SalesTech Star

SalesTechStar Interview with Christophe Jammet, Managing Director of Innovation and Emerging Media at Gather

A lack of brand authenticity can break sales and marketing results, in a digital-first selling and marketing environment, creating relevance, authenticity and shared customer experiences is an evolving process – Christophe Jammet, Managing Director of Innovation and Emerging Media at Gather takes the time to share some tips in this chat:


Hi Christophe, we’d love to hear about your journey through the years…tell us more about your role at Gather?

When I first joined Gather ten years ago (then DDG), I was the third person to join. I had left the finance industry the year prior and had been freelancing as a social media specialist and digital strategist. Joining Gather exposed me to the B2B side of the marketing / technology world and since joining I’ve been lucky enough to gain exposure and experience from various roles: Agile product ownership, social eminence, sports and sponsorship marketing, account management, global B2B social media strategy, paid social, and more. I’m currently an MD at Gather specializing in emerging media, and it’s been so great to see our team evolve and grow over the last decade.

My current role is a mix of account management and “boots on the ground” strategic work. Specifically, I’m heavily involved in driving strategy and execution for IBM’s Partnership with the Overwatch League.

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How are you observing digital trends and digital customer experiences change across industries today?

Shared experiences are at the forefront of digital right now. With the pandemic removing peoples’ ability to come together in person, we saw how important it still was for friends to enjoy experiences together, even in a digital environment. We’ve seen great examples of this in the past year: from virtual experiences and online developer meetups, to larger events such as esports competitions and in-game concerts on Twitch.

Events are really important for our clients so we needed to change tack quickly in the face of lock down restrictions.

To help address those needs, we developed the Gather Virtual Client Event (VCE) to create an experience that would immerse clients into a virtual replication of the annual high-touch in-person hosted experiences they have come to know. Digital customer experiences are not new, but the ways in which audiences engage with them changed due to the pandemic – we had to go beyond a one-way viewing experience. We found that by creating an interactive broadcast where viewers could actually speak directly to talent helped our clients achieve an exceedingly high Net Promoter Score (NPS). We believe those types of intimate digital experiences are here to stay, in parallel with the return of in-person events.

A few thoughts from Gather’s recent work with IBM on IBM’s esports partnership?

We’ve long been big advocates of emerging digital entertainment such as gaming and esports. As a lifelong gamer myself, I’ve seen the trajectory of gaming evolve over the last thirty years, and its rise to ubiquity in recent years has been meteoric. Gaming, esports, and streamer culture has become a primary pillar of content consumption, creation, and shared interaction between friends and strangers alike. It brings people together from across the globe and encapsulates a generation of digitally native people who have an inherently better understanding of how technology works. That makes for a prime audience for tech brands.

I’m incredibly proud of how the partnership between IBM and the Overwatch League has come together. This partnership is one that was very well thought out and in doing our due diligence, we found an ideal partner for IBM in the Overwatch League. Their organization and fans are hungry for insights and data. They have a great international footprint, adapted really well to the challenging realities of the pandemic, and their viewer demographics aligned to key audiences we were looking to reach (college educated, STEM professionals, developers, digital natives, a younger audience and so on).

It’s a multi-year deal, so we’ll continue to work with IBM to execute on creating solutions that engage the OWL audiences in an authentic and meaningful manner.

What does it take today for industries, especially salespeople across different sectors to boost their online audience engagement (even in sectors like sports among others)?

Hands down, it’s an authentic interest and expertise in the subject matter that pertains to their industry/ service/ specialty. Customers are by and large averse to branded chest-thumping. What really drives engagement these days (especially in technology) is contributing to technology for the greater good or out of genuine interest for the subject matter.

There are significant pitfalls to watch out for as well:

A lack of authenticity is increasingly risky on digitally native platforms. Reddit and TikTok in particular present huge risks for brands who present their brands inauthentically or in ways that are antithetical to their corporate behavior. Those users will show up with receipts: Shallow D&I attempts by brands like Raytheon pushing out a rainbow version of their logos, for instance, or the recent controversy around Toyota making campaign donations to elected officials tied to defending the events of Jan 6. Consequence culture is here and it’s not going away anytime soon. Salespeople and marketers alike need to be aware and act accordingly.

On a more tactical note, any sort of paid media budget for boosting and amplifying one’s content on social channels can make all the difference (as long as the underlying content they are boosting is interesting to the audiences they are targeting). It also helps to keep an eye on emerging digital channels and to judiciously participate early if it makes sense and give folks who have the digital skills and savvy – and company knowledge – the autonomy to use those channels appropriately.

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How can marketing and salespeople work more closely together to build better user engagement that drives seamless customer journeys?

Brand messaging and sales offerings can’t be islands unto themselves. I think it all begins with truly understanding key audiences and potential customers. From there it’s an empathy exercise to understand what resonates with them: where do they consume content? What matters to them? What problems can your brand help solve for them?  The answers to those questions can drive your messaging and tactics.

Common KPIs matter – if sales teams are focused on one KPI (revenue) and marketing teams are focused on something else (reach, engagement, brand sentiment, traffic), then coordination and a seamless experience can prove difficult. Usually, a lack of revenue attribution across the funnel can exacerbate that issue. A strong alliance between sales and marketing with understanding of each department’s forms of measurement will lead to a harmonious relationship that will help drive those seamless customer journeys, while also encouraging word of mouth referrals and repeat customers.

What are some core sales technologies and customer experience technologies that you feel should form the crux of a tech stack for a customer facing team?

Gather has created custom reporting tools and data visualizations for our clients. Whether the underlying data engines are Google Suite or enterprise level tools like IBM Pearl it’s about having a system to clearly and concisely help clients digest the information and decide on the next best action.

A few thoughts on how you feel the future of the typical digital experience will look like for customers, users, sports audiences, etc.

I believe the future of the digital customer experience will be heavily personalized, aligned to the user’s cultural/political values, device-agnostic, and less focused on the top of the funnel.

Personalization at the customer level and proactive, seamless transactions that are more subscription-led or recurring in nature. Conversion friction points will continue to be removed and optimized.

AR/VR will increasingly play a role in shared entertainment experiences. The combination of accessible, wireless VR (Oculus Quest 1 & 2) and the pandemic have accelerated adoption and use cases for these sorts of tactics and activations. (See TopGolf’s VR app for example). These tools make it possible to be anywhere, anytime, and as consumers have grown accustomed to seeking out “IRL”-like experiences from the comfort of their homes, this trend is likely to flourish.

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Inside large organizations, innovators find themselves limited to inflexible legacy processes while tasked with creating more modern outcomes. Gather assembles independent executives, creators, and practitioners, with deep experience navigating and transforming large organizations to make progress happen.

We believe in borderless collaboration. This means we build teams with our clients, not across the fence from them, in real time. We draw from our network of uniquely talented leads and practitioners to support, supplement, and direct project teams inside our clients’ organizations.

Christophe Jammet is Managing Director of Innovation and Emerging Media for Gather, an innovation consultancy that helps large companies act like smaller, more nimble startups when it comes to their people, processes and products. Christophe has deep experience in PC gaming, and has helped clients like IBM incorporate gaming into their organization to increase productivity. Christophe’s passion lies in successfully engaging clients across a host of digital platforms. He has extensive experience with small business social media strategy and digital brand development and is an avid believer in the importance of integrating companies and brands with effective social media outlets and strategies.

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