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January 15, 2020

Trends for 2020: Voice Takes Off (Thinks Out Loud Episode 271)

January 15, 2020 | By | No Comments

2020 Trends Voice Takes Off: Office workers using smart speakerLooking to drive results for your business? Click here to learn more.


Trends for 2020: Voice Takes Off (Thinks Out Loud Episode 271) – Headlines and Show Notes

We're kicking off 2020 by highlighting a key trend you need to know about. What is that trend? The growth of voice in your customer's journey. Voice has been growing in importance for a few years. But it looks like this year is the year it really takes flight. And, of course, that means you need to think about how you can use voice to improve your marketing and customer experience.

Customers use voice search. They listen to podcasts. They expect relevant experiences, immediately. These all connect to make voice a key component of your marketing strategy and tactics. And Thinks Out Loud has some recommendations on how to make voice work for your business.

Want to learn more? Here are the show notes for you:

Relevant Links – Trends for 2020: Voice Takes Off (Thinks Out Loud Episode 271)

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

Recorded using a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Mic and a Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface into Logic Pro X for the Mac.

Running time: 18m 00s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes, the Google Play Store, via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player at the top of this page.

Transcript — Trends for 2020: Voice Takes Off (Thinks Out Loud Episode 271)

Show Opening — Trends for 2020: Voice Takes Off (Thinks Out Loud Episode 271)

Well, hello again everyone and welcome back to Thinks Out Loud, your source for all the digital marketing expertise your business needs. This is episode 271 of the big show, and I think we have a really cool show for you. I want to follow up with what I've been talking about for the last handful of weeks with, you know, the decade in review that I closed out last year with and with your digital marketing new year's resolutions that I opened last week with, to talk a little bit about the trends you want to pay attention to here in 2020 and beyond.

I don't think, I always think it's funny when you're talking about trends for 2020 or trends for 2019 or trends for 2021 whatever the year happens to be. Because if it's a meaningful trend, it's probably not a one year event. It's probably something, it's almost always something that has benefit to you, not just for this year, but for the next year or two or three. You know, once you get out more than a couple of years, two, three years, it may get tough to say it will consistently be true, but if it's worth doing, it's something that probably should have some legs underneath it, something that will carry you forward for some time to come.

The Trend: Voice Takes Off

And one of the trends that I think you need to pay attention to now, if you haven't been already, is the growth of voice. I really think we are in an era when voice is taking off in a big, big way, and I'll explain why in just a moment. But for some background, I've talked about voice as a powerful trend before and whether voice and VR and AR and AI represent hype or hope for marketers as well as others over the last few years. And I will link to all of that in the show notes.

But I want to say that some of those may have been a little early. You know, 2017/2016 voice probably was, you know, interesting, but not necessarily critically important to your business. As we move forward though, in this year and the next year, all the data strongly suggests that that simply is no longer the case.

Digital Sleeps, Creeps, and Leaps

Like a lot of things in digital, I really think we're seeing an example of where the trend "sleeps, creeps and then leaps." You know, it's something where you don't see it much until one day you look around and it's everywhere. And I think we're starting to hit the point where voice is going into that "leaps" mode. It's sort of slept for a little bit. It's been creeping slowly. And boom. Now here we are, where it's suddenly gotten very big.

Data Showing How Big Voice Is Getting and the Growth of Voice

I wrote a piece for Hotel Executive this month that talks about, you know, how "voice is mobile's next big trick." And we're seeing data from the Global Web Index that says 27% of the global online population is using voice search on mobile. That same report says, quote, "with between 40 to 60% of consumers planning to purchase a new mobile within the next 12 months, the majority of their new phones will have integrated voice assistance." Research from Path Interactive says that 70% of respondents report using voice search at least a few times a week, and 27% of respondents are using voice search one to three times per day.

So that's a lot, right? We know that Google has been saying for some time that about 20% of all mobile searches are voice powered. Now, I want to be fair. Google has been saying that number for a couple of years. And they haven't updated the number, which means one of two things, well, at least one of two things is true.

One is that that number has grown a ton and they want to keep it closer to the vest because they don't want Amazon and Apple with Alexa and Siri to get into play there. Or the other possibility is that it hasn't grown as much as they would like. And so they're, they don't want to like, you know, oversell it.

I'm not sure which of those is true, but given what we're seeing from data around Apple and data that we're seeing from Amazon, I suspect that the more like the former, that they don't want Apple and Amazon to catch on, than the latter. For instance, according to Fortune and some other folks, Apple's AirPods business is somewhere between a $6 billion and $8 billion business, and it's growing fast according to Fortune.

That revenue alone would make AirPods, just AirPods, number 384 on the Fortune 500. Which, okay, only the 384th biggest business on the Fortune 500. But that's still one of the 500 biggest businesses in the world, so that's pretty good, right? That's crazy, you know?

According to a bunch of different data, there were 100 million Alexa-powered devices sold in 2018. And according to Quora Creative, the Echo Dot was the best selling product on Amazon during the 2018 holiday season. Not the best selling voice product, the bestselling product overall. And that discounts all of the other Echo devices that are out there, or all the other Alexa-powered devices that are out there.

So clearly voice is growing in terms of its ubiquity and in terms of the frequency with which customers use it. I mean, that's a really, really big deal and it's becoming a bigger and bigger deal, something that you need to pay attention to, we need to pay attention to as digital marketers, as digital strategists, if we're going to connect with our customers where they want us to.

One last data point I would call out is that according to Path Interactive, they found that the majority of respondents, 78%, believe that within the next five to 10 years, at least half their searches will be done through voice search devices.

Now the reason I saved this one for last is because it goes back to a quote I've referred to many times, which is that we always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next 10. So when people are saying they expect about half of their voice searches will be done through voice search devices in the next five to 10 years. That's a likely an underestimate.

It doesn't mean that we're going to get there in two. It just means that one of two things will be true. Either we will get to half voice search as being there faster than five years, or we will get a lot more than half of searches done within that period, or both.

Your Response: Trends for 2020: Voice Takes Off (Thinks Out Loud Episode 271)

So given that, given these potential realities, what should you do about it? How should you change what you're doing or how should you think differently about this?

How to Show Up in Voice Search

And the first is to understand that audio is a key component of your customer's experience. So you want to be sure that when people are looking for you voice, that you actually can respond to them.

And the way you do that is to make sure that you do well in Answer Boxes and Featured Snippets in things like Google Search, because that's what powers voice responses for Google and for Siri on Apple devices, that's how they get the answers to the questions that they want.

Research Answer Box and Featured Snippet Keywords

And how do you do that? Well, you have to target keywords that Answer Boxes show up for. It doesn't make a lot of sense to try to be an Answer Box for those queries that Answer Boxes don't appear. You want to take a look at what kinds of keywords align with your business objectives that also have Answer Boxes attached to them and start creating content that actually answers those questions. Which is the second thing that you have to do. When we talk about Answer Boxes and Featured Snippets, you need to think about the questions that your customers ask.

You know, either brainstorm them, brainstorming them with your sales and customer service folks, doing keyword research, looking at your Google Search Console data and looking at your site search data to understand the questions that people are asking and the intent that they have when they don't ask a question, but just putting the specific keywords.

Answer the Questions that Customers Ask

You want to target those questions as the keywords within your content. You know, you want to think about things like what are directions to your locations or finding times that your businesses are open, your business is open, or how-to's around products, services, or solutions. You know, what are people asking when they have questions about your product? What are people asking when they have questions about your service? What are the how-to's they're asking when in the old marketing vernacular, "nobody wants a drill, they want a hole"? What kinds of questions are they asking about that that your product or service might be a good answer for?

Provide Clear, Concise and Correct Answers

Now, assuming your product or service is a good answer to those questions, the next thing you want to do is to make sure that you've got a clear, concise and correct answer to that question, which means you may not be talking about your product or service. You have to answer the question. The best answer is what Google's really looking for. So you want to focus on making the answer as correct and as perfect as possible. The answer absolutely can be, and likely should be, part of a longer piece. You know, "Content is King" and all that. But the core of the answer really has to appear in the first hundred words or so, maybe 150. You want to get to the answer fast because on voice, that's what your customer wants to do. Get to the answer fast.

Format Your Answers in Structured Data

You can make that work even better by formatting responses as either a numbered list or a bulleted list. Again, that's a very clear case of "here's a direction to the place," "here's what time you're open," "here's how you do the thing" that somebody asked how to do. And if you have tabular data, you know, tables or graphical data graphs used, use structured data markup for those. Make sure that you've got the data marked up in a way that Google can clearly understand this is tabular data, this is graphical data, and here's how I can present it best to answer the question somebody asks.

Consider Voice Apps Like Alexa Skills and Google Actions

Another thing you're going to want to do is think about Alexa Skills or Google Actions and whether they're appropriate for your business or your brand. You know, when you talk about Skills or Actions, they're basically just apps for voice. I don't necessarily think you need to create those in every case. But you do need to say, are there appropriate Skills? Are there appropriate Actions? Is there an appropriate customer experience, benefit, to offering a distinct voice experience for our customer and make them more successful and more effective at what they do?

Consider Podcasting

And then of course, the last thing you can look at, and I fully admit this is a little self-serving given what I do, but also think about an audio experience for your customer with your content, like podcasting. One of the reasons I podcast is because I want people to be able to experience my content when they're on their, on the go on mobile devices and the like without having to read or look at their screen. It may not be appropriate for every business, but I've talked a bunch before about why podcasting may or may not make sense for your business, and it's probably worth taking a look at. For you to say, "Hey, is this something where we can help our customers using voice and using mobile when they're on the go to help them be more effective." So it's one more thing to think about.

TL;DR — Trends for 2020: Voice Takes Off (Thinks Out Loud Episode 271)

So it appears clear that voice is really taking off. Voice is really speaking up as we get into 2020 and the growth is there. The time really is now to start thinking about it for your customers. Think about how you can be the right answer in voice for your customers to make sure that they can get the information they need while on the go.

And when they're asking the question out loud, you should look at the Skills and Actions, you know, Amazon and Google's voice apps, to determine whether they're appropriate for your brand and for the customer experience that your customers expect.

And finally you might want to take a look at podcasting to say, "is that an appropriate content experience and an appropriate customer experience for our customers to help them get the information they need and be successful as they go about their day?"

Ultimately, voice is here and it's time to really listen to what our customers are saying and engage in a conversation in a very real way with them to help them accomplish their goals. So the last question I have for you is, "are you listening to what they have to say?"

Trends for 2020: Voice Takes Off (Thinks Out Loud Episode 271) — Show Closing

Now, looking at the clock on the wall, we are out of time for this week, but I'd like to remind you that you can find the show notes for today's episode as well as an archive of all our past episodes by going to TimPeter.com/podcast. Again. That's TimPeter.com/podcast. Just look for episode 271.

While you're there, you can click on the subscribe link in any of the episodes you find there to have thinks out loud delivered to you every single week. You can also subscribe to Thinks Out Loud on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, or whatever your favorite podcatcher happens to be. Just do a search for Tim Peter Thinks, Tim Peter Thinks Out Loud or Thinks Out Loud. We should show up for any of those.

While you're there. I'd really appreciate it if you could provide us a positive rating or review. It helps new listeners to find us. It helps them understand what kind of show this is and it makes a huge difference for the business overall. It really means a lot to me personally, and I genuinely would appreciate it.

I also want to remind you that you can find things out loud on Facebook. By going to facebook.com/TimPeterAssociates. You can find me on Twitter using the Twitter handle @TCPeter.

And of course you can email me by sending an email to podcast@timpeter.com. Again, that's podcast@timpeter.com.

As ever, I'd like to thank our sponsor SoloSegment. SoloSegment focuses on AI-driven content discovery and site search analytics to unlock revenue for your business. You can learn more about how to improve your content, increase your customer satisfaction, and make your search smarter by going to solosegment.com. Again, solosegment.com.

With that, I want to say thanks so much for tuning in. I always appreciate you listening. I really wouldn't do this without your support, so it means so much to me. I hope you have a great rest of the week. I hope you have a wonderful week ahead and I look forward to speaking with you again on Thinks Out Loud next time. Until then, please be well be safe and as ever take care everybody.

Tim Peter

By

September 24, 2019

Mobile Is Not a Device; Mobile is a Situation (Thinks Out Loud Episode 259)

September 24, 2019 | By | No Comments

Mobile is a situation: Woman interacting with smart headphonesLooking to drive results for your business? Click here to learn more.


Mobile Is Not a Device; Mobile is a Situation (Thinks Out Loud Episode 259) — Headlines and Show Notes

This shouldn't be news, but mobile is way bigger than you think. No, really. Much, much bigger. And the reason is because mobile is not a device; mobile is a situation. And it's a situation that major players like Apple, Google, and now Amazon are positioning themselves to take advantage of. The question is whether you're doing the same for you business.

The latest episode of Thinks Out Loud takes a look at the fact that mobile is a situation and asks how you get ready for your business to handle that situation in the coming year.

Want to learn more? Here are the show notes for you:

Relevant Links:

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

Recorded using a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Mic and a Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface into Logic Pro X for the Mac.

Running time: 12m 49s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes, the Google Play Store, via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player at the top of this page.

Mobile Is Not a Device; Mobile is a Situation (Thinks Out Loud Episode 259) — Transcript

Well, hello again everyone and welcome back to Thinks Out Loud, your source for all the digital marketing expertise your business needs. My name is Tim Peter. Today is Tuesday, September 24th, 2019 and this is Episode 259 of the big show. Thank you so much for tuning in again. I really do appreciate it. I think we've got a really cool show for you today. There's some really interesting stuff going on. I'm kind of in this neat place today because I saw this story that blew my mind.

There's a story in CNBC that says Amazon is, and I'm reading from the story, Amazon is developing a new pair of Alexa powered wireless earbuds that double as a fitness tracking device. Their codenamed, "Puget", and they're expected to come with a built in accelerometer and be able to monitor things like the distance you run, how many calories you've burned, the pace of running and things along those lines. This is on top of Amazon recently introducing its Echo Auto device, which is a little tiny Echo you stick in your car so that you can use Alexa wherever you go while you're driving. I actually have one, I've been using it for the last couple of weeks and it's fascinating. It's got some problems, but it's really cool when it works correctly.

I think all of these are really sign posts. They really point to a trend that I think we overlook a bit. This is a trend that's been coming for about three years and we're probably not all the way there yet, but that trend is that mobile isn't what you think it is. When you think about mobile, when I think about mobile, when most people think about mobile, we tend to be talking about a piece of glass and aluminum that we're holding in our hands. The reality is that's not what mobile is. That's a device that allows you to be effective, to do computing, to connect with the information and the people that matter to you while your engaging in mobile activity.

As I've said before, mobile is a situation. It's not a device. The device that we're using to interact with mobile, the device we're using in mobile situations is starting to change. I put out a podcast, oh gosh, about three years ago actually when Apple introduced the AirPods called, "The Future of Digital Arrived Last Week". It was Episode 177, so this is a while ago. I want to be fair, we're not quite there yet, but I want you to think about the fact that in the time since Apple introduced the AirPods, they've sold 25 million of them. By one standard, it is the second best selling product Apple has ever introduced. It's sold more units over the first two years of its life than any other product they've ever sold, with the exception of the iPad, which by the way again, mobile device, right?

During the first two years that it was introduced, they also sold six million watches and now Amazon is about to introduce it's smart headphones. The reason is because this is the computer, this is the device we're all going to use in the future. By the future, I'm going to talk about in the moment, but this is the mobile revolution. The mistake is thinking that mobile is always or only going to look like a piece of glass and aluminum that you hold in your hand, but what we're seeing is to truly be mobile, people want to use things hands free. Maybe not always. Maybe not for every interaction, but your customers are becoming increasingly comfortable with the idea of using any device that allows them to access music, and news, and weather, and information, and the people they want to interact with wherever they are.

That's what the real mobile revolution is. I've said this many times before and I will link to the many, many examples in the show notes, but Millennials and especially Gen Z, are going to take these devices for granted. This isn't some cool new tech. This isn't some cool new thing. This is simply a tool that allows your customers to do what they want to do. Now, I'm not going to make any bold predictions about how long it will take before everybody has these, whether Apple makes them or whether Google makes them or whether Microsoft makes them or whether Amazon makes them, it doesn't matter. I want to talk about the fact that there's a famous Bill Gates quote that I'm sure I've used here on the show before that says, "We always estimate the change that will occur in the next three years and underestimate that the change in the next 10." I do want to point out the AirPods have been out for just about three years, going on three years, but if you look back 10 years ago, it's been roughly 10 years since Apple introduced the iPhone. Okay. 11, but I mean, about 10 years. A couple of weeks ago they introduced the brand new one. Have you heard anybody going, "Oh my gosh, the brand new phone is the greatest thing ever. Oh, it's the best one"?

Of course you haven't because the new one is, to be honest, boring. It's great from everything I've heard about it. I actually ordered one. It should be showing up in the next couple of days, but it's boring. Nobody gets excited about a phone any longer. The category has matured to the point where it's no longer interesting. Yes, your customers are still adapting their behaviors, but the phone isn't what's next. It's what is. What's next is coming pretty quickly because it's been coming for the last three years. When things come along that change people's behaviors and change the norms, I usually say it takes five years. I want to be fair because I'm splitting the difference a little on Bill Gates' quote about overestimating three and underestimating 10.

If you figure it's somewhere between those, you're talking five to seven. The fact that you're seeing Amazon start to get into this space and the fact that you're seeing more movement in terms of how companies are thinking about how customers will interact with voice and the places they will interact with voice, we're probably starting to get into a place where that's going to become more normal. It might still take another couple of years, but it's also something that is very much coming and it's very much real. Apple didn't sell 25 million AirPods because nobody wants these. They haven't sold six million watches because nobody wants them. Amazon's probably going to sell some of these smart headphones. I'm not going to make predictions about how many because I don't really know. I do know that anybody who uses Alexa really likes it, so they're probably going to sell a bunch of them.

In a couple of years it's likely we're going to be looking around and say, "Oh my gosh, when did everybody start using these things?" The answer is, about three years ago. The fact of the matter is mobile is a situation, not a device. Your customers expect to use mobile when and where they are using whatever device helps them accomplish the objectives that they have. It's probably going to be some kind of headphones or some kind of watch as the technology gets good enough that you can make them really powerful in a really small package. You look at the new Apple Watch they've introduced, you look at the new AirPods they've introduced. We're getting closer to where you can actually make these things all day, computers that allow you to interact with what you want, where you want.

That's a really powerful difference. When you think about mobile for your business, when you think about how your customers will interact with your products and services using mobile, don't think in terms of a screen, don't think in terms of a device. Think in terms of an experience. Think in terms of how your customers will choose to interact with the information that they need and how you can help them do that. Then regardless of whether it takes three years or 10 years or somewhere in between, you will be ready for that situation that is mobile without having to worry too much about the device.

Now, looking at the clock on the wall, we are out of time for this week, but I want to thank you again so much for tuning in. I genuinely do appreciate it. I want to remind you that you can find the show notes for today's episode, as well as an archive of all our past episodes by going to timpeter.com/podcast. Again, that's timpeter.com/podcast. Just look for Episode 259. While you're there, you can click on the subscribe link in any of the episodes you find there to have Thinks Out Loud delivered to your favorite podcatcher every single episode. You can also subscribe on iTunes, or Stitcher radio, or Google podcasts, or Apple podcasts, or whatever your favorite podcatcher happens to be. Just search for Tim Peter Thinks, Tim Peter Thinks Out Loud, or Thinks Out Loud. We should show up for any of those.

While you're there, I'd also very much appreciate it if you can provide us a positive rating or review. It's so helpful to other listeners and it makes it easier for people to find us, so that would mean a lot to me. You can also find Thinks Out Loud on Facebook by going to facebook.com/timpeterassociates. You can find me on Twitter using the Twitter handle @tcpeter or of course you can email me by sending an email to podcast@timpeter.com. Again, that's podcast@timpeter.com.

I'd also like to thank our sponsor. Thinks Out Loud is brought to you by SoloSegment. SoloSegment focuses on AI driven content, discovery, and site search analytics to unlock revenue for your business. You can learn more about how improve your content, increase your customer satisfaction, and make your search smarter by going to solosegment.com.

With that, I want to say thanks so much for tuning in. I very much appreciate it. I hope you have a great rest of the week, a wonderful weekend, and I'll look forward to speaking with you here on Thinks Out Loud next time. Until then, please be well, be safe and as ever, take care everybody.

Tim Peter

By

March 16, 2018

8 Exceptional Insights Into Voice and AI and Their Effects on Digital Marketing: E-commerce Link Digest

March 16, 2018 | By | No Comments

Looking to drive results for your business? Click here to learn more.


8 exceptional insights into voice and AI and their effects on digital marketing: Customer searching on mobile through voiceHowdy, Big Thinkers! Hope you’ve had an amazing week, filled with all sorts of greatness (traffic, revenue, a bit of laughter, love, and joy…) It’s been awesome around here (landed a couple of remarkable new clients, kicked off an incredibly fun project, shared a bit of laughter, love, and joy…) Clearly, we’re in a great mood. How about we put a bow on this extraordinary week by sharing this set of 8 exceptional insights into voice and AI and their effects on digital marketing. Maybe they’ll make a great week even better for you. Enjoy:

  1. Greg Zakowicz at Multichannel Merchant looked at the threat of disappearing brands in the age of voice assistants that’s well worth your time.
  2. Greg’s post makes an excellent complement to our look at the truth about voice as a powerful trend and whether voice, VR, AR, and AI represent hype or hope for marketers.
  3. In highly related news, our founder and president Tim Peter recently had a fantastic conversation with author, speaker, and digital strategist Mike Moran on content marketing, site search, and AI in an episode of Thinks Out Loud, our e-commerce and digital strategy podcast. Be sure to give it a listen when you get a moment.
  4. While we’re on the topic of AI, McKinsey put together a fantastic white paper ”Artificial Intelligence: The Next Digital Frontier?” [Heads-up, it’s a PDF link, not a regular webpage]
  5. Chris Abraham has an excellent piece over on Biznology that looks at how to embrace AI and robots as a PR and marketing professional that’s worth a look.
  6. Also on Biznology, Tim offers this warning that you’re ignoring your company’s best salesperson — and it just might be killing your business. Good stuff.
  7. Shifting gears, Bloomberg explains how Amazon became corporate America’s nightmare. Really fascinating insights into how digital changes customer expectations.
  8. Finally, we’ll wrap-up our look at |???| with two recent episodes of Thinks Out Loud. The first looks at marketing at the speed of digital while the second outlines 6 proven digital marketing trends.

Have a great weekend, everyone. We’ll catch you back here next week!

If you’re looking to learn even more about how changing customer behavior will shape your marketing going forward, be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Finally, you might enjoy some of these past posts from Thinks to help you build your e-commerce strategy and your digital success:

Tim Peter

By

August 30, 2017

The Truth About Voice as a Powerful Trend (Thinks Out Loud Episode 201)

August 30, 2017 | By | No Comments

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The Truth About Voice as a Powerful Trend (Thinks Out Loud Episode 201)

The Truth About Voice as a Powerful Trend (Thinks Out Loud Episode 201) – Headlines and Show Notes

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

Recorded using a Heil Sound PR 30 Large Diaphragm Multipurpose Dynamic Microphone through a Cloud Microphones CL-1 Cloudlifter Mic Activator and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 14m 55s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], the Google Play Store, via our dedicated podcast RSS feed )(or sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player at the top of this page.

The Truth about Voice as a Powerful Trend – Thinks Out Loud Episode 201 (August 30, 2017) Transcript

Well hello again everyone and welcome back to Thinks Out Loud, your source for all the digital marketing expertise your business needs. My name is Tim Peter, today is Wednesday, August 30, and this is episode 201 of the big show. Thank you once again for tuning in, I really do appreciate it. I’ve got a terrific show for you this week. A couple weeks ago, in our 200th episode, I talked about some key trends. I talked about mobile, and content being king, and customer experience being queen, and data being the crown jewels and how those all tied together to create the kind of experience and the kind of business performance that you are looking for. And I got a number of emails and some messages on Twitter and places like that asking about voice, why wasn't it in there.

Now I have talked about voice before; I brought it up in episode 199 talking about how millennials, mobile payments, and voice will serve as key drivers of mobile commerce as we go forward. But it is fair to ask why isn't it a bigger deal, why as I talked about some of these key trends you should be paying attention to, why isn't voice there?

Well, there's a few things we need to cover.

First, let's make a distinction between voice search like you would find with Google, voice search when you're just on your mobile phone and asking Google to find you something; and the kinds of voice applications or chatbots like you'd find with Apple Siri or Amazon's Alexa or Microsoft’s Cortana, or Google's Assistant. They're really two different things for now; whether or not they will be two different things in time is another matter. But right now we need to treat them a little differently.

And when we talk about voice search it is big and getting bigger: about a fifth of all mobile searches are conducted using voice and that number continues to grow so we'll come back to that at the end of the episode and put that aside for the moment.

When we talk about voice-activated tools like Siri or Alexa or Cortana or Assistant, it gets a bit complicated. There was some huge news on this front today when it was announced that Amazon and Microsoft have agreed to connect their Alexa and Cortana voice-based assistants. Now if that seems like a big deal to you it should because it will certainly emerge as a really big deal and you really owe it to yourself to read Brian Roemmele's take on it, which I will of course link to in the show notes. But as big as this will be there's a few reasons you shouldn't be putting too much focus on this type of voice application for your business… at least not yet.

Low Market Penetration for Voice-Driven Personal Assistants

The first reason is that the penetration of these kinds of devices and these kinds of utilities is still relatively low. They’re growing like a weed, the growth is huge, but the actual penetration is still relatively low. Only about 7% of people have one of these devices according to data from Edison Research and that I first heard about my friend Mark Schaefer’s “The Marketing Companion” podcast. Now 7% up from zero in just a couple of years is amazing. It's also really just a fraction of your potential customers. Now these folks are interesting people in that 42% of them say that their device is essential to their everyday lives, while 65% either agree or strongly agree that they wouldn't go back want to go back to life without one. 42% of them owned more than one device and 45% plan to purchase another one.

So these are people really love these things. By the way, I fall into that category; I love it, wouldn't go back, and I own three of them. But we're still only talking about 7% of the population. And more importantly over 70% of those in the study either strongly agree or agree that they don't know enough about their device to use all of its features. And that really leads to the next issue…

No Standard Exists for Developing Chatbots

The next reason why I wouldn't put all my eggs in this basket right now is that chatbots are not standard; they differ by platform. Now the Amazon/Microsoft announcement might change that some, but you know…

If you want to think about it easily, chatbots are essentially just apps for voice; that’s the easiest way to think about it. And right now it's a fairly fragmented marketplace between Alexa, Cortana, Siri and Assistant — which itself can be used on Google Home or on Google Assistant on Android and the like.

Unlike mobile where you have pretty straightforward path to say “okay if I'm going after money I want iOS; if I’m going after scale I want Android,” but there's just not a really clear path forward on chatbots for the moment and building them is not the simplest thing in the world right now now. Those two facts will change but it's not true yet. So if you're thinking about moving forward with these, you have to think about where your customers are, which percentage of that 7% are on which of these things and do you have to create a chatbot for every single one of them. That's a big deal and I don't know that most brands and businesses are ready for that yet.

Content Matters More than Voice… At Least for Now

The third one, and this is where this gets really interesting: Voice depends on content. So this is something you can do today to be ready for chatbots and be ready for voice and it helps you with voice search, which as I said at the beginning is really, really important. So this is kind of key. When you're thinking about what you should do for voice, you really should be thinking about, “What should I be doing about my content? How can I get my content house in order?”

AI is going to do increasingly positive job of determining which content you, um, see, right? So if I ask a question of, “find me a great restaurant near here,: or if I say, “What book I should read?” or “What's the weather going to be?” or “Where should I go for my next trip?” or things along those lines, the AI’s in these devices will do a better job over time answering those questions.

They will also depend on content. There's a terrific article in The Verge today about how YouTube improved its content feed that shares content to keep you on the site. Which is a classic example of a case of AI making big data little, something I talked about in episode 196. But if you don't have good content and if that content isn't well structured for the needs of the chatbot, you never get the game.

Importance of Long-Tail Keywords to Chat and Voice

So if you want to do something for voice, you want to start thinking about content. And I mentioned customer experience being such a key trend, well, obviously context is a key component of that customer experience. Content depends upon that context. So if you're thinking about voice, first you need to think more about what's your searchers’ intent, what’s your customers’ intent when they're asking questions, what's the actual problem there trying to solve, and what are the conversational phrases that they’ll use to get the answer to the question? You want to ask yourself does your content answer your customer’s question, not In the figurative sense, but literally.

Think, “Hey Siri, what's a great Thai restaurant around here?” or “OK, Google, where should I buy a pair of pants?” Right? You’ve got to think about these longer-tail keywords and these sort of conversational elements that your customers are to use when they're looking for the products or services you offer. The search queries tend to be longer so what a focus on that and think longer tail. You also want to think about making sure that you've got sufficient content that answers any number of the questions that they will have. Where they will be in their journey will determine a big piece of that. Delivering a great chatbot experience, by the way, depends on the same reality, so you’ve really got to cover both bases. Or to put it another way around, if you don't cover these bases your chatbot and your voice search will both be terrible. So you’re going to have to think through that whole process:

  • What is the customer's journey?
  • What is their intent?
  • What are the conversational phrases that they’re going to care about and going to use?
  • How well does your content answer those questions?
  • And have you thought through the longer tail keywords that you will need to be able to address to do just that?

Now from a purely voice search perspective and as we get deeper into voice as a platform, you also should start really looking into using schema for your SEO. Now that's a bit technical for the podcast but look at the references that I’ve linked to in the show notes and talk about them with your developers. That’s something you should be doing today anyway and can really help you to go forward.

The Truth About Voice as a Powerful Trends

So, when we talk about the truth about voice, voice is not hype. Earlier this year I talked about whether voice, VR, AR, and AI represent hype or hope for marketers, and voice is definitely not hype. It will be huge. And there are activities you can start today. But voice in the sense of Echoes and Siri and Google Assistant and the like aren't critical to your growth right now.

Building the right kind of content that answers your customers questions whether they type it or whether they talk it is. Winning, when we talk about marketing, often depends not on chasing the latest and greatest, but on prioritization and execution. If you can do a good job of creating great content, if you can think through the customer's journey and answer their questions with intent at each stage, if you actually have the right keywords that match up — the longer tail keywords that match up with the problems they're trying to solve — you’re going to be in a much better position both for voice search now… and for voice as we get into more sophisticated chatbots later.

And I can tell you in all sincerity that's the truth about voice as a powerful trend.

Conclusion

Now looking at the clock on the wall we are out of time for this week. I do want to remind you that you can find the show notes for today's episode as well as an archive of all episodes by going to Tim Peter.com/podcast. Again that's Tim Peter.com/podcast. Just look for episode 201. And while you're there you can click on the subscribe link in any of the episodes you find there so you get us delivered to your favorite podcatcher every single week. You can also subscribe in iTunes or the Google Play Music store or Stitcher Radio or whatever your favorite podcatcher happens to be. Just do a search for Tim Peter Thinks, Tim Peter Thinks Out Loud, or plain old Thinks Out Loud, we should show up for any of those. And if you'd be willing to provide a rating on iTunes, the Google Play Store, or Stitcher Radio while you're there, I would really appreciate it. You can also contact me by going to Facebook.com/TimPeterAssociates, on Twitter using the Twitter handle @tcpeter, or via email by emailing podcast@TimPeter.com again that's podcast@TimPeter.com. With that I want to say thanks again for tuning in, I really do appreciate it. I hope you have a fantastic weekend and I will look forward to talking with you back here on Thinks Out Loud again next week. Until then take care everybody.

Tim Peter

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January 26, 2017

Voice, VR, AR, and AI: Hype or Hope for Marketers? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 186)

January 26, 2017 | By | No Comments

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Voice, VR, AR, and AI: Hype or Hope for Marketers? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 186) – Headlines and Show Notes

VR/AR

Voice, VR, AR, and AI: Hype or Hope for Marketers?  (Thinks Out Loud Episode 186)

AR will be bigger

AI/Machine Learning

Voice and/or Audible Computing

5G

Where We’re Headed

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Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about how to lead mobile-focused digital transformation within large organizations (a topic we’ve been talking about a fair bit lately). Here are the slides for your reference:

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

Recorded using an Shure SM57 microphone through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 15m 9s

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