February 18, 2019 by Kayla Matthews
Voice marketing took off in significant ways thanks to the increase of smartphones and smart speakers with voice recognition capabilities. Successful voice marketing means understanding how people like to use voice recognition technology and catering marketing strategies to those habits. As such, people can use their gadgets in ways they prefer, and marketers bring convenience to them in ways that support their respective brands.
You should expect voice marketing to become increasingly important in the years to come. Most smartphones have built-in voice assistants, and it's becoming more common for people to have smart speakers in their homes. Amazon helped lead the way in consumer adoption by offering models at various price points to suit people's budgets.
Plus, people are getting more comfortable with using voice recognition technology. They realize how handy it is to search for the information they need without needing to spell things correctly or type on their smartphones' small, touch-sensitive screens. Gadgets that recognize voice commands suit users' desire to do more than one task at a time, too. People can use voice tech while driving or doing housework.
Now, let's look at six case studies of brands using voice marketing to reach customers and help them accomplish tasks.
Starbucks Helps People Satisfy Their Coffee Cravings With Voice-Activated Ordering
Starbucks has an app that lets people order and pay in advance. It expanded it so people can get drinks with voice cues while using Amazon Alexa or, more recently, Samsung Bixby in the South Korean market.
This marketing strategy works well because it simplifies the process of buying drinks. People can order and pay for them while in their cars, thereby reducing the need to wait in line and ensure the baristas understand their orders.
Marketers thinking of adopting a similar strategy should ensure there is a need in the market first. Starbucks introduced app-based ordering first. Then, once that option resonated with the target audience, the brand decided to move into voice ordering. It's also necessary to determine if a potential product is one people usually associate with their cars.
It's common for coffee lovers to enjoy the beverage while they drive, so Starbucks' marketing method made sense.
Argos Simplifies Item Reservations With a Voice-Enabled Feature
Argos is a store popular in the United Kingdom where people browse products on the company's website, reserve them and pick them up in a store. As such, people do not touch or see the physical items before buying them, but they can read reviews and product descriptions on the brand's website.
One potential advantage of this process for some shoppers is that they do not need to provide payment details to reserve items. It's only necessary to give a phone number and email address, then pay for the products when picking them up.
When Argos evaluated ways to make improvements for shoppers, they turned to company data first. Internal research showed 55 percent of people like purchasing through voice-activated gadgets. Argos took that finding to heart. As part of its marketing strategy, Argos teamed with Google Home and allowed people to check the availability of products with that speaker or the Google Assistant.
However, the improvement is not yet entirely voice-based. People still need to visit the Argos website and search the online catalog to find the certain products to reserve. A potential improvement might involve making that stage compatible with voice cues, too. Consider how the time and extra step involved in searching for a product on the website before using voice-based ordering to reserve it could cause people to change their minds.
Argos made this enhancement work because it used collected data to verify customer preferences. If you want to do something similar, it's essential to use data when possible and not merely make assumptions about what people want and how they like to purchase products.
Kayak Offers Research and Hotel Booking for Travelers Using Their Voices
Many people enjoy traveling but hate how long it can take to visit various travel websites and work out the logistics of their excursions. Thankfully, voice assistants can make the planning phase more efficient. According to research from Google, 70 percent of voice-powered requests are in natural language, indicating people are getting more at ease when using these assistants.
Moreover, one in three people would be willing to depend on digital helpers when learning about travel options or booking them. Kayak uses an Alexa skill to help people learn about or book hotel rooms. Going back to the way that voice assistants let people do more than one thing at once, a person could use that skill while packing their bags or handling other essentials they have to take care of before they depart.
That case study coincides with the increase of some hotels from brands like Best Western and Aloft testing voice-activated hotel rooms that help people make adjustments to the environment or get help. In some cases, speaking a voice command could be more straightforward than trying to find the thermostat or light switch.
If you're thinking about relying on voice marketing like Kayak did, think about needs that people likely have and how voice assistants could fill them. Traveling usually requires booking hotel rooms unless people have the luxury of representatives at their workplaces that do it for them. This application of Alexa removes some of the hassles that can come with finding accommodations.
TuneIn Lets Advertisers Run Spots on Smart Speaker-Streamed Stations
People are accustomed to streaming content, whether they do so while enjoying movies, music, radio stations or podcasts. TuneIn is an American-based streaming service that streams material including music, sports and podcasts. TuneIn built its business on the fact that people have gravitated toward streaming and away from physical media.
So, how does TuneIn fit with the topic of voice marketing? In 2018, news broke of a development where advertisers could buy space on streamed TuneIn stations that people hear on their smart speakers.
It's made possible through an Adobe advertising service that makes the 90-second ads play up to twice an hour. The length of the spot gives brands ample time to explain their voice marketing strategies and tell people which phrases to use when they interact with Alexa skills, for example.
The availability of smart speaker ads indicates the evolution of advertising methods and fits in well with other newer techniques like podcast marketing. TuneIn recognized the increase in people consuming its content via smart speakers, then looked for a way to help advertisers connect with those listeners.
Before you decide to create podcast ads through TuneIn or another service, think about how to spark people's curiosity and make them eager to engage with a voice marketing strategy. The 90-second period mentioned above could allow you to demonstrate how to use the smart speaker skill.
KFC Caters to Millennials and Uses a Voice-Based Chatbot to Explain Menu Items and Offers
India-based customers who want to eat at KFC can now start the process with a voice-based chatbot. It can take orders or give details about options and promotions. But, KFC also has a broader plan for this voice marketing venture.
The brand aims to improve its data analytics processes by using the information captured with this voice-marketing method to learn more about what customers want. For example, an uptick on people ordering a particular kind of combo meal might trigger KFC executives to set a discounted price for it as a limited-time offer.
Millennials are exceptionally comfortable with using voice-based technologies like this one, which is available on Amazon Alexa devices. In the future, the waiting times at fast-food restaurants could be almost non-existent as more people place their orders on smart speakers before they arrive.
KFC made a wise move when it focused on the millennial market. Even if older generations don't end up using the smart speaker ordering option as frequently as younger people, the availability of it could lead to faster service for everyone. Before unveiling such a feature, it's advisable to consider how it could have broader effects outside of the people using voice marketing.
BevMo! Assists Shoppers With Buying Spirits Placed on a Voice-Activated Shelf
You've probably realized by now that most excellent voice marketing attempts address known needs people have. For example, shopping can be intimidating when people see dozens of similar options.
BevMo!, an alcohol retailer based in California, planned a voice-recognition trial that involves people giving details about their taste-based preferences and getting help with buying whiskey.
As people shop, they see bottles lined up on a smart shelf that gives the voice prompts to guide shopping trips. The audible feedback narrows the possibilities down to three whiskey varieties based on peoples' responses. Lights on the shelf help people find the recommended kinds.
It's too early to say whether this effort will boost purchases, but it aligns with other smart shelves used in grocery stores that give people details about nutrition facts and sales. However, marketers should view this effort as a successful one due to its innovativeness. As always, though, pioneering projects such as this one may have unexpected downsides.
It's possible that people may feel shy about vocalizing their whiskey preferences and won't want to give the shelf a try. If that happens, the smart shelf investment could be an expense that doesn't pay off. On the other hand, this forward-thinking strategy could make BevMo! a brand that other marketers want to watch and imitate.
Voice Marketing Is Shaping the Future
Voice technology is becoming integrated into society, and marketers must stay abreast of the trends. They shouldn't mimic these strategies exactly but need to know how people use voice searches and commands to learn and achieve things. Then, it's necessary to take that information and use it to adapt these strategies that paid off for the brands above.
Not everyone is willing to engage in voice searches, but it's crucial to accommodate the people who are, especially since the ways to perform voice searches are going up.
The best marketing efforts are ones that match the habits people have and give them content in seamless and relevant ways. Most of the case studies mentioned here worked so well largely because the marketers paid attention to how people already interacted with brands and investigated how voice marketing could serve as a supplement.
Remember, too, that the examples encompass various industries, from fast food to travel. That means you shouldn't have preconceived ideas that voice marketing won't suit your sector.
Have you heard about other successful uses of voice marketing not mentioned here? Do you have ideas about how the brands could further improve their voice marketing plans? Feel free to comment below with your thoughts.