Geo 101: What Are Alexa Blueprints?

Users can now build their own Alexa skills — without needing to know how to code.

From geo-targeting to voice search, technology is opening up a world of possibilities for marketers. But it’s also complicated, as new capabilities and use cases seem to emerge every day.

With the goal of breaking down some of the most important concepts to provide a better understanding of the basics — and a jumping off point for exploring how far technology may take us — we introduce the next installment of our GeoMarketing 101 series: what marketers need to know about understanding Alexa Blueprints.

What Are Alexa Blueprints?

Alexa’s newly introduced “Blueprints” provides a way for anyone to create a customized Alexa skill — without needing to know how to code.

As many marketers may already know, Alexa provides capabilities — called skills — that enable customers to create a more personalized experience. The idea behind introducing Blueprints is to help owners of Alexa-powered devices make the experience totally unique and personalized to their skill needs, seamlessly.

For example, users can create their own voice apps for bedtime stories for their children, or “teach” Alexa to answer predesigned questions like “What do we love most about mom?” for Mother’s Day. Other “featured” Blueprints include building a game show or making a guide to the neighborhood for welcoming house guests.

“Alexa Skill Blueprints is an entirely new way for you to teach Alexa personalized skills just for you and your family,” said Steve Rabuchin, VP, Amazon Alexa, in a statement about the launch. “You don’t need experience building skills or coding to get started—my family created our own jokes skill in a matter of minutes, and it’s been a blast to interact with Alexa in a totally new and personal way.”

Why Does It Matter To Marketers?

Plenty of brands have built Alexa skills in the “traditional” way (coding via the developer platform) in a bid to more easily engage customers via the voice interface. For example, Patrón recently launched a skill to make its ‘Patrón Cocktail Lab’ easier to use. By simply enabling the “Patrón skill” in the Alexa app on Amazon Alexa voice-enabled devices, users can ask for cocktail recommendations, recipes and tips — everything from the perfect brunch recipe to the proper way to shake and strain a cocktail.

Plenty of Alexa skills are abandoned when they aren’t updated with new content and kept relevant, but when a brand can deliver clear value through a relevant skill that clearly relates to its product — like Patrón — launching one can be a smart bet.

But now, with Blueprints, the idea is that customers will be able to make their own customized skills and responses that both entertain them and help with the tasks they do on a daily basis — and that these skill can live on their Alexa-powered device alone. This doesn’t mean they’re likely to stop using a favorite brand’s skill when, say, cooking dinner or mixing up that cocktail — just that Alexa is making it easier.

Essentially, the primary takeaway is that, as Amazon offers an increasing number of ways for customers to use their devices in a way that empowers and delights them, voice use is likely to increase — one more reason that marketers are being encouraged to develop a voice strategy now.

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.