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Agile Digital Business

Glean applicable ideas from Agile Digital Business as your host, Vickie Maris, explores the topics of leadership, personal development, team development and team communications.
Vickie is a singer-songwriter, speaker, facilitator and author. In addition to her music and speaking at conferences, she facilitates sessions in staff retreats and workshops. She is a certified trainer of Everything DiSC and The Five Behaviors, as well as a certified facilitator. 
You will enjoy and benefit from the interviews with guests on the show who bring a variety of perspectives and applicable insights. Focus areas include change management, leadership, team dynamics, communications, entrepreneurship, and more.

Sep 13, 2019

Transitioning with your customer in the digital realm before it’s too late – businesses, prepare for voice search

by @vickiemaris
#teachinspireconnect #agiledigitalbiz

Agile Digital Business Episode 12 featuring news, references and commentary about the voice platform and voice search


From the Resources Handout prepared for a conference session talk in June 2019; revised for a talk in September 2019


Articles and blog posts on voice search

Voice Search is Coming. Is Your Business Ready?
How voice search will revolutionize your business – Article in Inc.

Why Tech Giants Are So Desperate to Provide Your Voice Assistant

An HBR article by Bret Kinsella about why Amazon, Google, Microsoft and others are investing in voice technology. “Voice assistants represent the third UI and technology platform shift of the past three decades, following the web in the 1990s and smartphones about 10 years ago…The shift to voice doesn’t require any training. Users simply ‘speak’ as they do naturally.”

Voice Search Statistics, Facts and Trends 2019 for Online Marketers

“Voice search and SEO is not the next big thing; it is today’s big thing.” In this blog post by Bradley Shaw, learn more about voice search predictions and data, from voice accuracy to audiobook data to uses of searches prior to a visit to a local business.

Hey Google, Alexa, Siri and Higher Ed

Impact on how we deliver, search for and market higher education. An article in Higher Ed by Ray Schroeder, Dec. 12, 2018

The holidays ushered in a smart speaker explosion starring Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant: Smart speaker sales grew 78 percent in 2018.

Rani Molla wrote this blog post on Vox on Jan. 8, 2019 to review the statistics surrounding the explosive growth of smart speakers in the market.

 Foursquare wants to know how creepy you think its new “Hypertrending” feature is

The above is the title of a blog post on 9To5Mac from March 10, 2019. It addresses the approach taken by the Foursquare app company to test how readers feel about the app’s ability to heat mat the locations of people at restaurants and other businesses in Austin, Texas.

Who’s listening when you talk to your Google Assistant?

This is an article in Wired in July 2019 that covers the topic of “who is listening to your conversations” from your Google Home Assistant. Google has made a statement about its process of having contractors review .2 percent of the recorded conversations. They say the data is not associated with an individual user of the assistant when it is being reviewed. To read more:


Alexa FAQs

For instructions about the commands to use when talking to Alexa on a Smart Speaker, and its many capabilities, visit this FAQ page in Amazon.

To review your voice recordings in the Alexa app:


Google Voice Search FAQs

For instructions on how to manage your Google Voice and Audio Activity, visit the “Data and personalization” link in the left-hand navigation of your Google Account.



Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins by Mark W. Schaefer – I read this book in Spring 2019, and took copious notes. Mark was the closing keynote at Social Media Marketing World conference in 2019. I recommend that every marketer and every business leader who has a marketing leader reporting to them should read this book. We are in a different marketing environment today than even just a few years ago. Years of marketing experience in business (or academia) and old methods for buying and placing digital advertising, and ways of engaging with customers are causing customers to block ads and/or to seek education and entertainment that is ad-free. If you aren’t already changing your plans currently to align with the new marketing revolution, this book will cause you to re-think what you’ve been doing in your marketing efforts.


Podcast Episodes

Book Marketing: Voice Search For Authors With Miral Sattar – The Creative Penn Podcast
Joanna Penn, author and podcast host, interviews Miral Sattar about the steps you can take in 2019 to help voice-activated assistants find your book upon request. In this episode, they touch on a variety of subjects from updating meta data on your web pages so that the snippets are answering the questions that people are asking in their attempts to find your books, to the importance of the audiobook format, to the differences between on-screen searches that are typed in a search engine such as Google, to asking a voice-activated assistant for a result.

9 Ways That Artificial Intelligence (AI) Will Disrupt Authors and the Publishing Industry

You don’t have to be a book author to benefit from this episode of The Creative Penn Podcast. Joanna Penn tracks through a list she has created that indicates we’re on the cusp of disruptions for authors and the publishing industry. Penn runs a multi-six-figure business as an independent author and speaker. She is published in 86 countries. Her energy and enthusiasm about AI is contagious. The insights she shares as she outlines the ways that authors and the publishing industry could be effected can provide ideas for your own business plan for the future.

Understanding Voice Search and the Future of SEO
For interesting insights in to how voice is changing the “search” industry and what we might need to be expecting as businesses of the future, take a listen to this episode of Skill Up podcast. This is another episode that I’ve played more than once so that I could take notes on my second time through. Epsiode 7:


Measuring Position Zero’s Impact on Your Business – Searchmetrics Podcast, Episode 7

This is a discussion on the difference between rich snippets and featured snippets. There is no process for submitting for featured snippets. Are you optimizing your content? Are you formatting your content in a way that it can answer a specific question?


Businesses – Prepare for Voice Search – Agile Digital Business podcast

You may have heard of voice search, or use of voice-activated assistants such as Alexa which is the assistant for the Amazon Echo smart speaker. There is also the Google Home Assistant or Microsoft’s Cortana, Apple’s Siri, and others. As people gravitate towards voice for search, it has brought about a marketing niche that is often referred to as voice search marketing. Voice has been referred to as the next big thing. The data is showing that it IS the big thing we need to be preparing for in business and marketing of our products and services. Vickie Maris, host of Agile Digital Business podcast, discusses trends and definitions related to “voice,” in Episode 10 of the show. Season 2 of the podcast is focused on voice and voice first searches, and how businesses can prepare for the platform. Find all episodes at the blog:


For a look at the research available about voice, and to learn more about the technical side of the platform, I highly recommend viewing the website and the white papers available from Bret Kinsella and the team at Voicebot. Bret is also the host of the Voicebot podcast. Take a listen to an episode and visit the website. You won’t regret it.


Reminder about the homework assignment for taking steps to update your website for "voice." It is available for download at my Patreon account,



Sample of recent tweets around the hashtags: #voiceactivatedsearch and #voicesearch

SEMrush - @SEMrush  - Sept. 10, 2019
#VoiceSearch started off as a hit-or-miss concept. It’s now a hugely popular way of helping us go about our daily lives. @himanshurauthan uncovers 7 strategies of how you can optimize your site to return more answers from voice searches.*

Audeliss Search - @AudelissPeople – June 17, 2019  
Voice-activated systems are a $49 billion market. Now @Google is using #AI to make #voice recognition work for #people with #disabilities: (link: @Forbes #inclusion

AIMC Biz Solutions @aimcbizolution – June 14, 2019 
As of 2019, 20% of all Google searches are voice-activated – a number that’s expected to leap to 50% as early as 2020. Voice search is here to stay. It’s growing – and businesses who don’t embrace it now are going to be left scrambling in the very near future.


Webinar Replays

Podcasting in the Age of Voice Webinar – Aug. 26, 2019

Pragmatic and WIT Lingo hosted an webinar with several guests that provides interesting insights to the “voice” scene in Q3 2019.

Glossary of Terms 

AI – Artificial Intelligence
Sample tweet from @Capgemini (Intelligent Automation Platform) about AI: Explore how #AI based insights enable wealth and #AssetManagement firms to leverage the strengths of the advisors, uncover areas of improvement and promote best practices.

CCPA – California Consumer Protection Act
Starts Jan. 1, 2020 -

“By its terms, the CCPA protects the private information of California residents even when they’re outside the state. This means that, if you sell anything to or market anything to or gather any data on California residents, you’re subject to the CCPA’s provisions and need to be ready.” Kerry O’Shea Gorgone (guest post on the Grow blog by Mark Schaefer)

Flash Briefing –
A Flash Briefing is a term related to Amazon Skills for Alexa-assisted devices. It’s a short (10 minutes or less) news update that Alexa can read or play.

GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation
Enforced May 25, 2018
In statements on the EU GDPR website it says that the GDPR is “designed to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe and to protect and empower all EU citizens’ data, and reshape the way organizations across the region approach data privacy.”


Intent – The meaning of whatever a user has verbalized to a voice-activated assistant.


Machine Learning –
It’s an offshoot of artificial intelligence. Machine learning makes assumptions that machines can learn from data. As patterns are determined, decisions get made with little or no human involvement.

Position Zero – The top search result in a screen-based, keyword search in a search engine such as Google. It’s above the ads; it’s above the snippets. It’s the position used in voice search.

Screen Search – A screen search is the type of Internet searching that was previously thought of as traditional. It involves typing of questions, key words or phrases in a search engine such as Google or Bing. A method of typing and a screen are involved. The search results are displayed in multiples per page.

SEM – Search engine marketing

SEO – Search engine optimization

SERP – Search engine results page*

Skill (Amazon), Action (Google), Capsule (Bixby for Samsung) – Amazon calls these “voice-driven capabilities” that can run on their respective platforms. Google calls these Actions. For Bixby, they are capsules. Consider the Amazon Alexa Skill for an example. I’ve created an Alexa Skill for my podcast, Agile Digital Business, to make it easy for Amazon device users to ask Alexa to play my Flash Briefing for the podcast. The Alexa Skill can be found on search in the Amazon Skill store. If a user knows the name of the Skill they are looking for, they can request it of the assistant by saying, “Enable [name of Skill].” For the podcast, I set the Alexa Skill up with the blue print provided for a Flash Briefing. It saved me from having to code, and it enables a user to search in their Alexa app for the specific Skill to add to their Flash Briefing.*

Smart Speaker – A smart speaker is also known as a voice-activated assistant, and several other terms. Examples include the Echo by Amazon (assistant is Alexa) or the Home by Google.

Sonic Branding – Phrases such as “tone of the copy,” “find your voice,” and “it should sound like our brand,” have a literal meaning in this era of voice search. Sonic branding is what your brand sounds like as it is responding, verbally, to your customers.*

Utterance – This is the term used to describe the vocalizations a user has with a voice-activated assistant.

Voice – Any interaction that allows you to control a computer program using natural speech.

Voice Commerce – Transactions for goods and services conducted via voice search and commands given to the assistant in the smart speaker. Users can connect their accounts such as Amazon.

Voice First – The phrase, voice first, refers to the first in a string of searches, starting with a voice search, that a user conducts. They may go to a screen search after getting an initial response from an assistant.

Voice Search – A voice search is a question asked by a person talking to their digital assistant (voice-activated speaker or voice-activated assistant) such as Siri or Alexa. The assistant uses meta data to return one result that best aligns with the question that was asked.

Voice User Interface (VUI) – This is an interface that allows a person using voice for search to interact with a device when there isn’t a screen involved.

BIO – Vickie Maris

Voice first, voice platforms and preparing content so that it is more discoverable in voice search are topics that have the focus of Vickie Maris, author, speaker, digital marketer and idea coach. Vickie is the host and producer of Agile Digital Business. Season 2 is devoted to the fast-moving adoption of smart speakers and uses of voice-activated assistants in a variety of forms. Through her podcast and conference talks, she helps business owners and marketers plan their transition of content for improved discoverability in voice search.

Vickie has also studied and taught social media marketing and engagement, and development of online learning experiences in scalable business models for executive education units. Her career spans over 30 years in industry and academia.

At the university, she is responsible for the sales, marketing and evolution of non-degree programs for business people in leadership, supervision, and business analytics. She has also held roles in marketing and business development in the fields of agriculture and engineering at Purdue University where she led a team that developed and marketed online certifications in Lean Six Sigma and project management. The online courses attracted over 1,400 business professionals per year.

Vickie has served as a communications director for a non-profit and as an account manager for an advertising and public relations firm. She holds her Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma. Her degrees from Purdue include a B.S. degree in Agricultural Communications and MS Ed in Learning Design and Technology.

Vickie is a published author and a recording artist. Her books, podcasts and music can be found in Amazon, Apple Podcasts, Apple Music, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, Pandora and other digital locations. She and her co-writer/musician husband, Scott Greeson, reside on their farm with their llamas, Connemara pony, and cat, Frank.

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To find the resources that I mention in my conference sessions, search on #teachinspireconnect and/or #agiledigitalbiz. You’re invited to connect with me in LinkedIn:; emails = or


* Indicates a content reference that was added after this document was audio recorded as part of Episode 12 of Agile Digital Business podcast. If you’d prefer to listen to my recommendations about these resources, plus my added commentary, check out Episode 12 of the podcast. The episodes of the podcast are available here: