5 Ways for Marketers to Harness the Rise of Voice

by Laura Schierberl

posted on 02-13-2018

With Siri on our phones and Alexa in our living rooms, voice is quickly changing consumer behavior. It’s estimated that voice assistant usage will surge 130 percent this year alone. As we look at the current marketing landscape, it’s not just about clicks and swipes anymore; it’s about recognizing how online and offline behaviors can intersect to create the ideal customer experience.

For businesses in “considered purchase” categories, voice presents a massive opportunity. Their customers typically want to have a conversation after conducting preliminary research online, and are thus well qualified to buy. These conversations collectively generate more than $1 trillion in the U.S. alone.

It’s crucial that brands have visibility into what drives these valuable conversations, how to generate more of them, and how best to meet the customers’ expectations at this critical conversion point. To gain insight, we surveyed over 1,000 U.S. consumers on how they’re interacting with voice technologies. Taking this data into consideration, here’s our advice for marketers and customer experience professionals who are thinking about how to best connect with customers in a voice-first world. For even more, see the infographic below.

1. Connect Digital and Voice Initiatives
49 percent of millennials say they’ve been looking down at their phones less since using a voice assistant.

Traditionally, digital marketing and voice initiatives have been handled separately. Voice is often lumped into e-commerce or customer experience departments with little thought about marketing’s role. But now that more brands are getting into voice experiences, offline conversations and digital marketing efforts should be combined.

With tools like Invoca, you can easily connect offline conversations to digital initiatives. You can view calls and conversation data the same way you view clicks and site traffic. By connecting digital and voice, you can create a more consistent customer experience and drive more revenue.

2. Mine Conversations for New Customer Insights
71 percent of people “feel secure or very secure” giving information over the phone.

You can learn a lot about a person by their click and search history. But you can learn a lot more through a conversation. Voice conversations are rich with data, and AI is being used to uncover more meaningful customer insights.

Here’s how it works — Invoca’s Signal AI can analyze conversations in real time and identify language patterns associated with specific intents and outcomes. For example, it can identify phrases like “requesting a quote” in insurance, or “booking an appointment” in home services, so you can personalize your digital campaigns to reflect what your customers are actually saying. Marketers can also use these insights to improve offline conversions, increase ad spend efficiency, and drive revenue.

3. Customize the Conversion Experience
52 percent of communication with businesses in the next two years will be through voice.

Consumers want more personalized experiences. Whether they’re answering voice prompts or speaking to a customer service agent, consumers want to be heard and they want their answers to improve their customer experience. Voice is a great way to nurture customer relationships and build trust throughout the customer journey.

For example, you can use data from their digital journey and voice conversations to connect them with the most appropriate representative. Or you can create a seamless transition from a voice assistant to a live agent, if needed. It’s all about creating a customer experience that matches the individual and their needs.

4. Optimize Your Search Strategy for Voice
By 2020, it’s estimated that 50 percent of searches will happen by voice.

It’s time to rethink your search strategy for mobile. Mobile is the #1 call driver, and you need to understand that there is a difference between digital and voice keywords for search. With voice search, the search terms are longer and more conversational and they often come in the form of questions.

To make your search strategy voice friendly, brainstorm questions that would be relevant to your business, product, or service. Think of multiple ways to ask the same question. And remember to take into account intent and context.

5. Rethink Consumer Targeting
24 percent say they make more calls to businesses now that they have a voice assistant.

Consumers who call are more likely to complete a purchase than those who don’t call. In most cases, callers have done their research and by the time they call, they’re ready to buy. How do you target customers who are ready to talk? The best way is to feed your Invoca data into your DMP or Facebook Ads Manager and retarget audiences that are most likely to call.

The customer experience is going through a major shift. A decade ago, marketers had to make the transition to smartphones, and now the next generation of marketers is tackling the challenges of voice. Voice isn’t going away, and neither is digital. Now is the time to combine marketing efforts to create one cohesive, customized customer experience.

Image credited to Invoca.com

Topics: Digital Transformation, Personalization

Products: Experience Cloud