We’ve seen a number of interface technologies over since the dawn of the PC age, but until now and in one way or another they have all hinged on the screen. No matter how big or how small, consumers have been able to see what they have been looking for or working on, but with the adoption of voice-based digital assistants that are being used to play music, send messages, and shop the screen, at least for now, is more than likely not there. Ever one to follow consumer eyeballs or in this case consumer voices, we are poised to see a change in how marketers and brand companies try to reach would be buyers of their products.
Lord knows I’m not going to fare very well if I’m read a verbal list of multiple items — odds are by the time it gets to the fourth, I’ve already forgotten the first one. Perhaps, it means advertising fees to be listed in the top two? I suspect this could be some of the data analysis Amazon is working on with Alexa.
Research conducted in the US by PwC in February 2018 found that searching for information, playing music, sending messages and shopping were among the activities conducted by large percentages of voice assistant users.
As this reliance on voice-first communications grows, so too does interest among brands. Companies in all industries are experimenting to figure out how these new communication channels can help them interact with their target audiences and build brand engagement in more personalized and frictionless ways.
Voice, however, is unlike anything that’s come before, which is forcing brands to think differently about how they design their campaigns. Rather than using traditional “push” messaging, they must work harder to make brand interactions useful and valuable—or they risk becoming irrelevant.
The biggest change is that voice-first technology requires marketers to design auditory interactions, without screens or keyboards. “When you do a visual search on a desktop or a mobile phone, you’re presented with multiple choices or answers to your query,” said Allen Nance, CMO at Emarsys. “But when you do voice, you’re pretty much getting whatever answer the device—or the company that owns the device—thinks is the right answer.”