Thoughts from the front line: Say It Now takes the bronze in Alexa World Cup final

Three months ago, along with 300 other practitioners, Say It Now entered the first ever Alexa World Cup, designed by Amazon to stimulate the global agency community and flush out ‘killer apps’ for voice across the Alexa platform.

 Agencies were encouraged to double down on a client relationship and present a vision for voice that, using the latest and greatest Alexa features, would have a positive impact on a broad user group.

 We had been working up a partnership with marketplace aggregation platform Booxscale for the past nine months or so and The Alexa Cup seemed like the ideal platform to present the strategy for a new service “Book It Now”.

 Very few local services (hairdressers, yoga clases, plumbers, take-away food, garages, and builders, for example) can be booked via Alexa, despite these small businesses making up nearly half of private sector GDP in many geographical markets. The ability to rapidly enable hundreds of thousands of local business to be bookable via Alexa is a compelling proposition and saw us win first place in the UK round and then beat all the other winners from European countries in the EU regional round.

This took us to the Alexa World Cup Finals in the US last week where the judges had to choose the top teams. Amazon wants to showcase the winning team within a six-month horizon and we lost marks as the scale and complexity of our vision will take some time to deliver, we missed out on the top spot. The feedback was positive however, with the Alexa team reporting back:

“You hit a worthy theme that we all need hyper-local services and with the rise of more and more voice assistants/ambient computing, Book It Now hits a great gap that both people and the platforms can lack. Giving people access to services, making appointments, connecting with help and experts is something we all need every day. Local is a huge untapped area, so [the judges] loved the pitch. They felt you have a long term plan to attempt to revolutionise search for SME services which is very exciting.”

We’re very happy with the accolade of number 1 in the UK, number 1 in Europe and, with only Clemenger BBDO and Publicis ahead of us in the finals (congratulations to both teams for great projects), the role of third voice agency in the world. It has sharpened our ambitions and we look forward to building out the vision with Booxscale and using our strategic thinking to help our other clients moving forward. This is all so much fun!

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