The CX Decoded Podcast by CMSWire

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.

Have a question, comment, idea or guest suggestion? Drop us a line at editors@simplermedia.com.



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About the Hosts

Rich Hein headshot

Rich Hein Based in sunny Florida, Rich Hein is head of content and audience strategy for CMSWire. He has worked in digital technology publishing for nearly two decades, connecting readers with content that matters to them. Rich creates and implements editorial strategy and works cross-functionally with marketing to serve and build CMSWire's audience of over 250,000 unique monthly visitors.

Michelle Hawley

Michelle Hawley is a Pennsylvania-based senior editor and writer for CMSWire. She's worked in digital marketing and journalism for 7+ years and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. In her free time, she likes to write fiction, play piano and hang out with her dog, Porky.

Dom Nicastro

Dom Nicastro is a Manchester, NH-based managing editor for CMSWire. He has covered the digital customer experience and digital employee experience spaces since he began with Simpler Media Group full-time in January of 2014. He regularly serves as emcee at his company's two industry events and as moderator for SMG webinars. On the side, Dom is a sports-talk radio host for an FM station out of the Boston area. Prior to Simpler Media Group, Dom was a journalist at a healthcare publishing company and served as editor of his hometown's daily newspaper, the Gloucester Daily Times in the North Shore region of Massachusetts.


Recent Episodes

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.

Google Analytics has more than 85% market share, according to numbers reported by W3Techs.com. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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 Qaqish to discuss customer centricity in the latest edition of CX Decoded.  

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.

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.

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 employee experience (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.

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.

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.

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.

In fact, 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.

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.

Amy Shioji, SVP of strategy and customer experience at Strategic Education, the parent company of Capella and Strayer Universities joins the CX Decoded podcast to talk about how her multi-pronged approach to customer experience is helping today's students meet their goals.

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.

In this episode, 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.

In the world of digital CX software, Tom Wentworth's been there, done that. Wentworth, now the chief marketing officer for cybersecurity company Recorded Future, Wentworth caught up with the CX Decoded Podcast to discuss marketing tactics, marketing leadership and his view on the evolution of the digital customer experience software space.

Season 1

In this episode of CX Decoded, Stephanie Moritz, chief marketing and communications officer at the American Dental Association (ADA), talks about the challenges and opportunities brought on by the pandemic. And how now, the hard work begins again, as marketing leaders take on the new challenge of leading teams in a hybrid working world that is still on many levels grappling with the pandemic.

Google's made some big moves regarding third party cookie tracking and one organization that has been an outspoken critic of Google's post third-party cookies plans is Marketers for an Open Web (MOW). In this episode, James Rosewell, director of MOW, shared his thoughts and his group's concerns with the tech giant's plans and offers alternatives to support what his group feels is a more open web.

There is a lot going on in the world of B2B marketing and a growing list of challenges. If you’re a marketer, there’s a clear delineation between your target audience, you’re either marketing to another business or to a consumer. And those segments comes with some extraordinarily different needs and approaches.

Tim Greulich, managing director at Deloitte Digital, has been laser-focused on B2B marketing strategies, producing research on the topic and, with his colleagues, coming up with some key pillars for effective B2B marketing. Today he joins the team at CX Decoded to share his insights.

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.

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.

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

There's no denying the adoption 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. But how do marketers and customer experience professionals leverage these technologies for voice content experiences that support their brand? How do they embed voice content into their digital experience programs?

CX Decoded invited voice-content expert, and CMSWire contributing author, Preston So, to cut through the noise, discuss successful case studies and dig into the challenges facing the modern marketer.

Marketers are at the forefront when it comes to taming the martech chaos and ensuring tools support business objectives and positive business 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? Is a homegrown stack the right approach?

Anita Brearton, founder, CEO and Co-CMO of CabinetM, a marketing technology discovery and management platform joins the CX Decoded podcast crew to discuss the best ways to get your arms around your organization's martech stack.

The use case for Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the workplace is there. For marketing and customer experience, in particular, organizations are using AI and machine learning to improve internal business processes and workflows, automating repetitive tasks and to improve customer journeys and touchpoints, among other use cases.

Joining the podcast this episode, CEO of the Marketing AI Institute and PR 20/20, Paul Roetzer, to discuss the ways marketers are successfully implementing AI into their marketing campaigns and workflows.

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.

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.

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.

To help us discuss mobile-first culture and the brand-customer connection, Francisca Hawkins, VP of digital and technology for Philz Coffee joins Rich and Dom on this episode of CX Decoded.

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. 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 Nicole France and Liz Miller from Constellation Research. While currently analysts and researchers now, they are marketers at heart, having served in marketing roles in the past. They'll share their thoughts on overcoming the bad marketing habits and processes we are all dealing with today.

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.

GDPR, CCPA, CPRA … it’s enough to make a marketer’s head spin. At the time of this recording, 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.

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 the 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.

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

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?

How can CX professionals adapt in light of these challenges?

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.

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?

Join co-hosts Rich Hein and Dom Nicastro of CMSWire and special guest Stephanie Thum, CCXP, founding principal of Practical CX, on this CX Decoded podcast to learn the latest strategies to boost VoC programs and thrive in a rapidly changing world economy.

Welcome to CMSWire's first podcast.

Everyone knows 2020 kicked digital customer experience into high gear. Businesses, even those whose primary model was brick-and-mortar, had to adapt digitally and fast because of COVID-19 precautionary lockdowns that shuttered stores and sent customers to digital shopping and communication experiences with their brands.

It was up to customer experience professionals to execute on these digital experiences. And it was anything but seamless.

Only 11% of CX professionals told CMSWire in its State of the Digital Customer Experience 2021 report that their tools are working well. Another 47% say they’re satisfactory, and 43% say they need work.

Furthermore, CX practitioners reported struggles with limited budget/resources (46%), siloed systems and/or fragmented customer data (37%), limited cross-department alignment/collaboration (34%), outdated/limited technology, operations or processes (29%) and lack of in-house expertise/skills (27%).

How can CX professionals adapt in light of these challenges?

Join Rich Hein and Sarah Kimmel of CMSWire and special guest Annette Franz, CCXP, founder and CEO of CX Journey Inc., on this CX Decoded podcast for more insights on the yearly CMSWire report and how to better deliver digital customer experiences in 2021.

Check out the State of Digital Customer Experience - 2021