CDX Voice + Audio Summit: How Brands Can Prepare For The Voice Activation Revolution

Brands need to see voice as fundamentally transformational as it relates to intent, search and discovery, media consumption, and the broader customer experience, says CDX Conference Chairman Drew Ianni.

As marketers have long accepted the need to adopt “mobile-first” strategies, brands, agencies, and platform companies now feel pressure to immediately incorporate voice activation to their mix.

While the “hype” around the artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies gain wider use by consumers and brands that reflect the demands for greater automation and personalization tools, voice and audio are still largely perceived as being more about experimentation as marketers race to ensure they’re not being left behind.

To get a sense of where voice activation stands as a marketing channel, we’ll be covering the panels and presentations being held at The Chief Digital Officer NYC Voice + Audio Summit, which kicks off Sept. 4 and 5 in the Hudson Yards area.

Some of the key topics being discussed at the two-day conference include:

  • Voice Skills / Applications Best Practices & Innovations
  • Voice Search & Discovery
  • Voice CRM / CX
  • Audio-Based Media & Advertising
  • Sonic Branding
  • In-Car Voice
  • In-Home Voice
  • Voice / Audio-Tech Innovations and Roadmaps
  • Artificial Intelligence + Machine Learning & Voice
  • Fresh Consumer Insights & Research

We checked in with CDX Conference Chairman Drew Ianni about the current issues facing advertisers and how the SONIC conference will be addressing them.

GeoMarketing: What is SONIC?

We called the show SONIC because we wanted to look more broadly about how both voice and audio are transforming marketing, commerce, media and the broader customer experience.

Why focus on audio/video?

We believe this is the next great revolution in regards to its impact on consumer behavior. It will impact everything from search and discovery to media consumption to commerce and it also brings in an entirely new level of sophistication and granularity around understanding intent.

Who should attend?

Our shows are primarily designed as educational forums for leading brands but we also welcome and always see a great cross section of executives from leading agencies, media and content companies, tech/platform players, industry analysts and more.

Any tech trends you find of particular interest?

I think voice’s impact on search and discovery, by enabling and empowering consumers to express their intent in much more familiar (i.e., conversational) ways, will be huge and, related to this, I find Amazon’s ability to engage the customer at multiple points in both the marketing funnel and the broader consumer lifecycle incredibly interesting and wonder if Amazon’s story is really just beginning to unfold. And, of course, we all want to know what impact all of this will have on Google and its core search advertising business.

What does this mean for brands/advertisers?

I think, for brands, they need to see voice as fundamentally transformational as it relates to intent, search and discovery, media consumption, and the broader customer experience. Brands need to think about finding ways of almost being “invisible” to the consumer and engaging with them in a much more conversational, informal, but much more nuanced and granular way.

What is the state of voice activation from a brand marketing and consumer perspective?

I’d say it’s mixed. For brands, it should be the same approach as with other new emerging platforms and technologies (e.g., shiny new objects). Is there a business case for having a voice strategy or voice apps? If there is a business case, then do it right, measure the performance and optimize. And repeat. It’s tempting to jump down new rabbit holes but it doesn’t mean you have to.

Is Voice having an impact on search and marketing right now? And how do you expect that to evolve?

If you believe Google, who recently estimated that 20 percent of all searches are now voice-driven potentially going to 50 percent by 2020, voice is, and will have, a fundamental impact on consumer search and discovery. I would argue it’s completely transformative although it will take time for a majority of consumers to be conducting a majority of their searches via voice. And, of course, Amazon further complicates matters as they are stealing major market share when it comes to very intent-based product search – seeing that they sell everything.

What industries do you think might be most impacted by Voice, especially in these early days?

Certainly categories such as health and wellness, retail, travel/hospitality and CPGs are already being impacted. And auto and home are also big players here as consumers increasingly use voice commands in their homes and in their cars.

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.