Voice & VR the next Marketing challenges?

voice-will-be-the-next-marketing-big-thing

Photo by Tobias Dziuba from Pexels

Voice & VR the next Marketing challenges? This post is inspired by a long and intense (but constructive) dialogue we’ve had at a company workshop and what companies must do to evolve and improve their digital Marketing & PR efforts. The key take-out of this blog post is that technologies evolve, but not all companies and professionals are ready to adopt and adapt to Change.

Voice & VR the next Marketing challenges?

This post is inspired by a long and intense (but constructive) dialogue we’ve had at a company workshop, discussing with Managers what Marketers must do to evolve and improve their digital external outreach efforts.

The key take-out of this blog post is that while technologies evolve, not all companies and professionals are ready to adopt and adapt to Transformation and Change.

Voice… As consumers, we’re all switching towards a hands-free digital world. The mobile (old-term: phones!) devices now being introduced to the market are equipped with the latest Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology like Honor, that will allow us much sooner to make complete searches with voice rather than typing in, among other things. More predictions:

  • 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020” – comscore
  • About 30% of searches will be done without a screen by 2020” – Mediapost

Some believe that Voice is an “old thing”

No, it’s not! Voice (as once were the mobile apps) will bring Growth opportunities for new (voice-enabled) services. Voice activation will help companies develop easier access points, and will help consumers feel easiness and convenience big-time! A study from Google indicates that the opportunity is quite vast.

I’m sure that voice-based applications will give us faster, and more desired outputs. This paradigm-shifting technology can be delivered through hardware like voice-enabled speakers, allowing a near frictionless Brand and Service experience. From searching the internet, up to activating your fridge or oven.

Voice-enabled devices, and the AI that powers them are pervasive technologies that will simplify our everyday lives. Natural voice, activate service, search, buy, confirm, and yes – pay!

We’re ready, even if we don’t think of it

The number of U.S households with voice-enabled speakers is growing and as TechCrunch reported earlier this year, 47.3 million U.S. adults have access to a smart speaker. In Europe, we have a bit of delay, but we’ll catch-up.

Any device whose actions are derived from our voice will save us time and will allow Brands to engage with customers more quickly than ever – it’s not like having to stay up to date with the latest social networks or apps.

Amazon is already expanding Alexa’s presence in-car, in-home

Amazon, besides becoming an integral player in the connected economy, it already tries to expand Alexa’s presence in the car and in the connected home. Be sure, that whenever you read such news, many companies already have started working to “comply” with their devices and solutions.

Voice will be the connector for better customer experiences. This is why Amazon brings Echo speakers into the connected cars. This is also why the company has announced its work on domestic robots. What a world ahead!

Voice will also change the SEO

Voice searches will be very different from their text-based current. When making a voice command, instead of using specific (key-) words, we will use natural language, as we do in real life. The concept: “I want a paediatrician for fever on X, near area X, for around 17:00 hours“, or something close to that, will be a new reality. Imagine how hard it will be for leisure propositions and products …to be found!

Because of this coming massive trend, and although voice assistants are still developing …at least, for the moment (iOS Siri, Google Home, Alexa, etc.), SEO will definitely change.

Voice SEO will come-out “big-time”

Voice and devices will rise as the newer step of digital service models. You see, voice (telling) is much easier than typing. Even the fastest typist, types slower than we speak. On average, humans speak 150 words at the same time, it would take them to type 40.

Voice SEO has an enormous growth space. According to the Global Web Index, at least 325,8 million people used voice control for their gadgets in January 2018. That is, in fact, 10% of the entire online population.

The hands-free insight has been studied for long by many Tech giants, seeing it as a great opportunity for increasing usage, affinity, and friendly predisposition to new (business/access) models. Check Senstone’s Voice Recording Is The New Typing

The new Voice SEO prerequisites

  1. Semantic search: since Google knows interests, areas, and preferences it means that semantic search knows that we might be searching for a service close to the specific location we’re in. People will be even more conversational with the voice searches, so you should optimize Content for a variety of (not-one-keyword-only anymore) long-tail keywords.
  2. We will write content that “mirrors” the Customers: yes, we will write as if we copy the tone, voice, and style of our Customer’s language. Tough! We need to proactively research this
  3. Length of queries: that’s a real challenge …text-based searches are normally approximately 2 to 3 words long, while voice-ones can be (let’s say) 10 words
  4. Question-based searches: we can’t really predict how the platforms will solve this, but aside from voice searches being longer, might come in the form of a question. Possibly, we should all prepare to have keywords in question format as part of our Content strategy.
  5. Mobile-first website will be the only way: loads quickly, optimized for mobile (UX style) usage, fewer copies, otherwise, people will bounce away
  6. Less is More: absolute priority to have easy to follow UX, navigation, and fast to read Content (keyword-empowered)
  7. Brand names will need to pass the ..radio test (that’s the toughest for local brands and local languages…. by radio test, we refer to people being able to hear the brand name, easy and clear, as on the radio). You need a pronounceable brand…
  8. Directories will become even more important for local businesses. You will need to optimize your Google My Business listing (details, photos, reviews), to survive voice search (the same will happen for Bing on Microsoft devices).
  9. As voice searches often come in the form of a question, they reveal the level of intent the user has. As a marketer, it’s important to identify these high-value questions and optimize content accordingly. Using natural language in these circumstances is more important than ever as the more your keywords match with consumer searches, the higher you’ll rank.

You realize that all these technologies will change rapidly Customer expectations and the Marketing delivery models. There are three main characteristics of voice search queries, according to Google:

  • They are more likely to be about an on-the-go topic.
  • They most likely will not deal with sensitive information (hope they won’t).
  • They generally do not include searches for websites that will require the user to have significant interaction (that will leave out who exactly?).

Voice brings many challenges to Marketing & PR

The (voice) future of SEO in natural language processing, means we should plan ahead; learn more; constantly be trained/updated for it and its consequences. Mobile apps made it possible for Marketers to bring a brand’s experience directly into consumers’ hands. Want to order lunch? Need a new quote? Balance your finances? Post your CV? There’s an app for everything…

Voice marketing will make it possible to have similar (possibly better!) experiences as mobile apps, but Marketers (especially B2B teams that are less …digital…) should prepare and invest in this direction:

  • Continuous training for your team
  • Check and prepare your 3-year plans for this coming and growing marketing speciality
  • Have aside a ready Strategy to scale in all company’s touchpoints
  • Investigate what kind of Voice applications you will need, across voice-enabled channels
  • Develop and test solutions (user-testing)
  • Start promoting (step by step) your voice application through influencers and in own, paid, earned media
  • More demand for strategically effective Content
  • Measure and optimize your plans (with on-going tests)

Specifically for B2B / Services (education, health, ordering, logistics, courier and shop owners), the possible challenges are:

  • Digital presence of the company and its teams – without a proper, 360o profile, you’re out
  • Predict and plan for all voice search questions of a prospect consumer (insurance, legal, food, deliveries, etc)
  • Invest time in clear/loud spelling (local language), longer keywords, and clear branding
  • Prepare for Voice search that can now interpret queries based on a larger context and geolocation
  • Publish all company data (telephones, directions, opening hours, and every little detail) – in many countries you still see companies’ missing info
  • With the continued growth of Instagram and Facebook, it’s easier for consumers to share their experiences — and for Companies / Brands / Retailers to join the conversation
  • (same…) More demand for strategically effective Content

Virtual reality is the ‘ultimate empathy machine.’ These experiences are more than documentaries. They’re opportunities to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.

Chris Milk

borrowmybrain-VR-pixab

Will voice enrich Brand experiences along VR?

The answer is yes! If you think what’s going on with Video consumption on digital channels right now (that prepares for more immersive experiences), you will agree with us.

Virtual reality (or any augmented format), especially in the shopping, is around the corner. Immersive shopping experiences will be used wide, no matter the country, or the segment. Why? First, consumers (and digital natives) will use it more, along with their tech usage patterns. Secondly, CMOs, brand managers and event planners alike worldwide are putting more emphasis on in-person brand experiences.

Let’s be cynical: Consumers will use headsets or Augmented reality, to get information (prices, sizes, collections) but more importantly to live more productive and low-cost experiences (for the business-side).

The use of VR in industries

Samsung, Apple, and Facebook have all publicly declared that VR / AR is their top priority, but the technology must demonetize before we can expect mass adoption. Still, tech companies are in the investment / design / test phase, until they find the optimum of their revenue and service model. Facebook has announced some new features already coming to Messenger.

The industries of “adoption”

  • All education formats
  • Support centres
  • Tourism / Food / City destinations / Museums
  • Storytelling in e-Shops, Concept stores

…until we reach the real-Avatar era… With the continued growth of social media platforms savvy brands and retailers have started taking advantage of this by pulling customer pictures onto their websites and into their social feeds. This practice is called visual commerce and it enriches the customer experience by giving shoppers an unvarnished, authentic look at what products look like in the real world.

For brands and retailers, the promise is strong: Your story, brought to life by your customers unfiltered. One of retailers’ top priorities is to figure out how to gain an edge over Amazon. To do this, many retailers are attempting to differentiate themselves by creating highly curated experiences that combine the personal feel of in-store shopping with the convenience of online portals.

Haptics next…

NeuroDigital, in partnership with Prague’s National Gallery, has created VR objects of famous statues that can be felt with the company’s haptic feedback gloves. When a person touches the object in virtual space, vibrations are sent via actuators in the glove. For the blind and visually impaired, these actuators can be switched or tuned based on their preferred means of “seeing,” whether by palm, fingertips or hand.

Much of the focus in VR of the last two to three years has been on the audio-visual aspects. Haptics enables a new dimension in communication and (feeling) experience. Where can you use this in your business to explain, illustrate, or communicate in new ways or to new audiences? Special audiences, highly-priced B2B/manufacturing products and solutions.

Closing

We live in interesting times with great opportunities ahead. But the underlying story of all these changes is if we all, companies, brand, marketing teams, and business people are ready to adopt and adapt. Practically speaking, if we will be trained, flexible, and adaptive to cater for the evolution and the (really) new Customer service needs.

Are we? Will we be?

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