Courage.  It’s what you need to  connect with customers in our rapidly changing world.

It’s one of those “head nodding”  things that is easy to say, hard to do.  So how do you do it?

Today’s DMA13 keynote presentation led by Ginger Conlon of Direct Marketing News addressed how three very successful women have tackled this challenge throughout their very successful careers.

Marketing people – no matter what the title – have the opportunity to make innovation happen in their companies.   The roles are changing.   “We have to be change agents,” says Lisa Arthur, CMO of Teradata Applications.   “We have to make the rest of the organization uncomfortable. To have the conviction and staying power to make that change, but you must collaborate and always consider the value to customer experience.”

Since we all need to be a bit of a marketing technologist these days, good perspective came from Lani Stark Director of Product Marketing for Adobe came from the engineering side through product to her current role.  “Let employees be creative, even with some boundaries.  10% is a pretty safe margin to test a new idea.  What you do can’t be limited to your role.   Look for other people in your company, your functional role and outside your industry to get new ideas and challenge. Be open to the broader world,” she advised.

There is a worry that we go so digital, that we forgo our other customer interactions. We have to bring all the data together from both online and offline sources, Lisa said.   “It’s the big data hairball, as Lisa talks about in her book, Big Data Marketing,” Trish Wheaton, CMO of Wunderman said.  “When you give customers opportunity and choices, you will drive ROI and commercial value.”

“We have to know how the data helps us get closer to customers – and make sure it’s insights not just information,” Lani said.

Customer data must be used for good, Trish said. “Think of big data not as big brother but as big mother. That changes your approach and perception. No matter what your business, you can use the data you have to empower, nurture and celebrate customers – as well as sell things.



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