Seek change, apply change, repeat

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Carol Krol, editor in chief, Direct Marketing News
Carol Krol, editor in chief, Direct Marketing News

“It is not about adapting and accepting change anymore. It is about aggressively seeking it, being first to apply it, and then seek it again.”

How's that for an inspiring quote for the new year? It comes courtesy of a tweet by Brian Kibby, senior VP of sales, marketing, and business development for Pearson.

I follow many smart people on Twitter who have much to say about business, marketing, and at times transcendent meals, but Kibby's is the best 140 characters of inspiration I've seen in awhile. It encapsulates the approach we all must take to succeed, as marketers, employees, entrepreneurs, and change-makers in the direct and digital marketing industry and beyond.

It is an ongoing challenge to keep up with the latest technological, process and cultural changes at large, but it is a challenge many marketers and their partners accept and embrace. Meeting that and finding opportunity within is vital to maintaining successful relationships with customers and with clients.

Beyond innovative ideas, marketers this year must also aggressively seek better solutions to one issue in particular. There is an imperative to ease concerns around online behavioral targeting. The solution needs to benefit consumers and build their trust with clear and transparent privacy policies. The FTC's online Do-Not-Track proposal looms, and — if they are not proactive enough — direct marketers are in for a repeat of Do-Not-Call. Legislation could derail the industry.

We have kept close tabs on Do-Not-Track. This month, we cover it in Duly Noted with a story around marketers' reactions. Leaders in our industry must act now. 

Pam Horan, president of the Online Publishers Association, in our On The Beat: Digital commentary, exhorts brands to self-regulate processes for tracking customers across the Web “so that the FTC and ultimately lawmakers don't do it for us.” 

I would add that because of the disconnect between marketer practices and consumers' perception, the industry needs to do a far better job with its own marketing and PR strategy to make sure the self-regulation message reaches the public and the Washington constituents who represent them. Efforts to date have been dismal.

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