How Marketers Can Use VUI to Their Advantage

Advances in voice user interface (VUI) technology mean its presence is “heard” nearly everywhere. Voice commands and small conversations with virtual assistants to get information, drive, cook and more, are becoming increasingly common. By 2020, according to gartner.com, 30 percent of web browsing will be done without a screen. We see this in my household, where my four-year-old son has a special bond with our Amazon Alexa device. Alexa is always available and willing to listen, and, when she understands what he is asking for, she gives him exactly what he wants—from silly songs like “Baby Shark” to random facts about dinosaurs.

In addition to its influence on our personal lives, VUI technology is also altering the way content strategists and marketing specialists produce information and deliver it to their audiences. Here are some things to consider when mainstreaming VUI into your content marketing strategies:

Determine how VUI can advance your marketing efforts and overall goals
As the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes a bigger part of our lives, you’ll want to ensure there’s a good reason to use VUI as a marketing strategy as opposed to other, traditional forms of communication. Will a VUI feature enhance your overall marketing goals? For example, a VUI feature on your app or website could give your brand a voice or more personality as you interact and connect with current and new users. If your frequent user or target audience is tech savvy, and your content can be adapted to the shorter, conversational VUI delivery, adding it to your overall marketing plan will be beneficial.

Be aware of the pitfalls
Developing and implementing a marketing strategy that uses VUI can be tricky. Make sure you consider the best method to communicate through voice interaction with your client base. How do you interact? What do you say? Focusing on user experience (UX) and developing a VUI tone that is clear, concise and conversational is very important. How can the VUI application help your organization’s overall goals? There are numerous articles and guides that explain the ins-and-outs of how a design team would set up and personalize a VUI application for the most effective use.

Anticipate the needs of your target consumer
Optimize your website for mobile use. Create good content and make it easily accessible through voice interaction. It’s important to understand how the application will be put to use in everyday life. The needs of a busy mom with a sick child are different from those of a college student Ubering across town to meet friends for dinner. One might need to simply gather information about her feverish baby, while the other might need to use VUI to quickly transfer money to pay for dinner. The approach they’ll use to initiate their VUI request will be very different. As you develop a strategic plan for content and marketing, you’ll need to anticipate how those conversations will go.

While we aren’t quite as advanced as the technology used in the scenes from The Black Panther movie, where they’re operating floating digital 3D maps through simple voice commands, we are certainly moving in a direction where voice technology is becoming mainstream. VUI is forging ahead and changing users’ everyday experience with the web. With its pitfalls and advancements, it’s important to stay on top of the trend and ensure you have a plan that is clear and beneficial for your strategic content and marketing goals, as well as your users.

Arris Shabaglian

For more than a decade Arris has worked as a freelance writer, editor and communications consultant. She has also taught university level courses on the art of communication, public relations and journalism. Arris is a Pinterest addict who loves a good night’s sleep and a nice cup of coffee. She resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three kids (hence the need for a nice cup of coffee).
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