Embrace the Change

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Embrace the Change
Embrace the Change

I'm sure you've noticed: We're caught in a whirlwind of change. Capricious customer demands, new technologies, and added responsibilities swirl around us, pushing us to think differently, adopt new marketing strategies and metrics, and develop new relationships.

One area of change is in the youth demographic; those younger than 16. Market research firm Frank N. Magid Associates has coined the term Plurals to reflect the distinguishing element of this generation: its ethnic, racial, and religious diversity. Authors Mike Hais and Morley Winograd suggest that Plurals will rebel against society just as Boomers did. In a letter to the editor, reader Dan Smolen, founder and managing director of The Green Suits, summarizes it well: “Plurals are rebellious, want-it-now mobile consumers, whose friends are from all walks of life.” It's a demographic that marketers shouldn't make assumptions about. Segmentation and targeting within this group of digital natives is as important as it is within any demographic—perhaps more so.

Data-driven relationships

Another area of change is marketing measurement. As Al Urbanski writes in “Measuring the Wow of Marketing,” increasingly marketers are being evaluated on more sales-focused metrics, along with brand advocacy and lifetime customer value. “Marketers are still expected to be creative, yes, but they're now required to be effective, as well,” he notes, adding that more marketers than ever are receiving performance-based variable compensation.

This change is one of the biggest drivers of marketers' current obsession with data. In a roundtable on using data for acquisition and growth (see “Not All Data Is Created Equally,” participants discussed such issues as gathering the right data from the ideal sources, enriching that data, and improving data management. A recurring theme was the importance of understanding your high-value customers to increase the likelihood of finding and engaging prospects just like them. As Reach Marketing Partner Greg Grdodian pointed out during the discussion, “If you don't know who your customer is, how can you be relevant?”

Strange bedfellows

Perhaps the change getting the most attention right now is the burgeoning relationship between marketers and their technology counterparts. Meeting customers' ever-increasing expectations means that marketing leaders also must be masters of the technology tools that support their increasingly data-driven, multichannel marketing strategies. So, it's essential that marketers collaborate with their colleagues in technology roles—whether those technologists specialize in analytics, data quality, digital and mobile tools, or marketing applications.

The inaugural Direct Marketing News Marketing&Tech Partnership Summit aims to help you build stronger alliances with your IT, digital, and mobile colleagues. Appropriately, Research VP Laura McLellan, renown for citing Gartner's prediction that CMOs will outspend CIOs on technology by 2017, will be there to go in-depth on the latest research and trends in the CMO-CIO arena, and provide recommendations that chief marketers can take to deepen the collaboration with their IT, digital, and mobile colleagues. I hope you'll join us there to embrace the change—and each other.

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