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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 the “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. It also rebranded its 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.

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“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.”

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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 texts. 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.”

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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.

Read next: 2022 Predictions: E-commerce everywhere

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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MARKETING

The Future of Ecommerce is THIS! – Ryan Deiss [VIDEO]

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The Future of Ecommerce is THIS! - Ryan Deiss [VIDEO]


“Own your media. I have been saying this for a while and I’ve got proof of it.”

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MARKETING

5 Open Door Policy Examples

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5 Open Door Policy Examples


Whether they have an issue they want to be resolved or ideas they think would improve the company or better serve clients, employees just want to be heard.

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MARKETING

Good morning: The future of CTV

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2022 Predictions: CTV and cross-channel advertising


MarTech’s daily brief features daily insights, news, tips, and essential bits of wisdom for today’s digital marketer. If you would like to read this before the rest of the internet does, sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox daily.

Good morning, Marketers, and today we take a closer look at the CTV landscape.

CTV is very device-driven, so marketers were watching CES closely earlier this month to see what new kinds of screens will find their way into homes. This has broad implications for consumer behavior, and forces marketers to reconsider the channels where they engage customers.

More social media apps are migrating to the CTV ecosystem through new device features like Samsung’s Smart Hub. But marketers can’t be sure how their specific customers expect a trusted brand to appear on such a format. Is it social, or is it TV, or some combination of the two, or something entirely new?

An experimental mindset and attention to campaign performance metrics will guide marketers through these new touchpoints. No wonder there is such a high demand for data in the CTV space, which explains the many data collaborations and partnerships that have been formed over the last year.

All of this influence in CTV from other digital channels – the short-form video imported from social, for instance – means that CTV is expected to continue to grow. Just last summer, The Trade Desk’s Jeff Green predicted that it will represent at least one half of global advertising’s trillion dollar pie.

Chris Wood,

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Shorts

Quote of the day. “The evolution of social is that it’s moving to TV, which makes a lot of sense right now because of social’s video content, which is becoming more important in the TV industry.” Katelyn Sorensen, CEO, Loomly


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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