Smart speaker owners want to hear from their favorite brands, but you'll have to get creative to reach them. The smart speaker industry is growing exponentially. TechCrunch reports that 146.9 million devices were sold globally in 2019, which is up 70% from the previous year.
As voice-activated devices and searches become more prevalent, it’s time to make voice marketing a primary piece of your advertising.
Voice technology is everywhere right now — on every smartphone, smart speaker, and smart anything you can buy. While many users solely take advantage of voice-activated native apps, like music players and alarms, more people are using voice to make purchases, ask general questions, and place calls.
In fact, a global strategy consulting firm OC&C projects that $40 billion in voice-enabled purchases will occur in 2022, which is a significant increase from the $2 billion in sales in 2018.
Does this shift mean you should focus your strategy on voice marketing technology? Not exactly, but you should begin incorporating it into your marketing strategy and using it in ways that best benefit your business.
Identifying ways your brand can use voice marketing to further its interests is vital to finding success at the forefront of this technology.
Voice is too big to ignore
The first thing your brand should recognize is that voice-activated technology isn’t going anywhere. It makes people’s lives easier and, so they are likely to continue using it well into the future.
Therefore, it’s in your brand’s best interests to apply it in some way, as potential customers want to access your goods and services through their voice-activated smart devices.
But how far should you go?
That depends on how seriously you take the data.
An estimate by Forrester Research suggests that 50% of American households will have at least one smart speaker by 2022. If half of the country is counting on this technology, shouldn’t you get involved?
On the other hand, 50% of the country won’t have a smart speaker by 2022, so you don’t want to ignore them.
Finding a balance between voice-activated technology and more traditional forms of advertising is the key, especially as the marketing industry tries to figure out exactly how voice will work moving forward.
Some problems with voice technology
Despite the numbers pointing to it being a good idea to increase your usage of voice-activated marketing, there are some issues to consider.
For starters, since the technology is relatively new, no one really knows how far it can go and how useful it will be to marketers. Is voice-marketing only useful when repurposing content that you already have on your website? Does it have a use outside of that?
These questions will help determine how much growth the voice-activated advertising industry experiences, as marketers will certainly want more engagement options in the future.
There’s also the issue of the suppliers of voice devices. When you invest in voice marketing, you’re dependent on Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon, as they’re the ones rolling out voice technology and deciding how it works. In the future, those tech vendors could change their course and make it more difficult for brands to reach users, much like social media platforms restricted organic reach when they introduced paid promotion.
This uncertainty is one reason some businesses are hesitant to jump right into voice-activated marketing, instead choosing to experiment on the outskirts of the technology.
A solution to voice marketing’s problems
There is another way to use voice technology that moves away from repurposing content on your website. Instead, you can combine your offline marketing collateral, such as direct mail, radio spots, and billboards, with voice-activated marketing.
In doing so, you prevent Google and Amazon from having too much power over your success because you’ll be less reliant on their search algorithms or interface features to bring customers to your voice marketing.
In traditional online marketing, you create content that is ranked by Google and other search engines based on its relevance to the user. When Google changes course, it can hinder or even ruin your marketing efforts by moving you down in the rankings. Bypassing the search engines and using offline marketing helps avoid this issue.
John Trimble, chief revenue officer of Pandora, recently wrote, “Radio ads have been around since the days of Marconi, but listeners to this day still can’t respond to an ad the way an Alexa user can interact directly with the device.”
This is a persistent issue that marketers have grappled with for years. The easier it is for the target audience to respond to your ad, the higher conversion rates and return on investment will be. What if your audience could simply respond by asking their smart devices — verbally — to send more information?
Respond Fast has developed a way for listeners, readers, and anyone who encounters offline advertising to do just that. With a Voice Activated Call to Action (VACTA) spoken to the nearest voice-activated device, audiences can interact directly with your brand in a way that Trimble didn’t believe was possible.
Through this technology, users see or hear a VACTA with an offer code via offline advertising that they can speak into their smart devices to receive a text offer to access later. How would that work for your brand? Contact Respond Fast to start your first voice-response campaign for free.