alexa

052 - Brian Roemmele - Amazon’s Hardware Announcements: Keys to the Castle - Pt. 1

Echo Buds, Echo Frames, Echo Loop, and more new products take Alexa to new fields: what does it mean? Brian Roemmele is known as the Oracle of Voice for a reason. Over decades he has predicted so many things that came true. The brilliance of these new products like Echo Loop is about getting Amazon into the castle without fighting for spaces that are already occupied, like the wrist or the pocket.

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About Our Guest:

Brian Roemmele is the recognized world authority on how voice AI will impact computing and commerce. Over arc of his career, Brian has built and run payments and tech businesses, worked in media, including the promotion of top musicians, and explored a variety of other subjects along the way. He has been published in Forbes, Huffington Post, Newsweek, Slate, Business Insider, Daily Mail, Inc, Gizmodo, Medium, and is an exclusive Quora top writer. He hosts Around the Coin (earliest crypto currency podcast), Breaking Banks Radio and more, discussing everything from Bitcoin to Voice Commerce.

Brian created the Multiplex app and Multiplex Magazine, a way to stay on top of everything important in technology, payments and just about anything else. He has taken the stage at Money 20/20, ETA Transact and many private events as a speaker on the future of Voice Commerce.

Companies don’t patent things just because.

A big theme of this episode is getting out of the weeds of the technical features and instead looking at better ways to get work done. Think big picture. We are looking at the beginnings of new use cases in brand new paradigms.

When you paradigm shift, the canvas is blank, and that’s where we are with voice.

This is Part 1 - tune back in next week to hear more! We cover branding and marketing foundations based on personas and archetypes, which will determine success tomorrow. 1-click subscribe free in your favorite podcast app now so you don’t miss it.

The idea of the app is already gone.

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From Brian’s Quora article about Amazon’s Fall 2019 release and preview of products (9/25/2019):

If Echo and Alexa devices from Amazon along with the Skills ecosystem were a stand-alone company in 2019, using typical startup multiples, Echo, Inc would be worth about $500 billion dollars. This is an astounding achievement and there shows no sign that the acceleration is slowing.

Amazon Owns The Far-Field Voice First Market, Now They Are Comping For The Near-Field

Today was a next generation Amazon Alexa-themed event with Echo devices for every possible use case but most specially the near-field. I have surfaced ~32 primary Voice First modalities. Amazon is now in three:

1. Near-field - on the body

2. Mid-field - small environment

3. Far-field - open room

read more

Timestamps by topic:

  • 04:00 Amazon’s patents telegraph the future

  • 04:50 Amazon did not dominate in smartphone, obviously (Fire Phone failed - and at the time in 2014, people overlooked the first generation Amazon Echo)

  • 05:50 Smartphone is an old modality

  • 06:10 iPhone is the iconic smartphone

  • 06:30 What is the strategy to get into the castle? Content and shopping, largest merchant on planet

  • 07:10 “Amazon is a retailer, not a technology company” - this is why Amazon created the voice first experience first

Brian Roemmele -  @BrianRoemmele

Brian Roemmele - @BrianRoemmele

  • 07:35 Amazon does not pretend to be a tech company, they’re a company that produces technology

  • 07:50 Amazon doesn’t have mindshare yet, and that is key

  • 07:55 What happens with content and mindshare? How does content creation play in?

  • 08:30 Amazon is not going after the smartphone or smart watch (not after the wrist or the pocket

  • 09:10 Products that define new categories must be loved and hated

  • 09:30 “Talk to the hand” back in vernacular with Echo Loop

  • 10:30 Tech companies don’t consider anthropological and sociological impact of products

  • 11:10 We ask “Can we?” too often and don’t ask “Should we?” enough

  • 11:45 Brian’s thesis: Hyper Local

  • 11:55 Echo Loop (a ring) is not always on - it has a button to engage Alexa. It draws you into the Alexa ecosystem without taking away from Apple AirPods - and that is brilliant.

  • 13:20 Future of the voice assistant that you talk to like a significant other

  • 13:30 Done thumb clawing at screen - that is the future

  • 13:50 Echo Frames and Echo Loop are early versions of the ubiquitous voice future

  • 14:20 Near field computing, mid-field, and far-field (open room) - Amazon’s secret weapon over the castle wall was to get in the home (with Echo in 2014) - which became the fastest adopted consumer technology in history

  • 15:10 The tech leap happened organically with consumers from kitchen to living room - Amazon is doing the same strategy again to get people to adopt this in the near field

  • 15:50 People mocked the iPad (menstrual pad?) and look what happened - these products have to be hated or mocked

  • 16:30 iPhone was laughed at because it didn’t have a keyboard. What is past is prologue. We always see the future through the glasses of right now and the past - always view the future through the rearview mirror:

  • 16:40 We defined the new in the words of the old, e.g.: the horseless carriage, flameless candle, talking pictures.

  • 17:50 Most voice first experts have nothing to do with the technology world, which irritates folks in tech

  • 18:45 Computing is not what it was for the last sixty years, and it will not continue to be what is has been the last twenty - think about this for typing and interacting

  • 18:55 Technology gets bigger and bigger until it disappears (e.g. you don’t talk about your carburetor, you just buy a car that works or Jobs saying RAM doesn’t matter, you will only care what the computer does or accomplishes)

  • 21:35 There are no killer applications for voice. “Apps?” That’s 2D. (Check out our interview with Dave Isbitski, Chief Evangelist of Alexa, where we concluded the same thing)

  • 21:55 So what are people really looking for with voice?

  • 22:30 "The idea of the app is already gone.” - Brian

  • 23:40 The intimate relationship that technology can and will spawn is the killer app. We can’t see that world clearly yet

  • 24:50 We’re not battling on the grounds defined by prior technologies

  • 25:10 We’ve only seen 4 of the 175 modalities that voice first works in

  • 25:50 Amazon’s brilliance is great utility to an existing ecosystem (Alexa)

Echo Buds ( pre-order Echo Buds for $129.99  <— this link helps support the show!)

Echo Buds (pre-order Echo Buds for $129.99 <— this link helps support the show!)

  • 25:00 Amazon doesn’t expect Echo Buds to replace Apple AirPods

  • 27:20 Echo Buds isolate noise and incorporate multiple VAs like Google and Siri

  • 27:30 AirPods are a cultural phenomenon about fashion as much as sound- that is why they won’t be easily replaced by Echo Buds

  • 28:05 Brand signaling with AirPods, or whatever product comes next- that is human

  • 28:30 Loop and Frames are wise moves

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  • 29:10 AOL move to open AOL Mail to internet mail is similar to Buds move to open to other VAs

  • 29:40 Amazon subsidies for Buds and Amazon Music. Music is a commodity - supplier does not matter.

  • 30:10 When you stream music, that streaming service makes almost nothing (e.g. Apple, Google, Spotify) - loss leader. The strategy is about attention, narrative, communication with the customer.

  • 30:50 See: Prime. Brilliant. Long term relationship.


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Connect with Brian Roemmele:

048 - Dave Isbitski - Power of Alexa for Marketing - Pt. 1 of 2

Guest: Dave Isbitski, Chief Evangelist, Amazon Alexa: Introducing the world to the power of Voice

Dave Isbitksi, Chief Evangelist, Alexa - Amazon

Dave Isbitksi, Chief Evangelist, Alexa - Amazon

Dave has helped launch numerous products for over two decades while at both Microsoft and Amazon. He’s made a career out of helping people be successful with technology and have keynoted major conferences around the world.

Dave and Emily talked about why voice is a departure from previous technology (leaving Tap, Type, & Swipe - entering Voice First) and how you can harness Alexa to learn more about your customers. Plus: how you can use voice as the ultimate frictionless up-sell

Plus, hear Dave’s answer to a top question among marketers:

Discoverability challenges: how do you get your Alexa skill found?

Friendly reminder: please mute your Alexa device before listening. :)

Show notes:

2:05 Dave has worked in web and mobile for decades: what is different about voice?

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3:40 “Voice cuts across all industries. From finance to CPG…” You’ll see people talking about voice in finance, then doctors and healthcare professionals about what does voice mean for patient care? And you’ll see others ask what does it mean for shopping and pay? Brand ask what it means for them and customer?

3:32 “Every technology I’ve ever talked about has always had training, we had to teach customers how to do this first before they can tell us what they want.” - Dave

4:00 There is no learning curve with voice: it’s natural for everyone to speak

5:54 Inclusivity:

It’s not about how well you can code, it’s about how well you can converse

(Dave mentioned this in his keynote at VOICE Summit 2019)

7:10 The marketer’s bottleneck with IT - this is less a problem with voice (Emily)

7:50 Ruder Finn / PR Week event where Dave made a point about organizational education about voice - how it’s not really new but is easier:

8:30 “There must be a doc somewhere in your organization that can help you with voice” - a group is still responsible for teaching new tech (like with cloud) but getting people up to speed now is much easier

9:40 Alexa can learn easily - these are just restful web services passing JSON across SSL request - which we are already doing on mobile. It calls the same API. The magic is that Alexa is taking normal human language and figuring out which function to call, vs you hitting a button or tapping a screen to trigger that call.

10:25 Alexa stands on the shoulders of all the tech waves that came before

11:00 Let's have a discussion about your customer who engages not in a silo but on phones, tablets, social, and other on-ramps

11:10 Alexa Skills Kit enables you to teach Alexa how to have a conversation about things. “Set up parameters of a conversation our customers have with us.”

11:45 Alexa Voice Service is why you see Alexa in cars, radio services, Windows desktop, and other mobile devices

Voice presents the easiest upsell opportunity ever

Voice presents the easiest upsell opportunity ever

12:30 Upsell- with voice, this is the moment where your customer essentially already has their money out (movie theatre popcorn and Coke analogy). They’re already logged in. Brands can use their own POS like Domino’s does, or Amazon Pay - so it’s just very simple and natural in the moment to get an additional sale

13:00 The real difference with voice is being in the moment. We process sounds differently than other senses - it is in real time

14:00 Carl Jung reference - the subconscious collects 11 million but we can only process about 40 things in our conscious despite thousands of inputs coming into our brains at all times

16:00 Four years ago, Dave said "Get in early now to figure out what people are asking or saying"

16:42 Discoverability: how can marketers get their Alexa skills found?

17:00 When you first launched your brand's mobile app what did you do, just submit it to the App Store or Google Play? No! Let customers know it's there and why it's faster or better.

17:20 Banking app example - when it went mobile customers would choose that bank for its ease of use

17:50 MyFitnessPal Alexa skill - track calories by voice (Dave found out about it through another marketing message on the mobile app)

18:40 Remember that customers are multimodal - silo launches don’t work

19:00 If you already know the top three things your customers do on your mobile app (via analytics), those are your three functionalities to start with in voice

20:00 Reviews - flywheel of customer feedback on Alexa skills for usability studies


Tune in next week for Part 2 to hear Dave and Emily discuss the “killer voice app”. Subscribe now so you don’t miss it!:

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Connect with Dave Isbitski:

thedavedev.com

Twitter @thedavedev

LinkedIn



039 - Katherine Prescott: Alexa Privacy, Echo Show 5

Katherine Prescott is the Founder and Editor of VoiceBrew, a digital media company dedicated to helping people get the most out of Alexa. We discussed privacy on Amazon Alexa as well as the future of #voicefirst advertising. Which tech company's business model has true alignment with the end user, examining Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook.

Katherine Prescott is the Founder &amp; Editor of  VoiceBrew , a top resource for Alexa tips and best uses

Katherine Prescott is the Founder & Editor of VoiceBrew, a top resource for Alexa tips and best uses

Topics and timestamps:

  • Privacy - Amazon Alexa - is she recording?

  • Amazon Echo Show 5 announcement - new features, especially for greater privacy and user data control

  • When is Alexa recording vs listening?

  • How do I control my privacy settings on Alexa?

  • 3.10 This privacy dialogue is healthy - it improves voice assistants for consumers

  • Echo Show 5 has a new camera shutter and the ability to say “Alexa, delete everything I said today”

  • 4.20 Alexa app is not the focus

  • 5.00 Discoverability is the ultimate challenge

  • 5.05 It’s called the 5 but this refers to the 5.5 inch screen - is same as third gen echo

  • 5.10 Why the Echo Show 5 is such a big deal - compelling land grab for affordable smart display space

  • 6.10 Like the shift from radio to TV, third party Alexa skills will improve dramatically because of multi-modal

  • 10.04 Will smart display pave the way for advertising? Banner even? Less intrusive than voice? Alexa diplsay ads?

  • 10.50 Emily: sponsorship and brand preference will be paid for - that will be the advertising, unlike previous digital like banner ads or PPC

  • 11.30 Katherine: Tech giants are shifting toward privacy as a feature

  • 13.15 Business model and alignment - Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook. Great point from Katherine.

  • 14.02 Google's pitch: we provide free services and collect your data.

  • 14.27 Think of privacy in broader context - we are in the early innings of voice 

See this post on  Instagram and follow @beetlemoment  for #voicefirst news

See this post on Instagram and follow @beetlemoment for #voicefirst news

Sources:

  1. Echo Show 5: https://www.techradar.com/news/amazon-echo-show-5-everything-you-need-to-know

  2. "Buried in this morning’s Echo Show 5 announcement are a couple of new security features worth highlighting. In addition to the inclusion of a built-in camera shutter on the new smart display are a pair of Echo  commands that let users delete voice recordings with an Alexa command." -https://techcrunch.com/2019/05/29/amazon-adds-alexa-delete-what-i-said-today-command/



Enjoy this episode about #voicefirst marketing and technology? Please leave us a review! 1)  Click “Listen in Apple Podcasts”,  2) Click “Open in iTunes:, 3) Click “Ratings and reviews”. Thanks!

Enjoy this episode about #voicefirst marketing and technology? Please leave us a review! 1) Click “Listen in Apple Podcasts”, 2) Click “Open in iTunes:, 3) Click “Ratings and reviews”. Thanks!

Get in touch with Katherine Prescott:

Twitter: @kbprescott

Instagram: @voicebrew

Voicebrew.com

033 - Top Five Tips for a Great Alexa Flash Briefing - Daniel Hill

What makes a great Flash Briefing? Daniel Hill, creator and host of The Instagram Stories Flash Briefing is our guest. Daniel and Emily Binder, creator and host of Voice Marketing - Daily Beetle Moment Flash Briefing discuss the top five tips for creating a popular Flash Briefing.

Why Daniel has the #1 Alexa Skill for search term “Instagram”:

“Others were doing similar things [marketing tips for small businesses] on Instagram, but no one was doing it on Alexa.” -Daniel Hill

  1. Length - 10 seconds, 90 seconds, or 3 minutes? Daniel suggests a longer briefing than Emily. It depends on your content.

    1. Don’t waste time on your intro and outro. Use markers. (Emily uses Pippa - click here for a $25 Amazon Gift Card when you sign up for a year of audio hosting). Include sonic branding - be consistent.

  2. Schedule / cadence - how often to publish your Flash Briefing?

    1. Make a commitment.

    2. How many days per week? 5 weekdays, or all 7 days? Should you publish on weekends? Whatever you do, be consistent and let listeners know what to expect. Listenership for Flash Briefings diminishes on weekends but you may want to post at least one or two weekend posts for the ones who stay engaged (Daniel). Consider a weekend edition (something short and simple).

    3. Survey your listeners: Daniel used a Google Form, created a bit.ly link to it, and announced it on his briefing - and he gave away an Echo to incentivize listeners to take the survey. Batch record - don’t leave this until the night before (Emily). Daniel: Fresh news briefings require recording daily most of the time. Consider recording early after the gym or whenever you feel most energized. Listeners can hear fatigue in your voice.

  3. Content: what to talk about?

    1. Daniel: It has to be newsworthy.

    2. Emily: Don’t be obvious and basic. Don’t make a briefing about something basic.

    3. Add value: “What do I know that other people don’t?” And add your take on the news you share. Example briefing (share news, give take) below or click here.

  4. What to name your Flash Briefing:

    1. Daniel: Look for a name or word people are talking about. Capitalize on popular search terms because this platform is so uncrowded.

    2. Emily: Look at Google Search Trends or Amazon’s list of top product searches. https://twitter.com/emilybinder/status/1117167808851382274.

  5. What’s the point of your briefing?

    1. Emily: Public speaking should make your audience feel something, remember something, and do something. Look at your briefing as a body of work over time. You need a central theme or idea that is the backbone of all your content.

    2. Daniel: Make a Flash Briefing that is niche: example: not just fishing, not just deep sea fishing, but Sustainable Deep Sea Fishing!

danielhillmedia-tweet-instagram-stories-flash-briefing-alexa.png

About Daniel:

Daniel Hill is obsessed with figuring what grabs people's attention and holds it. What makes someone tap the "like" button or double tap on a picture? What makes someone post the crying emoji or share a post with their private text message group?  Daniel currently works at Columbia University Medical Center and runs DanielHillMedia, where he teaches small business owners how to use Instagram. He hosts an Instagram podcast, called "The Instagram Stories", and launched the first Instagram Amazon Alexa Flash Briefing Skill where he gives daily news updates and answers questions. You can find him on Instagram @danielhillmedia. 

Connect with Daniel:

The Instagram Stories Flash Briefing

Twitter and Instagram: @DanielHillMedia


032 - Simple Works: Voice Marketing for Brands with Michelle Excell

Hear my SXSW interview about voice marketing with Michelle Excell of The Antipodean. Michelle is an innovation strategist in the emerging technology space. And an all-around badass AND kind person.

1-click play episode on Apple Podcasts

More podcast player links at the bottom.

Brands, Voice AI, and AR/VR from The Antipodean

Michelle Excell, AR/VR and Emerging Technology Expert

Michelle Excell, AR/VR and Emerging Technology Expert

Show notes and timestamps:

01:41 Discussing voice and Michelle’s clients: what are you noticing with recent briefs?

02:25 Brands are interested invoice but unsure where to start

02:40 Some agencies are jumping in head first

04:15 Brands must start somewhere: they should start small with voice marketing and smart speakers

04:50 Consider voice or AI within chat bots or retail where people will spend more time

5.08 Find contextual places where customers really interact

05:14 Is it worth doing a single use or delightful skill or should skills be intended for repeat use?


P.S. Michelle and Emily met as guests on Bob Knorpp’s marketing and advertising podcast, The BeanCast. <— A VERY good show worth catching if you’re in marketing, advertising, or the agency world.

Never miss an episode! Subscribe free to this short marketing podcast on your favorite player:

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Check out past episodes

Hear Emily’s top tips about voice marketing:

Click to hear Emily Binder discuss voice marketing strategy on Teri Fisher’s podcast. This is the #2 most popular episode of all time on Alexa in Canada!

Enjoy - stream it or hear on Apple Podcasts.

Hit the button above to get emails from Emily about voice marketing news. How often? Monthly, tops - and your info will NEVER be shared or monetized.

028 - Curating Customer Experiences with Voice Assistants - Jon Chu

If you are a food brand (like an FMCG such as cereal or canned food, or like food delivery such as Uber Eats), what should you consider in creating a voice skill for Alexa, Google Home, etc.?

Why A.I. isn’t the best term, but curated intelligence is more apt.

Intent matters. Focus on solving one particular customer problem at a time.

Mentioned:

Jon Chu: @jchu

027 - How to Make the Voice Assistant Like Your Brand


Hear how the future ubiquitous voice assistant will decide whether to promote your brand.

We spend major ad dollars on the duopoly (Google and Facebook) with Amazon a distant third. Those ad dollars will shift.

Telenav announced that it is integrating Amazon Alexa into its automotive navigation system offering.

1.0:

The voice assistant we know today will be so much smarter tomorrow. 

Your shadow, your assistant:

The voice assistant will be every person’s personal assistant, their shadow, their life historian and documentarian. It will mitigate our drudge work for life admin tasks like errands and comparison shopping. It will save us all kinds of time. I hope we use that time well.

What won't change:

We are at the mercy of an algorithm today: many ecommerce retailers live and die by SEO on Google and on Amazon. Tomorrow our brands will be at the AI's mercy. The data will be richer, the algorithm more complex.

Amazon, which is nearing $800 billion in value, is making a noticeable push in advertising products, hoping to grab a piece of Google and Facebook’s duopoly of digital advertising. Voice commerce is estimated to be a $18.3 billion opportunity by 2023.

Amazon, which is nearing $800 billion in value, is making a noticeable push in advertising products, hoping to grab a piece of Google and Facebook’s duopoly of digital advertising. Voice commerce is estimated to be a $18.3 billion opportunity by 2023.

This idea of the future is not radically different from the game we play with search engines today. You bid to be at the top based on a user’s query, or you work on your content to rank high organically.

The same process will happen but with less screen, and more anticipation of the user’s needs or next purchase.

When the assistant recommends a product, it will try to match to the user’s needs, history, and preferences. Google does this today with search results. Your website gets rewarded for relevancy. Everyone tries to game the SEO algorithm but ultimately if you have great content that solves the searcher’s problems google knows it and ranks you higher. There is no silver bullet.

Up Next:

Tune in next week for episode 28: my upcoming interview with Jon Chu, an expert in voice first ecommerce and retail.



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023 - Easy Alexa Skills for Brands - Brielle Nickoloff, Voice UX Design - Witlingo

Hear my conversation with Brielle Nickoloff, Voice UX Designer at Witlingo. We discussed what the startup is doing to help podcasters, politicians, entrepreneurs, authors, comedians, and other content creators or personal brand promoters get voice skills onto Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant quickly and easily.

“Castlingo is the easiest way to publish short audios to let your audience listen to what you have to say.”

Get a Voice Marketing Presence with Castlingo (check out their promo which ends 12/8/18).

brielle nickoloff headshot.jpg

Brielle Nickoloff is a Lead of Voice User Experience Design and Research at Witlingo, a Washington D.C., based startup that builds products and solutions for Voice First devices and platforms, such as Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Assistant and Microsoft’s Cortana.

Brielle earned dual Bachelor’s degrees in Linguistics and Neuroscience at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Much of Brielle’s research in the space began with a closer look at the ways one’s emotional reaction to a voice interface is notably more inflated than reactions to other types of user interfaces. She loves to design for maximally accessible and minimally intrusive technology by leveraging the beauty of natural human language.

Attend the Alexa Conference January 15-17, 2019 (Brielle and I are both speaking - come say hi!)

40% of adults now use voice search once per day. Read more Voice First Facts from Witlingo.

Follow Brielle Nickoloff on Twitter: @ElleForLanguage (I love her handle!)