TECHNOLOGY
How Brands Can Turn the Volume Up on Voice Channel Marketing
By Clodagh Hurrell
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Voice technology has been around for a long time, but in recent years we have seen a dramatic increase in its usability and developments. 
 

This technology changes the relationship between us and our digital devices, as a computer comes in direct communication with the user. It helps us talk to our devices, which makes them more intelligent and responsive. Computers are having to think like humans and engage with us in a way that resembles how we interact with each other. 
 
Smartphones, smart speakers, TVs, watches, home devices, even cars are no longer isolated electronic devices, but have become fully integrated into the voice technology ecosystem to enhance our lives in myriad ways. The adoption of these technologies shows the potential for a marketing revolution that can virtually tap into this transitioning consumer behaviour at every touchpoint of the customer journey. The latest studies indicate 34% of UK homes have at least a smart speaker.
 


 
Voice as a New Marketing Channel
Voice marketing is no different than any other form of content marketing. Brands should utilise it to solve their customers’ problems and answer their pressing questions. The personal nature of voice provides an opportunity to amplify consumer engagement, allowing for the creation of new and unique experienced for both the consumer and the brand. 
 
Several brands have developed voice apps for UK customers to shop with Alexa. For example, Ocado allows users to buy groceries, and Domino’s, Pizza Hut, and Papa John’s are also always ready to engage in conversation about their pizza offers. UK consumers can also choose their favourite beverage with the evocation phrase ‘Alexa, tell Starbucks it’s coffee time’. 


Large brands are well aware voice is an important marketing channel, with more than 71% of these brand marketers rating it as significantly or extremely important in the future of marketing. 
 
But what does this mean for brands? With a large portion of the UK population now aware of smart speakers and interacting with the technology many times a day, voice is no longer a novelty—it’s essential to staying competitive, and the benefits are significant and long-term. 
 
Enhanced Customer Experience 
Voice commerce changes the customer's interactions with your business, allowing brands to offer a seamless experience to customers without any need to imply important resources for the success of the process. 
Voice search is far better than typing when it comes to:
    •    Checking directions 
    •    Verifying answers to your question 
    •    Carrying out basic research 
    •    Confirming breaking news 
 
Brands have launched a variety of apps in 2020, with ‘answer questions’ being the most important reason to develop the app (65%). The ability to answer questions is also a powerful way to connect to customers and deflect their attention from problematic touchpoints, such as call centres.
 


 
Personalised Journeys 
It is important that data capture features are considered in order to deliver experiences that are relevant to customers. Voice can deliver 50% more marketing permissions than any other channel. It is important that brands are transparent about data capturing and personal preferences to reassure consumers about privacy concerns. Data exchange is attractive when users see personal benefits. 41% prefer to exchange personal data for free services rather than pay for those services to safeguard their data.
 
Amplified Sales Opportunities
A voice app can transform the way a brand interacts with their consumers, and it can help drive unexpected positive results. Brand marketers and agencies should carefully consider the value of the three most important factors when creating a voice app: data capture, increase loyalty, and sales. It is vital to start with simple, quality engagement to build rapport with a target audience.

 


Voice technology will increasingly influence marketing in the years to come, so a presence in voice ensures your marketing strategy reaches the increasing number of consumers who prefer to engage with a brand aurally. Brands who develop a voice strategy now can gradually strategize their entry into this channel as the competition and consumer interest still evolves. 
 
 
About Clodagh Hurrell 
Clodagh has more than twenty years’ experience in brand and marketing communications having begun her career in 1997. She joined SGK in 2008 and has held several roles, most recently in business development. Clodagh is a highly motivated, results driven, B2B sales & marketing leader with an excellent and proven track record of winning, nurturing and developing business and strong client relationships in a consultative and solution-based approach, helping organisations of all sizes meet and exceed their business objectives. She has extensive experience in the Entertainment, Consumer Packaged Goods, Beauty & Cosmetics and Life Sciences sectors.