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As a marketing professional, you've built your career by creating compelling campaigns that capture calls, clicks, likes, shares, and sales. You've mastered the art and science of SEO. But are you ready to market to the next generation of consumers?

Are you ready for voice?

Voice commerce is expected to reach $80 billion by 2023, and businesses that update their digital platforms to support voice search can look forward to a 30% increase in sales by 2021. With over 3 billion voice assistants in use already—and retail sales of voice-enabled smart speakers, smart TVs, and smart cars on the rise—the number of consumers who adopt voice technology will only climb.

Why Voice Search Works

On average, most of us begin speaking before we are two years old, but we don't start reading until the age of five. Even then, young children can navigate a voice user interface like Alexa more easily than reading words on a screen. The same applies to teens and adults. The average person speaks about 150 words per minute but can only type 50 words per minute, which makes it much easier for us to spend money with our mouths than with our fingers.

We have reached an inflection point. A voice user interface is no longer a curiosity but an economic powerhouse, one capable of driving growth for brands that embrace it, and destroying those that neglect it.

The voice user interface (VUI) won't replace the graphical user interface (GUI); rather, it will supplement it, particularly in hands-free environments like driving. Consumers recognize that asking their cars for directions to the nearest Thai restaurant is faster and safer than trying to type that request into a mobile device.

We are talking to our TVs, our sound systems, our earbuds, and our phones, and these conversations are becoming richer and more nuanced.

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image of William Ammerman

William Ammerman is executive vice-president of digital media at Engaged Media Inc. He is the author of The Invisible Brand: Marketing in the Age of Automation, Big Data, and Machine Learning. He has held leadership positions at Tribune Media, Hearst Television, and Capitol Broadcasting.

LinkedIn: William Ammerman

Twitter: @wammerman1