Alexa, turn up the lights. Google, what’s the weather like today? Siri, what’s the true meaning of life and why are we here? The answer to the last question is pizza, obviously. In today’s ever-shifting digital realm, smart speakers are finding their way into more-and-more people’s daily routines and presenting a new way for marketers to reach the consumers they seek. In the year 2018 alone, 86.2 million smart speakers from the holy trinity of trendsetting brands, Amazon, Google and Apple, found their way into the homes of consumers1 https://www.inc.com/john-koetsier/48-of-marketers-believe-amazons-alexa-is-better-than-google-assistant-siri-or-cortana-for-marketing.html . While advertising on these smart devices is still very much in its infancy, smart speakers are already providing new and exciting ways to reach the consumer-bases-at-large. Let’s take a look at how you can leverage smart speakers into intelligent advertising and what a nationally known brand is already doing to take advantage of this newest technological trend.

Baby on Board

As we mentioned earlier, smart speaker advertising is still in its infancy stage even as the technology is seeing widespread adoption by consumers. Marketers are just now starting to catch up with this new digital trend. In a recent survey, 40% of marketing agents said they already have a strong desire to develop their own voice channels2 https://www.inc.com/john-koetsier/48-of-marketers-believe-amazons-alexa-is-better-than-google-assistant-siri-or-cortana-for-marketing.html . It’s easy to see why too. According to Colin Morris, Director of Analytics at Adobe, “We have consistently seen that audio tends to reach distinct audiences that other formats miss, such as among younger listeners who have been quick to adopt smart speakers into their daily lives3 https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnkoetsier/2019/02/26/good-news-for-amazon-google-39-find-voice-ads-on-smart-speakers-more-engaging-than-tv-online/#796542e27639 .” This adoption of voice-activated technology is expected to continue to grow rapidly in fact. By 2023 it’s estimated that there will be approximately 8 billion voice assistants at work globally4 https://techcrunch.com/2019/03/08/over-a-quarter-of-u-s-adults-now-own-a-smart-speaker-typically-an-amazon-echo/ . In just four years time, there will be more voice-activated assistants at work than there will be people living on our planet. It’s a staggering number to contemplate. So how can brands start to strategize how to leverage this technology in order to better market to their consumer bases? Let’s find out.

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Don’t Forget the Lime and Salt

Patrón is one of the most recognizable names in the tequila space today. From its distinctively shaped bottle to its top shelf location, it remains a go-to for mixing the perfect cocktail. Paired perfectly with a premium triple sec, some salt and a splash of freshly squeezed lime juice, the marketing agents at Patrón decided to seek out an even better partner-in-crime for their market-leading spirit, Amazon’s Alexa. While certain limitations are still stymying the advertiser’s ability to crack the smart speaker code, Patrón skipped to the front of the line by creating its own skill directly onto the Echo device itself. Users simply ask Alexa to ask Patrón for some mixological help and suddenly hundreds of recipes are at their fingertips, or more accurately, their lips. By creating their own skill, Patrón is able to work around some of the limitations currently associated with smart speaker marketing while generating a new avenue of brand loyalty amongst their consumer base. It’s the (tequila) sunrise on the dawn of a new digital marketing age. Take a look at the video below to see what the future of brand marketing looks like.

 

It’s Not Always So (Speak)Easy Though

As we mentioned earlier, there are still limitations to marketing through this new technology, however. The most glaring example being that advertisers cannot simply buy ad space in the traditional sense like they might on other platforms. Currently, ad-buyers are limited to placing their content within other content. Whereas one might turn on Spotify and be greeted with a two-minute ad break no matter what it is the user is listening to, smart speaker advertising requires advertorial content to be inserted into places like podcasts, music, or Flash Briefing Skills5 https://www.socialreport.com/insights/article/360014628011-How-Your-Brand-Can-Embrace-Smart-Speaker-Marketing-in-2019 . One of the items many marketers cite as a current area of concern is the fact that microtargeting your audience like you might on say Facebook just isn’t an option as of yet6 https://www.inc.com/john-koetsier/48-of-marketers-believe-amazons-alexa-is-better-than-google-assistant-siri-or-cortana-for-marketing.html . No doubt these market-leading companies like Google and Amazon are still sorting out how to balance their desire to increase revenue streams from smart speaker adoption while also avoiding the creation of an invasive experience for the user every time they seek to check the weather outside or control another device within their home. Nevertheless, there can be no doubt that with such widespread adoption already and more predicted over the next half-decade or so, more-and-more marketers will be turning to these voice-activated devices to more effectively reach the coveted users their clients seek to reach. The future might not be fully realized yet, but it’s most definitely on its way.