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Marketing’s Constant Evolution

I consider myself a marketer. I may not plan campaigns or create models, but I do think considerably and often about how best to engage you and the many other executives in our audience. Like most marketers, I collaborate internally to conduct customer research, craft multichannel content and communication plans, and propose new products. I spend time with customers to better understand their needs and preferences. I have an ever-increasing affinity for data.

As both a “marketer” and editor I recently found myself doubly blessed. There I was heading a table of some of the smartest and most talented marketers around. Seated with me were eight of the 15 Direct Marketing News 2013 Marketing Hall of Femme honorees for an exclusive roundtable we hosted prior to the awards ceremony. I was there to guide the conversation—not that I needed to. With a room full of type-A executives, there was barely a lull in the discussion. But I was also there to learn from their success strategies and leadership skills; to gather ideas the DMN editorial team could craft into engaging content for our audience, and to gather a few ideas I could borrow myself.

Lessons learned

The honorees hailed from across industries—B2C and B2B—and companies of all sizes, yet many common themes arose. First, there’s no room for complacency. Marketers need to continually evolve themselves, their teams, and their work to keep pace with an ever-changing marketplace, new and shifting technologies, and customers’ increasingly  uncompromising expectations and demands.

Second, marketers today need to put customers at the center of their strategic decision making. They need to consider marketing’s impact on the customer experience. It’s easier than ever for customers to switch to a competitor, complain broadly via social channels, and negatively impact brand image.

Third, it’s not about Big Data, it’s about actionable insight. Determine what data you actually need, and then use it to inform your marketing decisions and improve the customer experience.

Finally, the importance of content marketing to every step in the prospect buy cycle and customer life cycle continues to grow. Marketers need to take content seriously, and devote the proper resources to it, not think of it as an afterthought.

The discussion took many other twists and turns, but always came back to one reality: The strategic value of marketing today is undeniable. It’s marketers’ responsibility to deliver on that value.

Read “Putting the Excellence in XX” to read profiles of our 2013 Marketing Hall of Femme honorees, including strategies and advice.

With all the valuable insight available from the vast stores and sources of customer and marketing data, some of the best information still comes from in-person conversations like the Marketing Hall of Femme roundtable. So this month we’ve brought the conversation to you, with a peek into a roundtable on how email marketing today requires new strategies for harnessing data as a competitive asset.

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