The number of voice-assistance devices and smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home is proliferating. More than 21 percent of U.S. adults own at least one smart speaker, so it seems pretty easy to make the business case for using the technology.
At the Alexa Conference in Chattanooga in January, speakers extolled the virtues of voice for brand and business growth. Creating skills or actions for smart speakers can help brands sell products and connect with customers using a communication method that comes more naturally to all of us — by speaking.
“The explosion of smart speaker adoption is giving brands and agencies a new conversational voice to engage their consumers,” said Michael Fitzpatrick, president and COO of PullString, a voice application design and publishing company. “With nearly 20 percent of American adults already adopting these platforms, organizations without a voice strategy are already being left behind.”
Put more succinctly, brands that don’t have a voice strategy literally will be silent in the fastest-growing technology platform today.
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This urgency is similar to what brands and businesses felt just a few years ago with the rise of social media. Brands and businesses who didn’t have a social media presence were missing out on a means to engage more directly with their customers.
Find your voice now
Voice technology is still in its relative infancy, so now is the time to get in on the action. Claiming a spot and doing voice well will give brands a distinct advantage over their competition. One meta-thinking voice guru even posited that smart speakers, combined with artificial intelligence and cloud-based storage, will one day allow individuals to download the wisdom gained through experience and thereby let them “live on” to pass this knowledge on to their children, grandchildren, co-workers and others.
Whatever you think of leaving behind a digital afterlife, the marketplace is wide open for companies that want to find cases for voice.
Health care turns to voice technology
Health care already is one of the fastest-growing segments in deploying voice technology. The Mayo Clinic introduced its First Aid skill on Amazon devices in 2017. Users can get help with basic first aid for cuts and burns, treat fevers, and learn to perform CPR. Boston Children’s Hospital introduced a skill called Kids MD, which offers general wellness tips and advice for parents.
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Other companies are developing skills to help people monitor chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, and to help adults ensure their aging parents are complying with prescription instructions and keeping up with doctor appointments.
Eventually, users may be able to get prescription refills by ordering through their smart speakers.
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Growth in the health sector is expected to continue exponentially, and Amazon Echo is now HIPAA compliant, meaning it can work with developers who manage protected health information.
The power of quality and ‘discoverability’
While listening to music (70% of users), weather updates (64%) and news (45%) are among the biggest uses of smart speakers today, the growing use of such devices presents endless opportunities for content creators, digital storytellers and brand journalists.
Just like websites and social media presences have become integral to brands and businesses sharing information directly with their audiences, voice technology offers an additional fast-growing platform to tell our stories.
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As with web and social, creating quality content is vital. Helping your audience find your content, what the experts call “discoverability,” will be equally important. Now is the time to jump into the new communication frontier. Exciting days are ahead for all of us.
Michael Holtz, APR, is a senior communications & marketing specialist at ORAU in Oak Ridge. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published at Wed, 15 May 2019 13:30:00 +0000