The marketing industry’s continued efforts in making use of voice-technology – summoning a sample!

Diageo’s vegan Bailey’s Almande has done something interesting recently. The sample for the product can be summoned (literally) using your voice. You use your Alexa or Google Assistant and ask for a sample… and it will be delivered at your doorstep.

The task is made possible by the Send Me A Sample voice app developed by M&C Saatchi Shop. Bailey’s Almande is their first client.

 

The way a prospective sampling-customer would know of this offer/availability of sample is through magazine ads. In the case of Bailey’s Almande, the ads were in Stylist magazine with a specific call-to-action of ‘Send Me A Sample’ logo and a clear ‘Claim your sample’ call-out.

The sample receipt photo credit: Ahmed Nuaman.

The intriguing point worth noting is that the tactic, per se, is not new and is actually incredibly old. Consider the fact that if the voice-activated technology wasn’t available, how would you have asked for a sample?

Just before voice-activated technology, you’d have stumbled on the ad online, say, on Facebook or Twitter, clicked on it to open a simple form where much of your details are pre-populated and you click send. The sample lands in your home.

Before online ads, you may have seen the same ‘claim your sample’ ad in print publications with a phone number. You call the number (call center), share your details and the sample arrives at your home.

In the 2 cases above, there is no time-lag in your asking for a sample – you do that digitally and through phone, and need to wait only for the sample (a physical product) to arrive.

Even before that, you’d simply have a small form to fill in the print edition of where you see the ad. You cut it, fill your details and send it via post, and get your sample. In this case, there was a time-lag in both directions since the postal department is the intermediary.

The voice-tech makes you even lazier, removing even the small effort to fill an online form (either visit a URL mentioned in the print ad, or scan a QR code) on a device that’s always with you. Another way to frame ‘lazier’ is ‘seamless’ or ‘frictionless’. The outcome is same, though – you get a free sample home.

You can’t argue about more relevant prospects asking for the free sample either. If the magazine ad is the starting point of the customer’s journey, the assumption of relevant prospects applies to all the modes of asking for a sample – voice, online form-fill, phone and printed form-fill – because the source is the same in all 4 cases, whether print edition or online edition.

You can’t argue for better follow-through (because this is just a sampling exercise, and you need to follow through to convert them into paying customers) either. If you have some contact details – home address, email, phone number etc. – you can put them to use in your follow-up plan.

That leaves me with the last point mentioned by Send Me A Sample in their website: “Become an innovator in voice. Understand the value of voice to your business and critically, build your SEO credentials for voice search.”

While ‘Become an innovator in voice’ could be directed at awards, the ‘build your SEO credentials for voice search’ is an interesting proposition.

Within that context, try this really interesting tool called ‘Answer The Public‘ (even the backdrop of the search interface is really interesting in this site!) that builds natural language phrases out of your queries and helps map out the single/double word search phrase (that we often use in typed search) into a full-fledged natural language query (that we are more likely to use in voice search). Here are 2 random, topical examples.

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