Powering Voices with AI

April 26, 2018

Introducing VOICE IT, Ketchum’s Voice Marketing Solution

Most people remember both the hype and excitement when they got their first smartphone around ten years ago. The advent of this new device brought about a brand-new tech revolution that excited marketers and consumers alike: mobile applications.

Mobile apps made it possible for marketers to bring a brand’s experience directly into consumers’ hands. Want to order lunch? Need a new mantra during your meditation? Looking to balance your finances? There’s an app for that… simply reach into your pocket or bag, enter your passcode, swipe to the app and open.

Voice marketing now makes it possible to have similar (we would argue, better!) experiences as mobile apps, but with way more ease and positive, everyday use.

Our voice has always been among our most powerful forms of personal expression. Now, like never before, our voices are being revolutionized to elicit action through the power of AI.

“But… Tristen and Deb, isn’t voice marketing just a fad?” Good question. As marketers and communication experts, we think not. The reality is that we’re just about at that same inflection point with voice marketing as mobile app development was at the advent of smartphones. Similar to its mobile-based predecessor, voice-based applications use a gesture to invoke some sort of action for an application to make. All you do is give a shout to a voice-enabled device to invoke your desired outputs. Swiping be damned! This paradigm-shifting technology can be delivered through hardware like voice-enabled speakers, allowing consumers to have their needs served with a near frictionless experience.

Voice-enabled speakers, and the AI assistants that power them, are becoming pervasive technologies that help simplify our everyday lives and are fueled by our voices through natural language processing. The number of households with voice-enabled speakers is growing and is expected to keep rising. TechCrunch reported earlier this year that 47.3 million U.S. adults have access to a smart speaker. The upside is that adding a device whose actions are derived from an inflection of your voice helps consumers save time and allows brands to engage with customers more quickly than ever – it’s not like having to stay up to date with the latest social networks or apps. Many people, though, might not be aware of the various surfaces that they already own that are also compatible with this technology, namely, cell phones, tablets and, in some instances, cars.

As a digital-centric agency with earned media at the core, we are excited to take the exciting world AI and voice even further. We know that reaching specific audiences and convincing them to adopt behaviors on behalf of our clients is imperative and happens in real-time. Plus, our deep vertical expertise help substantiate that we understand target audiences as people, not just “consumers.”

Now, through Ketchum’s VOICE IT solution, we’re bringing this expertise to a new interface: voice marketing. Our in-house voice channel experts work to define a brand’s strategy and amplification with measurement in mind in order to get it to execution.

“But… Tristen and Deb, what’s the opportunity for brands?” Well, a study from Google earlier this year indicated that the opportunity is quite vast and will only continue to blossom. The voice-enabled speaker owners that they surveyed shared that they’d like to get things like information about deals, sales and promotions (52 percent), personalized tips and information to make life easier (48 percent) and information about upcoming events of activities (42 percent) from brands.

Voice marketing for brands is really the next wave of building upon and expanding your relationships with your target audiences. Not to sound hokey or anything, but what excites us about this era in marketing is that voice presents a new frontier for marketers, kind of like the mobile app world mentioned earlier – or even social media a mere decade ago. Where voice is unique, though, is that brands can now create a hands-free extension of themselves to showcase new products, offerings, incentives to generate sales, or even just sustain community and relationships and provide use in everyday situations.

This is why it is more important than ever to jump into the voice marketing world now. Our VOICE IT offering aims to help brands in the following ways:

  • Navigate this growing marketing specialty and customize strategy with agility to scale
  • Create voice applications to use across voice-enabled surfaces in the most impactful way and engage your customers in real time
  • Tech development and user testing
  • Promotion of your voice application through influencers and in paid, earned, shared, and owned media channels
  • Measurement and optimization plans to enhance your applications ongoing needs

This is an incredibly unique moment in time for brands of all sizes to take risks and jump into an exciting game. We can’t wait to embark on this AI journey with you. Come along… in real-time!

For more information, please contact Tristen Sechi.

About Debra Forman

Debra launched and continues to lead Ketchum Digital. Debra specializes in the development of break through content that strategically aligns with the consumer interaction, technology, and imagination across the social web.

About Tristen Sechi

Tristen is a Digital Strategy Director at Ketchum. Her work in both creative and strategy has led to a number of Cannes Lion short-list honors as well as digital-specific honors from the Shorty Awards. Her expertise spans outside the realm of digital marketing, having also led creative strategy across traditional advertising campaigns over the years