CMO Momentum panel: Get on the front foot of voice or miss out

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Brands that don’t get on the front foot with a voice strategy will be missing out on a significant share of the market.

This was the view of general manager marketing and sales at Village Entertainment, Mohit Bhargava; global business director of voice experience agency Versa, Guy Munro; and chief customer officer of hipages, Stuart Tucker, who were guests on a panel at CMO Momentum on the ‘potentials and pitfalls of voice’.

Both Bhargava and Tucker have implemented voice in Village and hipages respectively, and Munro has worked with numerous clients on their voice deployment.

Bhargava said Village is working on the Amazon Alexa platform and users can request session times, cross pollinate and compare cinema locations. The UX has evolved to the point where a customer who decides to see a particular film, will be sent a link via Amazon Alexa to their mobile device so they can purchase a ticket.

With the impact these voice devices have aready had in the US, it’s crucial Australian brands assume this behaviour will cross over, he said.

“We have to assume much of that behaviour will transpire into Australia; entertainment behaviours certainly do carry over. Voice is real and it’s happening now,” Bhargava said. “The share of the retail wallet and how much is going to voice is growing. In fact, ComScore said 50 per cent of all searches will be undertaken by voice by 2020, and in the US this is already at 10 per cent.”

Munro saw a massive opportunity for brands to get at the forefront of voice in Australia.

“Versa is centred around creating experience for brand when it comes to voice, looking at what the challenges are within a business and marketing context, what user cases might look like, working with technology, and what platform might best suit a user case, developing those solutions and getting them to market, generally in a rapid timeframe,” he explained.

“There is a massive opportunity for brands to get at the forefront of this. We have the luxury of being able to identify what those trends are coming out of the US, so it makes a lot of sense for brands to leap in and get involved. Not having it on your roadmap is a real opportunity lost. We can see voice eclipsing app uptake from a consumer perspective, as well as from a brand perspective.”

Tucker said voice was crucial for hipages, as its mission is to transform the tradie/client relationship from mutual endurance to effortless efficiency.

“It was logical for us to partner with Amazon six months ago and launch a skill for customers to be able to run a search and connect with a tradie through their Alexa device,” he said.

“Most humans can speak about 150 words per minute and maybe type 40, so when it comes down to functionality, there’s an inevitability about voice. We must look at security identification, however, if we really want to embed this in people’s lives.

“It was a bit of a punt for us, and we’re getting a handful of jobs per week out of it, but we’re trying to learn from it, because we want to know if that customer is a different type of customer. But we also had to change our product design, make sure the flows were OK, and pre-empt where consumers were going to go. It got our engineering and product design…

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