Marketing in the World of Intelligent Personal Assistants

The boom of intelligent personal assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, Google Assistant, and Apple’s Siri has redefined the future of marketing by fundamentally transforming the customer journey experience. With the intelligent personal assistant, traditional marketing efforts no longer play a role in the equation. The power is instead put directly into the hands of the consumer and the data-driven company behind the consumer’s new assistant to make the choice. In order to stay competitive, businesses must understand the opportunities provided by intelligent personal assistants, or risk being overtaken.

The customer journey of the use of the intelligent personal assistant is a dramatic shift from brick & mortar or digital experiences that have dominated the marketplace. The format of the intelligent personal assistant lends itself to giving one or two short, direct answers to queries. Since users are unlikely to specify brands when speaking, the voice assistant must rely on machine-learning principles to sort the best possible results. Top suggestions are pulled from popular results, hurting the opportunity for smaller brands to become a high-rated pick. Answers are personalized over time based on users’ past behaviors. As soon as a brand is chosen by a customer, it is more likely to be recommended again and again, leading to greater customer retention, but declining exposure to new brands.

Most companies have yet to take full advantage of intelligent personal assistant technology. This failure has created an entry point for innovators willing to maximize their marketing potential. Intelligent personal assistant marketing efforts can take reactive and proactive forms, but they must be grounded in a thorough appreciation of the total customer experience.

Lubin Lawrence’s 2018 The Impact of Amazon On Millennials & Gen Z study found that the youngest generations of consumers expect and want a high degree of personalization from technology. However, these same generations are growing increasingly wary of how companies use the data they glean. Lubin Lawrence’s research showed that companies applying a data-driven approach to their digital experience are playing a balancing act on an increasingly fine line between the Millennial and Gen Z consumer’s desire for helpful personalization and their concurrent distrust of Big Data.

To stay relevant, companies have to utilize customer experience data to become a top-choice result for the users who are most likely to engage with their product. Research into their consumers’ customer journey experience needs to pinpoint triggers that set potential customers on their journey towards their product in order to proactively create such opportunities for discovery. Most importantly, companies must identify the Fundamental Human Values and Desired Target Experiences that define the fine line between helpful and suspiciously intrusive.

Today, nearly 50% of all consumers use intelligent personal assistants when researching a product. The proliferation of intelligent personal assistant technologies on mobile devices, smart speakers, computers, home technology and more provides a huge marketing opportunity for disruption as long companies do not fall afoul of consumer technology fears. By understanding the customer experience, businesses can learn to anticipate each step in the customer’s journey, and develop future-facing, deeply human experiences.


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