Since a voice-first approach represents a paradigm shift for your business, understand the voice marketing challenges.
Because voice marketing expands your brand and functionality at every customer touch point.
So you can integrate voice across your entire organization.
Adding an Alexa Skill or a weekly podcast allows your business to dip its toe in the voice-first ecosystem.
To understand the hurdles adding voice to your marketing mix involves, examine these 5 voice marketing challenges.
5 Voice Marketing Challenges
Together these 5 voice challenges lay the foundation to educate your management and the rest of your organization as to the power of giving your business a voice.
1. Voice Is More Than an Extension to Another Platform
Voice-first devices change how people live by taking away mundane tasks and allowing them to get audio information and entertainment during hands free and screen free moments.
From a marketing perspective, voice-first functionality requires providing audio content and information to build your brand and to attract qualified leads. Also it expands your business’s onboarding and retention of customers. Among the opportunities are:
- Provide audio content to allow your audience to consume your brand’s information on their schedule. To support this consumption, create content on a consistent schedule.
- Offer audio product instructions to help customers either to put together and/or to use your products and services. Also, this helps to better onboard new end users.
- Extend your audience’s use of your product. This can help retention by staying in touch with your existing customers. To minimize resource use, re-envision content.
Voice marketing applies to an evolving set of devices. They break into the following 3 major categories:
- Voice-only such as the early voice assistants.
- Multi-modal enhancing voice functionality with other useful functions such as a tablet type display.
- Internet of Things offerings, most notably hearables.
Further many different types of businesses are integrating voice functionality into other products such as home and car.
Voice Marketing Challenges:
- Voice marketing may involve a variety of use-cases. These depend on the specific needs and context of your target audience and business segment. So understand your audience’s needs for voice functionality.
- Voice, by its nature, involves your business’s ability and permission to collect user data. Further, data has issues related to data security and user privacy.
2. Voice-first Is More Than a Single Application or Technology Add-on
Like creating a webpage to represent your business in the mid to late 1990s, you can create audio content and advertising without integrating voice functionality across your organization.
Unlike other technology changes, where you could add specialized software to a specific department or function, voice marketing requires you to:
- Extend voice technology beyond martech. A holistic approach to becoming voice-first requires more than a change to your CMS or DAM to include audio with the appropriate metadata.
- Integrate voice with existing and legacy systems to access older, existing content and data.
- Use AI to translate spoken words to text and text responses to spoken words. This enables you to create interactive interactions with visitors and to personalize experiences. (See RIDR (aka: Request-Interpretation-Dialog and Logic-Response) chart below via Jan Konig of Jovo)
Voice Marketing Challenge:
- Data needs to be integrated and cleaned across your organization. For many businesses, this presents a major hurdle since their existing data lacks integrity and/or quality. Further, this requires skills that many businesses lack and that are in high demand. So use external services and/or technologies to bridge these gaps.
3. Voice Functionality Extends Across Departments
Ideally, voice marketing requires a holistic, transorganizational approach.
Integrate voice functionality into your business involves every department.
As a result, get c-suite buy-in for your voice marketing strategy or at least start to make the business case for it. Start by educating your management team about voice including its short and long-term business impact.
To win them over, address why you need to give your business a voice. Lay the groundwork to integrate voice marketing into every aspect of your business that touches your customers.
This implies a need for marketing to have a seat at the table whenever relevant topics are discussed. Beyond the obvious sales, product, customer service and customer on-boarding, this extends to technology, data and operations. In the process, this notably elevates the marketing function and its key employees.
Voice Marketing Challenge:
- Overcome objections to voice marketing. Show results to existing audio content marketing.
4. Voice Ecosystems Lack Processes to Protect Brands and Businesses.
The voice landscape currently consists of an oligopoly of a few key players. The top ones include Amazon Alexa, Google, Siri (Apple), Cortana (Microsoft) and Bixby (Samsung). In addition, there are a few smaller players focused on niche offerings.
Like other media environments, this requires a real estate approach where location, location, location matters.
Your brand and business need to be visible.
Each voice ecosystem has its own proprietary platform with its own guidelines. As a result, to appear on these devices requires transforming your content and/or other offering to meet each set of requirements and be approved.
So, each platform knows what’s working for your content and related apps. And, each parent company has access to the platform’s data. It includes detailed customer information across activities and products. (BTW, voice-first end users may not be aware of their data footprint.)
This can have implications for your business in terms of data security and privacy. This is particularly important if you do business in Ireland and/or California. Therefore, you need to get your Legal department involved.
Voice Marketing Challenges:
- Voice assets have no equivalent for URLs in the current voice ecosystems. So, you face the potential for another firm having a similarly named and/or focused offering.
- Stake out your brand and products across every voice-first ecosystem. To ensure you have the right to your IP.
5. Voice-first Requires Integrating Marketing Across the Business
Adding voice to your marketing mix requires integrating marketing across your organization and related systems. This applies to every department that touches the customer to ensure that you provide a consistent customer experience.
Voice Marketing Challenge:
- Follow Peter Drucker’s approach to management. Integrate marketing into every department.
Voice Marketing Challenges Conclusion
Before you add voice marketing to your mix to get your business heard:
Educate your management and other employees as to the breadth of what’s involved.
Voice marketing extends beyond a set of tactics to get your business to appear on search and other devices.
While they may yield short-term wins, the easy-to-implement voice marketing tactics alone don’t translate to an effective long-term strategy for your business.
Start to make the changes required to overcome the challenges created by voice marketing. Since at their core, voice requires a cross-business approach.
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