Alexa Has the Confidence of SMB Marketers. Should It?

Despite the ubiquity of Google’s voice hardware, which is in the pockets of billions of mobile-phone owners around the globe, it is Amazon’s Alexa that currently holds the most sway with SMB marketers.

Forty-eight percent of marketers surveyed by Uberall said they trust the e-commerce giant over its competition when it comes to marketing applications of voice technology in these early days of the medium. Google Assistant had the vote of 29% of the market, with Apple’s Siri scoring a surprisingly high 17% given the widespread consensus that voice is really a two-way race at the moment.

The survey also found that while 38% of SMB marketers still aren’t doing anything with voice, a steady 36% of their peers are increasing investment in the medium, which will be vital to any brick-and-mortar marketing going forward. Brands, too, are unsure of how to approach voice in the technology’s early years.

As we reported at length in Street Fight last month, voice will require tailored innovation from local businesses that will need to pop up not on the first page of the mobile web but as the very first result when consumers use voice mechanisms to find “tacos near me” now and increasingly in the near future.

It may be short-sighted that marketers are looking to Alexa as the number-one voice medium despite Google’s comparatively strong distribution across the globe. While it’s true that Alexa may be more functional at this early stage of the game, it will ultimately be Google that is in a stronger position to connect local marketers with customers.

That’s a product of voice’s most natural use case, which is consumers using their mobile phones, not smart-home devices, to search for businesses, avoiding taking their hands off the wheel while driving or looking for a quick bite while walking across a city block.

Joe Zappa is Street Fight’s managing editor.

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Joe Zappa is the Managing Editor of Street Fight. He joined Street Fight as a contributing writer in 2015, has compiled the daily newsletter since 2016, and has spearheaded the newsroom's editorial operations since 2018. Follow him on Twitter @joe_zappa, and shoot him an email at jzappa@streetfightmag.com.

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