051 - Alexa, How Can Brands Can Sell and Engage More? Bob Stolzberg, Voice XP

Plot twist: how could Alexa hurt Amazon sales?

Guest Bob Stolzberg, Founder of Voice XP, and Emily dug into a key question about where e-commerce is headed: can brands stand as independent ecommerce channels while reaching customers through Amazon Alexa? 

Furthermore, will branding really matter in an increasingly AI assisted future? (Bob and Emily disagree here. And we’d love to hear Brian Roemmele’s take!)

Bob Stolzberg, Founder Voice XP, Alexa Champion

Bob Stolzberg, Founder Voice XP, Alexa Champion

The convenience factor of a single voice command could reinforce brand loyalty. If you can have a company call you back or send you a car or a pizza hands-free, you might just go direct to them and never shop around (and that could be through their Alexa skill). Or maybe the voice assistant of the future does the research for us and we don’t bother remembering brands anymore.

Personal assistants will help us buy things and it doesn’t have to be direct from Amazon. Ecommerce businesses can build voice experiences directing users to buy direct from them (e.g., via text message or multimodal touch screen that opens a separate page). Think about this for DTC (direct to consumer) like a Casper or M Gemi.

Topics in this episode:

  • What you can do today to improve customer experiences for shopping and getting information

  • How voice will impact the future of advertising

  • How you can create a custom skill which lets your customers request a call-back from you through Alexa

  • How to engage people with your voice experiences - omnichannel marketing and voice as part of the funnel

Get in touch with Bob Stolzberg:

Twitter: @BobStolzberg


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049 - The Killer Voice App - Dave Isbitski, Chief Evangelist Alexa - Pt. 2 of 2

Dave Isbitski, Chief Evangelist, Alexa at Amazon

Dave Isbitski, Chief Evangelist, Alexa at Amazon

Guest: Dave Isbitski, Chief Evangelist, Amazon Alexa. We discussed Alexa Flash Briefing and the future of AI and how it will teach us about ourselves. The killer app is the connection. Part 2 of 2. (Listen to Part 1.)

We also answered a top question among marketers: how do you overcome discoverability challenges with early voice to get your Alexa skill found? 

Friendly reminder: please mute your Alexa device before listening.


1:05 Flash Briefing - a consistent way to engage your customers. Beats a silly CEO email no one opens. This is a better company update.

2:00 "I want to engage and connect on a human level”

Cross modalities to drive engagements

2:45 Teri Fisher - Voice First Health Podcast: using SEO to share and promote all his Flash Briefings (Alexa in Canada, the top briefing in Canada). Put all the briefings onto a blog. This is how to harness Flash Briefing across modalities and web as well as helping your SEO

3:20 You offer customers value. You must give. is a good tool to get your briefings embedded into your site with a simple widget which is also search-friendly (thanks for sponsoring our show, Pippa!) Here’s how it looks for the Voice Marketing Flash Briefing:

Get a $25 Amazon Gift Card when you sign up for Pippa to host your podcast or Flash Briefing!

4:00 What do you see coming down the pike as far as interaction within Flash Briefing? How do we move from passive to interactive, if we do at all - in voice experiences?

4:30 Dave: I’m a product person. I love consumer devices. I feel strongly that you want someone to get a new idea or understand how something will work, it must be a physical product. That was Echo. People want devices that work with Alexa. That customer sentiment has evolved - the future will be similar. 

7:50 Alexa Conversations

8:00 The future of voice

8:20 We as humans don't think in terms of TASKS but in terms of scenarios, ideas, and things we want to get done (re:MARS example)

9:35 Burn your current ideas down. AI will help. Existentialism. 

11:00 There is no killer voice app. The killer thing is the relationship and context with AI. Like a long friendship - it’s not any one aspect that makes it meaningful, it’s the entire relationship. 

Connect with Dave Isbitski:

Twitter @thedavedev


040 - Pricing Strategy: How Not to Discount - Network Spinal Analysis Story

Pricing strategy is a key consideration when selling a product or service. Hear a true story about a bizarre pricing model I encountered and what marketers can learn from it.


0:50 Network Spinal Analysis (NSA) - recommended by Tony Robbins: "NSA was created by Dr. Donny Epstein in the 1980s. It's deceptively simple yet profoundly effective. NSA practitioners lightly touch certain parts of your spine to release tension. By releasing that tension, energy is freed up, which the body uses to increase flexibility in your spine and, by extension, your nervous system." Read more: Tony Robbins Says This Little-Known Therapy is One of the Most Powerful Sources of Transformation He Has Ever Experienced

"At its core, NSA is an elegant hack to help you reorganize your body and mind, making you more physically and mentally flexible and resilient. It's like a software upgrade for humans."

Sounds great, right? It didn't really work for me.

Network Spinal Analysis is a lesser known method of  chiropractic  care that  focuses  on connecting with the nervous system in order to free tension around the spine (the “brainal” cord) that is causing misalignment.

Network Spinal Analysis is a lesser known method of chiropractic care that focuses on connecting with the nervous system in order to free tension around the spine (the “brainal” cord) that is causing misalignment.

1:30 Pricing model as presented to customer: 25% discount for paying month-to-month (instead of by the session), or 30% discount for paying for all six months at once

2:10 Pricing policy is a retroactive price hike if you discontinue before hitting six months

2:35 An agreement requires consideration (both parties signing a contract). It later turned out an office assistant mistakenly forgot to present me with the contract. This indicates disorganization, a separate issue.

4:52 "Be impeccable with your word" - one of The Four Agreements

5:00 Make customers feel they can trust you

5:10 Don’t forget to reduce customer anxiety at ALL points in the customer journey, not only pre-purchase but also post purchase. Retention marketing is equally important. Remember, it costs on average 10 times as much to acquire a new customer as it does to keep a current one.

5:22 Packaging (one of the 4 Ps) - package nicely to instill post-purchase satisfaction (great brands like Apple have always understood the power of packaging). In a service oriented business, everything about the service experience is essentially packaging, from your office environment to your communication style to your emails and online scheduling tool.

5:55 Marketing doesn't end after the cash register closes

6:10 Satisfaction guarantees and pricing model must be consistent

6:40 Keep your business reputation healthy - this is a priority because local businesses live and die by reviews. Nickel and diming or displeasing customers to scrape extra money out of a transaction is just not worth it nowadays when anyone can post an online review. Plus, having to do this is a sign that your product or service is lacking. Fix that instead of toying with a tricky pricing strategy.

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The Outcome

We parted ways amicably and I got a full refund, after 2-3 weeks of back-and-forth. This was an unnecessary waste of time. I have no ill will toward the doctor here. However I wouldn't recommend her practice with the current pricing model. Apparently many chiropractors use this six month pay-ahead discount. Please stop. Just do a good job and people will come back. You don’t have to trick them or manipulate them with complex pricing.

I made a podcast out of this not to complain or be negative, but to draw a lesson and point out the business takeaway - because that is more interesting and overall productive and positive. NSA is quite effective for some people and I wish them well.

A retroactive price hike or “pro-ration” of past sessions is a horrible model that takes advantage of customers and makes you seem like a no-money-down/payday loan quack.

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.


Jon Chu: @jchu