B2B Marketing Playbook for Web 3.0 and Digital CX – CMSWire

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CMSWire's customer experience (CXM) channel gathers the latest news, advice and analysis about the evolving landscape of customer-first marketing, commerce and digital experience design.
Rather than trying to define Web 3.0, I tend to think of it more as a term to describe to where the internet is evolving. And whatever your views on the jargon, I think it’s safe to agree that evolution of the internet is inevitable. This is why many describe the ongoing evolution as going from Web 1.0 (information), to Web 2.0 (interaction) and now, Web 3.0 (decentralization).
So for convenience, let’s bundle some of these emerging technologies such as DAO, NFT, AI, IoT, blockchain, metaverse into Web 3.0 and think about what it means to us as B2B marketers.
The key at this stage is not to find answers — we can’t know them for sure anyway — but to think about the right questions to ask. Some of these may include:
While there are far more questions than answers at this point, we have to start somewhere. I checked in with industry practitioners on what they thought were some of the opportunities for early experimentation in the context of Web 3.0 and digital CX for B2B marketers. Here are some themes that came up.
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Community building and customer/advocate engagement are early Web 3.0 use-cases for B2B marketers, suggests executive growth advisor and martech industry insider Anand Thaker. NFTs offer an interesting array of possibilities to recognize and reward your best customers in the (virtual) community, make events more exciting and offer exclusive content.
But, he adds, the true potential of NFTs will be realized if and when they become transferable.The metaverse obviously has the potential to revolutionize the nature of hybrid events. Gamifying the community experience or taking some aspects of it to the metaverse is another exciting area to experiment with, if you already have an established community. Leveraging and partnering with the emerging creator economy may also be worth exploring for B2B marketers who believe in the power of content.
The new customer engagement opportunities the metaverse offers to capture the attention, dollars and loyalty of younger professionals seeking next-level interactive experiences are immense, says Matthew Marx, co-founder & CEO of collaborative marketing platform Evocalize. Growing adoption of AR and VR and other spatial environments also could change the way product demos and customer onboarding and training have been done so far.
For B2B marketers, this means understanding and experimenting with new channels to engage buyers and customers. “As the lines between work and play continue to blur for younger, digital-first decision-makers, staying opportunistic on new channel opportunities will be important to growing the brand and driving business. The metaverse offers B2B an exciting environment to connect with key business decision makers in real time,” says Sarah Doughty, senior director, strategy at Merkle B2B.
No doubt there is high brand-building potential in the metaverse, and as a new channel, it will force B2B marketers to think differently about their brand experience. That said, experimenting with the metaverse is no excuse for fragmented brand experiences now. Doughty cautions that before deploying any ad tactics in the metaverse, brands should align their technology and digital teams to ensure the brand translates accurately across these new touchpoints. “The audience will notice the brand — not the channel — so consistency is critical, be it across the website, social channels, emails or a metaverse," she says.
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The way B2B brands — and in fact all brands — gather and use customer data may also undergo transformations, and it’s best to start tracking this space.
For B2B manufacturers, IoT + ML is certainly worth exploring when it comes to leveraging customer activity and behavior based data to better understand how products can add or create value for customers.
As for how B2B customers will leverage their power over their own data in times to come, Thaker says, “Brands paying to access data controlled by the customer would certainly flip the script on how brands connect or find consumers/customers today. There will be significant pushback, so even small movements would be real progress in this space.”
An important aspect of making the most of Web 3.0 opportunities is better using the world’s information via search in these new virtual spatial environments, says Donn Gurule, founder and CEO of Enviropedia Inc., which is working on creating contextual search for AR, VR and the metaverse. With the search behavior of younger consumers fragmenting (they are increasingly using social media as a search tool, voice and in-shopping search for instance), and current search technology, which seems poorly equipped to handle spatial environments, this indeed could be worth thinking about for B2B marketers.
Ultimately, he recommends, B2B marketers should observe, understand and base their decisions on how audiences onboard to these new platforms, be it AR, VR or metaverse.
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Unlike the millennium bug, Web 2.0 and 3.0 are not going to have some linear cutoff date. They will co-exist and perhaps at some point Web 3.0 will simply grow into the new normal. This presents a golden opportunity for B2B marketers to explore the possibilities offered by Web 3.0 and its emerging ecosystem, without taking undue risks.
While many B2B marketers do want to experiment with various aspects of Web 3.0, where they are struggling, says Vikas Chawla, co-founder of digital experience agency Social Beat, is finding the right use-case or the right metrics to gauge success on these new engagement channels. “The real opportunity at this point is experimenting with agility — early wins could help brands punch above their weight against larger but slower competitors as Web 3.0 use-cases become clearer,” he adds.
Marx suggests five immediate (and manageable) next steps for fellow marketers:
For the first step, experiencing Web 3.0 first-hand — or aspects of it — could be the best way to learn. Participate in the early metaverses, see how relationships are formed and maintained in these virtual communities, and how that extends into real life events and transactions. In other words, by being an early-adopter yourself, you could get plenty more realistic ideas on where to experiment for the business. As Thaker puts it, “The arena, players, and dynamics are very worthy of study regardless of you or your company's involvement. They may inspire ideas that haven't been considered externally or internally.”
For B2B companies specifically, the metaverse presents a new dimension for brand building. And while it is in its infancy, it’s here to say, seconds Doughty. Companies have a lot to learn, so it wouldn't be surprising if there is a surge in demand for marketing talent that’s had real first-hand experience of how Web 3.0 works, lives, and, of course, buys.