Isbitski, Chief Evangelist of Alexa and Echo at Amazon, about how important voice strategy is for your brand and how powerful it can be for engagement with your customers. Voice strategy is not only important for your consumers to have access to answers but also is beneficial for your brand team.

Voice Strategy Is Powerful
Given the continual growth of voice usage by consumers, it’s become increasingly important for every brand to have a voice strategy. OC&C Strategy Consultants stated “13 percent of all households in the United States owned a smart speaker in 2017” and they estimate “that number is predicted to rise to 55 percent by 2022.” I’ll say that again, “55 percent of the US population may have smart speakers in their house by 2022!” If you aren’t already focused on a voice strategy now is the time to start. (Well, yesterday was the time to start but welcome to marketing!) What makes voice so powerful? It has the discoverability of the app store, maintainability of the web, and the inclusiveness across all ages.

Maintainability of the Web
There is an uncommon characteristic for technology that makes Alexa stand out from most. You buy it once and it continues to work for countless years. It’s the exact opposite of what you typically see with a new smartphone where you’re wanting and oftentimes needing to upgrade every year or two. No third parties have to accept updates and brands have the flexibility to update information as quickly as they’d like. It’s a win-win environment for the consumer to have access to the most up to date information and for brands to update their voice strategy at any time.

Inclusiveness Across All Age Divides
Tech is usually known for focusing on ages 18-34 due to tech being ‘difficult’. You not only have to learn the technology but you also have to know how to maintain it. Alexa has filled that gap. Everyone and anyone can use Alexa. Dave tells a great story about how one of his parents hasn’t even used a computer, yet is able to use Alexa daily. On the other side of the age spectrum, we have 6 years olds asking Alexa how to do their math homework! The friction points for consumers have become minimal with voice-activated speakers.

Benefits Aren’t Only For the Consumer
As a brand, you may think the only thing Alexa or any smart speaker is helping you with is higher engagement from your consumers and answering questions via a new channel. But it’s important to realize there are benefits both for the consumer and brand. As a company with a voice strategy in place and working with Alexa you get real-time results as to what questions are being asked about your company and not asked. This will help your brand to understand what is clear and unclear about your product or service. This channel is also a great place to help engage with your fans. By having a wonderful engagement process through smart speakers you are gaining loyal customers who want to share your brand name. Your voice strategy should be used primarily as a customer engagement channel and not solely for customer acquisition. Some acquisition may occur due to the great user experience but it’s most importantly used to retain those customers that are lukewarm or are brand loyal customers.

Voice is imperative to your brand as the channel grows and more consumers use smart speakers. The future of voice is nothing but promising. It will be interesting to see how it evolves, not only by how the consumer uses voice but how brands continue to grow their strategy and what new features will be added as the technology evolves.