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Customer Experience & Digital Experience

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Customer Experience & Digital Experience


Marketers will be engaging with more customers in three-dimensional virtual spaces next year. As the virtual ecosystem evolves, it won’t be limited to a single technology or walled garden. The rush to produce 3D experiences for consumers is already underway and set to mature in the coming year.

Shubham A. Mishra, CEO and Co-Founder of codeless AI infrastructure tech company Pyxis One, calls out VR and AR as “next big things.”

“We are witnessing an increased pace of acquisitions of VR and AR startups, so it’s going to be interesting to see if, and how, brands incorporate AR into their marketing strategy,” Mishra said.

In 2021, the parent company formerly known as Facebook put all its weight behind a virtual reality experience for relationship building and customer engagement. They also rebranded their consumer Oculus VR headsets as Meta Quest

All the while, marketers who were well aware of the skyrocketing advertising rates on Facebook (Meta’s flagship social network) could see history repeating itself, as bricks were being laid for another walled garden, a virtual one which, instead of “metaverse,” could be more accurately described as a “Zuckerverse” after Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

But what if the Facebook people don’t get to monopolize the VR ecosystem? What if, instead of one metaverse, there are many connected metaverses? This is how Tony Zhao, Co-Founder and CEO of video developer platform Agora, sees the virtual-scape shaping up next year.

“The way current metaverses are set up isolates each on their own digital island,” said Zhao. “But next year, real-time engagement technology will enable connectivity between metaverses and create a more connected and engaging experience for users. It will also reduce the barrier to entry by simplifying access to the metaverse to something as ubiquitous as a web browser.

Real-time engagement

Virtual and hybrid conferences are here to stay. What will keep virtual attendees connected in both virtual and real-world environments is real-time engagement (RTE).

Zhao sees RTE applying to a growing number of metaverses, gaming experiences and data transmissions.

“These industries will embrace RTE and extend its capabilities well into the future,” he said, adding that “early adopters of live and interactive video and audio are app developers and digital-first companies.”

As we saw in other areas of marketing technology in the last year, RTE is likely to get a boost from the low-code and no-code movement.

“In 2022, we will see more and more traditional enterprises adopting real-time engagement technology, thanks to the rise of no-code and low-code tooling,” said Zhao. “No-code and low-code tooling will empower enterprise agility, quicker development turnaround times, and accelerate business outcomes.

Virtual and in-person conference experiences

The Omicron variant that emerged at the end of 2021 indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to be a concern for in-person events, calling on digital solutions to keep customers engaged.

“As the pandemic continues, we will transform how events are consumed both in-person and virtually,” said Zhao.

He added, “More and more robots will traverse the conference floors providing ‘on-the-ground’ information and visuals to viewers around the world. Drones will stream information from above audiences, offering even greater real-time experiences, sending streams from above and on the floor to people all over the world who will participate with greater human-to-human connections than we’ve ever seen.”

Micro-communities

Human-to-human connections also proliferate in digital communities, and this has been the case since the earliest days of the web. Brands are discovering that smaller groups can make a bigger impact on individual consumers and build stronger engagements among micro-communities. This community building at the micro-level will grow stronger next year.

“Expect to see more brands build micro-communities around their products to offer consumers genuine and meaningful experiences in the virtual and real world,” said Philip Smolin, Chief Platform Officer for 100.co, a new AI-powered marketing platform focused on CPG brands. “This will foster a collaborative relationship between brands and customers. So, instead of spying on consumers through cookies, brands can simply ask consumers for feedback and offer them recommendations based on their likes and dislikes.”

According to Smolin, brands use digital engagement not just to provide easier discovery and buying options since they’re not just selling a product. “They’re successfully building a community of like-minded consumers…[and] this can even segue into the real world, where post-Covid consumers will crave more experiential events at stores and malls,” he explained.

A key feature of the new year’s customer engagement is that it won’t matter whether it’s online or out in the real world. The successful customer journey will always be underpinned by some kind of digital architecture.

Hard turn to mobile and text

For retail brands, digital technology increasingly will be used to unlock value from a brand’s physical store footprint.

“Don’t give up on brick-and-mortar just yet,” said Michael Osborne, President of messaging and notification engine Wunderkind. “Physical locations support online shopping habits by giving consumers the chance to touch products in real life. This can drive overall sales, even if stores themselves are not producing revenue.”

When shoppers are in-store, they still have their phones on them, and that’s where the mobile strategy becomes even more relevant to the customer experience.

“A mobile strategy has been proven to be more popular with consumers, to give immediate opportunity to pursue action (e.g., sending a product link via text),” Osborne said. “The accessibility to consumers while they are on-the-go is key to being able to market amidst active and busy consumer behaviors.”

He calls personalized texts and emails, which can be accessed by a shopper in-store or at-home, “the difference between a modern vs. a traditional marketing approach.”

Relevant messaging that uses the first-party data customers are sharing with a brand through purchases and other channels can boost ROI when they get a truly useful and personalized text. These mobile and SMS communications will only increase next year.

“Data based on consumer shopping habits and patterns help create tailored messaging for meaningful consumer-retailer engagement,” Osborne explained. “The need and use of tangible marketing metrics and measurable ROI to boost revenue pinpoint the categories consumers are more fond of, for individualized messaging.”

Changing of the guard

Marketers were working long hours last year in an effort to boost their SMS strategies. This sets the stage for a takeover in 2022, as digital non-native consumers have transformed their habits to digital and mobile-first.

“There is no doubt the pandemic accelerated digital adoption,” said Chris Bauserman, Vice President of Marketing for cloud-based experience platform NICE CXone. “In almost two years, non-digital natives have become more digitally fluent. And as such, demand for more digital customer service touchpoints that help these consumers and their specific needs has increased.”

Bauserman contends that in 2022, digital transformation will become generation-less.

“With more digital savvy consumers within all generational groupings, brands will be able to usher in a much larger digital component with both mobile and self-service finally able to take precedence,” Bauserman said.

About The Author

Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.



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How to turn the great buyer resignation into B2B career opportunities

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Create a B2B GTM strategy that buyers, execs and revenue teams love


Marketers play a large, proactive role in the buying-selling process to generate revenue across the entire buyer lifecycle – from generating a new customer, to contract renewal, to solution expansion and cross-sell/upsell.

This is no small task, especially when B2B buyers, barraged by untimely automated messages, random cold calls and lackluster outreach from both sales and marketing, are opting out of vendor conversations. B2B marketing expert Tony Zambito calls this the “Great Buyer Resignation.” This phenomenon has progressively intensified over the last five years and is both a challenge and an opportunity for B2B marketers.

A reality check

Let’s tackle the B2B challenge first by capturing today’s reality. The B2B buying process has gone primarily digital; most B2B sellers and teams have not. Sales has limited access to prospects and customers. We know the facts. According to Gartner, more than two-thirds of the buying process is complete before buyers engage directly with a brand rep. Only 17% of the B2B buying process time is spent with a salesperson across all suppliers. And this scenario is only accelerating as digital native professionals become influencers and decision-makers.


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To contribute to revenue and customer generation, B2B marketers are cranking out “leads” to help sales generate revenue. Marketers are often using legacy marketing automation-centric practices developed during the first wave of marketing technology and lead generation. The teams are pushing out random campaigns in a world where prospects and buyers already know what’s coming when they download a white paper or attend a webinar. Cringe — here come the automated nurture and cadenced phone calls.

Compounding the challenge, prospect and customer outreach happens in silos via one-off campaigns, isolated channels and focused functional teams. And data is being used to justify spending rather than apply buyer and account intelligence to deliver more timely information, better buyer engagement experiences, and more creative outreach.

The change and challenge revenue teams face are real.

Marketing’s impact opportunity in the buyer and customer generation lifecycle

With change comes opportunities for B2B marketers who understand, embrace and develop a smarter approach to identify, engage and delight buyers. And it should be emphasized that B2B teams and marketers have begun their transformation as marketing works across their entire company to play a more proactive role in all revenue and customer generation aspects.

From talking with progressive B2B go-to-market (GTM) leaders, here are strategies to stop mass buyer resignation, advance your career and have a much more significant impact on revenue growth.

1. Drive the shift from push to pull marketing

We often focus our effort on pushing email, cranking out business development representative calls, blasting ads and putting up forms to engage B2B pros. The breakthrough strategies are built around moving from pushing stuff at prospects and customers to pulling buyers through their process. Give them control. Provide options and let them guide their own journey, based on their needs, with value-added assistance. This is an art and science to master. This playbook and skill-set is, and will continue to be, highly coveted.

2. Focus on moments we create, not just those touchpoints we capture

Capture” is primarily what we do today in the form of paid media engagement to generate leads, drive web traffic and white paper downloads, and sponsor events to scan and swipe badges. The best marketers are flipping this model and asking, “How can we create moments for the buyer?”

Moment creation requires a proactive, experiential mindset putting ourselves in the shoes of our most coveted buyers and accounts. Breakthrough moments and experiences can be done through:

  • Product-led growth (PLG).
  • Interactive and self-guided applications and videos.
  • Personalized workshops for prospective buying teams at your target accounts.
  • Curated web pages that feature topical and popular content aligning with themes your buyer has been researching or engaging with over the last quarter.

It doesn’t have to be over complicated.

3. Master the full customer lifecycle

Today’s market realities and company growth mandates underline the need to build GTM models, strategies and resources around the entire customer lifecycle. With today’s prevailing Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR), Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and cloud subscription customer financial models, 50 to 70% of the profit comes from existing customers.

For a deeper perspective, a five percent increase in retention results in an estimated 25 to 95% increase in revenue.

4. Embrace data intelligence and science

We will not be effective marketing leaders or pros without the ability to access, use and interpret data. At a minimum, we must be proactive in using data to understand markets, customers, accounts and market trends. The ideal case is to be confident in turning data into insights and actions and applying data science to help guide investments, programs and experiences. Data cannot be used simply to justify or defend marketing spend.

The most in-demand marketing skills in a B2B buyer-driven world

Let’s look at a few past examples of marketing career breakthroughs to plot the future. Ironically, the emergence and mastery of marketing automation tools, data and campaigns created a generation of what turned out to be the marketing operations (MOps) profession. It’s become a well-compensated, highly respected and in-demand role. In another example, the rise of account-based marketing (ABM) created a shift of sales support-focused field marketers to revenue generation-focused members of the GTM team.

Based on the Great Buyer Resignation reality and market shifts, here are a few high-impact career opportunities for talented pros who want to up-level their professional world while positively impacting their company’s growth. It is important to point out these re-imagined roles all focus across the customer lifecycle and obliterate internal silos whenever and wherever possible.

  • Growth marketing: This high-impact role is the next level of demand marketing, which today has largely been focused on digital and paid media spend to generate qualified leads or pipelines. Growth encompasses the full customer/buyer lifecycle of revenue generation in today’s Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) subscription world. It also focuses on identifying and activating the markets, drivers and industries to grow revenue and expand the company’s total available market (TAM).
  • Journey architects: To align with best-fit buyers and accounts, this craft is an ability to use buyer and account intelligence to create experiences to more naturally pull a buyer or buying group through their journey. With a full view across buyer channels and company touchpoints, this role expands beyond marketing to ensure more timely information. For perspective, this is the buyer-driven outgrowth of what was integrated marketing.
  • Revenue ops: It is very difficult to identify and engage buyers and target accounts if your view is only on sales, marketing, customer success or finance. This progressive function demands a full view of buyer and customer lifecycles. It unifies and analyzes data to empower the rest of the front-line, customer-facing players to act on intelligence and insights.

The bottom line on what buyer resignation means for our marketing careers

Now is an opportunistic time to capitalize on market and marketing shifts and commit to buyer-centric GTM strategies and tactics. If you see a new role or transformation opportunity inside your organization or at a new company, raise your hand and dive in. These are the times when careers are made and energized.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

Scott Vaughan is a B2B CMO and go-to-market leader. After several CMO and business leadership roles, Scott is now an active advisor and consultant working with CMO, CXOs, Founders, and investors on business, marketing, product, and GTM strategies. He thrives in the B2B SaaS, tech, marketing, and revenue world.

His passion is fueled by working in-market to create new levels of business and customer value for B2B organizations. His approach is influenced and driven by his diverse experience as a marketing leader, revenue driver, executive, market evangelist, speaker, and writer on all things marketing, technology, and business. He is drawn to disruptive solutions and to dynamic companies that need to transform.



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Grow revenue streams through web accessibility and compliance

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Grow revenue streams through web accessibility and compliance


1 out of 4 people in the U.S. lives with some type of disability. Because consumers are online now more than in previous years, your clients’ websites must be accessible to everyone.

It’s not merely a matter of being compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). It’s also good business—because web accessibility can deliver better results and enhance search engine optimization.

Join a panel of agency, compliance and disability leaders to hear more about how web accessibility can work for your agency and your clients.

Register today for “Agencies: Grow Revenue Streams Through Web Accessibility & Compliance,” presented by accessiBe.


About The Author

Cynthia Ramsaran is director of custom content at Third Door Media, publishers of Search Engine Land and MarTech. A multi-channel storyteller with over two decades of editorial/content marketing experience, Cynthia’s expertise spans the marketing, technology, finance, manufacturing and gaming industries.



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Why Sales Teams Should Care about the Fake Web

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Why Sales Teams Should Care about the Fake Web


The issue of the Fake Web has been all over the news lately. Perhaps most notably, Elon Musk delayed his deal with Twitter until they agreed to further transparency around bots and fake users. Additionally, a viral tweet about the increase of fake internet traffic also attracted the attention of Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.

All of this is probably not a surprise to anyone on the pulse of technology news. But it is reasonable to wonder: What does this have to do with sales?

For starters, reports show that $115 billion is lost each year in sales labor costs due to bots and fake users.

To help connect the dots here, we’ve outlined a few specific ways these bad actors impact sales teams on every level and ultimately hurt businesses bottom line.

Sales teams end up wasting time on bad leads.

Time is critical in the sales cycle. Leads need to be acted on quickly before they lose interest or forget they requested to be contacted completely. For this reason, sales professionals put a lot of time and effort into crafting the perfect email sequences, following up with leads, and nurturing these leads until they are ready to buy.

But sometimes leads that were once considered “hot” go silent. This can be because they genuinely lost interest, their priorities changed, they realized they didn’t have budget for a specific line item, or they went with a competitor. Other times leads go cold because they were never really leads to begin with – they were bots and fake users.

When this is the case, it is not only frustrating and disappointing, but it also takes time away from real genuine leads who could have used more attention. Since time is money, this is also reducing the potential revenue a business could be bringing in.

Inventory numbers become inaccurate.

For companies that sell items of limited quantities (retail brands, ticketing services, tourism and travel companies, concerts and sporting events, etc.), it is important to keep track of how much inventory is available. They want to ensure that customers are able to purchase available items while not misleading anyone into thinking something is available if it is sold out in actuality.

Obviously, a bot can’t go to a concert or put on a pair of exclusive sneakers, but they skew inventory numbers through a variety of malicious practices.

This can take the form of scraping information and reselling at a lower price on other sites, which causes businesses to overstock and undersell. It can also come in the form of bad actors committing credit card fraud by using fake or expired cards, which causes the business to lose both the product and the revenue. Additionally, bots can be programmed to instantly buy thousands upon thousands of items before real users ever have the chance to purchase.

All of this throws off the sales cycle by making it impossible to determine how much genuine interest for certain goods and services there is in the market.

Trust is lost between sales and marketing.

Many sales cycles start with marketing. A future customer might first hear about a brand through social media. Or maybe they discovered a company in a search query. Perhaps they saw a few paid advertisements and decided to dive deeper. Marketing is a critical component of driving pipeline and ultimately revenue.

Sales teams know that when leads show up in their database, it didn’t come out of thin air – it was likely a result of marketing. But when there is a pattern of marketing leads having fake names or emails, or appearing promising but randomly going silent – sales teams start to question the legitimacy of all marketing leads.

If there are bots and fake users entering the funnel and being passed off to sales, it decreases the overall quality of marketing leads, and consequently decreases trust.

For all of these reasons and more, many teams are adopting Go-to-Market Security to ensure all the hard work sales and marketing teams put in each day isn’t hindered by the Fake Web.





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