The same way that our lives all improved as consumers and eventually as marketers and business owners in 2008-2010 with the advent of the iPhone and other smartphones, 2020 will be the year and certainly mark the beginning of the decade in which all of our lives improved due to Voice technology, like Alexa, Google Assistant and even Samsung Bixby and custom voice assistants.

15 years ago none of us knew what "pinching and zooming" or "swiping" meant.

Now, our children are asking Alexa, Google and Siri just about everything.

Students are building Alexa Skills for class projects and instructional technology directors are encouraging teachers to incorporate Alexa in the classroom.

In this video, my friend QuHarrison Terry of Inevitable/Human and Mark Cuban Companies asks me: "What's Keeping Me Up In Voice?"

My answer: I get excited about the every day business owner and entrepreneur that maybe doesn't have a huge team. They can use voice to become more efficient and effective. They can use voice to check their Quickbooks or have a voice based version of their company training.

If you're a small company with less than 10 people, you may not have a full HR team to train your next hire. You can use voice for that.

Q also asks me: What's the difference between a Voice App and a Voice Skill? So I happily break that down.

Finally, Q tees up my take on what the best tools are to create your own Voice Apps (Alexa Skills and Google Actions).

1. Voiceflow - An authoring platform to create your own custom voice apps without coding. Content managers / digital strategists (non-coders) can easily build Voice apps in minutes and deploy to Alexa and Google Assistant.

Voiceflow has several "blocks" that allow for advanced functionality such as replacing the robot voice, building visual screens for Echo Show devices via Alexa Presentation Language (APL).

It also allows for team collaboration between content strategists and coders. Developers can layer API blocks and code blocks to extend the Voice App's functionality beyond just a conversation.

2. The Voice Designer - I'm partial to this tool, because my CTO Joe Wallace and I built it for Data Driven Design clients. The Voice Designer is a one-of-a-kind WordPress plug-in that places an authoring tool in the backend of any WordPress website.

The Voice Designer is similar to Voiceflow, but not as feature-heavy. It's meant for marketing directors and small business owners to be able to build a voice-based version of their company website or blog and deploy it directly to Alexa and Google Assistant from the backend of their WordPress website.

It is really meant to meet the marketer where they already are - their WordPress admin panel.

3. Engage By Voice - Engage is a phenomenal tool that features templates that can be customized to build and deploy custom voice apps for your business. Engage features templates that allow businesses to gather phone numbers and send text messages, deploy surveys, gather reviews and much more.

Engage is a perfect tool for marketers to try voice and see how Alexa Skills and Google Actions can integrate into and support all of their other business development efforts.

For more information on any of these tools, please feel free to contact me directly at

I look forward to helping you build your voice apps!

This interview took place at Project Voice - the number one event for Voice Tech and AI in America - from Chattanooga, Tennessee. Thanks to Bradley Metrock of Score Publishing and VoiceFirst.FM

Thanks for reading, watching and listening, and have a great day!


Paul Hickey, Founder / CEO / Lead Strategist at Data Driven Design, LLC and founder of Nashville Voice Conference, has created and grown businesses via digital strategy and internet marketing for more than 15 years. His sweet spot is using analytics to design and build websites and grow the audience and revenue of businesses via SEO/Blogging, Google Adwords, Bing Ads, Facebook and Instagram Ads, Social Media Content Marketing, Email Marketing and most recently, Voice App Design and Development - Alexa Skills and Google Actions. The part that he’s most passionate about is quantifying next marketing actions based on real data.

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