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Turning Up Your Brand’s Voice to Reach the Most Advanced Customers

Suspicion towards innovation is not the right precept to follow these days. And as all smart marketers should know by now, you need to be where your customers are heading. Let's talk about digital assistants for a minute

Digital and voice assistants are often the butt of many jokes, which speaks volumes about how we perceive this type of technology. This marketoon by Tom Fishburne makes me laugh every time I put my eyes on it because it’s a good demonstration of how suspicious we all can be toward innovation. We often realize the power it holds but also feel a bit doubtful about the capacity and execution.

This is what’s happening today with digital assistants, that are making their way into our lives – big time. They are in my life too — for example, as a new shiny speaker that sits in my living room. I’m also CEO of a company that works with AI and marketing. This type of software ends back-and-forth information to our AI experts to learn more. And it’s more than my household and team. The number of users is expected to reach 1.8 billion by 2021 – climbing up from 390 million in 2015 – and a Canalys report estimates 56.3 million devices will be sold in 2018 alone. As you can imagine, this is vital for marketing experts to understand and incorporate into their strategies so their clients can achieve a new level of success.

In a world where many American digital consumers now own three digital devices, adding yet another gadget or channel to the mix can feel like overkill. And yet, as marketers, we can’t afford to neglect this trend. ComScore predicts that 50% of all search will come from voice by 2020, and smart speakers are already playing a significant role in an easy, frictionless purchase process. A smart audio report by NPR/Edison states that 31% of people who took the survey added an item to their cart for purchase through their smart speaker, and 22% reordered an item they had previously purchased through it. Finally, 29% of survey-takers researched an item they might want to purchase through a smart speaker.


Long story short: This is where marketers need to be in order to stand a chance at projecting their brand’s voice when their perfect buyer is looking at — or straight up asking their Alexa about — the various options. Let’s explore how marketers are incorporating digital assistants into their marketing strategy.

Personalization Rules

There’s one thing that makes digital assistants unique to every other channel when it comes to personalization: It cuts through the noise. Yes, emails can be personalized, just like paid search and social ads, but they share their real estate with thousands of other pieces of content. When there are 20 personalized messages asking for your attention, which one will consumers go for?

Just like you would rather talk in private with just one person than juggle five conversations at a time, a potential customer isn’t quite craving analysis paralysis. They want things to be simple — so they ask super-specific questions and expect a single answer.

Like any other marketing channel, the key to winning with digital assistants lies in the deep knowledge of the purchase lifecycle customers go through. Delving into the desire to know, go, do and buy that consumers have will deliver success.

Micro-moments are defined as intent-rich moments when a person turns to their device to act on a need through the conversational nature of queries to digital assistants. Analyzing these intent-rich moments and acting upon them might be the gate to showing up as the preferred answer.

Alternatively, you can look at purchase life cycles through the typical purchase funnel. Broad questions at the top of the funnel –the “how” and “what” questions — carry a different weight than those at the bottom of it. These questions often look for prices, reviews, demos, and in-depth comparisons. The good news is that the ever-learning nature of digital assistants catches these stages and serves the answer most suitable for the searcher.

Develop Your Skill

As a marketer looking to connect to your audience with these tools, you want to enable customers to engage with your service or product through their digital assistant. Your app needs to have this multimodal ability, along with cross-platform features suitable for a digital assistant’s skill set. For example, there are now scores of skills programmed into Alexa from major brands. It’s about finding these sets of voice orders that will allow your customers, in a very intuitive way, to use your product and service through their digital assistants. Marketers need to think about a way to simplify the transaction to a few words — or perhaps allow customers to check whether an item is offered at a discount or is back in stock.

Stay In Control 

Don’t forget that retention through digital assistants works so well because consumers want to make life easier for themselves every chance they get. For example, smart fridges that know when we’re running out of food and talk to digital assistants are already out there. Digital assistants will likely broaden their reach across the broad spectrum of consumer needs to anticipate upcoming purchases. Brands will need to keep justifying consumers’ trust with best deals and tailored offers. In any case, as I often mention, human supervision is still needed at these stages of a tool’s development.

Whether by diving into data or by directly speaking with existing and past customers, marketers should always learn what questions and online behavior drives folks toward their brands. Analyze their pain points, and focus on creating content that uses their phrases and makes their lives easier quickly. The better you get at this, the more likely you are to be the digital assistant’s chosen option.

This article was first published on Forbes Communication Council 

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Pini Yakuel

Pini co-founded Optimove in 2009 and has led the company, as its CEO, since its inception. With two decades of experience in analytics-driven customer marketing, business consulting and sales, he is the driving force behind Optimove. His passion for innovative and empowering technologies is what keeps Optimove ahead of the curve. He holds an MSc in Industrial Engineering and Management from Tel Aviv University.