Voice AI: Marketing’s Next Frontier

February 13, 2018
February 13, 2018 Sarah O'Brien

Voice AI: Marketing’s Next Frontier

The widespread consumer adoption of smart IoT devices has had a profound effect on the proliferation of voice search in the ecommerce space. Virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant have become omnipresent and are revolutionizing the way people interact with the world around them. For reference, more than 12 million households have a voice-activated personal assistant.

Our job as marketers is to figure out how we can harness that trend toward Voice  AI and audio, and use it to create authentic customer experiences, maximizing ROI. Increased responsiveness, integration into other devices and marketing creativity will ensure these IOT devices dominate voice search marketing in 2018. The possibilities are endless.

Voice: A ‘Whopper’ of a Failure or Genius Marketing Ploy?

Earlier this year, Burger King came out with a controversial 15-second advert designed to further the viewer’s ad experience. The ad, which featured a uniformed employee leaning into the camera asking: “OK Google, what is the Whopper burger?”, activated peoples’ smart devices causing them to read Burger King’s Whopper Wikipedia entry aloud. The innovative marketing ploy grabbed instant attention, with everyone from Business Insider to Google weighing in. Burger King’s glory was short lived however as people quickly became wise to the unsolicited smart device activation.

“Over 100,000 people say hello to their Amazon Alexa assistant each morning, while another 250,000 have asked for its hand in marriage!” Click To Tweet

Viewers retaliated by editing Burger King’s Whopper Wikipedia entry to include ingredients like cyanide and medium-sized children. Despite some of the negative feedback, this campaign was actually a win for Burger King as it generated millions of dollars of free advertising. Other ideas for voice automation include programming digital assistants like Alexa to add free products to your online shopping basket as part of a promotional strategy.

Forget traditional marketing, the future belongs to digital and within that space-vocal advertising campaigns. Marketers take note, audio and voice are powerful storytelling tools. Whether marketers use it in this manner or indeed as Burger King did with their Whopper advertisement, audio & voice are earmarked to be the next disruptive technology in marketing communications.

Heralding Change: The Social Audio Experience

Forget the ‘Social Network’, 2017 is the year of the Social Audio Experience. The emergence of apps like Anchor, which allow users to broadcast and communicate instantly from anywhere in the world, is challenging the social media status quo. Will audio be the next big social platform? With Anchor having more than 20 million monthly users and podcasts growing by 10% — 20% per year consistently, it certainly has the potential to be.

Social media is constantly in flux with Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat all battling it out, vying for users’ affections. User Interfaces (UI) are frequently updated with new features being rolled out on an almost daily basis. Of these new features, voice messaging has become a hot new trend. WhatsApp, a free messaging service, has reported that over 200million voice messages are being sent every single day.

“Forget traditional marketing, the future belongs to digital and within that space-vocal advertising campaigns.” Click To Tweet

After years of SMS and other text-based messaging services, users’ preferences are clearly shifting, leaning more towards audio interaction. The dominion of traditional forms of social media communications is coming to an end. Verbal communication is intrinsically tied to human nature and it appears we’re seeing a return to form.

Smart Home Extraordinaire: Meet Jarvis

December last, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg published a video demoing his new personal AI Assistant, Jarvis. A parody it may be, this clearly demonstrates the future potential of Smart Homes. Tech giants like Google, Amazon & Apple can see this potential and are trying to capitalize on it.

Know it or not, there’s currently a land grab happening in your home. Even with all these big players fighting for market domination, there is an obvious front-runner. According to The New Scientist, over 100,000 people say hello to their Amazon Alexa assistant each morning, while another 250,000 have asked for its hand in marriage!

As crazy as it might sound, this kind of data forecasts how people will interact with their Smart Homes in the future. Can you imagine conversing with your Smart House; telling it about Sandra from accounts who never stamped that form for you, or asking which tie it liked better on you? Welcome to the future my friends and no this is not an episode of Black Mirror.

The manner in which people interact with technology is changing and changing rapidly. The lines between human to human and human to technology communications are blurring thanks to the advent of interactive Smart technology. Voice and audio interactions are growing-Are you ready for it?

Like what you read? Let’s continue the conversation in the comment section below or tweet me @sarahbluechief

BlueChief is a social media and brand management company that specialises in video production, design and advertising. In need of some digital marketing or social media strategy advice? Contact BlueChief CEO, Shane McCarthy at (086) 466 5014 or email shane@bluechief.ie.

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Sarah O'Brien

Sarah is a digital marketing creative with a passion for storytelling and design. She believes in creating a space for authentic content to flourish and in nurturing the emotional attachment people have to their favourite brands. Sarah understands the psychology behind emotional branding and how brands can best utilize it to cement their status as household names. With a background in Journalism, Sarah has a keen interest in current affairs programming and international politics, particularly where the state of American polity is concerned. Fun Fact: Sarah is obsessed with cryptozoology (Yes, she knows the Loch Ness monster isn’t real!) and in her spare time likes to watch mockumentaries about Nessie and Megalodon.

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