Steve Wind-Mozley, CMO of Vizrt Group chats about how the future of marketing will be driven by extended reality in this quick chat with MarTech Series:
Welcome to this MarTech Series chat Steve, tell us about yourself and your biggest highlights and learnings through the years being in Marketing?
Thanks for inviting me, it’s a pleasure to be here. By way of introduction, I’m Steve Wind-Mozley, CMO of Vizrt Group. Who are we? We create the solutions that visual storytellers, be they national TV broadcasters like NBCU, BBC, or CNN or local businesses looking to engage their customers through live video, use to make their content more impactful and compelling. We help our customers deliver more stories, better told.
It’s a life-long fascination with stories and the craft of storytelling that led me to become a marketeer. I’m also a bit of a geek, so the fact I market some pretty cool tech is not just a happy coincidence.
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If I were to sum up my key learnings from my journey in marketing, I’d call out three things:
- When I was pioneering digital marketing for the eCommerce team at Marks and Spencer back in 1999, as we shifted the business from catalog and shops to a brick and clicks, I learned to pay close attention to the marketing tech stack and work to have it support the narrative flow, or customer journey, you are looking to create, should be the number one priority.
- Working in the video games industry, and at BBC Worldwide (now BBC Studios), reinforced my understanding that content (stories) is the prime vector of value in the attention economy.
- Whilst running a digital analytics agency, I learned that data is not as much fun as actionable insights and that rewarding audience permission delivers more intrinsic value than simply harvesting it. Although I did once get some of my customers to sign their souls over to me as an April Fools stunt designed to highlight the importance of accessible terms and conditions on websites, (the devil is always in the detail).
How are you seeing broadcast technology and innovations change the game for B2B marketing teams in today’s business climate? Given the need for B2B marketers to sport more interactive content, how do you feel this space will evolve?
We’ve all read and seen the hype around the metaverse – and those of us who are long enough in the tooth will recall the bubble that saw brands spend millions of dollars on building experiences in Second Life – but here’s the thing. The metaverse is real and is generating tangible value today.
What’s more, many broadcast tech providers, our brands included (NewTek, NDI, and Vizrt) have been helping customers utilize this space for nearly 25 years. What is slightly crazy is that it took the pandemic to jolt our industry’s marketing teams away from their reliance on traditional marketing mechanics, like tradeshows, and move towards using the virtual and augmented reality tools we serve our customers with to better engage our own audiences.
I expect that we will see more use of mixed reality, with targeting enhanced by AI, to deliver hyper-relevant engagement experiences right through the customer lifecycle as this ‘now normal’ continues to stimulate our innovation glands.
Can you share a few ways in which you’ve been seeing marketers today, across industries, use innovative techniques and broadcast technologies to tell better visual stories? And a few examples that stand out?
One example of thinking really outside the box, visually speaking, was the Kraken Rum bus wrap and augmented billboard. They took some great visual ideas and leveraged their brand in a very arresting way.
Another stand-out moment comes from the world of MotoGP and the Ducati motorcycle team. They wanted to bring fans deeper into the science behind the passion that fuels them. So, they were looking to find an engaging way to explain the innovations around the race bike’s aerodynamics and how it aids both safety and speed. The challenge was that computational fluid dynamics is one of the most complex subjects on the planet, so finding a novel way for their fans and their R&D engineers to visualize and interact with the concepts at play was a tough call.
Vizrt helped them solve this challenge by using our real-time graphics engine, Viz Engine 4.3, and its control ecosystem to enable the audience to experience the performance of the aero package with their own eyes.
One final use of XR (extended reality – the use of computer vision to enhance and augment live video), that changed the way marketing teams in the sports industries amplify marketing effectiveness was the increased use of image insertion and replacement during live games.
By creating virtual ads on the playing area or around the venue perimeter in real-time, the same game could support multiple tailored and targeted messages for different audiences, multiplying the earning potential for the rights holders while increasing the fan experience.
We went on to innovate with this AI-driven technology for Spain’s top football league, La Liga, so they could fill their stadiums, which were empty at the time due to COVID regulations with virtual crowds. We integrated computer-generated fans to return some match day atmosphere to the so-called ‘ghost games.’
In what ways do you feel the future of marketing will be impacted by the need to create and build better storytelling experiences through enhanced visuals, videos, and more?
There is a wealth of research that suggests that, for humans, visual thinking is deeply ingrained. A study from Harvard outlines how subjects added mental imagery to their inner speech when tasked with using verbal thought. That’s pretty handy as other studies have found that the human brain can process images almost 60,000 times faster than words and that information illustrated with images is easier to learn and recall.
My point is that we are visual creatures, and that makes video the most effective mass communication tool on the planet. Solutions like NewTek’s TriCaster enable anyone, from a corporation to a local parish church, to broadcast and stream a TV-quality show, live, today. Data integration, virtual sets, extended reality, ultra-high-definition, photo-real graphics, all rendered with near-zero latency, will continue to make the metaverse something that influences billions of people every day.
A quick change of pace: the Covid-19 pandemic proved the need for marketers and businesses to change how they communicate not just with customers but also among themselves…a few optimization tips to help improve internal communication policies?
My team is bored of me always talking about our three primary audiences, our customers, our partners, and our colleagues. A marketing team needs to recognize the aims, pains, and gains of each of these audiences across their comms but rather than this tripling the workload, it can rationalize it if we look for synergies across the three spheres. This viewpoint drives cohesion, driven by pragmatism.
As a result, using many of the tools and playbooks deployed across the partner and customer market can yield real gains for the internal audience. For example, stream the C-Suite live for a Town Hall, have the solutions team produce internal demonstrations to deliver product education for sales teams that they can access on-demand; because at the same time, you’ll be creating and capturing content that can be leveraged elsewhere.
Some last thoughts, takeaways, digital marketing, and martech tips and best practices before we wrap up!
We are already living in the metaverse – it’s now about how smart marketers can optimize their impact. Live broadcast production solutions can deliver incredible, relevant (data-driven), and flawless visual experiences to cut through the noise and elevate the brand experience, helping marketers deliver more stories, better told.
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