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Powerful Marketing Strategies For B2b Businesses In Web 3.0. And The Metaverse

In Conversation with Shirley Whyte

In this episode of Ecoffee with Experts, Matt Fraser was joined by Shirley Whyte, Marketing Director of Mad4Digital. Matt and Shirley talk about the Metaverse and effective B2B marketing techniques in web 3.0. Watch now to gain some excellent insights.

The way it works is, you’ve got your NFT that you use within the game and within value. The more you win, the more valuable your assets become.

Shirley Whyte
Marketing Director of Mad4Digital
Hello, everyone. Welcome to this episode of Ecoffee with Experts. I'm your host, Matt Fraser. And on today's show, I have with me, Shirley Whyte. Shirley will discuss powerful marketing strategies for B2B businesses in web 3.0. and the Metaverse. She is the Marketing Director of Mad4Digital, a full-service tech marketing agency headquartered in London, UK. She has over 15 years of experience working with B2B brands to develop digital marketing campaigns and strategies using the latest technologies. Shirley, thank you so much for being here. Welcome to the show.

Thank you for having me.

It's awesome to have you here. So working with B2B and B2C marketing communications for startups to companies like British Airways, Lloyds TSB, and Rosetta Stone, You've had an interesting journey. Who was Shirley as a school kid?

I was very quiet, a bit geeky, wore glasses, wasn’t good at sports, and read a lot. I still read a lot, but I think I still managed to get the respect of the cool kids. Somehow, I didn’t get the ticket to the nerds Club, where nobody belonged. But I was a little bit geeky.

Yeah. So you've always been interested in technology, things and stuff like that.

Yes, I think so, I have always been curious about how things work and the tech side.

Oh, cool. Hey, so you've worked with both client-side and marketing agencies? Which do you enjoy more, working in an agency or client?

Am I allowed to say both? Agency is a lot of fun because I got to meet a wide variety of people. And over the past years, I got to work on some great projects, from crypto blockchain to more traditional, so having a whole mix. On the client side, I’ve worked with some amazing marketing agencies in the world and top talent and learned so much from them and also traveled and experienced a lot of different cultures. So both have been quite good.

What was it like working at Rosetta Stone?

Rosetta Stone was fun. They were headquartered in the US. I was in the European office, which is based in London. And it was interesting because, at the time, Aston was a CD product. So I went through that transition and was suddenly on the cusp of moving from CD to a digital product. So for me, it was an interesting time to be part of that transition, and moving more towards an E-commerce business was very much part of my brief, which was central to that. So it was really exciting from CD to digital.

That’s neat. When I look back, that's a huge transition and probably opened the door for growth.

We certainly opened the door to new consumer segments with the CD products for two different consumer groups. Mainly corporates, digital products suddenly started reaching a much wider consumer group, including schools, kids, and teenagers. Some digital nomads were traveling and immediately learning about the country. It opened up a whole new segment. But at the same time digital, it meant there were other competitors. So a few other German competitors, whom I will not name, were aggressive in the market with their digital.

How have the things you learned at Rosetta Stone in marketing impacted you today?

I think it solidified building the foundations of my E-commerce expertise and how I develop strategies moving forward. The main thing was not keeping still, it was constant testing and learning with Rosetta Stone. We design and redesign the site every year. How are people navigating the site, what were they doing, what pages are they using, and when did they drop out? And all that learning went back into developing and refining the site. So optimizing the website constantly. It wasn’t building a website, and off you go, it was constant change and updates.

Do you find that still needs to be done today? Like I find a lot of small business owners, well, just build me a website. And they think it's a one-and-done sort of deal. Once websites are, in some ways, correct me if I’m wrong, living organisms that need to be constantly growing, changing, and evolving to serve the best needs of the visitors.

I think large organizations like Rosetta Stone, British Airways, and all these other guys get that the smaller businesses haven’t quite got that yet. And it’s perhaps because they feel it’s a cost they cannot afford. The website is an organic being, you can’t just build a website and leave it and think that’s it.

What were some things you implemented to measure to get that data? Like Google Analytics, I'm going to assume that Google Analytics was set up, but did you do event and engagement tracking using hot jar?

Yes, we did. We used heat maps and tried to understand the attribution model because we have so many different channels, and we need to know which channel was driving the lead to figure out where those different channels act in the journey. So social media may not necessarily be a direct lead generator, but it contributed to brand awareness, which led to a PPC lead. So that was important because then we could allocate our budgets accordingly.

Attribution was something I had to figure out while working at the dealership. I've learned even more about it now than I did then. And I know if I went back, it would be easier for me to track, but it's a lot more work. So what did you guys do to get the attribution?

Well, we did lots of modeling. So we were working with the US team and did a lot of data modeling to figure out how to pull all the data from Google Analytics into other engines. Google Analytics, maybe the new version of Google Earth, could probably do better. The older one didn’t have the information we needed. So pulling the data from Google Analytics into other engines to figure out. And it wasn’t perfect because there were still a lot of gaps in our knowledge, but at least we had begun to understand how to allocate our budgets and optimize our activities throughout the month to track sales.

Did the use of UTM parameters, tagging URLs, and things like that play a part in the attribution side of things?

Yes, it did. It enabled us to track the digital asset at the campaign level. So yes, that was certainly part of it, and it was better standard practice for us, so we tagged them. So we were able to track.

You know what’s interesting is I find that's something a lot of people overlook. I know you work with many small business owners, and they probably don't know what a UTM is, but in the automotive industry, like my goodness, they're so behind in those things. And I don’t know any other way to know what's going on without UTM parameters. Do you think it's something that's overlooked, is what I'm trying to ask, and something that marketers should emphasize more?

It’s not talked about so much. Maybe about four years ago, there were probably more discussions around it. So I wonder if everybody gets it now, they’re doing it anyway, or they’ve just overlooked it. I think maybe it’s overlooked because no one talks about it anymore. So, for me, it’s standard practice. I would like to think most people are doing it, but I don’t know.

There's a gentleman named Dan McGraw. I'm not sure if you've heard of him, McGaw Consulting, mcgaw.io, developed a platform called utm.io, a management platform for UTM links for teams. He built it over four years ago. I'm going to have him on the show. So that'll be neat to talk to him about how he's done that. And, yeah, check it out. It's pretty good. You can use the free version; it's pretty cool. So, working at Rosetta Stone impacted you in many ways. My goodness, you took something from a CD, a physical product, to digital and opened up all those markets. That's so fun and very interesting. I understand you also have delved, or I don't even know if that's the right word, but you have embraced and gotten the direction towards web three and the Metaverse. So I'm going to be completely frank with our audience. I haven't had time to understand web three and have a limited understanding of a Metaverse from maybe the odd news story. So what is the big deal about web 3? Right? When we came out, and then there was web 2.0, it used to be static, and now with things like Facebook, you could engage. And this would be called Web 2.0. Like sites like Squidoo that aren't even around anymore, we're going to do web 3.0. So what is it?

What if we go back? So you are right? We had you have a web one, and it was read-only. So it was published content, and we read it. That was all we could do. We then move to web two as you’ve said, it’s you read and publish. Suddenly, you had social media forms and all those other publishers now, you can publish content, and people consume it. But the publishers own the content. So anything you post on Facebook or other platforms is owned by those publishers. Web three, you read, publish and own. So what web three offers brings ownership to the market. So, as a consumer, the game changer is you own the content you publish; it’s your content.

Wow. I don't even understand how that's possible.

Well, that’s possible for blockchain technology. So, in very simple terms, blockchain is using tokenization, all the tech and smart contract enables people to own their assets. So if I bring in LFTs, if we talk about an LFT is a non-fungible token, which you probably know about. Those are additional assets, which, through blockchain, give the individual who owns NFT complete ownership and are immutable because it’s locked on the blockchain.

Interesting. What's to stop someone from using funny monkey to take a screenshot of the NFTs? My dad didn't understand it, he was like, what the heck? How can you take a screenshot? It's like people will sue other people for using the rights to that image because they own the NFT for it.

When you’re looking at ownership of that image, there’s a contract, and ownership is allocated to you, and you can prove that image belongs to you.

Okay? So it's like owning the license for the rights to the image you bought the rights to it?

You have proof that you own the rights, which is the contract.

Interesting. So is NFT a fad, or is it a real thing?

I think NFT It’s a real thing, it’s going through a fad event. And that’s understandable because Bitcoin drives this sector. Everybody gets excited when bitcoin is doing great; this is the next big thing. When it goes through bumps, everyone gets a little bit scared, and it’s normal because this is new, and, normally, you will have fluctuations. But it’s not going away; it’s going to get better. A couple of years ago, no one was talking about NFT’s, but now there are many ways of bringing them to market and growing. So it’s still in the innovation phase and getting adopted quickly.

Wow. What will it mean for marketing? What marketing skills will someone have to learn in the web 3.0 age?

I think the main thing with web 3.0, because of this whole ownership and transparency, it’s all about building communities. So the focus is on you’ve got to build and harness a community. Social media is probably one of the key digital skills you need to build the community, but all the other digital marketing skills are still relevant. So other web skills, PPC, SEO, and SEM, are still relevant because you need to grow your market. And email is going to become very important because it allows you that one on one build. But, as I’ve mentioned before, at the moment, you may have a million fans on social media, but do you have a million with all of them? So that’s a challenge for marketers, you’ve got to own a relationship.

Yeah. So on YouTube, you can have a million subscribers, but only 100 People watching your videos? Subscribers, to me, mean nothing. You can have a million subscribers, and nobody is watching your show. That is not a KPI to pay much attention to, although, for ego purposes, sure. So what do you think it will mean for businesses, web 3.0? So first of all, you talked about community, so people should be talking about how to build a community. And I've noticed people in the last two years since the pandemic or even before that Facebook group seemed to be a good way to build a community. It's like before people used to think, I'm going to build my forum. Saying, Well, why bother now? It’s a waste of time. People don't want to go to your forum, they're on Facebook already. So go to where they are and create a group or community. So would you say that it will be an evolution of like, that sort of thing, like knowing how to build a community, like a Facebook group, and evolving into that?

I think so. I think also, you’ve got to give your community some value. So it’s they’ve got to have a stake in that relationship. So it’s not a one-way with the communities currently publishing content. And occasionally, we get user-generated content, which is where you’ve got engagement of a small scale, with the communities in web three, you’ve got to give them value. So they’ve got to get something back in a fair exchange.

Interesting. It is a huge mind shift. Because what I hear you say is with our content, we have all made Mark Zuckerberg a billionaire. We've made him one of the richest people in the world because of our content. So web 3.0 has made us stakeholders in something like Facebook, where we're getting paid for our content.

Well, suddenly, you’re getting something that holds, and it’s just more of a fair exchange.

Wow. I have no idea how that's going to work. My mind is just blown right now. Like, like going into the matrix? I'm trying to imagine. The matrix is like there's the Metaverse, and I mean, my goodness. I remember the game The Second Life, I have no idea if it's still around anymore. I'm just going to Google it right now. Have you heard of that game?

The Second Life? No, I haven’t.

It was a huge game. Yeah, it is called Second Life, an online game. Yeah, it's still up. It's a virtual reality VR game where you have a second life. It's an online multimedia platform that allows people to create an avatar for themselves and then interact with others in user-created content with them within a multiplayer online virtual world. It was released in 2003, which is amazing. But anyway, is the Metaverse similar to what I just said about The Second Life? Is it creating your avatar?

Well, you can if you’re looking at gaming. You can create your space on the Metaverse. I guess a good example of that would be Snoop Dogg. He bought a piece of land on the Metaverse, a space he now owns. And now everyone is buying real estate on the Metaverse next to Snoop Dogg’s estate.

Wow. So when you buy land, usually the government or somebody owns it. Who did he pay for it in the first place?

He pays on the blockchain. So this is all on the blockchain.

Wow. So we have to explore the blockchain and how that all works. I'm not sure if we will be able to do that.

I don’t think I am to do that.

Well, thank you for sharing that. We'll have to find someone. But anyway, nevertheless, let's continue. He bought this real estate in the Metaverse, this land and people are now buying up real estate around him. Wow. And it's land, he hasn't even built anything?

I think he’s built a house on it and does events. The thing is, with the Metaverse, a virtual space allows you to do so much. So you can do concerts on the Metaverse, and many musicians do that. You can have virtual events, a shopping mall, and a virtual shop on the Metaverse. And people can go to a virtual shop and purchase as they would in bricks and mortar.

That is amazing. I can go on Facebook and read visually while my friends are doing and blah, blah, blah and meet them. Not that I do that, by the way. I don't have time. But I know there are people that that's their way of socializing. So now, in the Metaverse, you can put on a VR headset, which will probably get less expensive as time goes on. So you go in with your avatar now created like Second Life, which resembles who you are or, for instance, Bitmoji. I'm not sure if you're familiar with it. But Bitmoji where you and bitcomics, I wouldn't say I liked the fact they got rid of the bitccomics. So, you'll be able to go into this virtual world, have a microphone along with your VR headset, and talk to people, and your virtual mouth will move here. So you can have conversations in the virtual world, go to a virtual shopping mall, walk through, go to the Amazon store, and instead of shopping online, you go to the different departments and buy stuff, put it in your basket, and then it gets delivered to your house. Wow. That is unbelievable. Oh my gosh. So my mind is exploding right now. In other words, you could have, like in the world right now, billboards that we see with advertisements on the side of the road. They can build these things in the Metaverse.

Yes, you can have a Google Ad billboard.

Google Ad billboard where he placed the Google ad on that billboard or display ad or whatever. It is mind-blowing. The opportunities are just unbelievable.

It’s unbelievable. It is. And that’s where it goes back to that individual ownership. Because with that, you can have a much more direct engagement with the individual.

So you can talk to them via email and build a relationship. Does anybody know how much Snoop Dogg paid for this?

No, no idea.

Is it millions of dollars to purchase this land?

I honestly don’t know. The main point is that a lot of this is happening in the entertainment world because that’s where they can be much more experimental and capture people’s imagination. And as if you’ve read the book, WonderWorld. In it, the author talks about how innovation comes through play. When we play is when adoption occurs, which is why much of this happens in gaming and entertainment. If I remember rightly, the quote from the book is that innovation happens when people are having fun playing. And that’s so true.

Is it by K R Byggdin?

It might be.

Is it called Wonderland or wonder world?

Wonderland.

No problem. Yeah.

I usually have the book next to me, but I’ve moved it. It is Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World. Steven Johnson.

Steven Johnson.

Yeah, the book’s name is Wonderland- how play made the modern world.

This is very interesting because I wanted our audience to hear about it because maybe they want to read it. Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson. Here we go. This guy published his book in 2016, he was way ahead. Very, very interesting.

It’s an interesting book.

I'm going to either get the Kindle edition or the audio version. So yeah, that's pretty interesting. You can go to a concert. I wonder if the Metaverse will always be a cartoonish deal or if it will be physical, like The Matrix? It's so sophisticated that it's you in there.

I’ve seen some NFT games with outstanding quality. If you think about the film Avatar, it’s that level.

That's what Second Life is like, it's not cartoonish at all. It's pretty darn realistic.

It is realistic, and there are some cartoonish. Some other types of games like x infinity are very cartoonish, and that’s right for that audience, but it can go as sophisticated as it needs to be.

That’s just unbelievable. So you can visit entire worlds and different places without leaving your home. You could probably go swimming in the ocean without having to breathe air. So in some ways, the possibilities are just unbelievable. So for business, I can see how it's mind-boggling, like entertainment and people going to conferences. For instance, if you used to have the Nintendo Switch with bowling and tennis, this would be like everybody having their virtual headsets.

They can go bowling, or as you said, they can be in their home at a conference.

But the bowling side of things has ads on the sides of the walls in bowling alleys placed for people to see.

Exactly, and no two people might see the same ads.

Oh, shut the front door. Yeah, that's right. But will that still be possible? Because there's this privacy thing like cookie-less browsing, I wonder how they will try and enforce it?

Is that permission-based marketing? It goes back to that community. What was the exchange? What’s the value you are giving? Why would they give you their data? What’s that value to them?

So permission-based marketing will become very important. Interesting. Again, that's a book written by Seth Godin, That Whole Principle. I'd have to read that book, I haven't yet. So the way B2B brands gather and use customer data has transformed web 3.0, or at least it will. So how do you think that will change the whole privacy thing? They'll have to get permission, or what will be the medium for that to work?

You know, I don’t know the technology behind that work.

Yeah. Fair enough.

But it will force some changes. Things will need to change. We saw that change in web two, with ease and everything else. It will need to evolve because of the KYC element, and your customer will be very important in that space.

It is.

Yeah, how that’s executed.

I wonder how that will change how content is created. I am in the realm of publishing blog posts. People publish posts and content, but do people read it? Is it just there for the sense of link? I am still in the world that hasn't fully embraced video yet. Businesses still haven't fully embraced Video Marketing ingredients. So there's an expense to it, of course. So I'm trying to figure out what, besides NFT, another type of content is the Metaverse and web 3.0 going to make possible.

In terms of how the content changes if you are a content creator, the best example is, I’m sure you’ve heard of Gary Vee. At the moment, Gary Vee has the wake of V friends. And what he’s doing is pioneering this whole idea of tokenizing his content using LFTs. So he’s got Gary Vee tokens NFTs. And those tokens give his community access to all his content network if you like. It is like a membership. So a Vee-friends token gives to people who bought the V fence votes, and many people have. I believe it’s increasing in value because once you buy, the token is yours, and you can sell it to someone else. And the more valuable the token, the more money, so the more you can trade it for. So Gary’s token has different types of tokens, and some tokens give you access to Gary one-to-one. So you can have meetings and question time with him. So that’s a way of tokenizing NFT content.

Wow. There's so much to understand about this.

I’m watching him with interest, but it certainly is possible. He’s taken the view in a Gary Vee way, making it very transparent. So his community is involved in how he’s building this. He does live bills, chairs any mistakes or anything that goes wrong during the process, and shares that. So he’s very transparent with his community, which is the whole point, it’s fair when you have a genuine organic community. It’s not businesses, and we’ll go back to B2B businesses, they are used to going away behind the scenes in the lab and creating a product. So they might push a beta or the formed product, but it’s all done when everything is done. So in a Metaverse world, engaging your community right through from the inception is possible. So you’re building, you could build live and transparent. And again, it’s that giving people a stake in what you build or create.

Yeah, this is amazing to me. Amazing. I'm sure we could talk more and more. Is there one question I haven't asked that I should have asked?

I think you’ve probably covered most things. It’s such a rabbit hole web three and blockchain.

Oh,absolutely. So, we could talk about web three, which is the overarching, and blockchain, Metaverse, and NFTs are part of web three.

Yeah. Yeah, it’s all engaged. And I guess I could talk just talk a little bit about gameplay. The gameplay is super interesting for several reasons. Firstly, it’s a marketplace for NFT play to earn games. The first platform brings together the best, and there are a lot of NFT plateaus and games in the market. But this platform brings all the best and most profitable ones into using smart analytics to allow gamers to discover games. So what it does is it connects the gamers, the guilds, and the gaming companies. So, in essence, a gamer can find the best games to play from the platform, a game developer, and that could be a game developer currently in the web two worlds. It can enable developers to transition to web three, get them to list their games, and create their teams. And the guilds enable them to connect with the top players, expanding their gaming community. So it’s the gaming ecosystem in NFTs tokens and their communities through one platform. But the most exciting part of this is the ability to empower underserved communities. So when you look at play-to-earn gaming, it’s for some communities with very low minimum wage; it’s a way of earning an income. And income in some communities, for example, the Philippines, parts of Africa, and America is underbanked. So they don’t have to have any means of generating an income, and playing to earn Games is a way where they can. And we saw that during COVID in the Philippines, a company called x infinity, a play-to-earn NFT game exploded because all these people who couldn’t work because there was a complete lockdown were playing the games and continued to make money. So for me, that’s exciting that we were able to empower people. And that’s just for gameplay, and it goes back to Wonderland. So how does gaming help to drive innovation? So there’s a whole community of people that could earn an income just by playing games. That’d be a good thing.

Yeah, my younger brother-in-law wants to be a professional gamer. I think he's only 17, and pretty sure he would love to be a professional gamer or YouTuber.

I appreciate those young people, their number one career aspiration these days.

They want to get paid without doing anything is what they want to do. So I think you need to bring value first to get rewarded. So I guess their involvement is the value they're bringing to this game.

So they’re getting rewarded for their time in the game. And it works because you’ve got your NFTs that you use within the game and that NFT was a value. So when you win, you play your win; the more you win, the more valuable your assets become. And that’s where you can trade and sell your assets and earn money.

Wow, I'm ready to jump into the Metaverse.

You can get more love and play games all day.

It's been a pleasure having you here. There's so much more we could explore, so perhaps we can have you on for another episode to explore other aspects of this. But where can our audience, listeners, and viewers connect with you online if they want to do so?

They can find me on LinkedIn, and I’m currently hanging out on LinkedIn. I do other social platforms, but there is not enough time.

Yeah, exactly. So Shirley Whyte, on LinkedIn, I'll make sure to put your link in the description. But, hey, again, it’s a pleasure having you here. And thank you so much for being on the show.

Thank you. It’s been lovely talking to you. Thanks.

All right. Thank you.

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