November 15th-16th some of the tech industry’s best and brightest convened at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City for the AdAgeNext conference. The event was set up as a sophisticated look into the recent developments in technology and the new opportunities for marketing they present. The list of guests functioned as a who’s-who of new-age marketing’s upper echelon, with names like Matthew Evans from The Nickelodeon Group, who talked about the new Spongebob skill developed for Alexa, Fernando Machado of Burger King, speaking more than candidly on “how to suck less as a client,” and Mark Pritchard representing P&G, who spoke on validation of the third party and marketing transparency. Right in the thick of all these names was Fresh Digital Group’s own founder and CEO Doug Robinson, gathering information and contributing his own takes on the age of mobile focused marketing, emphasising the importance of usefulness in relation to voice skills, and the notion of voice as “a utility not an ad experience.”

Also on Doug’s panel was Campbell Soup’s VP of Digital Acceleration,Matthew Pritchard, who echoed Doug’s statements, chiming in, “my brand comes to life through that voice and that box.”

Similarly, 360i’s Jared Belsky encouraged the attendees to, “understand what role voice has in your business. Build to your consumer and build your brand.”

As mentioned before, Nickelodeon has also been quick to capitalize on the new technology with a Spongebob skill developed for the Amazon Alexa, which Matthew Evans elaborated on in an interview at AdAgeNext. He also noted the flaws and realities of new technology. From this he made it a point for developers “to create a fun fail-state so [users] don’t feel frustrated or disappointed.”

Standing out as one of the more intriguing avenues for mobile marketing is voice assistance; particularly, the iPhone’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft Cortana and Google Home. Voice assistance has come quite a way from simple phone-tree navigation and customer service automation as they had been used for decades. Ever since the introduction of Siri in 2011, voice technology has enjoyed resurgence in the realm of pop culture. As the technology gained more utility and popularity, other mobile devices gaining voice assistant software such as Alexa and Google Home were developed simply as standalone voice assistants. Google Home and Alexa stand as the most intriguing this day and age with funding from internet giants Google and Amazon. Alexa’s skills and potential have made it an attractive device for consumers and developers alike. Alternatively Google flexes versatility with the Home as its voice services are imbedded in just about every Android phone on the market. Having the help of the most advanced and most popular search engine helps too.

As it stands right now, virtual assistant software has a wealth of marketing potential in regards to meeting consumers at their most immediate needs through the most touchpoints, from finding a restaurant near you, to daily meditations, to saving lives and so much more. This is just scratching the surface of what these devices are capable of, and Doug Robinson wasted no time in addressing that in a one-on-one interview after his panel at AdAgeNext.  “If you are not thinking about voice right now, you are not thinking about your customer,” quipped Doug after talking about the new skills being developed for voice assistance right now, adding Jeep’s use of voice as a way of locking the car doors as an example. His statement was also preceded by the suggestion that companies do not simply tack-on voice services, rather they carefully and strategically develop a plan for implementation of voice technology as a part of the overall marketing strategy.

Overall, the AdAgeNext Event lived up to its potential on not only providing a serious evaluation and deep dive into the prospects of marketing through new technologies, but also creating genuine excitement from marketers, developers, and consumers alike.