Smart speakers and voice technology offer scary potential for marketers

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With Halloween approaching, you may have felt a chill settle into your home. This chill may have even been present long before October — back to last holiday season, when you were gifted a smart speaker. It sits in your living room, seemingly listening to your every word. We’re here to tell you that your intuitions are correct, but it may not be a reason to shriek in terror.

First, you’re not the only one feeling this way. It’s no secret that the smart speakers continue to be among the hottest gift items. According to a forecast from eMarketer, the number of U.S. smart speaker users will rise at a compound annual growth rate of 47.9% between 2016 and 2020, from 16 million to 76.5 million. That’s faster than any tech device since the smartphone. With such rapid growth and unlimited access to consumer households, it’s not surprising that the product opens up a world of possibilities for marketers.

What does that world look like? We’ll explain by examining a recent situation by one of our employees. This Vimarcian and his wife were discussing clogged gutters, but were unaware their home’s smart speaker was simultaneously finding a solution. Hours later, they were being served digital ads for covered gutter systems. For them, the result was as scary as actually having to clean out their gutters.


Maybe you’ve experienced something similar. Is it eavesdropping or personalized communications? In regards to marketing, many see it as a way to get a message directly to the most relevant audience.

Data from voice-integrated technology offers the opportunity to both understand and influence consumers as they make decisions. Voice lines paint an even clearer picture of a consumer’s online profile when added to the usual keywords that are associated with it.

Once collected, the flagged “hotwords” can be sent to a database, like Google’s AdSense, that places individuals into audiences, such as “foodies” or “gamers.” From there, ads become more tailored and “cross-pollinate” for more personalized ad suggestions.

This information is giving advertisers a universe of new ways to engage with audiences — whether through voice-enabled chatbots, branded functionalities, or other creative applications. While voice-enabled technology is still relatively young in terms of the marketing landscape, there are all sorts of potential for implementation.

Just as brands with the best packaging have stood out on store shelves, the same must be done to stand out in this new audio-centric world. Let us handle the ins and outs of voice-activated technology for your marketing efforts by contacting us via the form below:

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