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Beyond Swag Part 2: Voice Interaction

Voice Activated virtual assistants like Alexa, Siri and Google Home have existed since the 90s. But it wasn't until 2011, when Steve Jobs and Apple introduced the world to Siri, that voice interaction with hit the mainstream. Amazon's Alexa and Google soon followed but Siri remains on top by far in terms of usage and net reach.

At ROBYN we've dipped our toe in this new platform by building and releasing two Alexa Skills (apps) for Amazon's line of connected speakers. The first one is the Swag Expert skill. This skill leads you through a conversation tree regarding types of swag, tips, etc. I wrote more about it in my post Alexa! What good is a skill for the promotional products space?. Try this skill for yourself by asking Alexa to "enable the Swag Expert skill."

The second, far easier, but more important skill that we produced is the Swag Marketing Tips flash brief skill. When a user asks Alexa for the news, depending on what skills are enabled, she will play the weather forecast, hourly news updates from FOX or NPR or a sports score. With the Swag Marketing Tips skill by ROBYN enabled, she'll also read to you a swag marketing tip. It's a simple concept but I absolutely love the possibilities for creating branded, auditory experiences that fit neatly into daily rituals and between tasks. You can try out our Flash Brief by asking Alexa to "enable the Swag Marketing Tips skill."

Sure, we can pad print a logo on a bluetooth speaker. But that product becomes so much more when we take the branded experience one step further by creating a branded auditory experience for the end user that will provide many more impressions for your customer. Thing about that the next time you pitch an Alexa enabled speaker.

Start Building Alexa Skills for Your Clients

Do you have team members who can sling a little Javascript? I'll bet they would have no problem putting a skill together. Heck, if you can follow a tutorial, you could get very far. It's also a lot of fun! Building skills for your customers could be a great add-on service that you provide. Depending on how you build it, you may be able to justify a recurring fee.

Amazon has a fantastic developer program and community supporting the Alexa platform. There you'll find tons of resources and tutorials to help you get started. Don't be afraid. In fact, setting up a custom Flash Brief skill can be done in just a few minutes!

screenshot of amazon's developer portal

I've learned some tricks along the way for building these skills and would be happy to share them with you. Contact me using the form on this page and stay tuned for the final installment of Beyond Swag!

Sources and further reading:
Forbes: 6 Ways To Master Marketing In A World Of Siri And Alexa
TechCrunch: Siri usage and engagement dropped since last year, as Alexa and Cortana grew

Copyright © 2017 Eric Granata