What Marketers Can Learn from Apple’s Siri

The hottest new feature of Apple’s new iPhone 4S is Siri, a voice-recognition personal assistant application that can perform a wide variety of tasks such as making a phone call, sending a text message, or looking up the weather. Siri has captivated many iPhone 4S users, including me, who spend time trying to discover new quirks and humorous responses.

Siri is a huge hit for Apple, and there are lessons in this product launch that marketers should notice. Let’s look at a few below.

Intuitive and Natural

Up until now, most voice-recognition programs required special commands and syntax to get them to work … mostly unnatural commands spoken in an unnatural voice. Siri listens to your requests and determines what you are trying to ask, and does a remarkable job understanding regular speech.

The lesson here is to speak your clients’ language, not the technical jargon of our industry. It’s easy to write proposals talking about SEO, PPC and HTML, but most clients want to know how you’re going to bring them new customers, about how that new website is going to help their bottom line.

Learning

Siri learns over time, understanding more about what you’re asking her to do. She can also be “trained” to some degree – you can tell her who your spouse, parents, or children are and she will remember for future reference.

The lesson here is to learn to anticipate your clients’ needs over time, so you can provide them with information or services almost before they even ask for them. If your client asks about their search engine ranking often, send them detailed reports outlining their rank in the top search engines. If they are concerned with the ROI of paid advertising, send them weekly reports showing exactly how their ads are performing.

By anticipating their wants and needs, and meeting them before or as they ask, you will position yourself as a valuable part of their team.

Sense of Humor

Siri has a great sense of humor. Ask her “What is the best smartphone” or tell her “Beam me up, Scotty!” and listen to the responses. There are entire websites dedicated to recording Siri’s wit.

The lesson here is to simply have fun and have a sense of humor. There is definitely a time to be serious and get work done, but there’s also a time for cutting up and having a good time. In our office we love to play a game of darts, we routinely play practical jokes on each other, and we cut up with clients when they visit us too.

Letting clients see your personality can broaden your relationship with them. Know your boundaries, of course, but have a good time!

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