CX Decoded Podcast

CX Decoded Podcast by CMSWire
Customer Experience Decoded is CMSWire's semi-monthly podcast designed to deliver insights from leaders driving the evolution of customer experience, with an emphasis on digital touch points, customer journeys, respectful data management and voice of the customer. Each episode is designed to help you better understand how industry leaders are managing customer experience and the value these practices can bring to your customers' and employee's daily lives.


About the Hosts

Rich Hein

Rich Hein

Rich Hein is an accomplished technology journalist with over two decades of experience. He currently serves as the Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of CMSWire, where he is committed to providing engaging and valuable content to his readers. Rich has held several high-profile positions in the industry, including Director of Audience Development and Senior Managing Editor of at IDG. He has received multiple awards for his work, including the IDG Summit Award and Azbee Awards. Rich is also an avid outdoorsman and enjoys surfing, playing guitar, and fixing things.
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Dom Nicastro

Dom Nicastro

Dom Nicastro is managing editor of CMSWire and an award-winning journalist with a passion for technology, customer experience and marketing. With more than 20 years of experience, he has written for various publications, like the Gloucester Daily Times and Boston Magazine. He has a proven track record of delivering high-quality, informative, and engaging content to his readers. Dom works tirelessly to stay up-to-date with the latest trends in the industry to provide readers with accurate, trustworthy information to help them make informed decisions.
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Michelle Hawley

Michelle Hawley

Michelle Hawley is an experienced journalist who specializes in reporting on the impact of technology on society. As a senior editor at Simpler Media Group and a reporter for CMSWire and Reworked, she provides in-depth coverage of a range of important topics including employee experience, leadership, customer experience, marketing and more. With an MFA in creative writing and background in inbound marketing, she offers unique insights on the topics of leadership, customer experience, marketing and employee experience. Michelle previously contributed to publications like The Press Enterprise and The Ladders. She currently resides in Pennsylvania with her two dogs.
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Jennifer Torres

Jennifer Torres

Jennifer Torres, is a Florida-based journalist with more than two decades of experience covering a wide range of topics. Currently, Jennifer is a staff reporter at CMSWire, where she tackles subjects ranging from artificial intelligence and customer service & support to customer experience and user experience design. Jennifer is also the esteemed author of a collection of 10 mystery and suspense novels, and has formerly held the position of marketing officer at the prestigious Florida Institute of Technology.
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Inside the CX Toolbox

In the dynamic field of customer experience (CX), professionals need to develop and hone particular skills to navigate its challenges successfully. Cary Cusumano, an expert in CX management, is one such individual who has mastered this domain. Emphasizing the importance of traits like curiosity and persistence, Cusumano understands the need for continual growth and innovation in this industry. He champions the voice of the customer (VoC) as a major cornerstone of any CX initiative, recognizing its crucial role in process improvement projects. Moreover, he promotes a problem-solving approach that focuses on continuous process improvements and root cause analysis to tackle recurring issues. In this podcast, Cary explores these pivotal elements, setting the groundwork for achieving excellence in customer experience management.

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Generative AI Meets CX

In this episode of CX Decoded, Brianna Langley Henderson, a seasoned CX practitioner, delves deep into the implications of introducing generative AI into business organizations. She acknowledges the transformative potential of AI and its capacity to fundamentally alter the landscape of various industries. At the same time, she highlights the resistance this technology faces from certain quarters. The discussion extends to exploring the ethical conundrums posed by AI, emphasizing its potential to disrupt traditional job roles and intensify the fear of human downsizing, a concern particularly felt for creative roles. Henderson underscores the urgent need for organizations to establish their own codes of ethics in this nascent and rapidly evolving field, where concrete legal and ethical guidelines are yet to be standardized. She advocates for a proactive approach in embracing this technological advancement, emphasizing that the strategic integration of AI can secure a business's place in the future of customer experience and other creative endeavors.

We caught up with Brianna recently on the topic.

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Karna Crawford, former CMO of Ford Motor Company joins the crew on CX Decoded

In this special edition of CX Decoded, recorded live at the JW Marriott in Austin, Texas this week during the CMSWire CONNECT Conference, CX Decoded hosted Karna Crawford, a distinguished marketing and digital strategy leader with a proven track record of innovation and tangible results.

Throughout this episode, Karna, former head of US marketing at the Ford Motor Company, shares her invaluable insights on customer experience and its evolving landscape. She brings a wealth of experience from working with iconic brands and leveraging data-driven insights to shape customer experiences.

Karna's unique perspective as a trailblazer in the industry sheds light on the best strategies and practices for CX professionals, whether seasoned veterans or those just starting their journey.One of the key takeaways from our conversation with Karna is the importance of strategic alignment between brand innovation and customer loyalty. She emphasizes the need for organizations to prioritize their innovation efforts and ensure they align with the overall brand strategy.

By focusing on innovation that enhances the customer experience and delivers on the brand promise, companies can foster loyalty and create meaningful connections with their target audiences.

Another crucial aspect discussed in the podcast is the role of technology in driving customer experience. Karna highlights the significance of utilizing technology solutions efficiently and effectively, rather than succumbing to a multitude of disjointed tools. She emphasizes the need for a strategic approach, where technology decisions are driven by the specific problems they aim to solve and the measurement of their impact on customer experience.Moreover, Karna delves into the importance of fostering a culture of creativity, collaboration and innovation within organizations.

By encouraging a mindset of courage, choosing priorities wisely and implementing innovations that deliver tangible benefits in the present, organizations can maintain brand consistency while driving growth and customer loyalty.

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The quest for customer loyalty is a priority for most businesses, driven by estimates by some sources that acquiring new customers can cost anywhere from five to 25 times more than retaining existing ones. A prime example of successful loyalty-building is Starbucks, which has consistently led the pack by attentively addressing customer concerns, investing heavily in rewards programs and making data-driven decisions based on the wealth of information these programs generate. By continually measuring customer loyalty and tailoring offerings and rewards to customer preferences, Starbucks has fostered increased loyalty, resulting in long-term business success.

In this discussion, Michelle Morris, a customer experience and business transformation leader at Verizon Connect, examines the critical role of understanding and measuring customer loyalty in today's dynamic business environment. Morris delves into the challenges, distinctions between customer satisfaction and loyalty and the value of cross-departmental collaboration in fostering loyalty.

We caught up with Michelle recently to discuss the topic. 

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'The State of the CMO' Report: Key Findings

In this podcast episode, Sarah Kimmel, the vice president of research at Simpler Media Group, casts a discerning eye on "The State of the CMO" survey, offering a rare glimpse into the shifting landscape of chief marketing officers (CMOs) and the competencies they must cultivate. The study's revelations place creative thinking at the top of vital skills, trailed by strategic management, leadership prowess and executive aptitude. The CMO's role has been undergoing a remarkable metamorphosis, marked by heightened collaboration with sales divisions, mounting demands for enhanced customer experiences and active participation in digital transformation initiatives. Intriguingly, CMOs say only 59% of leadership expect measurable outcomes from them, indicating not all undertakings lend themselves to direct ties to the bottom line. Kimmel sheds light on the turbulent journey of CMOs as they navigate a perpetually shifting sea of expectations and responsibilities.

We caught up with her recently to discuss the survey. 

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The ancient Greek mathematician Archimedes famously tackled a pressing problem for his king: determining the purity of a crown. In a moment of inspiration while bathing, he applied the concept of measuring volume to assess the crown's composition. Elated, he leapt from the tub, exclaiming "Eureka!" (I have found it!).

As with Archimedes' insightful "Eureka!" moment, today's customer experience (CX) leaders must carefully monitor key performance metrics to uncover valuable insights about their customers.

Melissa Henley, an experienced CX leader at Luxion, the company behind KeyShot 3D software, explores the vital aspects of both customer and employee experiences. In this latest podcast with CMSWire's CX Decoded, Melissa, a CMSWire Contributor, identifies two core metrics that CX leaders should prioritize: churn and net revenue retention (NRR). Melissa elaborates on the significance of these metrics in evaluating customer satisfaction and cultivating a loyal customer base, emphasizing the importance of a keen focus on these numbers for a company's success.

Additionally, Melissa addresses the crucial role of data in CX leadership. She asserts that proficiency in working with data is essential for success in the CX field. And just as Archimedes needed to perfect his measurement techniques to resolve the king's quandary, in the world of customer experience, mastery of the right metrics can lead to those elusive, yet sought-after "Eureka!" moments.

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While positive employee experiences can enhance customer experiences, negative employee experiences can have the opposite effect. A famous SNL sketch parodies the frustrating experience of trying to cancel cable service, with a customer being repeatedly put on hold, transferred to different departments and subjected to aggressive sales tactics from customer retention specialists.

The sketch highlights the all-too-common problem of customer service employees who are not engaged or motivated to provide good service, resulting in a negative customer experience. To avoid this scenario, businesses need to prioritize employee engagement and create a positive workplace culture to ensure that employees are motivated to deliver exceptional customer service.

CMSWire Contributors Nichole Devolites, principal consultant of LYSI Holding Company and Justin Racine, director and lead commerce strategist at Perficient, emphasize this point and provide real-life examples to illustrate the impact of positive workplace cultures on customer experiences in this CX Decoded podcast. They also discuss the use of chatbots and artificial intelligence, the power of invoking nostalgia in branding and creating a sense of community in the customer experience.

You can take a look at their previous columns here: Justin Racine and Nichole Devolites

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In recent years, organizations have increasingly turned to digital experience platforms (DXPs) to improve their online presence and engagement with customers.

In this episode of CX Decoded, we sat down with Sitecore’s Dave O’Flanagan, Optimizely’s Deane Barker and Contentstack’s Nick Barron to discuss DXPs and a shift to composable platforms and related concepts such as content management systems (CMS) and content marketing platforms (CMP). The participants Dave, Deane and Nick each gave examples of common use cases for DXPs and focused on the need for omnichannel capabilities that enable consistent messaging across various channels and touchpoints. They also emphasized the importance of being open and flexible with architecture to allow customers to plug and play different products depending on their business objectives. 

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In a story that echoes the classic American dream, media mogul Oprah Winfrey started out working at a grocery store where she was forbidden to talk to customers, a move that left her feeling unfulfilled.

However, she soon found a job at a radio station where her talents for communication and engagement were allowed to flourish, leading her down the path to becoming a cultural icon with her own talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show. This raises an important question about the role of employee-customer interactions in creating a successful business.

In this episode of CX Decoded, Diana Brown, senior vice president of sales operations and customer experience at XPO, discusses the crucial link between employee experience and customer experience in the service industry. Drawing on both her experience at XPO and her previous experience as head of customer success for Amazon Business, Brown emphasizes that important changes often arise from employee feedback about the customer experience. She goes on to explain that XPO was able to improve its billing process after finance team members who worked in collections shared the difficulties customers were experiencing in paying their invoices. Brown underscores the importance of listening to both employees and customers in order to make meaningful changes in the service industry.

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Tom Dewitt - customer experience & higher learning
Tom DeWitt on Team-Based CX Learning

Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, a Swiss educational reformer, is widely regarded as the father of modern education. Despite his relative obscurity today, Pestalozzi made major contributions to the field of education in the 19th century, pioneering new methods that were a stark departure from traditional European schools of the time. 

Pestalozzi emphasized real-world learning experiences and a student-centered approach to education, rejecting rote memorization in favor of group recitation and personalized instruction that highlighted each student's strengths. He believed that the role of the instructor was to facilitate and guide learning, rather than simply imparting information.

One notable student who benefited from Pestalozzi's approach: Albert Einstein. At the age of 17, Einstein attended a school in Germany based on Pestalozzi's philosophy, where he was encouraged to use imaginative visualization in his studies. This approach proved to be a defining moment for Einstein, and would later play a significant role in his groundbreaking work as a physicist. The right kind of education can make all the difference. And we now know a lot more about our universe in part due to Pestalozzi's influence.

Continuing this tradition of innovative education is Tom DeWitt, the director of the Customer Experience Management program at Michigan State University. DeWitt, our CX Decoded guest this week, leads a team-based real-world learning approach, fostering an environment of equality, inclusiveness and encouragement to explore. He acts as a guide to students from all walks of life, helping them to fully grasp the complexities of customer experience.

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Jim Tincher on Doing B2B CX Better

In this CX Decoded podcast, Jim Tincher, founder, CEO and journey mapper-in-chief at Heart of the Customer and author of the book "Do B2B Better," discusses the importance of talking to customers after a transaction has taken place. He uses his experience as a product manager for health savings accounts to illustrate how a disconnect between the company's understanding of its customers and the actual customer experience can lead to high churn rates. He also addresses how to measure customer experience and the role of inventory in business.

In his book “Do B2B Better,” Jim highlights four actions that separate successful customer experience programs from those that don't work. These include showing how customer experience is improving financial outcomes for the organization and proactively creating a better outcome for the company. Jim also brings attention to the issue of silos within organizations and how they can lead to a disconnect between different departments and their understanding of customer experience. 

Podcast Key Takeaways: 

  • Talking to customers after a transaction has taken place is important for understanding their experience and identifying areas for improvement.
  • A disconnect between a company's understanding of their customers and the actual customer experience can lead to high churn rates.
  • Successful customer experience programs show how customer experience is improving financial outcomes for the organization and proactively creating a better outcome for the company.
  • Many organizations struggle with silos, which can lead to a disconnect between different departments and their understanding of customer experience

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Digital Innovation Through the Lens of Beauty
Digital Innovation Through the Lens of Beauty

Leonardo Da Vinci revolutionized the way people were painted during the Renaissance, and his "Mona Lisa" is the most famous painting in the world and is a cultural icon for beauty, in part due to what is usually described as her alluring and mysterious smile. What has made the "Mona Lisa" so popular for more than 500 years? It can be boiled down to one word: innovation. 

Da Vinci was an innovator his entire life. He saw possibilities everywhere. The painting is a culmination of his curiosity and studies he undertook during his lifetime. Leonardo was interested in just about everything. One thing he was interested in was human anatomy, and he made many anatomical studies of the human body, including the facial muscles used for smiling. He discovered the complex system of muscle movement needed to produce a smile, and the data he collected during dissections he performed helped him produce the world's most revered painting.

He also figured out why the sky was blue, studied how the tongue of a woodpecker worked, discovered principals of water flow, deducted why he found fossils of sea life up in the mountains where he obtained his marble and designed many types of machines, including flying machines such as helicopters. The list of his innovations is truly staggering. We know from the detailed journals he left that he spent his entire life mining the data of his day. He was an innovator, a data collector and a pretty omnichannel type of dude.

This week’s CX Decoded podcast guest knows about innovation, data collection and omnichannel approaches when it comes to beauty as well. Michelle Pacynski, vice president of digital innovation at Ulta Beauty, has led Ulta through much of its digital transformation in the past 10 years, a time in which the company revolutionized how beauty products were assembled and marketed to enthusiasts.  

We caught up with her to find out what brands can learn from the beauty industry about a host of topics, including the high level of engagement of beauty enthusiasts.

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Thinking about getting the latest CX and marketing tools for your customer service agents or possibly investing in some artificial intelligence? Are you wondering whether the pandemic ended up hurting or helping digital customer experience? And just how is the recession impacting what CX decision-makers are focusing on? Or perhaps you're wondering whether interest is growing — or diminishing or even stalling — for certain CX tools or strategies. Or maybe you just want to know if others really don't know what headless CMS is or does.

Meet Sarah Kimmel, vice president of research for Simpler Media Group, which runs She tells us what the numbers are saying by diving into the findings of the 2023 State of Digital Customer Experience Report. Sarah's got the gift for wrangling meaningful findings that indicate where we're headed. She's based in Chicago, aka the Windy City. If you really want to chew the fat with her, try getting on her good side by bringing up volcanoes or tornadoes.

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Customer Experience With a Looming Recession

A recession can be like preparing to go backpacking. You have to decide what you need, what’s unnecessary and what might potentially weigh you down.

CX leaders have to make similar decisions to successfully trek the current economic landscape. They too have to pick and choose needs, cull waste and protect the integrity of their teams — all while serving their customers flawlessly.

Tina Dobie is the chief customer officer at Calendly. In this episode, she discusses how to think about doing more with less while still driving marketing leads, keeping customers close and your customer support agents inspired.

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Tomas Haffenden, head of service design at Torrens University
Exploring the Customer Unhappiness Factor

Avoiding unhappy customers is what everyone wants to do, right? But listening to our most vociferous critics is not always easy because they're not going to pussyfoot around with you. According to this episode’s guest, it’s our angry, enraged customers who are our Golden Tickets to success.

Shaking down happy customers about why they like you won’t help you understand areas you need to improve, says Tomas Haffenden, head of service design at Torrens University. You want to cozy up to the grumps, the crazy mad and the fire-breathing fit-throwers instead — cause boy-howdy — will they ever tell you what the !!*@%&*! is wrong. 

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Address Silos and Transform Customer Experience

The concept of transformation has been center stage for businesses around the world for some time now, but taking a moment to reflect on what transformation actually means could radically change organizations seeking new life in turbulent times. 

The specter of a looming recession makes the notion of transformation even more enticing — and terrifying — to many business leaders now — especially customer experience leaders. But how do they go about analyzing where silos are blocking transformation, harming customer experience and leaving organizations in a perpetually “frozen” state?

Hank Brigman, senior vice president practice lead for Service Journey Strategies, helps shine some light on the most challenging aspects of customer experience transformation and discusses the inevitable and painful consequences of non-action.

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Creating Fan Experience on the PGA Tour

Travis Trembath, vice president of fan engagement for the PGA Tour, is passionate about golf, customer experience and customer engagement. Having to the best golfers in the world compete under his company's brand? That's the easy part. Fan engagement, and digital customer experience, however, remains a moving target.

In this episode, Trembath shares some of the ways the Tour is engaging fans through data, such as data lakes and data warehouses. He also discusses using omnichannel approaches to get in touch with the PGA fan base, how he sees the future of the metaverse and other customer experience topics, including how a PGA behind-the-scenes documentary can build the organization’s fan base.

Plus, you get an inside look into life behind the scenes at the PGA Tour, a prestigious global professional sports brand. We caught up with Trembath for our latest CX Decoded podcast

Podcast Transcript

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5G and Its Impact on Customer Experience

According to a recent Statista report, the economic impact of 5G on the U.S. gross domestic product will hit $484 billion by the year 2030. 5G is faster, more reliable, has more capacity and less latency than the previous 4G wireless technology — and has the capability of completely changing how brands and consumers will think about the internet in the future. 

But what exactly is 5G, how does it work and what type of impact will it have on gaming, shopping, business and customer experience? 

Frank Boulben, the chief revenue officer of Verizon Consumer Group, has watched as each new wireless generation has come into being, and he caught up with CX Decoded to help us drill down how 5G might be used in consumer and B2B cases. 

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Jeb Dasteel and Brian O'Neill come with a ton of customer experience leadership. They have been in the trenches of CX with their respective companies in the past. And they are CMSWire contributing authors.

When a company gets it right and delivers value, customers know it, Dasteel told us in a column this year. They reward the business with their loyalty and repeat purchases and will even advocate for that business. But what is different about the companies that get it right? What differentiates their approach from competitors? 

“To ensure commitment and accountability across your organization, you need specific incentives for employees tied to key customer metrics,” O’Neill told Dasteel in that column, before writing his own columns for CMSWire later in the year. “It is critical to align incentives to the behavior and outcomes you want to achieve.”

We caught up with Dasteel and O'Neill to expand upon this important CX discussion for our latest CX Decoded Podcast. 

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CX Decoded Guest Kathleen Schaub
Marketing and CX in a VUCA World

Content is king. 

That was the saying marketers repeated to themselves for years. And while that sentiment still rings true, there's something more important brands must pay attention to, something that content ultimately feeds into: customer experience.

Modern consumers have high expectations, and brands go to great lengths to meet — and surpass — these expectations. But that task becomes more and more challenging as we continue to market in a VUCA environment — one that's volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.

Kathleen Schaub, writer, advisor and CMSWire contributor, has some advice for leaders looking to navigate these rough waters and deliver exceptional CX. She caught up with CX Decoded's Dom Nicastro and Michelle Hawley to discuss navigating customer experience and marketing through constant change.

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CX Decoded podcast guest Rhoan Morgan
Rhoan Morgan on Marketing-Led Customer Experience

The Economist Intelligence Unit conducted a survey of 500 CMOs and found that 86% of participants believed that they would own customer experience. Six years later, has it happened? Not quite. It hasn't exactly been a full takeover of customer experience by marketing leaders.

What has emerged is the concept of marketing-led customer experience. It's something Rhoan Morgan believes is and should happen in organizations. Morgan is the co-founder and CEO of DemandLab, an agency she launched in 2009. She's also a CMSWire contributor, and she caught up with CX Decoded to discuss marketing and CX leadership.

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Brian Clifton: Understanding the Impact of Google Analytics
Brian Clifton on Big Changes to Google Analytics

Google Analytics has more than 85% market share, according to numbers reported by However, it has not been without its controversy this year, and big changes are coming.

As of July 1, 2023, Google's Universal Analytics Platform properties will stop collecting data, and historic data will be deleted six months later. This forthcoming change has users all riled up.

CMSWire's CX Decoded caught up with Brian Clifton, co-founder of Verified Data, author and former head of analytics Europe, Middle East Africa for Google to provide perspective on the major changes and how to prepare. Clifton was the first head of Web Analytics for Google in Europe, and he helped launch the original Google Analytics in November of 2005.

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Illustration with Chris O'Brien's headshot for a CX Decoded Podcast on customer experience technology leadership.

According to the Marketing Technology Landscape 2022, marketers have nearly 10,000 solutions from which to choose. OK, so maybe that's not exactly how it works. Marketers won't be browsing 10 aisles with 1,000 solutions per aisle.

Fact is, though, there is an abundance of choice when it comes to deciding what powers your marketing and customer experience outcomes. Many marketers and customer experience professionals arrive at organizations when the stack's fully operational. Others have to buy pieces to fit their stack, and some even build from the ground up.

Chris O'Brien is one of those professionals who lives all these realities. He's the VP of digital marketing technology for M&T Bank. He sits at the intersection of marketing technology and customer experience within the financial services industry, which is a highly regulated industry. O'Brien caught up with CX Decoded to discuss the challenges of managing the marketing technology stack. He shares his thoughts on how the role of marketing technologists have evolved, how he keeps up with the pace of new technology and what's coming next.

"I really do work cross-functionally, cross-departmentally, as well as with a ton of external partners, whether they be, you know, system integrators, agencies, or some of these platform and data service vendors," O'Brien told CX Decoded hosts Rich Hein and Dom Nicastro of CMSWire. "So really trying to be kind of the hub that pulls all of that together into a cohesive roadmap and strategy for us."

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Dirk Lueth, co-founder of Uplandme, Inc., on CX Decoded

The metaverse is certainly all the rage in 2022. Facebook changed its name to reflect this future of digital, after all, and all things digital starts with Facebook. Ok, maybe not so much.

Some are even talking trillions when considering the potential of the metaverse, where physical and digital worlds combine to support an alternate reality to life on the actual planet Earth. Instead, in this next iteration of the internet, life will exist in the world of augmented and virtual reality where dialogue, games, commerce and business is conducted in this alternate reality. The market opportunity for the metaverse ranges from $3.75 trillion to $12.46 trillion, depending on the share of the digital economy that shifts to the metaverse and market expansion, according to Statista reporting.

What does this all mean for the world of marketing and customer experience professionals? What are the opportunities for customer experience design and brands who want to stay connected to their customers — whether they live on the actual Earth or in the metaverse?

CX Decoded caught up with, Dirk Lueth, co-founder of Uplandme, Inc., a Metaverse provider. Lueth, an entrepreneur and early adopter of metaverse and blockchain technologies will share his thoughts on the Metaverse and where the potential opportunities lie. 

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CX Decoded Guest Travis Wright
Marketing in a Web3 World

According to Deloitte, 88% of senior executives think that blockchain technology will eventually achieve mainstream adoption. Worldwide spending on blockchain solutions is forecast to top $17.9 billion by 2024 and will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 46.4%, according to data from IDC. With that said, we’re seeing a lot of hype around the evolution of Web3 and how Web 2.0 will be a distant memory. 

So how do you sort the truth from the hype? 

In this episode of CX Decoded, Travis Wright, devout follower of blockchain, NFTs and the intersection of Web3 and marketing and the co-host of the Bad Crypto podcast join Dom and Rich to spotlight the practical applications of blockchain and Web3 as well as, what marketers need to understand, as we get ready to usher in Web3. 

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Dr. Debbie Qaqish, principal and chief strategy officer with the Pedowitz Group, on CX Decoded
Building a Customer-Centric Approach in B2B

In 2021, 44.5% of organizations worldwide revealed that they perceive customer experience (CX) as a primary competitive differentiator. But are they really customer-centric? Are they building out experiences with that central focus on customers?

Dr. Debbie Qaqish watches these company trends in how they treat customer experience closely. The principal and chief strategy officer with the Pedowitz Group authored the book From Backroom To Boardroom: Earn Your Seat With Strategic Marketing Operations. She helps companies reimagine and rearchitect the role of marketing to drive revenue, growth, customer centricity and digital transformation.

Dr. Qaqish lays claim to the term “revenue marketing” in 2011 and six years ago, she shifted her focus to marketing operations as the enabler for how marketing gains that seat at the table.

CX Decoded Podcast co-hosts Rich Hein, CMSWire editor-in-chief, and Dom Nicastro, CMSWire managing editor, caught up with Dr. Qaqish to discuss customer centricity in the latest edition of CX Decoded.  

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Sean Albertson, head of client experience measurement and analytics with Charles Schwab, on CX Decoded
Laser-Focus on CX Metrics for Success

Sean Albertson, head of client experience measurement and analytics with Charles Schwab, began his CX journey on the front lines in contact centers in the mid-1990s. He managed service teams, quality and training programs, and created knowledge management tools early in his career.

Moving into this century, Albertson began to place a focus on surveys, analytics and market research. He continued to expand his influence through the early 2000s to improve customers’ experiences in roles across marketing, product and pricing, and even spent some time in IT translating CX concepts into technology and digital solutions. 

Today, he focuses on developing CX programs that balance quantitative and qualitative research to identify and execute CX solutions across all facets of the organizations he supports. He's leveraging advanced language and journey analytics to reach well beyond survey results to conduct deep analysis of all experiences at both the physical and emotional level.

Albertson caught up with CMSWire Editor-in-Chief Rich Hein and Managing Editor Dom Nicastro of CMSWire's CX Decoded to discuss his approach to measuring CX success.

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Luis Angel-Lalanne, vice president, Customer Voice for the Global Services Group at American Express, on CX Decoded

Customer experience professionals often turn to surveys to measure customer feedback. But what are your surveys telling you? Multiple-choice answers provide data, for sure, especially when scaling feedback from hundreds of customers.

But do you know how customers truly feel when they leave an interaction with your brand, no matter the channel? Luis Angel-Lalanne, vice president, Customer Voice for the Global Services Group at American Express, told CMSWire in the latest episode of CMSWire's CX Decoded podcast that his teams are undergoing a transformation in how they measure customer sentiment.

The gist: They've gone from transactional surveys to driven by modeled sentiment using Natural Language Processing and machine learning. Angel-Lalanne said this now serves as the scorecard metric for the financial giant’s front-line care professionals.

Angel-Lalanne discussed this and other insights on how his teams at American Express view customer experience and Voice of the Customer (VoC). He joined CMSWire Editor-in-Chief Rich Hein and Managing Editor Dom Nicastro in this episode of CX Decoded.

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Katrina Taylor, head of UX and product design at Armoire, on CX Decoded

Customer experience professionals benefit from a strong foundation of digital employee experience. According to or own annual research, the CMSWire State of Digital Customer Experience 2021 (registration required), there is also a growing body of research and anecdotal evidence to suggest the positive impact good digital employeeexperience (EX) has on customer experience, particularly in high-touch sectors.

Around three quarters of respondents view digital employee experience as being “very important” or “moderately important” for digital customer experience, but this rises significantly to 91% for respondents with tools “working well," according to CMSWire researchers.

Enter Katrina Taylor, who is living this reality day to day in her role as head of user experience and product design at Armoire, which provides shoppers with opportunities to rent clothes and personalized their closets from designer brands. Taylor is not only laser-focused on creating digital customer experiences for visitors seeking new outfits but also closely watches the connection between customer experience and employee experience.

CMSWire's Rich Hein and Dom Nicastro, hosts of the CMSWire CX Decoded Podcast, caught up with Katrina to discuss this vision and how she and her teams apply it into a practical reality.

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Tony Byrne, founder of Real Story Group, on CX Decoded
Customer Data Platform Tech Realities With Tony Byrne

Traditional linear customer journeys are being transformed into endless decision loops. This creates big challenges for marketers, and Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) are one answer to that complex situation.

According to reports in the CMSWire CDP Market Guide, the CDP industry was projected to reach $1.55 billion in revenue by the end of 2021. It’s a 20% increase over 2020 revenue. CDP vendors based in the Americas account for 47% of companies in the industry, 59% of the industry workforce and receive 74% of funding.

In this episode of CX Decoded, Tony Byrne, founder of Real Story Group, takes us into the world of CDPs and shares his thoughts on CDPs and the challenges getting that customer data machine running smoothly. He also shares some real practical use cases for organizations.

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Scott Brinker, creator of the Martech Supergraphic, on CX Decoded

Scott Brinker has had his eyes on the marketing technology landscape for decades. As author of the Chief Marketing Technologist blog and creator of the Martech Supergraphic, Brinker often notes growing trends in martech.

One of his emerging trends is low- and no-code tools. Gartner estimated that enterprise low-code application platforms will be 65% of all app creations within the next five years, and the worldwide low-code development technologies market was projected to total $13.8 billion in 2021, an increase of 22.6% from 2020.

Brinker, VP Platform Ecosystem at HubSpot, joined CX Decoded Podcast co-hosts Rich Hein, Editor in Chief at CMSWire, and Dom Nicastro, Managing Editor at CMSWire, to discuss the rise of these no- and low-code tools and address some of the healthy skepticism in the market.

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Jeannie Walters, chief customer experience investigator and founder at Experience Investigators, on CX Decoded
Why Customer Journey Mapping Is a Verb, Not a Noun

The need to understand customer behaviors may never be as great as today. Customers are proliferating digital channels thanks to the digital acceleration that began in 2020 and extends today.

And companies need help. Only 11% of organizations say they currently understand customer behavior well, according to the CMSWire State of Digital Customer Experience. About 56% say they moderately understand customer behavior, and 33% say they either understand customer behavior poorly or that they haven’t started to understand customer behavior yet.

Customer journey mapping is one tool to help understand customers better. But it's more than creating a map. It's defining truly those customer moments that matter.

Jeannie Walters, chief customer experience investigator and founder at Experience Investigators, invests in making customer journey mapping work. It's a verb, and not a noun, she says. Walters shared these and other tips and strategies around customer journey mapping and CX best practices in our latest CX Decoded Podcast.

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Mansur Khamitov, assistant professor of marketing at the Kelley School of Business in Indiana University, on CX Decoded
Are Customers Truly Connected to Your Brand?

Poor and failed brand, marketing and service experiences can naturally make or break a brand in what many call the experience economy. Customers can be creeped out as a function of personalized online marketing. Customers can have perceptions of dark/negative brand personalities.

Brands need to consider being authentic and sincere and engaging in storytelling as a premium service. Not just for the sake of storytelling, but because that's backed up by your internal mission where employees buy into that story as well.

Mansur Khamitov, assistant professor of marketing at the Kelley School of Business in Indiana University, shared those and other brand strategy and marketing tips based on his in-depth research in the latest CX Decoded Podcast with co-hosts Rich Hein and Dom Nicastro of CMSWire.

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Amy Shioji, SVP of Strategic Education, on CX Decoded

Amy Shioji knows customer experience. She's lived and breathed it through various roles, starting with AARP as head of customer experience strategy and later at Gannett as VP, head of customer experience and data science.

She's now SVP, strategy and customer experience at Strategic Education, the parent company of Capella and Strayer Universities. She leads divisions, initiatives and capabilities that integrate marketing, product, operations and service to accelerate student and business success.

In that role, Shioji was the first experience officer to lead the company’s enterprise B2C engagement and retention strategy, leveraging both CX strategy and data science to drive personalized retention pathways to maximize customer lifetime value and loyalty.

Her teams are so passionate about CX, they have employees sign a digital pledge to help visually signal their commitment to representing the company's student values in their daily interactions and decisions. 

Shioji has also served the CX industry as a whole since 2019 on the Board of Directors of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA), a professional association dedicated to the advancement and standards of the CX profession.

Shioji won CMSWire's CX Leader of the Year award this fall. We caught up with Shioji on the CX Decoded Podcast to discuss the foundations of her CX strategy.

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Holly O’Neill, leader of client care for Bank of America, on CX Decoded

Holly O’Neill leads client care for Bank of America’s 66 million consumer and small business clients. Like all other customer experience practitioners over the last 20 months, she has faced her share of challenges in her role as Bank of America's president of retail banking. 

Today she joins the CX Decoded podcast to share the lessons learned while delivering highly personalized experiences for users both online and in-person and leading teams focusing on meeting banking customers where they manage their finances.

Some of her pillars of great CX include:

  • Treat customers as individuals – not numbers. Brands that leverage customer feedback and data can better understand individual needs and improve customer satisfaction.
  • Invest in digital. CX leaders can't forget the importance of complementing CX with in-person offerings which are equally important to customers.
  • Lead with empathy. Ongoing training is critical to help employees retain soft skills as they help clients navigate unique challenges. More importantly, always lead by example. A company that values the well-being of its employees is better able to create a culture that carries over to client interactions.

O'Neill shared these and other strategies with CX Decoded in our latest podcast.

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CX Decoded Podcast Guest Tom Wentworth
Candid Tales With Marketing Leader Tom Wentworth

In the world of digital customer experience software, Tom Wentworth's been there, done that. Wentworth, now the chief marketing officer for cybersecurity company Recorded Future, spent years in the CMS and digital CX space as a marketing and product leader with vendors like Interwoven, Ektron and Acquia.

Wentworth's seen the evolution of the web content management software space — and marketing technology as a whole — from inside the vendor arena and now as a practitioner and marketing leader. Known for his unabashed, vocal takes on the space in social media circles and beyond, Wentworth caught up with the CX Decoded Podcast to discuss marketing tactics, marketing leadership and his view on the digital customer experience software space.

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Stephanie Moritz, chief marketing and communications officer of the American Dental Association (ADA), on CX Decoded
CMO Leadership Challenges and Opportunities

To say the last 18 months has been challenging for marketing departments is a big understatement. Marketers were challenged with reduced staffs, branding and tone adjustments, drastically changing consumer habits and digital transformation like no other that no one saw coming. And all of this fell on the shoulders of CMOs everywhere.

Chief marketing officers were tasked with leading their brands and marketing teams in a world that took a 180 in days because of COVID-19. And now, the hard work starts all over again, as marketing leaders take on new challenges of leading teams in a hybrid working world that still on many real levels grapples with the deadly pandemic.

CX Decoded hosts Rich Hein and Dom Nicastro caught up with Stephanie Moritz, chief marketing and communications officer of the American Dental Association (ADA) in this latest edition of the CX Decoded Podcast.

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James Rosewell, director of Marketers for an Open Web, on CX Decoded

Google's made some big moves recently in terms of third-party cookie web tracking. One of the biggest is the delay on the death of third party cookies. Web tracking on Chrome was slated to end sometime between 2020 and 2022. For now, Google is delaying that perhaps to the end of 2023, forcing marketers to shift their plans and their long-term strategies when it comes to Google and the targeting of prospects and customers.

Google also plans to end trials of its cookies alternative — the open-source Privacy Sandbox — and incorporate input before advancing to further ecosystem testing.

Government officials have been keeping Google in check, leading the search giant to announce earlier this year a set of transparency and privacy commitments related to the design and implementation of the Privacy Sandbox.

One marketing-rooted group is also keeping track of all things Google lately: Marketers for an Open Web (MOW), a coalition of marketers and publishers who support an “Open Web” and who have been outspoken critics of Google’s post-third-party-cookie plans. James Rosewell, director of Marketers for an Open Web, caught up with CMSWire's CX Decoded Podcast to discuss his group's concerns with Google's post-cookie plans and offer alternatives to support what his group feels is a more open web.

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Tim Greulich, managing director at Deloitte Digital, on CX Decoded
Analyzing the B2B Marketing Playbook

Marketers recognize there is a clear delineation between their target audience, they are either marketing to another business or to a consumer. And each of those comes with extraordinarily different needs and approaches.

And you've certainly have a well-educated buying community in B2B. And it's one that relies on peers more than brand promises. Referrals were again ranked the top source for quality leads with nearly two-thirds of B2B companies (65%), according to a report by 99Firms. Email, SEO, and social media are also in the mix for surging B2B marketing tactics.

CMSWire's CX Decoded co-hosts Rich Hein and Dom Nicastro caught up with Tim Greulich, managing director at Deloitte Digital, to discuss the latest trends in B2B marketing.

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Katrina Schiedemeyer, senior engineer of supplier development engineering at Oshkosh, on CX Decoded

Most organizations strive to have an excellent customer service program. Or we hope, at least. But it's one thing to talk about strong customer experience, and it's certainly another to act on it and measure it, especially in terms of how it adds value to the company proving ROI. Measuring CX and its return on investment still remains a challenge today.

According to data from CMSWire's State of Digital Customer Experience 2021 report CX leaders are not satisfied with their ability to quantify the impact of CX on business metrics and outcomes. It's incredibly challenging to provide bottom-line results and value for CX programs.

CMSWire's CX Decoded podcast co-hosts Rich Hein and Dom Nicastro caught up with customer experience practitioner Katrina Schiedemeyer, senior engineer of supplier development engineering at Oshkosh, to discuss proving ROI and the impact of CX metrics.

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Christine Moorman, founder of The CMO Survey, on CX Decoded
Is There Optimism on the Horizon for Marketers?

Marketing like many other disciplines went through a year of duress in 2020. COVID-19 had a major impact on businesses everywhere: brand loyalty, marketing strategies, budgets, brand messaging, striking the right tone. Everything was up-ended, not to mention the move to remote work and job losses for marketing teams. And on top of that, simply worrying about the health and well-being of family, friends and co-workers.

There's hope, though. Global vaccinations are in effect. And marketers are showing signs of optimism, according to findings in the 26th annual CMO Survey, run by Christine Moorman, Austin Finch, senior professor of Business Administration at Duke University and a CMSWire contributor.

Marketers’ overall optimism about the US economy has rebounded beyond mid-pandemic and even pre-pandemic levels. Specifically, optimism hit 66.3 (out of 100), up dramatically from the 50.9 value reported in June 2020 in which optimism plummeted nearly to Great Recession levels (47.7). Current optimism levels appear to continue the upward pre-pandemic trend from February 2020 at 62.7. This upward trajectory also aligns with widespread vaccination efforts, the anticipated reopening of education activities and retail sectors and the certainty that follows presidential elections.

Moorman discussed these findings and others with CMSWire's Rich Hein and Dom Nicastro for the latest CX Decoded podcast.

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Preston So, CMSWire contributing author, on CX Decoded
Analyzing Voice-Content Prospects for Marketers

There's no denying the advancement of smart voice assistant technologies into people's homes. According to a 2021 Statista report, shipments of smart speaker units were at an all-time high in the fourth quarter of 2020. Amazon led the way with 16.5 million and Google Next was next at 13.2 million. These smart speakers come with integrated virtual assistants that respond to user voice commands. They also provide control over smart home functions.

But how do marketers and customer experience professionals leverage these technologies for voice content experiences that support their brand? How do you embed voice content into digital experience programs? Is that a road you're even ready to travel?

CX Decoded invited voice-content expert and author Preston So, a CMSWire contributing author who writes about voice and digital customer experience. In this episode, So joins CX Decoded's Rich Hein and Dom Nicastro to cut through the noise, discuss successful case studies and dig into the challenges facing the modern marketer.

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Anita Brearton, founder, CEO and co-CMO of CabinetM, on CX Decoded
Taming the Martech Chaos With Anita Brearton

It's likely most marketers haven't uttered these words in a while: I don't have enough marketing technology. According to a Progress Software report last fall, marketers use an average of 120 marketing technology tools.

Scott Brinker's most recent Martech Supergraphic lists around 8,000 marketing technology tools. That same research began in 2011 with 150 tools. Fun as it is to crunch the martech numbers, marketers are the ones that need to tame all the chaos and ensure these tools are supporting business objectives and strong marketing outcomes. What's the right toolset? Should we have a marketing cloud at the center of our martech stack? Should we build with a best-of-breed approach? Should we build our own stack?

Anita Brearton spends her days helping marketers answer those questions. She is the founder/CEO and Co-CMO of CabinetM, a marketing technology discovery and management platform that helps marketing teams manage the technology they have, and find the technology they need. Brearton is also a regular CMSWire contributor. She joined the CX Decoded podcast crew, Rich Hein and Dom Nicastro of CMSWire, to discuss the best ways to tame the martech chaos.

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Paul Roetzer, founder and CEO of the Marketing AI Institute and PR 20/20, on CX Decoded
Practical Use Cases of AI in Marketing

The use case for Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the workplace is there. Deloitte’s Tech Trends 2021 found AI and machine learning technologies are helping financial services firm Morgan Stanley use decades of data to supplement human insight with accurate models for fraud detection and prevention, sales and marketing automation, and personalized wealth management, among others.

For marketing and customer experience, in particular, organizations are using AI and machine learning to improve internal business processes and workflow, automating repetitive tasks and to improve customer journeys and touchpoints, among other use cases.

The CMO Survey by Duke University reports a steady increase as far as the extent to which companies are reporting implementing AI or ML into their marketing toolkits. But it’s not exactly earth-shattering growth: on a scale of 1-7, one being not at all to seven being very likely, it’s at 4.1 as of Feb 2021 vs. a steady 3.5 over the last two years.

However, the majority of marketers know AI is very important or critical to their success this year, according to Paul Roetzer, founder and CEO of the Marketing AI Institute and PR 20/20. Roetzer said when asked how important marketing AI is to their success over the next 12 months, his research found the majority (52%) said it is very important (37%) or critically important (15%).

Roetzer caught up with co-hosts Rich Hein and Dom Nicastro on the latest CX Decoded Podcast to discuss the ways marketers are successfully implementing AI into their marketing campaigns and workflows. 

Have a suggestion, comment or topic for a future episode? Drop us a line at [email protected].

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Shep Hyken, chief amazement officer at Shepard Presentations, on CX Decoded

All relationships are built on trust whether you're talking about the people you meet in the course of your life or the brands and the relationships they build with their customers. In fact, according to data from Edelman in 2019 prior to the pandemic, 81% of customers buy based on trust.

Having consumers trust your brand has always been an important factor in customer experience success, but the past 15 months has definitely amplified things. In fact, Experian’s global research from July 2020 showed that 52% of customers who felt that businesses treated them fairly during the pandemic plan to give those companies more of their business.

As consumers continue to increase their digital transactions, companies need to work hard to enhance customer trust. Improved identity authentication and recognition, for example, will play a key role.

Further, as the world's economy and social activities begin to ramp up again with COVID-19 vaccinations in full swing, those that succeed will find their business on far more steady ground.

In this latest edition of our CX Decoded podcast, co-hosts Rich Hein and Dom Nicastro of CMSWire discuss building customer trust with customer service and customer experience expert Shep Hyken, chief amazement officer at Shepard Presentations.

Have a suggestion, comment or topic for a future episode? Drop us a line at [email protected].

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Francisca Hawkins from Philz Coffee on CX Decoded
Creating a Mobile-First Mindset

We like our phones. Americans spend about five hours a day on their mobile devices. The number of mobile internet users in the United States has steadily increased, reaching an all-time high of over 274 million users in 2020. Further, over 50% of total website traffic in the U.S. originated from mobile devices in early 2020, right before COVID-19 related shutdowns started to take shape across the country.

No shock to the experienced marketer and customer experience practitioner, this means that your customers are out there with their mobile devices. They’re doing things like researching products, reading reviews, shopping, spending time on social media and, yes, even making phone calls. The pandemic has accelerated this trend, forcing many organizations to pivot on a dime and go all in on digital.

Naturally, building a mobile-first mindset did not start with the pandemic. However, the past year has accelerated mobile usage and forced brands to be mobile-ready with things like curbside pickup and online orders. In other words, usable, scalable and measurable apps equals a good thing for brands.

And, not to mention, Google last month enabled mobile-first indexing for all sites in Google search. Its algorithms now primarily use the mobile version of a site's content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data and to show snippets from those pages in Google's results.

To help us discuss the strategy around mobile and how COVID-19 has affected mobile strategies, CMSWire Editor-in-Chief Rich Hein and Senior Reporter Dom Nicastro caught up for our latest CX Decoded podcast with Francisca Hawkins, VP, digital and technology, for Philz Coffee.

Have a suggestion, comment or topic for a future episode? Drop us a line at [email protected].

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CX Decoded Podcast Guest Liz Miller and Nicole France
Overcoming Marketing Bad Habits

Marketing’s under a microscope. Well, it really always has been, but especially over the past 12 months or so.

The challenges for the marketing department in the past year during the COVID-19 pandemic have been many: striking the right brand tone, dealing with trimmed budgets and, most of all, staying relevant and keeping their jobs.

Forrester predicted 469,000 marketing jobs would be lost in the US by the end of 2020 in one forecast. AT&T, Sony Pictures and KPMG are just a few brands that have had marketing layoffs since COVID-19 came into the global picture.

Marketers maybe more than ever need to prove their worth. They need to shed bad habits, reduce inefficiencies and nail it when it comes to submitting the right tone in brand messaging.

In this episode of CX Decoded, we caught up with two colleagues from Constellation Research — Nicole France and Liz Miller. They are analysts and researchers now but marketers at heart, having served in marketing roles in the past. France is the vice president and principal analyst focusing on customer experience as an enterprise-wide team sport. Miller is also a vice president and principal analyst at Constellation focusing on the chief marketing officer, the evolution of customer engagement and the connection between security and brand trust.

They discuss in this podcast common mistakes and bad habits for marketers and why it’s important to crack them at a critical time for the discipline.

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CX Decoded Podcast Guest Adam Brotman
Refining Your Digital Transformation Journey

What have the past 12 months done for digitally-enabled products? Accelerated their portfolios by seven years, according to a McKinsey Global Survey of executives.

Never before has there been this quick of a digital transformation effort to modernize business processes, supply chains and workflows like we saw over the past year. And digital business is still evolving.

While the workplace saw large-scale adoption of remote work, brands saw huge shifts in customer behavior that had all organizations playing catch-up. According to a Harris Poll report released March 15, The Great Awakening: A Year in the Life in the Pandemic, eight in 10 American consumers plan to shop online in some fashion, even when the COVID-19 global pandemic comes to an end. Further, 64% of shoppers say they plan to continue to use less cash, and (48%) don't want to touch cash anymore.

All of these findings point to continued digital transformation as a bottom-line impact on business processes and brand strategy. The good news is we caught up for this latest edition of the CX Decoded podcast with an executive who already lived this kind of digital transformation — Adam Brotman, former chief digital officer at Starbucks. Brotman is now the CEO of startup Brightloom, a customer growth platform. Brotman is a long-time technology innovator who is passionate about helping brands build meaningful and long-lasting relationships with their customers.

Brotman in this latest CX Decoded Podcast with CMSWire's Rich Hein and Dom Nicastro shares challenges and strategies behind Starbucks' digital transformation of the 2010s and how his current customers at Brightloom have had to digitally adapt.

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CX Decoded Podcast: Kristina Podnar

GDPR, CCPA, CPRA … it’s enough to make a marketer’s head spin. Three US states have enacted comprehensive consumer data privacy laws, and more are likely on the way. 

And that’s not to mention the possibility of a US federal privacy law.

What does this mean? Responsible marketing. And what does that mean? Responsible consumer data collection. Responsible governance. And ensuring the ability to comply with requests from consumers and prospects who care about their data privacy.

Are you tech ready? Is your marketing staff trained to handle personal-data requests from your customers and prospects who trust your brand to be compliant? How do your customers stand to benefit from your practices around these new laws?

In this latest CX Decoded Podcast, we’ll help marketers cut through the data-privacy haze with CMSWire’s Rich Hein and Dom Nicastro, who are joined by digital policy and data privacy expert Kristina Podnar

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CX Decoded Guests: Ratul Shah, head of product marketing at SAP, and Tim Hayden, the CEO of BrainTrust
Marketing in a Cookie-Less World

In this episode of CX Decoded, do you really want to live in a cookie-less world? Digitally, anyway, that’s the reality for marketers.

The impending demise of the third-party cookie will take one big bite out of a marketer’s tried and true go-to strategy. Marketers have used third-party cookies for decades to inform digital advertising and user experience by tracking information about visitors and their behavior when not on their actual websites.

But it’s a new world when it comes to data privacy. And the tech giants are taking action. Apple and Google are making moves to support the termination of this type of data tracking on the web.

How can marketers adjust? Is the demise of third-party cookies actually a good thing for marketing strategy?

Co-hosts Rich Hein and Dom Nicastro of CMSWire and special guests Ratul Shah, head of product marketing at SAP, and Tim Hayden, the CEO of BrainTrust, discuss on this CX Decoded Podcast marketing in a cookie-less world.

Have a suggestion, comment or topic for a future episode? Drop us a line at [email protected].

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CX Decoded Guest: Stephanie Thum, CCXP, founding principal of Practical CX
Elevating Your Voice of the Customer Program

Every company in the history of the business world likely would benefit from listening to their customers. The challenge today? Customers talk. A lot. And in many different ways and in many different media platforms.

It’s on their brands to listen — and act. If it were only that easy.

Voice of the Customer (VoC) technology has become a billion-dollar business for vendors. And it seems like a billion-dollar challenge for customer experience practitioners: how do I manage my VoC data, programs and, most importantly, make it actionable for better customer experiences? How do I create strong feedback loops? What impact did COVID-19 have on VoC in 2020 and what will be the priority for CX professionals in this arena in 2021?

Co-hosts Rich Hein and Dom Nicastro of CMSWire and special guest Stephanie Thum, CCXP, founding principal of Practical CX, discuss the latest strategies to boost VoC programs and thrive in a rapidly changing world economy.

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Sarah Kimmel and Annette Franz on CX Decoded

2020, right?

We’re well into 2021 now, but customer experience professionals and marketers still feel the remnants of one of the most challenging years for brands in terms of delivering digital customer experiences to customers and prospects.

The CMSWire State of the Digital Customer Experience 2021 report covered these challenges, which included organizational and data silos, rigid bureaucracies, immature infrastructure, scarce resources, outdated thinking, immature measurement and difficulties in understanding customers. These were just some of the common and persistent hurdles, according to the report’s executive summary by Brice Dunwoodie, CEO and founder of Simpler Media Group, which publishes CX Decoded and


The lessons from COVID-19 and 2020 were many. And CX and marketing professionals are taking those lessons into the early months of 2021 and applying them to their practice of technology implementations and execution, CX skills development and with the balance between customer retention and acquisition.

What’s working? What will be the 2021 CX playbook?

Hosts Rich Hein, head of content for Simpler Media Group and CMSWire, and his colleague, Sarah Kimmel, VP of research at Simpler Media Group, dive into these findings during this CX Decoded podcast by CMSWire. They are joined here by special guest Annette Franz, CCXP, founder and CEO of CX Journey, Inc. The podcast was recorded in December of 2020.

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