6 Ways To Master Marketing In A World Of Siri And Alexa
A sea-change is coming in how consumers engage with content, commerce and advertising, driven in large part by the rapid growth in AI-enabled home speakers. This category got another boost with Apple’s announcement of its HomePod, and again more recently as Android founder Andy Rubin announced his entry with Essential Home.
The battle for space on the kitchen counter and the coffee table will be intense. Consumers will likely double-down on the first provider they choose and fill the house with compatible devices. So the intense scramble for that critical first position is expected to drive close to 33 million devices in homes by the end of this year.
As capabilities and AI-enabled functionality blossom, it’s easy to imagine home speakers eventually becoming as common as the microwave. These new companions will drive a host of new behaviors that marketers will need to understand and accommodate. For one, Gartner predicts that by 2020, 30% of consumer browsing sessions will be voice conducted. Another change will likely be a significant increase in the amount of audio entertainment consumed through these devices. If Siriux/XM was Radio 2.0, we’re now moving into Radio 3.0 and new dynamics in how people consume information, entertainment and advertising.
One positive for marketers is that in a world where ad-blocking has become a significant issue, it appears that there is still a positive place for brand messages in an audio world. An IAB study showed that 65% of podcast listeners are more likely to purchase a product they learned about from a podcast. The study also showed that, all things being equal, 60% of consumers would rather purchase a brand that advertised on their favorite podcasts. The growth of audio content provides a rich opportunity for marketers to engage and persuade without annoying and alienating — if done right.
An increasingly audio world will present new challenges and force marketers to rewrite their playbooks. Similar to the way they needed to pivot to a mobile-first mentality, here are some of the ways marketers will need to up their game to engage with an audio-often consumer:
Think micro-moments. These are the new realities of the multi-tasking, multi-device consumer — those little windows of opportunity to engage usefully before they flit on to the next thing. Audio will provide an effective medium for unobtrusively leveraging those narrow apertures. Marketers will need to efficiently add value by understanding what the consumer wants to do/know/go/buy in these micro-moments, and find the appropriate intersection with their brand.
Build audio memory structures. Research has clearly demonstrated that consumers are less prone to remember audio-only messages vs. audio-visual stimuli. So minute for minute, audio marketing needs to work harder to reinforce and build upon brand assets that can be aurally conveyed. Music, sound effects, branded tones and voice talent will need to be strategically used to help drive lasting memories.
Re-focus on language. Without being able to leverage enticing product shots, engaging settings and other eye candy, the burden of the marketing agenda will fall largely on the script. Marketers will need to re-master the art of crafting memorable language, creating mental images through words and generating emotional response without the aid of the camera.
Re-think search. In a voice-response environment, consumers will pose their questions in more natural, conversational language than they would when typing at a keyboard. Brands will need to tune their keyword strategies as well as their content to best address this more natural form of dialogue. Even more challenging will be conceiving the effective “audio landing page” — the place consumers go when they want to “click” on the ad.
Be contextually creative. One beauty of this new medium is the dramatically lower cost of producing marketing assets. This will enable marketers to develop many more creative executions in order to be contextually relevant. Designing thousands of micro-tests to discover leverage points will be cheap and easy. Recent examples of on-the-fly video creation, like the Tennessee Vacation Planner, may point the way to real-time creation of bespoke audio content.
Grapple with new privacy questions. These home devices will be capable of generating volumes of new data about the consumer’s context: who is in the room; who else speaks and reacts during the interaction; what mood is suggested by tone of voice and language; perhaps even insight into the status of other home devices. While this data provides interesting targeting opportunities, it also raises a host of new ethical and privacy questions that will need to be addressed.
Life seems to move in perpetual cycles. What was old and tired returns as retro and cool, like the dreaded bell-bottom jean, or millennials discovering the Rolling Stones. Decades after the Golden Age of radio was eclipsed by television, we’re now returning to a world where we’ll gather around a (much cooler) device and share an experience of listening to stories. It’s a great opportunity for marketers, and a good excuse to have a chat with a grey-haired, silver-tongued veteran of old-school radio copywriting.
What other new moves do you see for marketing in a world of Alexa, Siri, Cortana and friends? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Originally posted on FORBES.
Marketing strategies to help your team get inspired to make bold moves. Join me.