Digital assistants: Stylized science fiction or ready to go?
22 March 2017
Marketers, get ready to rethink digital marketing through the lens of digital assistants
Search continues to evolve at a breathtaking pace in concurrence with the latest technology and human behaviors. While the mobile revolution took many of us by storm, there is already a new revolution in play — one that promises even bigger change than mobile as today’s searchers look for fewer links and more answers, fewer screens and more voice, less clicking and more action. Far from being scenes from a science fiction show (any Black Mirror fans?), digital assistants envelop us today, driving some of our most common behaviors. We look to Siri for directions. We ask Cortana about the weather. We order Alexa to turn on the lights. We play trivia with the Google Assistant. Get ready search marketers, because the advent of digital assistants is upon us and will once again require us to rethink everything.
The device landscape
The space around digital assistants is rapidly evolving as it enters new, intangible terrain. Digital assistants are still device agnostic — they’re the program, the artificial intelligence, the disembodied voice answering questions and fulfilling requests. And while some of the most popular forms include smartphones, desktops, smart home hubs and other connected things, it is still unclear how the exact device mix will shake out. Whatever the winning result, it will need to be a cross platform solution that can easily bridge devices and deliver seamless, personalized, high-value experiences to the end user.
The digital assistant market is arising thanks to advancements in many fields, including the recent explosion of zero UI screenless interfaces. Voice is set to take over the search stage as a progression of natural language processing and the conversational nature of communicating with digital devices. But digital assistants do much more than perform voice searches. The real power of digital assistants is their ability to take action at a user’s request, eventually acting in anticipation of the user’s need. It’s one thing to ask which Italian restaurants are nearby — we’ve been able to do that since the advent of smartphones. It’s another thing to follow-up this question by telling our digital assistant to make a reservation at the earliest available time after 7:00 pm for a party of four, and for it to inform us when the task is complete. This takes intelligence, contextual understanding, bots — all convening to transform traditional searches into conversational, meaningful interactions.
Prepare to take action
Now is an ideal time to take a fresh look at the new touchpoints of modern search and how your brand can build value in a digital assistant world. Marketers should be thinking about how to optimize their existing content and search campaigns for digital assistants and to leverage the technologies that interact with digital assistants. You can begin by making the shift from customer advertising to customer advocacy to provide your customers with highly relevant, purposeful touchpoints that support user engagement. Access the full white paper to learn the things you can be doing to prepare your brand for:
- Conversational commerce
- Voice search
- Skills and actions
- Digital Assistants
Want to learn more about how you can build stronger, more meaningful relationships with the customers of tomorrow? Download the full whitepaper Digital Assistants: reordering consumer lives and redefining marketing