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Why do marketers need to start taking voice seriously now?

21 Aug 2018

Posted by Charlotte Parker

By Paul Mead, Executive Board Director, Jellyfish

Technology is changing human behaviour. Voice is the next big phase of that change.

You may have a smart speaker in your home. You may use it as a timer in the kitchen (one of the current major use cases) or basic questions to help with the kids’ homework. You may not be that impressed. There is still a lot Alexa and Google Assistant can’t answer. My children have been known to say ‘oh Google, you are so stupid!’ (to which Google replies that it’s still learning and will try to do better next time).

We will look back on this time as a laughably primitive way to interact with technology. With no sign of an ad platform in this space most brands will be thinking voice is something to leave for the future. And there’s the real opportunity.

People have learned new behaviours in this emerging space very quickly. Brands can use this frontier land to teach new behaviours that relate to their products and services. What would you like your customers to be asking Alexa or Google Home? How could your brand own that experience? Could your communications help to develop and reinforce this behaviour?

Search was a platform that helped to build many of the biggest brands we know today. There was a significant first mover advantage. Voice is just like search. The queries are natural language. Instead of brands building websites to respond to keywords, brands are building ‘skills’ that respond to people’s questions (e.g. “ok Google, call me a cab”).

It’s behavioural engineering. Teach a new behaviour and build the skill to deliver it. Customers will have a choice for each product or service - the equivalent of choosing your default music player - in terms of which brand delivers the answer to the question.

The question to ask today is - will that be you or your competitors? And that’s not a question Alexa can help you with.

Posted by Charlotte Parker

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