Ceros CMO Jamie Gier has no problem admitting that she gets overwhelmed by the relentless advance of technology and the ways it's shaping marketers' personal and professional lives.

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She calls her job as a chief marketing officer "mind-boggling" in today's environment, trying to figure out what channels to use and how to deploy her team. So she likes to stick to the basic rules of marketing, regardless of platform.

"I love coming back to the basics because sometimes they get lost, but they teach us so much. Know your audience, know their preferences, and devise a plan for how you're going to reach them and feed them and provide value," she explains.

In the latest Marketing Smarts podcast, Jamie offers her perspective on the return to in-person events, exclaiming that her company is "all in," but that virtual events aren't going anywhere and hybrid events will dominate for the near future.

"I don’t think that virtual replaces the human interaction that you have with people truly face-to-face," she says. "I understand that there's still going to be hesitation from people....We've been two years, for the most part, in a very isolated world...I myself am very excited to be back in person with people."

She also banters with host Matt Snodgrass about how to create moments of delight along the customer journey. Something as simply as a 404 page on your website can be used to create a good experience for your customers: "It doesn't have to be a monumental endeavor."

The podcast also touches on the timelessly relatable topic of "feeling old."

Listen to the entire show now from the link above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode.


This episode brought to you by Terminus.

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"Marketing Smarts" theme music composed by Juanito Pascual of Signature Tones.

Full Transcript: How Technology is Changing Marketing Events and Strategy

Matt Snodgrass: I'm just coming to you with a very brief message to let you know that today is a bittersweet episode for me personally. It is my last episode hosting the Marketing Smarts Podcast.

I'd be remiss if I didn't take a quick moment to thank each and every one of you for your support through the years, for the kind feedback, for the outreach, for the conversations we've had. I'd like to thank everyone at MarketingProfs for the opportunity to host this podcast and to be able to come to you every couple of weeks and be in your ear. It's been a wonderful opportunity and I've had a wonderful time and talked to some amazing people.

The thing that I have found most valuable, the thing that's made the biggest impression on me are the conversations that you and I have had. Like I said, the outreach, the emails that we've gotten, the feedback, and the ability to just have conversation based on things that have happened on the air. We've built a great community, we've built some great friendships, and some great connections. I hope to continue those conversations, to continue those friendships. If you want to reach out to me on LinkedIn, please do so. I would love to connect with each and every one of you. Find me on LinkedIn, I'd love to hear from you, reach out and say hi. I'm sure our paths will cross again in the future.

This is my final swan song I guess in the Marketing Smarts Podcast. Again, I just want to thank everyone, all of the audience, everyone at MarketingProfs. It's been a great time and we've had a great run. I can't wait to see what the podcast does next. It's going to keep going, it will not stop. Never fear. We're closing in on 500 episodes, and I'm hopeful that we'll get 500 more.

In the meantime, sit back, relax, and listen. We have a great interview today with Jamie Gier. Terminus, our sponsor, has put together a nifty commercial that you're going to hear that's actually pretty sweet. Again, thanks, everyone. I hope you enjoy the episode and stay in touch.

Welcome to another episode of the Marketing Smarts Podcast brought to you by MarketingProfs. I'm excited to welcome to the show Jamie Gier, the CMO at Ceros.

Jamie, thanks so much for being here. How are you?

Jamie Gier: I'm great, Matt. Thank you for the invite to join your podcast today.

Matt: We're going to have a good conversation. I'm excited to dig into your thoughts around events and everything in the event world. But before we get into that, tell me a little bit about you. Who are you and what are you working on right now?

Jamie: As you mentioned, I'm the chief marketing officer for Ceros, which is a content creation platform for immersive content, so very relevant to this audience here. When I'm not busy being a marketing professional, I am a mom to a 15-year-old boy who inspires me every day in all realms of technology, marketing, and movies.

Matt: It's amazing to think about. We've been in this industry and we've been doing the things we've been doing for so long, and you typically think most times marketing is pretty cutting edge, but then our kids come in and just blow us away, like who is this person, how did you get so knowledgeable in this.

Jamie: Exactly. As we see how digital is evolving into things like the Metaverse, he's my go-to person on a lot of this. He is always educating me on some of these new environments that I have to think about not just as a mom whose kid is in there experiencing all of these different places that they can go, but also as a marketer in terms of how to leverage these new technologies to extend our brand, to market to our customers, to serve our customers. Lots of things there.

Matt: I think one of the most telling things that I have seen, it's making me feel old and a bit of a luddite, is I do everything at my computer at my desk, and ten years younger than I am folks are taking their laptops and doing everything on a laptop everywhere. For whatever reason, I can't do that. I just can't get used to using the touchpad, it's just not for me. Then my kids are using their phones and tablets to do everything. I'm like no, it's so much easier if you just do it on a desktop computer, and I realize how old I sound when I say those things.

That's been sort of those lines of demarcation for me, whether you feel like you're chained to a desk or you have this digital nomad lifestyle where you're just doing everything on your phone. That's how I define that I'm feeling old.

Jamie: Yes. I think the lesson there for us is people are always on and they have different ways that they're going to consume information and want to consume information, and we have to be adaptable to that, including yourself who prefers desktop over your mobile device. Good lessons there.

Matt: Absolutely. Just a little bit more about you. What are you reading right now, what's on your bookshelf or your bed stand or your tablet or wherever you do your reading?

Jamie: I'm never reading one book at any given time, I read multiple books. I'm re-reading The Hard Thing About Hard Things. That is just packed full of digestible stories and lessons about the hard decisions that we face every day and how decisions can be made. The other is a newer book, Own the Room, which is really about your leadership presence. I'm very big into stories and the impact that stories have on connecting people. I think a big piece of that on the connection level is how you show up every day. I've always been interested in just your presence overall. Amy Cuddy wrote a book on this, in fact, and that inspired me to delve more into that subject and it landed me into Own the Room.

Matt: Very cool. I've not heard of either of those titles, but we will have links to those in the show notes so you guys can check those out. It's always good to hear what other folks in the marketing world are reading because there is so much good content out there. I feel like I'm always bookmarking things and saving documents and saving things to read and never getting back to them. I need to just put my reading hat on and start consuming content again, I need to get back to it.

Jamie: I prefer the actual book. I don't read on a Kindle.

Matt: Yes. I'm with you.

Jamie: I love picking up a book, opening up the pages, the scent of it, the feel of it. I'm not a Kindle person.

Matt: This doesn't make for good audio, but you can see behind me all the books that I have. Those are the books that I have yet to read. My goal 10 years ago when I set up my bookshelf was as we read them, we're going to take them off and upcycle them and share them with people. The bookshelf has stayed the same for most of the last 10 years, so I'm not doing a great job there.

What are you thinking about right now from a business standpoint, where are you focused and what's keeping you up at night?

Jamie: What's keeping me up at night is just the acceleration in proliferation of technology. It's moving at such a fast pace that just trying to keep up with it and really understand how it's shaping the lives of people. Along the lines of virtual reality, the Metaverse, I'm trying to really understand what the implications are for me as a marketer, and also for me as a mom whose child is spending time in these environments.

It's kind of this interesting dual world that I live in right now from both perspectives. Naturally, as a marketer, I want to figure out how do we best serve our customers wherever they may be, since we're an always-on society anymore. But it's this newer thing that I'm trying to get my hands wrapped around a little bit, my head wrapped around, and figuring out what are the implications for Ceros, for our customers, and then for my own child.

Matt: It's one of these things where we are sort of forced into this from two different sides, for both our personal and professional lives. There has to be a place where these things mesh. Right? I'm learning about one for one reason and one for another reason, but there is definitely some intersection there.

Jamie: Exactly. It's hard to not think about it from both perspectives. From a professional perspective, but as a personal perspective. Admittedly, I find myself at a crossroads here on this. It's going to be interesting just going forward how I might approach it from both perspectives. I know we're still in the early stages of some of these more advanced technologies, but it's something that we have to start considering because it's going to be moving very fast and there's a lot of investments being made in some of the companies that are really shaping and evolving what these digital environments look like today and what they're going to look like.

Matt: We have several folks internal who are very bullish on Web 3.0 and are talking about our own coins and NFTs and things like that and how we can put things like that to the best use in marketing. They are very much on the cutting edge. I think the majority of us are like let's take our time, let's learn a little bit more about this, let's get a little bit more comfortable with this, because we don't all understand what all of this means. There's so much. As you pointed out, so much is happening so quickly that it can be tough to really get your brain around everything.

Are you guys dabbling at all in the Web 3.0 world yet, have you taken any steps into that at all?

Jamie: We are very curious about it. We haven't taken any real big leaps forward. I think that we're seeing the pathways of how we might extend the Ceros brand there or how we might serve our customers. But, like most companies, we're trying to really understand what the implications are and how we can best use that. By the way, it's not going to be meant for every company. I think as guidance for companies you have to just determine is it the right thing for you.

Matt: You're right. There's a lot of excitement around it in some sectors, but it's definitely not a one-size-fits-all technology or tool. I think there can be use cases for a lot of organizations, but sometimes it takes more work to get yourself there. Some things it's a more natural fit, and some other things may be more traditional industries or traditional organizations. When I say traditional, I frankly mean a little bit old fashioned, but I think it's a harder sell to not only bring them up to speed but find a way where that fits with their business model and the things they're doing.

Jamie: I think as marketers we have to understand that in some of these newer digital environments the reality is you can be whatever you want to be, but is it going to be the same as in the physical world? For example, when a customer is experiencing your brand, are they going to have the same experience in the Metaverse environment versus a live conversation that they're going to have with you in the physical world? I think bridging the two of them is going to be absolutely fascinating.

Matt: I think you could make a case on both sides of that fence that your in person and real life interactions should match your virtual, but then I think you can argue that there is a reason to make it completely different and have two very different experiences. I think a lot of that really is dependent on what your end users want. What does your community want, what are they looking for, and what are their expectations? Some people would think that it would be really cool to experience both sides of this coin. Some people would think, "I hate that. I had this one experience and this one is totally different and that just throws off my whole vibe for the day. I don't want that."

Jamie: The truth of the matter is brand 101 tells us you have to be consistent in your brand strategy, but also how that manifests in different environments. That's the point that I'm making. Can you be consistent across both? We know that in a virtual world where you can transform your own avatar to look nothing like you whatsoever – by the way, I don't know if you watched Ready Player One, that's one of our favorite movies.

Matt: Yes. I love it.

Jamie: What I loved and I think the beauty of that movie is that even James Halliday came to the conclusion of although he created The Oasis, he also knew that it wasn't real. He created it because he didn't seem to fit into the real world, but as he states in the movie in so many words, it's only in the real world where you can have a decent meal. There was so much packed into that statement that I think is something for us to all reflect on. I know that has a nice segue even onto the topic of events, which I know you wanted to get to at some point.

Matt: You read my mind. I was going to use that to jump right into events. Let's talk events when we're talking real world and we're talking virtual. SXSW just wrapped up this past weekend on Sunday. As I was looking at it, that was sort of one of the first big return to in person events that we've had, one of these major huge footprint events. They didn't draw as many as they have historically, and that's completely understandable. But it was interesting to see a big event like that kicking off and happening.

I'm curious, where do you stand in terms of getting back to in person events, bullish, bearish, how do you feel about getting back to in person and doing these big events again?

Jamie: All in. We're ready. I understand that there is still going to be hesitation from people in getting back together. We've been two years, for the most part, in a very isolated world, it feels. There are some that are like let's just move on and get together, and others who are going to be hesitant. I myself am very excited to be back in person with people. We have our first in person event coming up in early May, we'll be at the Forrester B2B Summit. But also, and I think they're doing the right thing, they're offering a virtual aspect of the event for those who may not be comfortable.

The reality is that we've grown accustomed to attending events virtually. In some regards, too, it has allowed those who may not have had the opportunity to travel even if the pandemic didn't happen, they now can participate from their living rooms, from their home office, and not miss their daughter's track meet. It's given us some optionality in terms of when we want to attend or not. It's opened up the door for more people to participate. I think there is even a cost implication there.

But I'm very excited that we at least now have the option to go back, because I don't think that virtual replaces the human interaction that you have with people truly face-to-face, not over a Zoom call like most of us have grown accustomed to. There's just a different level of experience that you can have face-to-face.

So, we're all in. We're going in early May. That all said, we are also offering up virtual ways to still do events. I think you're going to see that hybrid will be the strategy going forward.

Matt: That's one of the things that I wanted to dig into, too, is where you think virtual is going to go. As I look out at the environment, we've been doing virtual events in a variety of formats for years. It wasn't new, it wasn't anything that was earth-shattering. The quantity and the volume of virtual events that have happened over the last two years certainly was, but they've been around for a long time.

To your point, we've now given people who maybe hadn't had access to that or hadn't thought about doing that in the past now have access to these events. I think you're going to have a subset of folks who are, for whatever reason, be it their personality or health concerns or anything, are just going to be more comfortable staying the virtual course. I think that percentage of people probably has gone up over the last two years. I think that's a pretty safe thing to say that's gone up.

As I look out, I don't see virtual events going away. I think they're here to stay and I think they're going to continue to grow, but not at the pace we've seen over the last two years. I'm curious as to where you stand on that.

Jamie: I agree. They're not going to go anywhere. By the way, I'm glad. Again, back to my original point, it's going to allow other people the opportunity to attend and learn when they may not have the option to travel. We've grown accustomed to a more flexible work style, even with many companies shifting now to remote first. Ceros did the same thing. We're accustomed to that. With it comes flexibility, work-life integration on a whole other scale, a whole other level, and that extends into virtual events and the value of being able to do that virtually.

The challenge that we have as marketers is how do you replicate a physical event in a virtual way. Now we're all stuck going, "How do you do that?" You see these companies, these platforms that have understood this and they've created these virtual spaces and environments where you can walk into a virtual bar, you can go out on a virtual rooftop and have a drink. I'm not suggesting it's for me, but I don't think it's intended for someone like me. This is where demographics really get into play here.

They're making these platforms much more sophisticated so that they do replicate real life. That's going to be interesting to see how much we embrace that as we figure out how to make the virtual aspect of the event much more engaging so that people are showing up, that they can have conversations as though they were in person. That's going to be the next phase of this.

Matt: Again, getting back to what we talked about earlier, it really is about knowing your audience. It's about knowing who your community is and what their expectations are and is this something that they want. You could spend your whole marketing budget doing something amazing and mind-blowing virtual and meta, but if your audience doesn't want that, if that's not a thing your community is into, you're wasting your time, you're wasting their time, and in the end, providing a bad user experience. If you don't know, if you're just trying these things to try them without having any data behind it, then you're basically just burning bridges there.

Jamie: I agree. I think it's going to mostly hit the Gen Z crowd. They're younger, but just think 10 years from now. What's shaping them today and how they're experiencing life today, we have to start planning for 10 years from now if you happen to market a product or service that is for that demographic. How they're experiencing their worlds, we need to be ready for 10 years from now when they're looking to purchase what we might have for them at that time.

It's kind of a fascinating thing. That's why I pay such close attention to my son. Again, he is my greatest teacher right now because he is on the cusp of that generation. He's in Fortnite, he's in Minecraft. I'm watching and paying attention because he's the one shaping how we have to adapt in the future.

Matt: We just had a virtual event two or three weeks ago, and one of the sessions was a Gen Z session to share their perspective. We had a couple of Gen Z event marketers in there sharing their perspectives. We brought someone up live on stage and she was a Boomer, and she came in ready to fight. She said, "All this talk about Gen Z this and that. What about us, what about the Boomers here? We still make up a big portion of the workplace." Like I said, she came in ready to fight.

Our panelist did a great job and she said, "I think this is a great time to really have an amazing opportunity for knowledge exchange, because there's a lot of institutional knowledge that exists and our generation coming into this workforce doesn't have that institutional knowledge and we're not learning the same things. We may never get that knowledge because we're not using the same technologies, we're not thinking about things in the same way, but these are the fundamentals that we need to know."

I thought that was a great way to answer that question because there is so much that can be learned from both sides. You said you're learning from your son, and we are learning from Gen Z and the younger generations, but we should never sell ourselves short because there is a lot of information to impart both ways, which is why it's so important that we bring younger marketers into the fold and that we are not afraid to learn from them.

Jamie: Exactly. Constantly learning. I was just having this discussion earlier today, where even at this stage of my career I'm still learning. If you're not learning, you're not living. Getting back to my original point on what's keeping me up at night, it is this thing. It is exactly this thing.

The way that I learned how to do marketing and how to create experiences for people is very different than what it is today. You're having to keep pace with that, and it's changing fast. I think the other complexity to this is that we live in an always-on world. The way that people consume information and where they go to get information is much more complicated because there are many more channels where they can go and more communities where they can go to get information. It really comes down to knowing your audience.

That gets back to the basics. I love coming back to the basics because sometimes they get lost, but they teach us so much. Know your audience, know their preferences, and devise a plan for how you're going to reach them and feed them and provide value. It's going to be different for the Boomer who was on that stage as well as the Gen Z. It doesn't have to be one or the other. It has to be both. It really gets down to knowing your audience.

We have so many more options these days, which is why I think the hardest job in the world is a CMO who is trying to figure that out and guide their teams on the strategies that we need to deploy, as well as the way that we're going to extend our brand and tell stories. It's mindboggling, actually.

Matt: I will not argue that, except to say that maybe Alaskan crab fisherman is up there with CMO. Those have to be the top two, I think.

Jamie: Okay. You're right. I agree with you.

Matt: I want to shift gears a second here. We've talked a lot about knowing your audience, knowing your community, knowing who people are. One of the things that I know you like talking about is finding ways to surprise and delight people through creativity. I'm curious. This was a topic that you and I talked about off stage before we got started. I'm wondering how have you successfully done that, how have you surprised and delighted your audience, your customers, your prospects?

Jamie: Again, this gets back to where are they and where are they getting information and consuming information, and having multiple pathways to do that. Not everything is digital. For example, we just invested in Sendoso, so we have a partnership with them. The reason that we did that is we wanted to be able to also give them something more physical to touch and to experience that's related to our brand. We're just finding moments in our relationship with these customers where we can delight them when something shows up on their doorway.

Here's an example that I just experienced with a different brand. I'm a big Shark Tank fan, I love watching the show, I love to hear how entrepreneurs pitch their stories. I learn something every time I watch that show.

There was a couple of entrepreneurs that were pitching Pluto Pillow. The business idea really grabbed my attention, because who doesn't want to learn how to sleep better? We all want to learn how to sleep better. I loved the concept, so I decided to go on and buy their product. That's the other thing that I do. If I find something interesting on there, I like to support the entrepreneurs. Here was the experience I went through and the ways that they delighted me as a first-time buyer and probably an ongoing customer.

You go to their site, and they ask you questions, so this is the personalization. "We want to know about you, Jamie, and your preferences for sleep, how you sleep, what kind of firmness in your pillow, your body type," all of these things. Then they process that and they build the pillow.

Fast forward a couple of weeks, I get a very nice box on my doorstep. It's not in a plastic bag or anything like that. I open up the box and it has a notecard that says this is what we heard from you and here's how we've built your pillow. It's like, "We heard you, Jamie. Here's this lovely pillow that's going to help you sleep better."

The other delight piece of it was they threw in an Airhead piece of candy. It seems so random, but I've remembered that. I thought, "That's random, but I love Airhead candy, so I'm going to have this."

It was just these little touches, but it started with, "We want to know about you because we're going to create a product just for you." The product shows up, it's nicely packaged to say this is something special for you, we didn't jam it in a bag, this is a nice box. By the way, here's a summary of what you told us so that you know that we heard you, and here's a little bit of extra love in the way of candy. And I love candy.

So, I think there's different ways that you can surprise and delight your customer with the unexpected things that seem so small, but you remember them, like I've remembered them. If we go into the digital world, we shouldn't overlook things like your 404 page. That's a moment for you, hopefully you don't have too many of them because that's a different issue. But should somebody stumble upon a 404 page, how do you make it a good experience for them and make sure that they still get to the information that they need?

I think that there are different ways that you can do that, but it's largely the little moments of delight that sometimes we overlook.

Matt: I have a friend who has a small shoe and clothing company. He decided when he was first starting this that every box he shipped out was going to have a scent to it. It was a very subtle thing. He equated it to the new car smell when you buy a new car, it's the thing that you equate with buying a new car. He said, "We want our brand to have this scent." They would take a little squirt of it on a notecard and put that in each box, so it was just very subtle, but when you opened it, you knew that scent.

People loved it. They went crazy, "Can we buy this? We want this." For a long time, they were resistant because this isn't a perfume, this isn't a product they're selling, this is just their thing. But the clamor was so big that eventually they created that in sellable packaging. That was a thing that was totally not designed to be a product, it was designed to be their little moment that you open this up and this is the thing that hits you, it's that new car moment, but it turned into something much bigger completely by accident almost. I love stories like that.

When you were going through that process, when you were filling out this information on their website, did at any point you think as a marketer they're capturing this information so they can profile me, so they can categorize me and segment me, and send me specific information based on the things that I'm putting in here?

Jamie: Of course, because we're marketers, we do the same thing. I think you do realize that you're giving up some personal information. I did not feel like the questions they asked were so invasive that I wouldn't be willing to share it with them. I knew that the information I was giving them would provide for a better product for me.

They have been great about not misusing that information. The emails that I get, they're a one-product company, so it's not like they're going to be trying to cross-sell me on other things. So, maybe there hasn't been an opportunity for them to use it. I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt that they used that to craft a pillow that was going to be right for me so that I would have a positive experience, so that I would come on a podcast like this and share their brand, which I have, and I don't do very often.

Matt: Wait a minute. Is this a paid plant, do we have to say that there's a paid advertiser?

Jamie: No, there's none at all. You asked about customer delight, so I decided to share it. The funny thing about that company, too, which I honestly don't know a lot about… The only thing I know about them is that I had a really good experience, so that's what is the memorable aspect of it. The funny thing about it though is the Sharks did not invest in them. But, no, I'm not a paid agent by any means.

Matt: I know. But that is interesting because your experience is you saw this product, it wasn't a product that was invested in, so it didn't make it big from that standpoint, but it was enough to pique your interest. You went through that experience, and you had such a good experience that, like you said, you came on here and we're now talking about this. I don't know when this happened, if this was months ago or years ago, but you came on and we're talking about this because this is still something that resonated with you and is fresh in your mind and had such a profound impact over something seemingly so small.

That's the thing that I think a lot of organizations miss when they're thinking about customer experience, thinking about surprising and delighting, they're thinking, to be hyperbolic here, "We have to drop off a new car at every person's house." It doesn't have to be that big, it doesn't have to be a monumental endeavor that takes hundreds of hours to make it happen. It can be something small, like including an Airhead in your packaging and a handwritten note that says thanks, that makes all the difference in the world.

Jamie: Yes. That's what we need. I think the lesson, too, and I would say this of many small companies, we have a lot to learn from them, is that it was an end-to-end customer experience. It wasn't just one thing. They thought very carefully about each touchpoint they were going to have with me and that I would be happy, that I would be a delighted customer. I think there's a lot to learn from that.

There's another brand that I really like, Lauren Moshi. She's an artist fashion designer out of LA. I don't even remember how I came upon her site, but I've been a repeat customer. Not only because she has really great clothing attire that resonates with me, but when she sends her fashion line to you, a lot of the times it's packaged in tissue that resembles the product. She has stickers of little sketches that she's done, because she is an artist, and occasionally she'll put in little stickers.

Those are the little things that just stick with you, in addition to the fact that I love her clothing line and I'm a repeat customer for that. To your point, it's those little things that are memorable. I'm like, "That's kind of cool. I like that." It adds nothing to the clothing line outside of the fact that she is extending her brand in a way that I'm like, "Wow, she took the time to do that. She knows those little things matter."

This is why I love doing business with the smaller brands, because they do such a great job. They do a great job. I know we love to give credit to Amazon and Apple and others. Great. I have decent experiences with them, but they don't drop those little things of delight that make me want to talk about them.

Matt: Thinking about it from a logistics standpoint, how much work really is it to put stickers in that package or add to that? Right? It's not a huge endeavor on the part of the organization. It's not a huge drain on resources or anything like that, but it's enough to make you stand up and take notice and say, "I love this experience. I want to talk about this experience. I want to share this experience. I will come back."

Jamie: Exactly. It's kind of funny to hear you recite it back about the stickers, because then I'm like that doesn't sound very interesting, but the reality is they're stickers of drawings that she has done. She's taken her own art, she's manifested them in a sticker or tissue paper or whatever, and it's like, "Wow." That's very smart because I get to experience her brand in a different way. It's small, but it's memorable.

Matt: I want to spend our last couple of minutes here just making sure that we clarify these are B2C experiences that we're talking about here, but you can do these things in the B2B world, too. That can be anything from your welcome email, to the welcome and onboarding series, to just random touchpoints and reaching out to folks. There's a lot that can be done in the B2B space as well, so this is not limited solely to B2C environments like we've been talking about.

Jamie: Not at all. The funny thing about what you just said is I'm a B2B marketer for the most part. But that's why, for example, my own team invested in a gifting platform where we can in addition to the digital ways in which we communicate our message, engage and reach our audience that we're also augmenting with these little other ways of sending delightful experiences to them. They just happen to be a physical box of stuff. I think there are different ways you can just drop those moments of delight, or what we call love tokens.

Matt: Yes. Ann Handley, the chief content officer at MarketingProfs, does a great job in her newsletter. When you sign up for her newsletter, the confirmation email comes out, and one of the first things she does after she thanks you for subscribing is engages with you immediately, "Thanks so much for being here. What is it that you hope to learn? Why did you decide to subscribe to the newsletter?" And she reads every one of those that comes in.

She gets something like, I can't remember if it's 35% or 45% response rate, of the people who actually take the time to respond to her directly and answer that question. She loves it because it helps solidify that connection between your audience, your community, and you. But it also really helps shape what the future looks like. If you start seeing everyone is coming and saying that they want this, that they were expecting this, or that this is what they hope to learn, or these are the problems or challenges that they're facing, then we can pivot our content to be more around that.

It's an amazing little tiny thing, just asking that upfront, "What do you hope to get out of this? What do you want to learn? What can I help you with?" It's amazing how many people will respond to that and really give you some good content and good answers.

Jamie: Sure, because you're showing interest, and then people have a chance to be heard on their preferences.

Matt: Yes. It's fantastic, and it's just a little tiny thing to do.

Jamie: It's a very tiny thing to do.

Matt: Jamie, thank you so much for your time. It was great talking with you. Thanks for being here with us today.

Jamie: I love this. This was a lot of fun, Matt. Thank you so much.

Matt: My friends, thank you for tuning in to another episode of the Marketing Smarts Podcast. As we leave today, I have my usual one tiny favor to ask of each of you. If you know someone who wants to learn more about surprising and delighting their community or their audience, if you know someone in the virtual or in person event space, let them know about this episode of the Marketing Smarts Podcast.

Tell one person, and they'll tell a person, and they'll tell a person, and soon enough we'll take over the podcasting world. If not, we can grow a little bit and get in more people's ears. That's what I ask of each of you, if you could tell one person about this podcast, we'd really appreciate it. Thank you, my friends. We'll catch you on the next episode.

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