It’s time to stop thinking of smart homes as something purely in the realm of The Jetsons or the latest Sci Fi and start thinking about how you can make this new tech work for your business.

Amazon, the current industry leader, have sold more than 20 million Echo devices, Google over six million of their Google Home devices and though a little late to the game, Apple have finally entered the smart home market, with the launch of their new HomePod earlier this month.

At their core, these devices offer users the same thing – an interactive digital personal assistant with a range of functions; from basic commands through to more in-depth app like experiences.

The interactivity of these devices is what sets them apart from their predecessors, they continuously listen for the wake word (Alexa, Ok Google, Hey Siri) to spring to life and use advanced AI to respond to your every whim. Designed to make life easier, they are expected to become commonplace over the coming years.

Like all emerging content platforms (think Snapchat and Facebook live) it’s important that as marketers we start including smart home, voice activated devices into our content marketing plans if we want to be ahead of the pack.

Currently a relatively untapped resource for both the B2B and B2C markets there are already some great examples of businesses making the smart home work for them.

Neil Patel and Eric Siu of the Marketing School podcast were the first well-known marketers to create a custom skill (a set of intents that represent actions) with B2B in mind for Amazon Echo, through the platform their subscribers have access to ten minutes of marketing advice and tips which they release daily.

Digiday offer a 90 second news briefing, which drives subscribers to their website and you can even use Echo or Google Home to check their web analytics whether they need in depth real time data or just a broad overview.

Stubbs Barbeque is a great example of a business making this new tech work for them, using the ‘Ask Stubb’ skill on Amazon Echo, users are able to access audio of Stubbs himself giving everything from tips to recipes to cooking music and of course are able to order more of their favourite Stubbs barbeque sauce.

Zyrtec’s daily allergy cast allows users to find out about the days pollen count, but goes even deeper, keeping track of how they’re feeling so it can personalise their report based on what pollens most affect them.

Now you know what these devices are capable of, we’ve put together some tips for creating a skill or action of your own:

  • The key to creating great content is knowing your audience and meeting a need that they have. The content you’re creating needs to be of value or all your hard work will go to waste.
  • Quality is paramount. While there’s the option of using electronic voices, people are more likely to engage with a real person. There’s no room for poor sound quality on these devices so be sure to invest good quality equipment to create your content.
  • Your skill or action is an extension of your existing brand, so you don’t want it to feel different to any other touch point such as your website or social channels. Make sure you stay on brand.
  • Know what you want to achieve. Whether it’s building credibility or driving people to your website. It’s important to have clear goals when creating content.