Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Marketing with Alexa (and other smart speakers)

Artificial intelligence has made its splash debut—and clearly, it’s here to stay. Given the popularity of voice-activated speakers like Amazon Alexa and Apple’s new HomePod, most of us are familiar with the power and influence of AI technology.  

One in six Americans own a voice-controlled smart speaker (up 128% from January 2017, according to an Edison Research poll). And more than half (57%) of smart speaker owners have used the devices to complete a purchase. Clearly, these smart speakers and similar devices hold enormous opportunities and implications for marketing.

The key to successful marketing lies in the ability to deliver the right message, to the right audience, at the right time, using the right channels—and AI can drive that process. The intuitive, voice-activated software gives us smarter searches; more personal, targeted touches; and refined, more relevant content delivery.

Because most owners use their smart speakers for voice searches, the devices greatly increase the importance of voice search optimization and audio content marketing. Before you jump in, first do your research to find out if your target audience is using these AI devices: Learn what questions they ask and how they interact with their speakers.

Next, it’s important to optimize your content so that they can find it: Because most people use questions to search using their smart speakers, research what the most common questions are for your industry or product line. Include those key words and phrases in your online content (website, Facebook page, blog, etc.)
After you align your messaging, how do you use that smart-speaker-optimized marketing content to promote your brand? Here’s a few ideas:  
  • Advertise targeted content during daily flash briefings
  • Establish your brand as a thought leader regarding topics relevant to your customers by releasing podcasts
  • Place ads on Spotify or Pandora: Sixty-eight percent of users listen to music on their smart speakers
Many industry experts believe that as technology advances, AI will continue to manage the rote mechanics of marketing, making sense of big data and providing the analytics that we need to make more meaningful customer connections, while leaving the creative content work for us humans. 
One thing we know for sure: This is only the beginning. It will be exciting to see where AI takes us.
All the best,
Tim Connor

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