As marketers, we are always looking ahead to anticipate trends in the marketplace. In today’s hyper-competitive economy, the ability to grab consumers’ attention is under constant attack. With the incessant barrage of emails, texts and social media noise, there’s no place to hide unless you unplug completely—the noise even comes home with us.
What do we mean by home? The proliferation of voice-activated commands on the iPhone Siri platform started it all. In April 2015, Amazon unveiled Alexa. Google followed soon after by launching its Google Home product line in November 2016. Over the past 12-18 months, the rate of adoption and usage of voice-activated technology has increased sharply. Experts predict it will skyrocket in the near future.
It’s not hard to figure out that millennials are leading this charge. They’ve grown up with mobile technology and voice-activated commands (thanks to the iPhone and Siri, which launched nearly a decade ago). A survey conducted by AppDynamics found that 84 percent of millennials rely on voice assistance: 71 percent report using it daily and 46 percent turn to their voice assistant at least five times a day. It’s not just the youngest generation using voice technology, though. Gen Xers and Baby Boomers are using the power of their voice to retrieve information and automate their homes.
The voice movement also matters to businesses. Technology media analytics giant, ComScore predicted that 50 percent of all web searches will be done by voice by next year. Whether your company is a product or service, cutting-edge or traditional, B2B or B2C—the use of voice technology can and will have an impact on your future success. The question is whether you will take advantage of it or be hurt by it.
Here are three big areas to start looking at to be ahead of the voice technology wave:
- Evaluate Your Customer’s Journey for Opportunities. No matter what business you’re in, your customers walk alongside you. That customer journey is different on each platform. It’s critical to understand how your customer interacts with your company, and identifying voice technology’s role in those journeys may make it that much better. Some very obvious examples are in retail and e-commerce. But, even in B2B sales relationships, voice-activated marketing could be a key differentiator that makes it easy for younger purchasers and decision-makers to buy from you.
- Your Website and SEO Need to Be Voice Friendly. For years now, website optimization to drive organic search engine rankings has been a marketing Holy Grail. Those in the know realize that it’s an ongoing, constantly changing beast. Voice is the next frontier. Making sure your website’s SEO is optimized and able to take advantage of voice searches puts you ahead of most (if not all) your competitors. Therefore, integrating voice-search optimized keywords and content is among the leading SEO marketing trends of 2019.
- Does Voice Tech Open a Door For Your Company? For some companies with the right service or product, there may be opportunities to integrate voice technology to launch your business forward. I was watching a video recently where Gary Vee gave an illustration of a couple wanting to go to open houses. As voice tech becomes more and more integrated into our lives, you’ve got a major competitive edge if you’re the result of a voice request. Further, sponsorship and advertising on voice tech devices are inevitable. How can you leverage this trend now?
If you aren’t sold, here are some startling stats to drive home the rise of voice technology. So far, Amazon has sold over 100 million Alexa-enabled devices and Google has sold 52 million of its Google Home products. Since Siri was first launched in 2010, Apple has sold nearly 1 billion phones worldwide.
And remember, industry experts are saying voice technology adoption will “skyrocket” in the next 2-3 years. If you would like guidance on how voice technology may affect your business, please reach out by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s talk.