How Voice Tech is Innovating Marketing & The Customer Experience

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I covered Voice Summit last week at NJIT in Newark, New Jersey. Voice Summit is the largest voice tech conference that brings the conversational design ecosystem together in one place.

Last year was the first Voice Summit. It was amazing to see how the industry has advanced in the past year. This year, the conference grew to over 5,000 attendees!

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Voice Summit was a great place to network. Many Voice Startups demoed their offerings as well.

Founder Pete Erikson shares the story of Voice in the opening press conference. Pete shared the podium with Voice industry leaders and Newark Civic Leadership.

The conversation in Voice has shifted from should brands have a Voice Strategy to how to effectively incorporate voice technology across the organization. Attendees had opportunities to attend hands-on voice workshops on topics ranging from creating brand guidelines to building a voice strategy from the ground up. I took the Voice strategy workshop conducted by Brett Kinsella of VoiceBot.Ai. We received a workbook that had questions that served as building blocks to build our voice strategy.

I had was able to get a look at the Expo Floor where I was able to meet exhibitors and explore the Amazon Smart Home. It was amazing to see how voice technology has transformed the home experience. In this video, I was able to ask Alexa to play Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and to play music, etc.

Marketers have many opportunities with Voice and Audio Content according to Voices.com research. Content takes the form of short and long-form ranging from Flash Briefings up to Audiobooks.

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However, when it comes to smart speakers only, 18% of users discover skills from brand advertising according to Vixen Labs.

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Brands need to prepare to change their Marketing and Advertising for Voice. A panel shared their thoughts on how to improve how to achieve this aim.

Edison Research and NPR conducted market research on the topic of smart speaker customer behavior. The number of smart speakers in U.S. homes grew 78% from December of 2017 to December. The research packed with data you can see here.

Brett Kinsella led a panel where Marketers shared how they have developed and implemented their strategy for Voice.

Steve Keller of Pandora shared his thoughts on the topic of Sonic Branding and Sound Business.

On a side note, NJIT was nice enough to provide me with a tour of the start-up incubator and co-working space opening this September. I was able to see areas being built from the ground up just as startups are.

I also was able to see the Alexa Cup which is Amazon’s initiative to pair Marketers and developers to work on projects such as Female Empowerment and Mental Health.

What touched me on a human level was the closing keynote entitled “A journey through a deaf developer’s eyes.” In this keynote, Thomas Chappell of Prudential shared his story. Thomas is unable to speak.

After his talk, I was able to meet him. People communicate with him using Voice to speech technology and American Sign language. I was able to use the technology on a smartphone to have a full conversation with him.

Voice Summit was an amazing conference. I want to thank Pete Erikson, the Modev Team, NJIT, the City of Newark, and the State of New Jersey for having me as their guest.

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Seth Godin’s This is Marketing: What it Means for Brands

Seth Godin’s new book This is Marketing sums up the lessons of his previous books.

In the past Marketing was Advertising. Many Brands and businesses used to buy ads to interrupt prospects in the hope that people would buy. However, with so many media channels, the advertising of yesterday has lost its effect.

What this means for Marketers is that they need to build trust, engagement, community and earn permission to contact prospects and customers. With the ever-increasing privacy legislation such as GDPR, Marketers will pay a high price for SPAM.

Also, today there are many micro-markets of products and services as opposed to one mass-market. Frequency has surpassed reach in terms of effectiveness. Marketers need to tell a compelling story that resonates with the people they seek to serve.

Marketers need to improve their knowledge of customers to enhance the customer experience and engagement. Brands need to have conversations with customers as opposed to talking at them.

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Ideas that jumped out at me while reading and listening to the book

Seth dissects Marketing, showing the reader that today’s successful marketer is generous and gives value to the customer as opposed to stealing their attention.

Chapter 19, the chapter on funnels is very interesting because it shows how to look at the funnel in a new way.

Seth explains how to shorten the sales cycle by making it easier for prospects to engage and purchase a product.

He demonstrates how to do funnel math to see if and when marketers should advertise using paid ads along with how to know if ads will pay for themselves.

In this chapter, Seth shows how marketers should focus on serving micro-markets as opposed to the mass market.

This idea is illustrated in Jeff Moore’s book Crossing the Chasm. Seth takes this concept, and explains how to move a product from micro-markets to the mass market but surprises the reader by demonstrating that marketers can be successful by catering to a micro-market.

Seth illustrates this in the long tail concept where he shows that hits are exceptions to the rule. Instead he shows that selling a lot of different products to different people is the way that most marketers will find success today and in the future.

What is next in Marketing? Comment and share.

Bonus Content

I have had the pleasure of meeting Seth on two occasions. Here are videos and pictures of the talks.

Key Insights from the World Business Forum

8 Takeaways from Advertising Week 2018

8 Takeaways from Advertising Week 2018

2018-10-06This week, I covered Advertising Week in New York.

There were amazing panels.  My key takeaways from Advertising Week were:

    1. CMOs need a wide array of skills sets from Storytelling to Data Analysis to owning a P&L statement much like CEOs and other General Managers if they want to survive and thrive in today changing landscape.
    2. CMOs need to be the Voice of the Customer inside of the organization and understand how intent is changing the customer journey.
    3. Customers want a personalized experience with brands while having the their data protected.
    4. Brands need to take a different approach when Understanding and Marketing to Gen Z
    5. Marketing and Advertising is not the same anymore.
    6. Today’s successful marketer is generous,
      gives value to the customer and does not steal their attention.
    7. AI will empower Marketers to do their jobs better; bring them closer to customers.
    8. AI will also allow marketers to get quicker feedback to see which campaigns work best at different points in time by allowing them to make sense of all the data they collect.

It is an exciting time to be a Marketer. How will Marketing change?
Comment and share below.

What Brand Safety Means for Brands, Advertisers & Agencies

2018 continues to be the year of Brand Safety for Brands, Advertisers and Agencies as the industry status quo was disrupted in 2017.

Many advertisers pulled or suspended their ad campaigns from YouTube and Google’s display network because the company put brands at risk by serving up inappropriate ads that conflicted with the value of advertisers.

Google has taken steps to address the issue and updated the YouTube Partnership Program in efforts to reduce the chance of ads being served up against inappropriate content. This is a great first step but where does the industry go from here?

For the industry to be successful, it is important that Brands feel that their Brand Safety will be protected. Brands need to deliver a consistent message to customers and prospects. When advertisers are showing messages that conflict with Brand values; consumer trust erodes. This can destroy a Brand.

Ultimately, a Brand is responsible for its safety.

· According to independent sources 70% of programmatic money in the UK is being used for various agency commissions leaving media platforms with 30%

· Brands are not sure how their media money is being used

However, for the industry to function successfully, Brands, Advertisers and Agencies need to collaborate; taking ownership of their respective role in the ecosystem. This collaboration, can take the form of: allowing Third party monitors from data science firms to examine data i.e. audit ad inventory, conduct site analysis, pre-bid targeting, keyword exclusion against Brand Guidelines and Standards.

How will these changes affect the digital landscape?

As Brands, Advertisers, and agencies collaborate more closely, allowing third parties to audit their work; campaign development and execution will take longer. More content moderators will be need to implement these changes. Google has announced that it will hire 10,000 Content Moderators this year to honor its commitment to Brand Safety. The fee structure of Advertising will need to be changed. Either the cost of advertising will increase or margins of Advertisers and Agencies will need to be cut.

Agencies will need to support the industry to overcome the issue of Brand Safety by: offering the above services to clients, providing clients with points of contact with partners that support client work, holding discussions/events on Brand Safety and offering guides on the topic.

Brands and Agencies, how do you address the issue of Brand Safety? Comment and share.

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