Brian Solis

Thorin McGee is editor-in-chief and content director of Target Marketing and oversees editorial direction and product development for the magazine, website and other channels.
Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.

"When your agenda is the entire company's agenda, that is a different way to think," said Phil Fernandez, chairman and CEO of Marketo. "You're now driving the entire company's agenda." ... Or are you? The thing about all these new roles for marketers is that a lot of them don’t necessarily need to be in the hands of marketers.

No matter what vertical their company is in, marketers need to communicate with the hyper-connected customers known as "Generation C," agree the panelists of Target Marketing's recent luncheon roundtable where speakers from IBM, SAP, Chubb Insurance, CitiMortgage and the nonprofit Human rights Campaign took on the subject of "The Secret to Managing Multichannel Marketing: How you need to focus your efforts for 2014." About 77 percent of customer communication now comes through Generation C, says Sandy Carter, IBM general manager and 2013 Direct Marketer of the Year

What's the future of marketing? What can you do with augmented reality in direct mail and print marketing? How do you optimize print, email and marketing automation strategies to engage customers?

What the heck does "The Hero's Journey" have to do with direct marketing? Quite a bit according to Brian Solis: "The truth is that innovation works for us and against us," says Solis. "Investing in it with purpose and design is our responsibilitiy." To successfully integrate today's technologically adept customer into your business requires change, and the business leader who leads that change is setting forth on a journey that is not so different from Joseph Campbell's famous monomyth.

I caught three good keynotes in late 2012: Chris Harris, editor-in-chief of Wired, at DMA2012; Frank Cooper, CMO global consumer engagement of PepsiCo, at ad:tech New York; and Brian Solis, principal analyst of Altimeter Group, at NCDM. Each spoke about a new way of approaching business and marketing that is more collaborative with the target market. The reason they are all on this same wavelength is digital media has allowed niche consumers to band together in ways not possible before.

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