One of the most exciting technologies being developed and improved upon for marketing purposes is the human voice. The technology already exists, and today, you can dictate full documents, presentations and complete, accurate online searches using only your vocal cords.
This technology is likely to bring forth a lot of change to our lives, and as marketeers, this brings great opportunities and several challenges.
Some claim that over 50% of all online marketing will be based on voice and most see this development mainly within ecommerce and on-the-go searches. Thirsty? Beep – a celebrity tells you that there are refreshing beverages 2min away around the next corner. Have a headache? Beep – a famous doctor tells you that there is a pharmacy 100 meters in front of you. Tell the search engine that you are looking for a red t-shirt made of cotton, and it shows you long lists while a voice asks you for size- location- and price specification.
But it does not stop there. Voice assistants are becoming embedded in everything from your microwave to your car. And smart speakers are being designed to be connected to other components in your home or intersect with your online activity. Why not give your microwave voice instructions about breakfast search on the way to work, and once you pick up your phone, it has done the search and matched your travel to work with suitable places for breakfast, giving you price and standard. The next morning, you see a banner on your fridge telling you about a special offer for breakfast along the same route.
As a marketeer, would you use that banner on the fridge mentioned above? Or perhaps a voice coming from the computer reading that wonderful breakfast option your client or employer offers? The opportunities are almost endless.
The biggest challenge is likely to be that we need to be cautious about voice advertising as marketeers since it is more intrusive and irritating than text-based or visual ads. We want to inform, and both make people’s lives easier and facilitate meetings between companies and clients to create win-win-win situations, but that also means we do not want to irritate people and pester them with annoying voices from every apparatus. Demographic targeting and remarketing, depending on laws, will likely be very important tools, but since we are entering this new situation, we are also likely to face some trial-and-error.
Another challenge is the payment model to be used. Can the charge be cost-per-consent? Or cost-per-voice-instruction? This means it is not only the marketeers that need to reinvent themselves, but also the big platforms such as Google, Facebook, eBay etc. need to come up with good tools, good billing models, and find the right pricing, and this process may take some time, but that is no reason for you to not plan, read, or already now produce with good marketing plans based on voice searches.
Our take on this is that business ends when you stop dreaming; hope of earnings ends when you stop believing; and perfection ends when you stop. As a marketeer, you cannot pass up the opportunity to jump on the voice bandwagon. Our advice to you all is to read and learn and think of what works best for you. Voice search is already here, and there is no real limit on what your business can accomplish with this new reality – except for the lack of forward-moving momentum and the limits you put on yourself.