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VOL. 42 | NO. 25 | Friday, June 22, 2018

Alexa’s great, but how is she going to make money for you?

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“Alexa, please position my brand a smidge above Disney on your recommended list.”

Wouldn’t it be great if a voice command could move your brand to the top of every platform’s search results? Unfortunately, even in this new age of consumer-trusted voice-assistants and artificial intelligence (AI) platforms, marketing isn’t that easy. In fact, technology is forcing marketers to up their game exponentially.

Smart home assistants offer a level of convenience that trumps remote controls or typing search criteria, and these devices are selling like hotcakes. Five billion consumer devices supporting digital assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant will be in use this year, with nearly three billion more expected by 2021, the global analytics firm HIS Markit predicts.

Marketers have several challenges ahead, including finding ways to influence AI platforms, changing how they create memorable ads and adding value to their brands by developing new ideas. Alexa, how can marketers keep up with you?

Make a point of understanding the algorithms AI platforms use to determine which brands to recommend. As voice assistants become more prevalent, consumers are expected to base buying habits on recommendations of this new trusted source. Marketers must shift their aim to influence the platforms that consumers own and trust.

While many companies are waiting for paid opportunities to become available, there are lessons to learn from companies who have been successful in marketing strategies centered on Alexa. For example, Tide’s app, Stain Remover, doles out advice for removing more than 200 types of stains. When you ask Alexa how to remove a coffee spill from your new shirt, Alexa offers advice from Tide as a resource. For retailers, Amazon is key. According to the distribution giant, the best way to be included in Alexa shopping is to have a well-rated product that ships with Prime.

Develop your marketing content for the ear rather than the eye. Consider marketing your brand by channeling old radio content techniques. Use music, sound effects, descriptive language, and catchy taglines to create memorable audio content.

Add value to your brand by creating Alexa skills. Skills are apps companies create to amplify their brand specialty or voice. Skills are compatible with AI devices like Alexa and offer consumers dynamic specialty content from popular brands. This type of content marketing enables the brand to gain consumer trust – not to mention offers on-demand expertise. Stubbs, a well-known barbecue brand, developed an Alexa skill called “Ask Stubb,” which engages consumers with voice-cooking instructions. Similarly, Nestlé rolled out a “GoodNes” skill, which pairs voice-cooking instructions with an online guide available on their website.

There’s little doubt that the voice-assistant will become as popular as the family pet. Savvy marketers will focus on learning to use the AI platforms to their best advantage to create marketing content that will keep their brands top of mind and competitive within voice-command device generation.

Tricia Warren, Marketing Strategist at RedRover Sales & Marketing Strategy, can be reached at www.redrovercompany.com.

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