Debbie Qaqish

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.

Jeremy Zimmerman is Associate Content Editor for Target Marketing magazine and Direct Marketing IQ.

What makes marketers respected and appreciated by their colleagues? When we asked readers to nominate people for Marketer of the Year, we also asked who on their teams deserved to be recognized as a marketing visionary, and why. The results reveal some remarkable marketers, but also three important areas where marketing visionaries excel.

While making an emotional connection with customers is becoming more important, most of the experts we interviewed for this article saw technology as part of the solution, not the problem. The trick is not just to have technology that works for you, but to be able to use technology as an extension of your marketing department. Can you make technology part of the marketing team?

One of the biggest advantages of direct marketing has always been that it's highly accountable. You spend the money to create a campaign (whether via direct mail, email, telephone, pay-per-click ads, or what have you), and you can see clearly how that converts and how those conversions lead to sales, revenue and an impact on your bottom line.

The other day, I had the pleasure of discussing the challenges of marketing ROI with Jim Obermayer, CEO and executive director of the Sales Lead Management Association, on his Internet radio show. Our conversation got me thinking: Why is the Holy Grail of marketing ROI so tough to achieve in business markets? And what can we do about it?

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