How to Reach Marketers Looking for a Speech Solution
Speech technology is taking off as more and more consumers turn to voice search through smartphones and virtual assistant devices like Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Home, and Apple’s Siri. There’s potential in voice search, but also a lot of confusion for marketers just learning about speech technologies. What do vendors need to do to reach this emerging market of speech tech users?
According to research from Red Box, 76% of organizations anticipate moving to a voice-first strategy within the next five years—19% say they’re already seeing this happen, says CEO Richard Stevenson. But, despite piqued interest, there are still obstacles, he says. “Only a third of those surveyed by Red Box expect to see significant adoption of voice technology in the next one to two years,” he says.
The impediments to adoption, says Richard Stevenson, CEO of global voice specialists Red Box, “are really around the inaccessibility of voice data and the quality of the audio capture and not being where it needs to be to make the dataset searchable for request and response.” In addition, he says, voice data needs to be combined with other data sets across enterprises, “but the reality is that these data sets are often siloed in disparate systems locked within existing solutions are unstructured or not in a common format to be leveraged by AI and analytics engines.” And, of course, data privacy concerns are top of mind for both marketers and consumers.
Marketers are understandably leery of jumping in with both feet and many, especially those in smaller enterprises, don’t have the experience or knowledge to feel comfortable moving forward.
A Cluttered Landscape
A proliferation of speech technology vendors which is continually growing and a hungry market eager to leverage this emerging opportunity to better reach their audiences is creating a very cluttered market. Marketers aren’t quite sure where to turn or which companies to turn to for advice and support. This represents an opportunity for vendors to position themselves not only as service providers, but as problem solvers.
Yulia Ryzhikh, CMO with Just AI, a company that develops conversational AI technologies and solutions like NLU-powered digital assistants, voice skills, chatbots, and smart toys, says that vendors in this space need to:
- Convey the value of new technology to the audience through content: demonstrate cases and best practices.
- Grow experts within your engineering team and work on your own platform to improve the quality of natural language understanding (NLU) to make conversation with assistants sound as human as possible and offer better user experience.
- Do your best to understand the new technologies, their capabilities, and limitations.
- Think outside the box and don’t be afraid to break some rules.
How to reach out, connect with and engage this audience? Digital channels certainly offer reach and economy, but are becoming increasingly cluttered and confusing for many marketers.
A potentially better opportunity: reaching out the old-fashioned way, person-to-person in real life settings.
Go Where the Customers Are
“It’s imperative for speech tech vendors to meet developers, designers, and brands where they are—both online and offline,” says Mostafa Razzak, CEO and principal of JMR Connect. For instance, Razzak suggests getting out of your office and visiting industry conferences to talk with potential customers.
While many vendors use webinars and other forms of online communications to connect with and educate, potential audiences, Razzak says that “Experienced platforms have developer evangelist teams whose job it is to go out and educate the market.” He recommends augmenting this with “an educational series via videos and blogs that push out fresh content and ideas—couple this with a strong social media game to keep the conversation going.”
Use Their Own Technology
Finally, voice technology vendors can turn to their own technology to connect with key audiences, suggests Stevenson: “One way to reach the new market of speech technology users in digital marketing is to use voice search interactions to further understand the customer journey and optimize the content served to customers.”
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