Your key marketing strategy for 2019 had better include voice


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Take a minute to think about every car commercial you’ve ever seen.

Close your eyes. Let the imagery percolate.

Now watch this commercial.

Is that the PRECISE commercial you just imagined?


That’s because Lexus used AI to create a commercial based on a training dataset of award winning car commercials. The commercial is effective for several reasons. First, the AI system that produced the script correctly identified the criteria that would win with its target audience. Second, a human director, Kevin Macdonald, applied emotional creativity to weave together the required components. And third, incorporating AI into the creative development process is the perfect way for Lexus to demonstrate how the use of cutting edge technology to build vehicles. This AI commercial is completely on brand.

AI exploded into nearly every industry and under many Christmas trees last year. After witnessing the massive sales of voice assistants last year, and the continued desire this holiday season, marketers are starting to realize they must figure out how products and services that are overwhelmingly visual can find space in an environment that is completely audio. Some marketers are striving to decode the voice assistant algorithms to ensure their brands earn first mention. Other brands are creating fun games or useful tools that consumers will seek out by name.

Survey Says: 11% of Canadians own a smart speaker. 18% plan to purchase a Google Home, and 14% plan to purchase an Amazon Echo. (The Marketer’s Guide to Successful AI, Sklar Wilton & Associates)

Despite earlier concerns about transparency and privacy, Google has begun to roll out its Duplex feature, an AI voice system can make telephone calls that are indistinguishable from a human being. This system can interact with customers and customer service agents to, at a minimum, make restaurant reservations, hair appointments, and answer basic questions. It’s an amazing opportunity for brands to more effectively meet the needs of customers who want 24/7, personalized service. Of course, as long it’s done within the confines of how consumers want to access a chatbot system – knowingly, and at their own bidding.

Survey Says: 55% of Canadians would find it annoying if they get a chatbot instead of a person. (The Marketer’s Guide to Successful AI, Sklar Wilton & Associates)

Along with this growth, stress tests in the real world have exposed many issues of bias, privacy, and compliance with emerging privacy regulations. Amazon’s Alexa experienced this first hand when a woman’s private in-home conversations were sent to a random person on her contact list. And most recently, after requesting access to their own Alexa data, another person was sent extremely personal, and personally identifying information Alexa data that revealed who they and there family members were. These are likely one of the contributing factors that led to Gartner selecting Social, Legal and Ethical IoT as its #2 trend.

Survey Says: 43% of Canadians are worried about AI their phone. (The Marketer’s Guide to Successful AI, Sklar Wilton & Associates)

Marketers who are reticent to find their path in a voice directed world will quickly see the impact on their brand’s success. We know that people are less likely to seek out additional information about brands after getting product recommendations from voice assistants. Marketers need to find ethical ways to ensure their brand remains competitive in a voice world and they need to do it in a way that safeguards personal data.

Survey Says: 59% of Canadians say they would be comfortable with a voice assistant providing recommendations on what to buy. (The Marketer’s Guide to Successful AI, Sklar Wilton & Associates)

Is your brand ready for a world of voice? Perhaps your 2019 strategic plan is about to get an update.


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