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Voice is the Future of Marketing and the Future is Coming Faster than You Think

At the foundation of all marketing should be one thing: connecting with your target audience. If you’re not connecting, you’re not successfully communicating and you’re certainly not successfully marketing.

In our current world, limited by COVID-19 restrictions and protocols, we’ve seen marketing change. But while some methods of marketing have been given the boot, other opportunities have arisen for brands to create meaningful conversations and interactions with their prospective customers, all without neglecting protective pandemic measures.

So, while we can’t safely and comfortably get within six feet of a target audience, how about getting within six millimeters of their ears?

Voice technology gets you closer to your target market than social distancing ever could. It gives shoppers directions around stores, recommends brands, creates shopping lists, places orders, executes checkouts, and more, potentially reducing the need for human interaction in retail as the pandemic continues to keep safety concerns at top of mind for many consumers.

Voice is the future, and the future is hurtling toward us faster than ever. As your team contemplates product launches, how you’ll engage your customers, and how you’ll go about attracting prospects, consider that though we now live in a contactless world, there are plenty of ways you can connect with your target audience through the power of voice.


Virtual Assistants

Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Siri, and Google Assistant are all examples of virtual—or smart—assistants. They can tell you about the weather, the news headlines, remind you of upcoming events, play music, and more.

But virtual assistants aren’t limited to the software installed in your smart devices. The opportunity to expand the reach of your brand voice exists within your brand’s website, your app, or even your brick-and-mortar locations.

Let’s use grocery stores as an example. Grocery stores likely won’t ever go out of fashion, since they sell a basic human need, but with more competition cropping up over the years, not every grocer is as successful as they’d like to be. There are a few applications of voice technology that could work to bolster grocery performance and customer retention while addressing two pain points:

The first is convenience. We’re all short on time and there are rarely enough hours in the day to accomplish everything we set out to do, meaning that by the time we have to decide what to make for dinner and head to the store for the necessary ingredients, we may just elect to say “forget it” and order takeout because it’s more convenient.

With voice-first technology, perhaps in the form of a voice assistant in a grocery app, it would be possible for the customer to instead inquire about a suggested dinner menu, complete with an ingredients list and an online ordering system that allows for pickup or delivery. Think of the success of home meal kit delivery services that deliver all the ingredients you need to your door. If grocery stores can use voice technology to get in on that market, they’d be setting themselves up for long term success.

The second is customization. Let’s take the same scenario as outlined above and focus on how that could be made even better through personalization. Maybe the consumer is able to ask the grocery system for not only a suggested dinner menu, but one that’s customizable based on allergies, dietary restrictions, palettes, or types of cuisine. Now, not only are they able to rely on voice technology from a convenience perspective, but they also know they can expect a highly-personalized experience when doing so.

Now imagine you had the choice between two grocery stores. Would you choose the one that offered voice-powered convenience and customization, or the one that didn’t? When a service or product provider is able to offer its clients a reliable, convenient, and personalized experience, the chances of establishing long-lasting relationships with those clients is increased.


Podcasts

On July 28th, 2021, there were 2.9 million podcasts available on Spotify alone. This marked a staggering increase of 544% since 2009 when there were only 450 thousand, and that’s just on a single streaming platform.

Podcasts are a powerful, voice-driven marketing tool that belongs to any successful marketing strategy. Between creating more authentic content for your target audience, establishing genuine brand credibility, and offering you ample opportunities to repurpose your podcast into other shareable content, podcasts also provide more convenient consumption opportunities—walking the dog, working out at the gym, and cooking dinner can’t be done while scrolling Instagram, but they can be completed while listening to a podcast.

These audio-focused experiences also allow your brand to tap into the audio advertising market through podcast ads, which Spotify has notably stated work to get your audience to take action—whether researching your product, connecting with your brand on social media, or talking about your brand with others—a staggering 81% of the time.


e-Learning

In the wake of the pandemic, e-learning has exploded, and I’m not just talking about the need for virtual school. e-learning is “the acquisition of knowledge which takes place through electronic technologies and media,” or more simply, “learning that is enabled electronically.” This includes both video and audio formats, with audio being a key component in any e-learning resource.

Are you using influencer marketing in your strategy, in which the influencer posts a “How To”-style video to demonstrate how to best use your product? Do you work for a SaaS company that requires virtual client onboarding and training? Is your brand creating LinkedIn Learning videos or podcast-style courses to speak on a particular topic?

All of these are examples of e-learning, and all of these are opportunities to use the right brand voice to better connect with your target audience.

Virtual e-learning opportunities can be as short as a few minutes or as long as you’d like, stretching out over numerous modules and several months. e-learning opportunities like the latter are uniquely poised to allow prospects and customers to discover and engage with a brand over a more prolonged period of time. The extended period of discovery, learning and implementation allows your target audience to get to know you in a more in-depth way, which is becoming increasingly important to consumers.

It’s Time to Talk the Talk

Whether it’s virtual assistants, podcasts, e-learning programs, or other types of audio marketing mediums, brands should be incorporating audio into their marketing strategy. This might look like investing in working with a video producer, a curriculum designer, or perhaps most importantly of all, professional voice talent who are able to bring the sounds of your project to life.

In short, if you’re aiming to increase brand awareness, generate more trust in your brand, and increase audience engagement and loyalty, it’s time to create high quality, voice-powered content that can stand the test of time.


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