MTM Ep#11: How to leverage the coming wave of voice marketing with Nick Winikoff

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Welcome back to another episode of More Than Marketing. I’m your host, Arsham Mirshah. I’m here with Nick Winikoff today. We’re gonna be talking about voice search, and all the implications of AI and voice. It’s coming to a household near you. Actually, you already have it in your pocket, most likely, if you have an Android or iPhone.


– [Nick] To maintain our goal of being the marketers that we can be, we have to take in this new technology because it’s gonna be on us before we know it, and,

– [Arsham] Already is.

– [Nick] Yeah, it already is.

– [Arsham] Already is.

– [Nick] That’s what I’m telling you, 2019 is the year of voice.

– Welcome back to another episode of More Than Marketing. I’m your host, Arsham Mirshah. Here with Nick Winikoff today. We’re gonna be talking about voice search, and all the implications of AI and voice. It’s coming to a household near you. Actually you already have it in your pocket, most likely, if you have, you know, an Android or an iPhone.

– Any phone, really.

– Really any phone. You’re talking to Siri, you’re talking to Google, right. So you already got the AI, you’re already doing voice commands, and it’s comin’. It’s, you know, maybe the next frontier. What would you say, Nick?

– I think that people are going to start having to forget mobile, because 2019 and 2020 are gonna be the years of voice.

– Okay. You know, I’ll add to that. I think that, you know how like today everyone’s familiar with the keyboard? And they know how to type, and they took typing classes, right. The QWERTY keyboard.

– Yea.

– For some, there’s another keyboard, some people don’t know about. I don’t even know about it, but there is. I think that voice, or AI, otherwise, is gonna be the new keyboard. Like, you’re gonna have to know how to talk to your AI to get it to do the things that you want it to do. Whether that’s buy a product, or text a friend, or what have you. It’s funny watching my dad try to interact with Siri. Sometimes he can’t get it to do what he wants it to do, and I’m like. “Ah, no, you have to say this word” “and this one,” you know how I was saying. Because I’ve been practicing the keyboard.

– Yeah, absolutely, absolutely.

– But anyways, we’re, you know, Web Mechanix, we’re a marketing agency, you’re a strategist here, you’re helping clients kind of be on the forefront, on the bleeding edge of these new technologies coming out, voicers being one of them. I know you’ve done a ton of research. So, what are the implications?

– The implications are essentially happening to optimize for this stuff.

– Yeah.

– People make decisions based off of their own preferences.

– Right.

– And if you’re not meeting those preferences, you know, they’re gonna find somebody who will. And they’re gonna, I mean, it’s so easy to go from one place to the other on the internet.

– Sure. Information’s ubiquitous.

– Yeah, exactly. You know, they have the 80/20 rule where, you know, 20% of the sites get 80% of the traffic and if you’re not competitive, you know, it’s so easy to go from you know, to

– Sure.

– So I think that making sure that your customer experience and your user experience is very, or, your customer experience and user experience is, has to be, fair.

– Optimize for a voice. Or at least, like, you know, a not towards voice. Right? Now is this only for, would you say that this is only for like, ecommerce, or local companies because I can, like what are, if you’re an ecommerist dum-pie, like what are the implications?

– The implications I think are that you just have to expand your portfolio, really. Because, you know, the ecommerist vs now what they’re calling the commerist is going to be, super important to you, you know, to make a sale. Because if people are buying through voice, then you’re gonna have to optimize for voice or else you’re not gonna make that sale.

– Voice, yes, so V-commerist, V for voice. Voice commerist. That’s good, that’s interesting. And like local, you had a stat about local searches?

– Yeah. So, lemme pull it up over here. So January 2018 had over one billion voice searches, and 40% of those were local intent.

– Okay. How did they know local intent, they’ll say something like near?

– Either as near me, or some kind of geolocater. So whatever city you’re in, like, XYZ in Baltimore, XYZ in Washington DC. So that’s how they’re gonna,

– That’s crazy.

– Local intent.

– So a billion searches, that’s in a month. I mean, Google gets, you know, billions of searches a second, I think, I forget the exact number. But I think that that rate is increasing, right?

– Oh, exponentially.

– The voices. So over this holiday season, what happened over the holiday season? I know Amazon was fire-saling their Echos, I don’t know what Google was doing, do you know?

– Yeah, so, Google discounted the Home Mini. And Amazon,

– Man, I should have gotten one.

– And Amazon discounted the Echo Dot. They both charged around $20, $25 or so, and they were both the number one selling products for each company, for the holiday season.

– How much are they normally?

– I think the Echo Dots are like, 45 to 50, and same with the Echo Mini. Or, with the Home Mini, sorry.

– So they’re like, cutting it in half.

– Yeah.

– They’re losing money.

– Yeah. The report that I saw said that to make an Echo Dot is costs Amazon $31 and they were selling them for like $24.99.

– Wow. Think about the implications of that folks, right. You got, these companies purposefully losing money on getting this hardware into your home. Why are they doing that? Why? It’s gotta be a long term play.

– Absolutely.

– Businesses are not in business to lose money, right, no. This is a long term play. They’re willing to sacrifice the short term for the long term. That’s how much these tech giants, Amazon and Google, believe in AI, believe in voice, as the new frontier, or a new frontier.

– Absolutely. I mean, the Alexa’s built to sell Amazon products.

– Like all Amazon products. That’s the biggest one. If we’re gonna talk about the elephant in the room, it’s Amazon, right.

– Absolutely.

– They got the Echo, they got the Alexa. They got the buttons, the push button things, forget what they call those, but it’s like, you know, just making it super easy for you to buy.

– And more important, they have the products to sell.

– Right. Of course.

– Google doesn’t have that.

– Right. They’re not the products. So Google’s teaming up with other retailers, right?

– So Google allows you to buy from different places like Costco, Cole’s, Staples. And the big one obviously, Walmart’s ever in competition with Amazon. They sell over two million products on Google’s Home. All in all, apparently they have over 40 retailers that sell through Google Home. To help Google compete with Amazon.

– Wow. So I think that, like, the ecommerce, I think it’s easy for, I mean I think, everyone, it’s easy to grasp the ecommerist example of Amazon, I wanna buy this thing, I buy it on a regular, Amazon knows, whatever. So it’s easy to buy, right. And Google, I think we can, ecommerist I think it’s easy to grasp. I also think it’s not a big leap to make to say, like, yo, hey Google, give me Chinese food near me or, an auto repair shop near me. I think local searches and ecommerist is pretty easy, would you agree? Like, it’s easy to grasp that. I think everyone kinda sees implications there. What about like, I don’t know, like a B2B, or like a, something that’s not local, or not ecommerce, is there implications, is there, is it as important for them?

– I don’t see that being as important.

– It’s definitely not as important.

– I definitely see,

– I wouldn’t invest all of your marketing budget into voice.

– No, no. No. I definitely be B2C being the bigger play here.

– Yeah, I’m gonna agree with you.

– Because, I mean, it’s essentially for Home. I mean, there’s a reason why we don’t have an office Alexa, because that wouldn’t make sense. You know, so, to have one in your home and have it personally assist you, that makes a lot of sense, but to have it for B2B doesn’t, I mean, who knows, they could develop a reason to have it for business to business, but, to me right now as it stands it doesn’t really make sense to do B2B.

– I will say this, though, so I agree with you. I don’t like, it’s, if you’re a B and B you’re not gonna go and pour all your budget and have all your initiatives around voice search but, it’s not bad to kind of take a look at it and make sure that you’re optimizing. Because if you’re optimizing for voice, I think you’re inherently optimizing for search engines. Would you, is that fair statement?

– That’s not unreasonable, no.

– Right, because it’s kinda like doing keyword research, or in this case, key phrase research.

– Key phrase research.

– Because if you think about the way people think, they’re gonna think, then they’re gonna talk, right. Or first, people think and then they type. Into Google. And now it’s gonna be thinking and then speaking. So really it’s all kind of related. You know, we had a client, if you do a, if you ask Google what are the unclaimed property deadlines, reporting deadlines in the state of Delaware. I think our client comes up, and Google says, on the website, insert client name here, it says, right. So I think that, there’s a little bit of an implication there, because like, this is my belief Nick, and you can, you know, tear it to shreds if you like, but I think like, this information, we’re in the information age, information is,

– Everything.

– It’s ubiquitous. Everyone has access to it. It used to be that you have to go to a sales person, now it’s, you know, 80% of the sale’s done before you even talk to someone, on sales, right, or from sales. And so, if information is ubiquitous then, and voice is a vehicle to make it even more ubiquitous, even easier to get to it, then you might wanna be there. So I know with Google, do you have a Google Home?

– I don’t, I have the, an Amazon model.

– You have an Amazon, okay. So I have a Google one, for instance, and I’ll be like, hey, hey Google, and I’ll ask it a question, and it’ll be like, on the website, and then it’ll give me like what they say. And then, sometimes it says it, but sometimes it doesn’t, it’s like, if you want more information, check your app. So then I can pull out my app on my phone and I can go to that website. So now I’ve, yeah.

– Synergizes with your phone, and synergizes with your mobile search.

– And that’s search engine optimization.

– Absolutely.

– It’s really cool.

– I love it.

– I love it too, man, I love it too. So yeah, so where do we go from here man? How does someone go about optimizing for voice?

– So, I guess creating phraseology is to kind of match the products, I know that there are websites, like I found the, that you type in a keyword and it’ll give you like a list of 50 phrases. It’ll extend your keyboard for you. You know, because we’re looking for more, again, we’re looking to optimize for more phraseology rather than individual words. And that’s also to say that the technology is in and of itself smart enough to understand what you’re saying in a full phrase. Rather than just saying yes or no, like, you know, maybe 10, 15 years ago when you had voice assistance that only understood yes or no. When you had, like, phone, like answering machines that caught stuff. But now that they can fully understand what you’re saying, it makes it even more important to properly optimize your services for that.

– I like it. I agree. Yeah, that totally makes sense, and I think that, going back to this idea that like search engine optimization, like if you’re optimizing for voice, you’re kind of also inadvertently optimizing for search. Because, you know, when someone asks Google or Amazon something, effectively they’re querying. They’re doing a query, they’re making a search. And so, you know an implication I just though about Nick, in market audiences, so just saying me as an example, I have a baby due in two weeks, okay. I’ve been asking Google all types of baby questions, just to see like what it knows. And it’s constantly like, on the website this, on the website that, here’s an answer to your query. To your question. And now, when I login into YouTube on my laptop, because it’s all one Google account, what does it say. It says, hey, get a trial of YouTube TV, plenty of kids content in the library. I’m like ah, it knows I’m about to be a dad!

– It got you.

– They got me, right. Google’s smart, man. That’s an AI, they can get that semantic, so, you’re just, so think about the millions and millions of consumers that are gonna have these products in their homes, they’re gonna be asking questions, those tech giants are capturing that and bucketing you as an in-market, you know, audience, and, also, as advertisers, can market that.

– Yeah. Absolutely. And what’s also important, I think that was kind of noteworthy, was, because it’s AI and it can essentially think for itself, it’s gonna get rid of many blackad SEO tricks that you can pull. So you’re not gonna be able to spam backlinks anymore, you’re not gonna be able to overstuff your content with keywords, that kind of stuff. It’ll be able to tell what you’re doing.

– That’s not a bad thing. It’s a very good thing.

– I definitely agree with that.

– I agree, yes, big time.

– It’s noteworthy, I think.

– Yeah. That’s super cool. Super cool. Alright, so let’s see. So, major tech companies, you have any, what other stats do you have? I think the stats are really interesting.

– What other stats. Oh, sorry. I think, because, you know, we touched on how Amazon was losing, or was losing money on sales, and I’m assuming Google’s the same way, because they were trying to, over the holiday they were definitely trying to create that impulse buy scenario. I mean, we had two Amazon Echo Dots go in our white elephant gift exchange, because, hey, it fit the price, why not.

– And it’s easy, why not. Sure.

– So, when you’re talking about tech giants, it’s important to see how they’re trying to,

– They’re approaching.

– Yeah, and I think it’s all about being the native app, on the system. It’s all about apathy. Like, why does Google cut Apple, or sorry, why is Google cutting Apple a $19 billion check so that they’re the default search engine on the iPhone. Because it’s worth it to them.

– Yes, it’s worth it to them, right.

– Because people don’t care about switching preferences.

– That’s right. Because they get that data, really.

– I mean, it’s the same thing with Bing. You know. If I asked you right now, like, is Bing a success. You’re like, I don’t know, I don’t use it. But they are, because 80% of computers run Microsoft Windows.

– And that’s the default search engine. Ain’t no one changing that.

– It’s all apathy.

– Not ain’t no one, some people are, right. No, I’m with you. I’m with you.

– So what I think is super interesting when it comes to tech jock giant competition is Apple. Because Apple is creating a device that is specifically for music. They’re putting high quality speaker, high quality microphone. The only problem is, their base product is coming out at $349.

– Holy smokes.

– Exactly. Amazon’s Echo, their base product, is $99, full retail, and Google Home’s is $129. That’s a big difference.

– That’s a big difference. Is that the Google Home or is it the one with the speaker?

– That’s like the self-standing one that you don’t have to connect to your phone. So, I mean, naturally Apple’s making a better quality machine, but, like honestly who cares. If it’s three times the price. So, and, they don’t have anything to sell on Apple, because, you know, they have their Apple products, but they don’t have anything to sell.

– Wow. Crazy.

– Yep.

– Wow. Okay, how about actionable, like, if I’m a CMO, or if I’m a VP marketing, director of marketing, whatever, right. What do I do, man? What do I do today? Or tomorrow.

– So obviously it depends what you’re selling.

– Yeah. Depends on the business, that’s obvious, let’s put that out there.

– But if you’re any kind of B2C business, you have to start testing the waters. Because you’re gonna get left behind. You know, we were talking earlier about native advertising to, like, the Alexa or the Google Home where you say, for whatever, you know, Alexa, buy me,

– Paper towels.

– Buy me paper towels, yeah. And then it says, sure, you’re ordering paper towels. Also do you know Domino’s is having a special this week. You know. How is that gonna,

– Oh wow, yes, a needed bas-tral advertising.

– Yeah. And like I was telling you earlier, only about 10.8% of people surveyed are saying they’re completely 100% against that.

– Wow.

– As opposed to the 38.2 people who say that they would welcome that as long as the ads were directly relevant to themselves.

– Is this from eMarketer?

–, yep.

– That’s very interesting. You know, I guess, I personally would agree. I actually like ads, not just because I’m a marketer and I like to see the creativity and who’s advertising where, when, why, what the message is. But more so, I mean that, yes, but also I like personally, I learn of new services. I learn of new products that way.

– New ways to do things.

– New ways to do things. I mean, I’ve, I bought so many different things. Tools, for the agency, and just different things. Just from getting hit with irrelevant ads. I welcome that too.

– Yeah, I think it’s definitely going to be a positive.

– I’m in that majority. So to speak. No, it’s really cool man. So what does it mean for your job?

– So for my job, I think that we’re going to have to start taking a voice into more of an account.

– More into consideration.

– Or more into consideration. We’re gonna have to start targeting, you know, if I’m ever working on a B2C consumer we’re gonna have to start targeting localized keywords.

– I agree.

– Such as, near me. Or anything with a geoindicator of location to where you are. To maintain our goal of being the best marketers that we can be, we have to take in this new technology, because, it’s gonna be on us before we know it, and,

– Already is.

– Yeah, it already is.

– Already is.

– That’s what I’m telling you, 2019 is the year of voice. Here, I got another fun stat for you saying, there was 91 million units in American households of voice assistance. They’re expecting that number to jump to 105.8 million by 2020.

– So when was that? 91 when?

– 91 is 2018. And it’s gonna make that jump to 105. So we’re looking at, I don’t know exactly how many households are in the United States, but there’s 300 million people, so I figure, so if you’re saying on voice assistant per three people, like, that doesn’t seem unreasonable to me.

– That’s like sorta like household.

– Yeah, it’s pretty saturated.

– Yeah, and you know what’s interesting, I also think, I wouldn’t, it’s funny because Apple when they came out with the iPod, the market didn’t give them that much credit for it, like the stock market, right. And then, until it realized, this was like, how many years ago, this was before the iPhone,

– 2007.

– Yeah.

– That area.

– I think it was before even the iPhone. It was interesting because people were like, oh, yeah, people are just gonna buy one and that’s it, and it’s not that hot. But really what ended up happening is people bought multiple iPods. Little ones, because they wanted the different colors. So, you know, the “street,” quote-on-quote the market, they didn’t realize that, that that was gonna be the consumers’ behavior. Playing along with that trend, and just thinking about myself, and maybe I’m kind of a relict adapter, but I personally will, I already have Google Home. I have two units in my house, I’m a big user of Amazon, I’ll probably get a Dot, I actually have a Dot, I just haven’t set it up, so I’ll probably get a Dot, maybe an Alexa. You see what I’m saying? So it’s not like I have a Home, I’m not gonna get Amazon’s product, right. Just saying.

– Yeah, and so, also another interesting point, going back to Apple is, if you have an Echo Dot already and it works for you, at that $25 to $50 price point, are you then going to throw that out and get an Apple product at $350? Or are you gonna have both of them, or are you gonna stick with your Alexa? I mean, I personally think I would probably stick with the Alexa, but, you know, you never know.

– So this is what I would say to businesses out there. I don’t care what your business is, like, the steps are basically just recognize, what, it basically goes back to keyword research. It goes back to search engine optimization. Keyword research, key phrase research. Look for the questions that people are asking around your product or service. That’s typically gonna be the voice, like that’s how we interact with voice. You know, we ask questions. Typically, that’s what I’ve seen at least, right. Or command, like, you know, make me a reservation at an Italian restaurant, I see 10 Italian restaurants, would you like to go to wherever, you know. But, so first is that research. What questions are people asking around my product or service, and then do I have those questions and answers on my website. To start.

– And are they optimized for voice.

– Right, so how do you optimize for voice. Like is there an HTML way to optimizing for voice?

– I’m not 100% sure.

– I don’t think that there’s a schema for it, but if there is, we’ll be the first to tell you, right.

– Absolutely.

– So, but, I know that you can do with Alexa, you can, I know with Google you can create apps for it, I know with Alexa you can give it RSS feeds, and also create apps for it. Basically giving it RSS feed, so I can say, I believe this works on Alexa today, people out there, hey try this, say, what’s the latest news from Web Mechanix. On your Echo Dot, or your Alexa. I believe it will read you our most recent blog post.

– Yeah, because you can make a scope for it.

– Yeah, so that’s what we did. Right. So you wanna understand, you wanna basically do keyword and key phrase research, and then look, if you’re like a, well it doesn’t matter what you are, FAQ pages are great places to house answers to that.

– I think that’s gonna be absolutely big for them.

– Easy. Easy.

– For everyone, really, that could be a B2B. A huge B2B.

– There’s your B2B angle. Right. Just gimme the FAQ page. Bang. So here’s what people search, here’s an answer. And maybe you do it in some, I’m sure there’s markup for it, I can’t believe I didn’t look this up before, it came on the spot guys. There’s definitely markup for it. If there isn’t, you know, make your markup, like, wise. So, give class equals question, class equals answer, right, I don’t know. And then house that all in, you know, one thing, that’s what I would do.

– Yeah. Absolutely. That makes total sense.

– Woo, man, this is awesome. Any other follow up or parting thoughts on this?

– No, no. I think we covered everything.

– We covered it, it’s coming, it’s here already.

– Yep. V-commerce is huge.

– V-commerce is huge. You’re probably already using it. If you’re not, and I think Nick you were telling me also, consider the long term effects of this, and consider the generations, like if, let’s say our parents are talking to Siri, you know, we are, and our kids,

– Even more so.

– Even more so will be. So that’s, you know, this is, yeah short term we’ve gotta start thinking about it, but also consider the long term implications.

– I mean, I think I mentioned this one to you, that, V-commerce rose by 43.3% amongst people 18 to 29 years old.

– In 2018, over 17?

– Right. Right.

– 40 some percent?

– Yeah. And that’s again, according to eMarketer. And obviously those stats, or that percentage, kind of lowers as you get older, because, like I was saying that the adoption of this technology by older folks,

– But see I personally have never bought anything in 2018, via voice, but I bet you in 2019 that I will. But I bet that stat actually goes up. I think that growth will accelerate. With time.

– And we can do a follow up podcast next year.

– Let’s do that. Voice search, AI, it’s here, it’s gonna come harder faster stronger better. You know, if you’re B2C, if you’re local, very important. If you’re B2B, use it as an excuse to refresh your keyword research and key phrase research and you’re secondary keywords that you’re optimizing for, your sites. Nick, thank you so much.

– Thank you so much. You’re very cool.

– Subscribe, see you next time. Thank you.

Nick Winikoff

Nick Winikoff

Arsham Mirshah

Arsham MirshahCEO & Co-Founder

Podcasts Info:
Creative + UX
News + Business

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