By: Lindsey Hogan, Senior Strategist
Time to Read: 4 minutes
Brandemonium in Cincinnati had an amazing turnout as many of the biggest brands and agencies came together to talk about the continuous transformation of branding and how brands can become industry leaders.
The five days were an intense, deep dive into the evolution of branding and how it can benefit business-to-consumer and business-to-business brands. One particular area of focus was how to use emerging technology, specifically the rise of voice shopping.
Here are the five key learnings brand marketers need to remember to play and win in voice shopping:
1. The main battleground is smart speakers, but mobile is the future.
Almost half of all Americans use a voice assistant, and about half of those assistants are mobile. Consumer options for voice assistants are vast with every major tech company having skin in the game.
The Mars Agency made it clear that engaging on these platforms will be imperative moving forward as the number of voice searches multiples. Though, until capabilities on mobile become more prominent, marketers should focus on the major market share players’ smart speakers, such as Google, Samsung, Apple and Amazon.
2. Voice search engine optimization growth is key.
The world of VSEO is a whole new ballgame, and in the immortal words of Ricky Bobby, “If you’re not first, you’re last.” With SEO, if your brand ranks on the first page, you have valuable consumer visibility. However, with VSEO, your brand is only recommended if deemed the [one] answer most relevant to the consumer’s question. For example, the consumer may ask where to buy toilet paper. The voice assistant will respond with the one answer/brand it feels best fits the question.
If you’re not currently ranking, don’t worry—there are ways to achieve higher VSEO that could also increase your SEO. For starters, optimize your web content on your ecommerce so it pulls through in VSEO as well as SEO. Another opportunity is to ensure your product is an Amazon choice product in your category.
3. Put out voice offers and deals.
Currently through Alexa, any offer you make will be available to the consumer. Originally there were daily paid voice-exclusive offers, but this is no longer offered to brands. So any offer you make will be available.
This opportunity should be prevalent in 2019 and is a great way to passively engage with your audience, while also dipping your toe in the water of voice shopping.
4. Create a multipurpose branded voice app.
Even with the growth of branded Alexa apps and with Google stores starting to take a greater trajectory, there’s still a multitude of white space opportunity. When approaching the task of creating a voice app, make sure to consider the four main types of shopping Skills or Actions and align with your marketing goals, brand pillars and audience needs. The four categories are: inspiration (e.g., recipes from CPG brands), education (e.g., Johnnie Walker whisky history), selection (e.g., Eucerin recommendation), ordering (e.g., Domino's ordering).
Beyond just white space opportunity, brands are able to build an Alexa Skill or Google Action that can also serve other marketing efforts. One example of this is creating an Alexa Skill that is conversational, then repurposing it to be applied to a chatbot application—providing marketing functionality and value.
5. Start now.
Voice shopping platforms are going to start rewarding brands that create voice apps and create relevance in their categories. As the value of voice shopping grows, being an early adopter will become a huge benefit to brands when it comes to search. In fact, there seem to be many parallels from the trajectory of voice shopping to the emergence of branded content and branded content strategies.
Remember to always create mindfully, be purposeful and provide utility. Work towards providing full-funnel experiences that delight and provide experience for your consumers. And of course, don’t forget to keep your brand’s broader “conversational commerce” strategy in mind.
An innovation leader from The Mars Agency drove home the value of voice shopping. They stressed how joining the voice marketing arena now will pay dividends in the future, as voice shopping becomes the way the majority of people are searching. The potential impact of voice goes beyond our homes and pockets to in-store deployment. Voice apps will soon be helping us choose which whisky suits our budget or which cosmetic best delivers the type of look we are trying to achieve. The possibilities of emerging technology are endless, and we’ve only seen a glimpse into the future.