iProspect CMO Belle Lenz: How Smaller Brands Can Develop A Voice Strategy
It’s all about creating a “useful and personalized experience that isn’t only transactional, but also delivers a great user experience consumers can’t get from a simple search or engaging online,” says Lenz.
Search marketing and digital performance agency iProspect has named Belle Lenz as CMO, as the Dentsu Aegis Network shop looks to evolve its own brand and technology.
Lenz’s hire was made in conjunction with the addition of Joel Grossman as its first Chief Technology Officer. Grossman and Lenz will report directly to Jeremy Cornfeldt, President, iProspect US.
“As iProspect continues to grow and evolve with the digital landscape, we have set our sights on bringing on the best and brightest talent, especially to our leadership team,” said Cornfeldt. “Joel and Belle are both brilliant in their respective fields and will bring a new way of thinking to the agency. With each of them on board, I know that we will be able to produce incredible results that drive performance outcomes for our clients and, ultimately, for iProspect.”
Lenz is moving to iProspect from her role as Communications Director at the agency’s parent company Dentsu Aegis. Before that post, Lenz served as VP of Corporate Communications for IPG Mediabrands, and director of Corporate Communications in North America for Havas Media. She currently sits on the 4A’s Communications Committee.
As iProspect has long focused on the role of search and tech in shaping brands’ wider advertising strategies, we checked with Lenz about her thoughts on how the rise of voice activated assistants are impacting marketers across the board.
GeoMarketing: What do you think of the changes search marketing is experiencing with the rise of voice activation and connected home devices like Alexa, Okay Google, Cortana, Siri, etc.?
Belle Lenz: At iProspect, we believe that voice will be transformational for both clients and consumers. I’ve seen that in my own experience with voice assistants and voice-connected devices – it doesn’t take very long for you to get completely comfortable getting your news, turning your lights on and off, or making cocktails through a voice assistant.
I read recently that more than 50 percent of US households have at least one smart speaker installed, with the total number of devices near 175 million. That represents a huge shift in consumer behavior and a huge opportunity for marketers who get it right.
What are some of the issues you’re thinking about in terms of how iProspect can help clients navigate through these changes?
One of the opportunities we’re working with our clients to address is marketing to voice assistants versus people. For example, if I’m a regular Vanity Fair napkin buyer, and my Alexa knows that and reorders the same pack when I ask to buy “napkins,” how does a smaller, less-known napkin brand break in to the consideration set?
Or, going a step further, how do we create both a useful and personalized experience that isn’t only transactional, but also delivers a great user experience they couldn’t get from a simple search or engaging online?
One thought would be for Alexa to be viewing my calendar. If it says that I am going on vacation to the Bahamas, perhaps it could recommend a few pairs of sunglasses from a store like Sunglass Hut that may work for my trip. Or, if I am a parent with school-aged children, Alexa could start recommending necessary supplies that my children will need from Staples in July/August ahead of back-to-school.
While not yet available to Alexa (or any other digital assistant) users, these methods could turn the devices into more useful, less transactional assistants that we as consumers turn to on a regular basis.
The rise of voice also creates an incredible opportunity with mobile and location. The majority of voice searches happen on mobile, while people are on the go – what cool bars are near me? Where is that restaurant? We’re looking at ways to marry that data and real-time opportunities with location data to help our clients create relevance and value for people searching in that moment.
What are your initial goals/focus as you take on this new role?
As I transition to this new role, I’m in listening and learning mode. iProspect is an awesome brand and organization with incredible momentum and strong relationships with clients – we’ve doubled in the past four years, and we see that pace continuing. As clients are looking for all media to be more accountable, search and performance is the best place to be today, with strong insights and data-led opportunities that we know drive sales and return on ad spend for clients.
It also places us in a strong position to help clients bring a performance approach and toolset to an even greater share of their overall media strategy and spend. To make sure we deliver on this, I’m spending a lot of time meeting with our teams, our clients, and our partners to immerse myself in the business and work together to identify ways to bring this all together to drive performance and growth even more effectively.