What opportunities are opened up in B2B by voice marketing?

Voice search via voice assistants, the rapid development of smart home devices, the increasing popularity of podcasts – the spoken word is gaining traction. Voice marketing is tapping into this trend and opening up new horizons in B2B.

Podcast marketing and voice assistants are two voice marketing trends that open up a broad range of applications.
Image: © Drazen / AdobeStock

Once heard, never forgotten: voice marketing

Creating an acoustic brand identity counts as an extremely effective marketing strategy. Sound evokes emotion in the listener, making a brand both memorable and distinctive. Radio jingles, for example, have been used successfully to achieve this effect for more than 100 years already.

The reception of sound and the spoken word does not require active consumption, either. Instead, listeners absorb what they hear at a subconscious level while going about other activities. They do not have to want to actively engage with a brand’s content, such as by accessing and reading a text.

Voice marketing can use various channels to reach listeners’ ears. Two current trends and effective approaches to voice marketing are podcast marketing and voice assistant marketing, i.e. voice content marketing using voice assistants.

Voice app marketing

Developing your own voice app for use on voice assistants is an effective tool for increasing brand appeal and user contact frequency with your brand. For example, customers might then activate your app using commands such as “Alexa, ask (your brand name)…” or “OK Google, talk to (your brand name)….”, putting them in frequent contact with your brand.

AI-based analysis of a user’s voice commands can even be used to select the right speaking voice in order to adapt the speech output by the voice app to the words chosen by the particular user, thereby improving rapport.

Alexa Skills and Actions in Google Assistant allow companies’ own voice apps to be accessed via voice assistants. However, for development of a dedicated voice app to pay off, the use of voice assistants must be widely accepted in the business environment as well and the app must be able to offer users real added value. Content-focused skills already dominate the list of most popular Alexa Skills in the Business & Finance category today.

Voice search marketing via digital voice assistants

The Internet of Voice (IoV) and voice search via digital voice assistants and smart home devices already feature on a day-to-day basis in our private lives and are therefore ideal for use in voice commerce and B2C marketing.

But B2B companies should also take note of the latest developments, as voice-based technology and voice marketing are not a passing trend.

10 %
of companies in the US already use voice assistants and technology.
22 %
plan to do so.
40 %
of people who use voice search in a private capacity say that they also use it in their work.

With Alexa for Business, Amazon is throwing the door wide open and creating ideal conditions for increasing the appeal of voice assistants in the professional domain as well. Amazon recommends the use of Alexa for Business primarily for conferences and meetings so that presentations can be controlled via voice command or to actively involve people that cannot attend in person.

In the context of a marketing meeting, for example, it takes no great leap to directly implement decisions taken during the meeting and use voice search to find the relevant business contacts or cooperation partners, such as agencies. This considerably shortens decision-making processes and paths. For companies offering any kind of B2B services or products, it is therefore already worth using voice search SEO now and reaching the top of the SERPs for the relevant search queries.

Voice advertising is becoming interactive

Voice recognition technology is enabling interaction with audio advertising. Listeners can respond directly to audio ads by accessing advertised content or ordering the advertised products and services using voice commands. This strategy is already in use in the B2C realm. With its dynamic voice-activated ads, C&A is combining voice with e-commerce for the first time and offering individual outfit recommendations to users upon voice request.

For B2B companies, this represents a great opportunity to present ads to potential business customers on a programmatic basis and invite them to interact. Perhaps a sample, giveaway or download might be offered as a reward for a response or communication.

B2B podcast marketing

Podcasts are becoming more popular. In the B2B space as well, many decision-makers are consuming podcasts in order to gain insights into current industry topics and stay abreast of what their competitors are doing. You can make your brand be heard with voice ads in industry-relevant podcasts for your target group or through content marketing in the form of your own brand podcast.

There are many benefits to podcast marketing:

  • You can get information, news and interesting facts about the development of your brand to not only existing customers, but prospective parties as well. Ideally, future customers will already be familiar with what you do from the podcast and will approach you with the right level of expectation.
  • The production and distribution costs involved in creating your own podcast are comparatively low and you have the opportunity to bring sponsors on board and offer other companies advertising space on your podcast.
  • You make yourself emotionally approachable by giving your abstract brand a voice – and therefore a face – and encourage your audience to engage in dialog. This tremendously boosts the memorability of your brand and transforms your customers, existing and prospective, into a community. This gives your listeners a feeling of connectedness and sense of familiarity and also leads to recommendations.
  • Podcasts offer you the space to position yourself as a company that understands your target group by clearly explaining the issues they face. At the same time, hardly any other medium offers you so much space to present your products or services as the right solution for these problems.
  • A podcast in which you convey unique industry knowledge to your audience and thereby create real added value puts you in the role of expert. At the same time, your brand benefits from an innovative and progressive image.
  • Teasing content upgrades in a podcast and then providing them as a download in return for contact details is an effective means of generating leads.

Voice marketing: a new challenge for B2B companies

When it comes to voice marketing, marketers must start by facing a practical challenge: messages and emotions conveyed using image, text and possibly sound in “traditional” marketing activities must be encased in the spoken word and sound alone in voice marketing. All voice marketing strategies presuppose that your brand has its own unmistakable audio identity. Voice, tone and style must harmonize with the brand identity while striking a chord with the target group.