Tell us about your role and how you got here. What inspired you to be part of a Voice AI company?
My entire career has been focused on building products and marketing them. I cut my teeth at EMC Corporation where I spent most of my time on new product launches. At LogMeIn, I was involved in building and launching a number of the company’s new product initiatives, like join.me. My last role there was VP of eCommerce where I was responsible for the company’s many websites and online sales. I left LogMeIn in 2015 to join an event technology startup called Attend to run Product and Marketing, which we later sold and I’m now at Voysis.
I was intrigued by Voysis for many reasons one of which is that I studied vocal performance in college. So, the opportunity to help define how voice and technology intersect was incredibly compelling. Voice and AI are poised to change how we all interact with technology, so being a part of this revolution is a huge opportunity for anyone in the high-tech profession.
How do you see AI voice workflows and search models evolving by 2020?
If you look at the predictions, by 2020 50% of search will be done by voice. So, the volume is increasing rapidly. In addition to that, as consumers get more accustomed to using voice interfaces, we’re seeing how they search and interact change. Today, we’re all trained to use keywords and facets or filters to navigate applications and websites. With voice, you have a more level playing field, and consumers have more flexibility to use natural language to perform requests. As a result, interactions are becoming more natural and conversational. While we still have some work to do before an interaction with a voice interface will be comparable to a human interaction, today voice interfaces make for a more efficient experience.
How has the maturity of data science and analytics influenced the creation of real-time voice experiences?
There’s a belief out there that voice interfaces are only as good as the data that powers them, which isn’t entirely untrue. Training these systems to understand what a user is saying does require a ton of real-world human speech data. For the most part, this type of data has become generally available for those who need it. The bigger challenge is understanding what users actually say to these interfaces – and fielding the right contextual responses. This is one of the primary areas that the data science experts in our industry are focused today.
Tell us about how marketers could prepare better for the converging worlds of voice, search, and video?
I wouldn’t so much consider it a convergence but voice is providing a new way for consumers to find answers. Video is obviously continuing to become a more popular medium for delivering content – as is audio with podcasts. I think it’s important for marketers to have a comprehensive voice strategy and understand the use cases that the different voice platforms present. This should include understanding the roles of skills or search via smart speakers as well as native voice experiences on their apps and websites. Over the next few years, we’re going to see voice interactions fold into all digital channels, so it’s important to get smart about how this will impact your customers and their experiences with your brand, products and services.
How does Voysis contribute to the AI economy in this transformation as a “technology enabler”?
We’re thrilled to be at the forefront of helping companies define their voice strategies and experiences. It’s not often you have a chance to help shape the next generation of user experiences, so we see that as a huge opportunity – for us and our customers. The voice assistants have done a lot to drive consumer adoption of voice but there’s still a huge amount of green space and use cases that we haven’t experienced or maybe even thought of yet.
What startups in the martech/ad tech and AI industry are you watching/keen on right now?
Would you tell us about your standout digital campaign at Voysis?
We’ve invested in Drift as an ABM tool. This allows us to run targeted campaigns that focus on specific companies and roles. And it allows us to easily measure the efficacy of our efforts all the way down to a demo request on our website. It also allows us to know what companies are on our website even if they don’t take an action. So, it’s a great barometer for how our overall marketing and sales strategy is working.
How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a marketing leader at Voysis?
AI is pervasive and it’s surfacing new options every day that have the potential completely change how we work. So, it’s important to stay alert and have a keen eye on how the market around you is evolving and make a few small bets and a few big ones. While my point of view may be biased, I believe that digital experiences are going to evolve into something dramatically different over the next five years. So, embracing technologies like voice and AR and defining your own strategy for them could really be a make or break decision. Like anything, I think talking to your prospects and customers and understanding their perspective on these emerging technologies is always the best way to find a guidepost in times like these when there are really big shifts at play.
How do you get tech and people to converge at one place?
Pick almost any room, in any building, on any continent and you’ll see it. It’s hard to find a room that’s devoid of technology these days.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
I try to keep it simple. Slack, Google Inbox and Calendar, and Clear for to do lists. And Spotify when I drown out the noise.
What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?
The Ivy Lee Method. If you don’t know what it is, look it up! In a nutshell, you write down the six most important things you need to accomplish the next day and prioritize them in order of their true importance. It helps you defend your own priorities from the influx of other problems and tasks that always manage to find their way onto your plate each morning.
What are you currently reading?
I read non-fiction. I’m a big believer that you find inspiration in the places you least expect it. I’ve also found that I’m often reading the same recycled ideas over and over again when I read business books!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Find the tiny problem. We all have a tendency to want to solve big problems. Unfortunately, if you go straight at this bigger problem, you usually fall short of reaching your goals. So, it’s important to find the problem that is at the core of any business challenge you take on. For example, if you’re launching a new product that’s intended to disrupt an established market, making sure you address the one burning pain point that makes the existing products difficult to use is the best place to start.
Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
Sean Ford, CMO at LogMeIn
Thank you Eric! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Eric is a technology leader with a passion for building innovative and emotive product experiences He possesses experience in leading new product strategy and successful product launches, messaging and content expertise and specializes in SaaS and freemium business models.
Voysis is the complete voice AI platform. At Voysis, we believe voice will soon be the first point of contact between ‘man’ and machine. We believe that voice driven natural language interfaces will change the way people interact with consumer and enterprise facing applications by creating more intuitive, efficient, and personalized experiences. We believe Voysis is the complete voice AI platform that will play a key role in bringing about this change.
The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick.