When it comes to marketing advice, Anita Brearton is someone you need to follow. This year she's explored whether customer experience is becoming an afterthought to lead acquisition and ROI, whether martech and marketing have become synonymous and whether it's time for the term "digital transformation" to be retired. As you can see, she's not afraid to ask some hard questions, and she embraces looking at what's going on with a realistic eye. 

In her recent column "Are You Sacrificing Customer Experience for Marketing Leads?," Anita recounts some of her own poor customer experiences, including one in which a website collected her email address but kept demanding she enter it again — and again and again — to access gateways to product information she was interested in. She advises brands to refrain from being so zealous about generating leads that they make for miserable customer experiences. 

Anita's columns take a refreshing look at the state of marketing today that is invaluable. You can read Anita's recent columns here. And catch our video Q&A with her earlier in the year on the topic of digital transformation above.

This is part of our end-of-year series celebrating our top CMSWire Contributors of the Year for 2022. These are regular CMSWire Contributors whose articles this year greatly resonated with our community of professionals. These Contributors simply serve as great ambassadors of our brand in the world of marketing and customer experience.

Martech Investments Not Seeing Green Light

What excites you mostly about the space you cover?

I love the continual innovation in martech; there’s always something new on the horizon. It’s great fun to watch something start as a concept, then manifest as a new category and finally become mainstream. One of the unique things about martech is that new technology is additive. For example, no one discontinued their use of an email platform when social media came along. It’s one continually expanding jigsaw puzzle, and we’re constantly being challenged to figure out how to make sense of everything, which is both frustrating and exciting at the same time. The end result is that marketing plans and channels continue to expand.

Related Article: Are You Sacrificing Customer Experience for Marketing Leads?

What trend(s) do you think will emerge in 2023?

1. A migration away from Twitter by business users. We are busy disconnecting our account. It’s hard to see the value in the platform but easy to see how it fosters sentiment that is antithetical to our company values. It’s not clear what if anything will take its place. Community Slack channels are thriving, and marketing tech folks are very active on LinkedIn, and maybe that’s enough (she says hopefully).

2. The adoption of AI in content generation (text and images). This is a category that is still in its infancy but is already extremely useful for polishing text, improving content for SEO and generating images for article headers.

3. Martech budgets will continue to be constrained if not more constrained. General uncertainty around the direction of the economy is already impacting marketing budgets and by default martech budgets. We’ve not seen any growth in martech as a percentage of the marketing budget in several years. In fact, it’s slightly declined. This is not surprising and will continue to be the case until marketing teams commit to tracking and improving technology utilization and ROI and find a way to communicate upward the value that the technology in place. 

Related Article: Have Martech and Marketing Become Synonymous?

Learning Opportunities

What's the best career advice you ever got?

Six weeks after I moved to Massachusetts to take a new job, I was heavily recruited by another Massachusetts firm that was much smaller than the multibillion-dollar firm I’d joined. I was happy with my new job but really intrigued by the newer opportunity. In the end, the recruiter trying to hire me away to the new company told me that he knew I’d do well as a small or even a big fish in a very big pond, but I should really consider taking a position where I could create my own pond. I left the first company after eight weeks and never looked back. Turns out I loved creating my own pond.

Related Article: Is It Time to Retire the Term Digital Transformation?

What's the best personal advice you ever got?

I’m not sure it’s the best, but it was certainly impactful. Very early in my career I came home one night upset because I’d ruffled a lot of feathers at work and a number of people were not happy with me and what I was doing. My dad, a senior corporate exec and not a particularly warm fuzzy person, said to me “Stop crying, you are not the type of person to accept the status quo and you are going to create waves throughout your career, so you might as well get used to it, accept that’s who you are and just get on with it.” I did and have never shied away from a challenge even if it meant ruffling a few feathers. Thanks, Dad!

Related Article: Is Influencer Marketing a Fit for B2B Marketing Plans?

Tell us something about you not related to your work field of interest.

I’m fortunate in being able to have one foot on either side of the Atlantic. I was born in Northern England and moved to the USA as a child, and with the exception of my immediate family the rest of my family is in the UK (except for a couple of renegades in Canada). Coincidentally, my husband was also born in Northern England, but he moved to the USA as an adult. We both have dual citizenship, which makes it easy to go back and forth. Working remotely has taken on new meaning for us. It has given us an opportunity to spend more time back in the UK with our extended family and one of our sons, his partner and our brand new baby granddaughter. I can truly work from anywhere!