In today’s digital age, our world is changing faster than ever. There are new technologies introduced every day, trends come and go in the blink of an eye, and consumer preferences are a moving target. This speed makes it tough for brands and marketers to reach their goals – and even tougher to stay human in a post-digital world. By combining the right technology, channel and message, marketers have the opportunity to reach their target audience in an impactful way. The key is to keep in mind that your audience, at its most basic level, is still human.
More and more consumers are embracing the evolving world of technology and are using it to make their lives easier and more convenient. One big shift in how consumers use technology is the use of voice applications – Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri – and the various competitors popping up. These assistants are a big reason why it is predicted that by 2020, 30% of internet browsing will be screenless. Instead of a mobile-first approach, marketers will need to think about a voice-first approach. Browsing the internet will shift from using screens to using voice assistants. Audio will start to play an even larger part of a brand’s identity, therefore, savvy marketers should start thinking about how voice and audio fit into their marketing strategies.
This shift to voice-first will be supported by the vast amount of data that marketers can now access. As we’ve seen in 2018 from the Cambridge Analytica controversy with Facebook, this consumer data should be handled with care. Marketers should be asking themselves questions about their need to collect user data and how they plan to use it. There’s a fine line between useful and invasive; if it seems unnecessary, then don’t gather it. One way that brands can stay human is by giving users the control over their own data and treating this data with respect. When brands and marketers collect and use consumer data in a responsible way, it opens the door for positive interactions with their target audience. In using data and voice, marketers can offer a seamless experience that will have increasing value as technology continues to evolve.
In addition to innovating with technology and using data to reach target audiences, marketers need to tie it all together with their messaging and channels of delivery. This is a key area that will prove staying human makes a significant impact. Because of this transition to a voice-first landscape, brands should speak to consumers conversationally when using voice and at the same time keeping consumers’ emotions in mind, which will help bridge the gap between brand and consumer. Of course, this also requires testing on both the creative and media side in order to find what is most effective.
Ultimately, the foundation of all these ideas and shifts that are happening in the industry is trust. Consumers want a personal connection with a brand and need to feel valued. Choosing the right channel to communicate a brand’s story is dependent on the audience, which is not a new concept for marketers, but is increasingly important in today’s ever-changing digital world.
Authors: Lauren Tsevis, Implementation Operations Supervisor and Anna Rice, Digital Media Strategist