Marketers should think of voice as an integral part of their strategy: VoiceBox report

Niraj Ruparel, Head of Mobile & Emerging Tech, GroupM, decoded the VoiceBox report at the exchange4media-GroupM Voice Marketing Conference

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Jul 16, 2021 8:35 AM  | 4 min read
niraj ruparel

With voice technology seeing rapid adoption among Indian mobile phone users, the time has come for marketers and media planners to include voice marketing as a key component of their media mix. Currently, the brands are yet to take advantage of the full potential of voice marketing.

Backed by data and case studies, the GroupM VoiceBox report in association with exchange4media and research partner InMobi illustrates how brands can use voice marketing as a tool to engage with customers particularly those living in rural India. The biggest advantage of voice marketing is that it cuts across the technological divide as it works on feature as well as smartphones.

Decoding the VoiceBox report at the 'exchange4media-GroupM Voice Marketing Conference' was Niraj Ruparel, Head of Mobile & Emerging Tech, GroupM from WPP's Voice Lab in the Mumbai Campus. Niraj made good use of Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa devices to present the report at the conference.

So how does a brand start its journey on voice? "Building a brand on voice is not as complex as most brand managers think of it. Firstly, marketers should think of voice as an integral part of their marketing strategy and not just a part of their checklist that should be ticked off. Following simple guidelines like building a brand persona and creating an actionable experience for their consumers, focussing on producing relevant and voice friendly content can do magic for brands. Platform recommended agencies can help create enchanting applications on voice," the report says.

According to the report, voice should also be a part of a brand's SEO strategy. "After all, voice is a preferred medium of input not just across Google search but also across platforms like YouTube and music streaming apps to name a few. To illustrate how big the voice search ecosystem is, voice queries on search are growing at a phenomenal 270% YoY," it further added.

Two-wheeler brand Royal Enfield has adopted voice search as part of their overall SEO strategy which has resulted in better visibility of website where users are having conversations with Google Assistant supported devices.

According to the InMobi survey, which is part of the report, a typical voice user is a relatively young person for whom using voice is a way of life especially for entertainment and information. Almost 40% of these users interact with Alexa daily.

Brands are also using Alexa for voice commerce with marketers building skills to have a personal connect with their customers. The report highlighted Dairy Milk Silk's Valentine's Day campaign using voice. Alexa guided love birds who asked Alexa how far to go out for love. It also recommended romantic ideas and gestures to surprise their loved ones. Alexa prompted them to add Dairy Milk Silk heart pop to their shopping cart as the perfect gift for the occasion.

In terms of emerging trends impacting industries across verticals, voice technology is expected to bring a makeover for many industries. The healthcare industry, which is witnessing operational challenges due to Covid-19, can use voice tech to streamline processes such as record keeping. Also, voice tech is being used to make education more fun and engaging especially when schools are closed and there is a need for secondary tutoring.

Niraj noted that the report has collated all possible opportunities along with use cases when it comes to rural and urban India. "Voice cuts across divides, whether it's a $10 phone or a $20 phone which is now connected to internet or a pure-play smartphone, we see a lot of use cases on voice which is evolving across these device sets," he stated.

While Alexa comes in-built with OnePlus, Xiaomi, Motorola and Sony phones, Google Assistant has a much deeper penetration thanks to its availability on all Android smartphones which use Android 5.0 or higher software.

As part of its strategy to increase the adoption of voice service, Google Assistant has partnered with Vodafone Idea to create a solution for Bharat. With a simple feature phone, Google Assistant can be accessed without the internet simply by calling a phone number. To accelerate this adoption, Google Assistant is available in nine Indian languages.

"We are seeing a lot of connected audio experience picking up and a lot of new solutions are getting delivered. Voice in rural is something we are absolutely bullish about and in times to come we will see tonnes and tonnes of cases getting landed in rural on voice," Niraj said.

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