The arrival of virtual assistants has opened a range of opportunities for many brands that have decided to create voice marketing strategies. Therefore, we are not talking about a future trend, but rather present, and even called one of the most powerful of 2020.
It is one of the segments with the greatest projection of growth within artificial intelligence and the Internet of things. A tool that is changing the way companies have to interact with the consumer.
Years ago they were the Interactive Voice Response (IVR), years later the chats and the social networks, and now the intelligent virtual assistants are breaking through to increase the channels through which the clients access corporate services in the digital era. Thanks to the success of personal virtual assistants such as Siri, Apple’s flagship voice created in 2007 for IPhone, users have stopped seeing the machine as a cold and distant entity to be willing to engage in conversations.
Voice Marketing Strategies
Given the rise of this technology, we cannot leave it behind in our marketing plans. Although it is still a pending task for many sectors, you can now find the opportunities presented by voice marketing with good research and implementation of tests or trials.
Before you start, you have to determine what the reasons to invest in this technology are. Although the penetration of digital assistants and smart speakers has reached around 50% in some markets, a general plan that works with safe results has not yet been established. Despite the lack of a perfect recipe, the positive results could exceed expectations given the high degree of experimentation involved in addressing this communicative channel.
In the consumer journey, it will be key to know where the customer interacts with voice technologies such as digital assistants to meet their needs. Thus, the channel manages to enrich the general marketing strategy and does not stay in one more way to reuse content and actions made for other communications.
In this sense, search optimization is one of the best ways to start your voice marketing strategy. Unlike online search engines, digital assistants only show one result per search. In addition, the results may vary among digital assistants, which needs an active approach to optimization. Some traditional SEO techniques such as speeding up your web page loading or using keywords and knowing key contexts also work in voice search. Above all, optimization in the field of voice marketing is not yet consolidated with specific techniques and SEO work can be boosted to integrate it into the current strategy.
On the other hand, digital assistants as a new channel of communication with the client offer the opportunity to build innovative and impactful content. According to an Accenture report, 3 out of 4 smart speaker users use their “smartphone” less. The loyalty in the use of these technologies, especially at home, helps define the marketing strategy voice. If it really adds value, the creation of “skills” or “actions”, applications for Google and Amazon systems, can be integral to your strategy.
To know the context of your consumer and in what decisions the digital assistant in your home consults, they have to define the experience of your applications in this channel. We must also ensure that the content is suitable for use or find new ways of using vocal technology. An example of this is the insurance startup Hippo has created a tool for Alexa speakers for users who go on vacation: the speaker randomly issues daily conversations to pretend the house is occupied.
A study by Forbes reveals that, currently, 72% of executives, 42% of consumers and 53% of millennials only use virtual assistants. This great change has made the voice resurface as a preferred method of communication for consumers, according to the US Customer Contact West hub.
Therefore, virtual assistants have been placed in the spotlight of companies that are committed to innovation and new ways of interacting with the customer. According to some forecasts, 78% of brands expect to use virtual reality for their customer services already in 2020.
The technical evolution and natural language processing (PLN) of virtual assistants has advanced towards voice recognition and bi-directionality, the main difference compared to chatbots. This factor has changed the landscape radically and represents a challenge for the 4.0 customer service industry.
“The big difference is that we are going to feel that we are not talking to a machine, “explains Pablo Medrano, Internet Master of Things professor at the Valley. «It is a personalization so developed that it has not existed until now and that is based on fundamental aspects such as empathy to talk with the client. You can analyze the mood of the client and act accordingly, “he adds. The range of application possibilities is also very wide, as it can benefit many sectors and will be both an important source for collecting user information.
However, there is still much to do in the field of natural language processing learning that virtual assistants use and their application to sectors such as customer service. Despite the progress, several studies show that users behave very differently with virtual agents than they do with humans.
«For example, we are more impatient and tolerate fewer mistakes when we are in front of a machine. Virtual agents are, and will continue to be, limited in what they can understand and do. Therefore, if we want to provide a useful service, it is crucial to be able to detect emotions and react intelligently, ”says the an expert.
In front of chatbots, intelligent virtual assistants employ dynamic dialogues, capable of understanding the intention of the clients, regardless of the order in which the data is provided. «I prefer to call them personal assistants instead of virtual ones, since the difference compared to other virtual tools is that they establish a very direct relationship with the person. It is no longer an automatic task. The new assistants, thanks to Artificial Intelligence (AI), will tend to look more and more like people, to have normal conversations from a context analysis, “explains Susan Hall of The Valley.
The Race has Begun…
Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant already speak Spanish. Long ago these names may sound distant, but the personal virtual assistants of Apple, Amazon and Google, are already part of the daily lives of millions of citizens and move towards connection with other devices such as Home Assistants, Smart speakers, and conversational platforms. One of the advantages of intelligent virtual assistants, together with their 24/7 availability and the immediacy in the response, is precisely that they can communicate in multiple languages, which will require a change of technical profiles in services such as customer service.
We are currently experiencing an emerging phase in which large companies are creating their own intelligent virtual assistant such as Alexa (Amazon, 2014), Cortana (Microsoft, 2014), Google Assistant (Google, 2016) or Bixby (Samsung). But this is only the beginning. Now is when “war begins,” experts warn. The era of the click will already seem dated. It seems that now the queen will be the voice.
As stated by the creator of Siri, Adam Cheyer, “the challenge is to open the creation of assistants to developers around the world. Now every big company is developing theirs: Apple, Samsung and Google are investing billions of dollars in this field. Once they open (opensource) and each developer can provide content, technology and capabilities, voice assistants can do many more things for users, and they will do better.
In the end, voice marketing is a land that is not yet exploited given the growing state of the market. But the changes come fast and the adoption of this technology increases every year strongly. In order not to be left behind, you have to start defining your strategy to take advantage of this new interactive communication channel.