Voice Commands and Top of Mind Awareness

Voice Commands and Top of Mind Awareness

by Andrew Curran

As radios continue to disappear from homes across the country, there’s no shortage of enthusiasm for devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home. The ease of home automation devices brings voice commands to the forefront in pop culture.

While some have heralded these devices as “Radio’s Next Can’t-Miss Opportunity,” that success is far from certain. After all, in recent years wireless Bluetooth speakers have proliferated and in many ways expedited the obsolescence of radios around the house. Yet, it has been Pandora, Spotify and playlists that have benefited the most from Bluetooth listening.

A Google search about tips for using voice command yields very specific and personalized requests just by saying, Alexa:

What’s my commute this morning?
How many ounces are in a quart?
Set the timer for 10 minutes.
What’s the weather today?
Play Jack and Diane.
Add Tide to my shopping list.
Play my (Spotify, Pandora) station.
Order an Uber.
Tell Starbucks to start my order.


Alexa truly is a virtual assistant. Whatever is top of mind, just say it to Alexa and consider it done. Seriously, get the Echo Dot, even if you don’t want it. You need to know what your audience is using.

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Radio on the other hand is not built for personalization or song skipping. At the moment, that’s the domain of streaming services.


Radio, TOMA and Voice Commands

Yet back in the 1980’s personalization and song skipping didn’t belong to radio either. That position belonged to mix tapes. When’s the last time you saw someone rocking’ out in front of their Maxell cassettes?


And, for those stuck on a nostalgic visit to the 80s, radio was also supposed to lose it’s way because of the introduction of MTV and the CD.

Radio’s advantage is producing can’t miss moments that you, well, just can’t miss. You can’t pause or rewind radio like you can with a podcast (at least, not easily, and not yet). You have to listen or face the fear of missing out (FOMO).

More importantly, can’t miss moments generate top of mind awareness (TOMA) for your station. This in turn is essential to win the moment of truth against Alexa’s attack.

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If individual listeners aren’t thinking of your brand and are within earshot of Alexa, by definition, you won’t win tune-in. It will go to Pandora, Spotify, YouTube or the infinite number of other options available that provided a stronger value proposition at that moment.

Yes, you can embrace Alexa and make sure Alexa knows how to find your station, but you still have to be top of mind enough to gain attention.



This is a fundamental consideration of marketing – generating top of mind awareness when someone isn’t using your product, so that they think of you first when their next occasion to listen comes along.

Radio doesn’t own a position of personal music curation or song skipping, but by recruiting and engaging those who matter most, your station can remain top of mind.

Author: Andrew Curran

Andrew Curran is the President and COO of DMR/Interactive, the leading strategic marketing agency for radio and digital audio platforms. DMR/Interactive provides data analytics and integrated marketing strategies that include precision-targeted, multi-contact personalized campaigns across mobile, digital, social, telephony, direct mail, e-mail, word-of-mouth and database marketing services. For more information, visit DMR

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Following programming roles with ESPN Radio and iHeart Media, Mr. Curran joined DMR/Interactive in 2004, was named COO in 2011 and President in 2013. He has been a featured speaker at numerous industry conferences including Nielsen Audio’s Client Conference and Hispanic PD Clinic, the Country Radio Seminar, CMB Momentum Summit and the Worldwide Radio Summit.

Curran was named a 2012 Radio Ink Rising Star of Radio and also serves as a board member and past president of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Cincinnati, OH. Curran graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Boston College and received his MBA from Thomas More College. He resides in Cincinnati, OH with his wife Liz and their four children: Anna, Bridget, James and Claire.

Email Andrew
Follow on Twitter: @DMR_radio

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