Elon Musk

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.

Stephen H. Yu is a world-class database marketer. He has a proven track record in comprehensive strategic planning and tactical execution, effectively bridging the gap between the marketing and technology world with a balanced view obtained from more than 30 years of experience in best practices of database marketing. Currently, Yu is president and chief consultant at Willow Data Strategy. Previously, he was the head of analytics and insights at eClerx, and VP, Data Strategy & Analytics at Infogroup. Prior to that, Yu was the founding CTO of I-Behavior Inc., which pioneered the use of SKU-level behavioral data. “As a long-time data player with plenty of battle experiences, I would like to share my thoughts and knowledge that I obtained from being a bridge person between the marketing world and the technology world. In the end, data and analytics are just tools for decision-makers; let’s think about what we should be (or shouldn’t be) doing with them first. And the tools must be wielded properly to meet the goals, so let me share some useful tricks in database design, data refinement process and analytics.” Reach him at stephen.yu@willowdatastrategy.com.

I talk to a lot of marketers in my line of work, and my first question is always the same: “How does your company serve a customer?” On the surface, this question has nothing to do with why I’m talking to the marketer. But to me, this question strips back that complexity and gets to the very heart of the matter.

Today, every company is dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak in some way or another. Companies need to be thinking about their brand communication with stakeholders and how they manage their reputation during these challenging times.

People react to words like “machine learning” or “artificial intelligence” very differently, depending on their interests and levels of understanding of technology. Some get scared, and among them are smart people like Elon Musk or the late Stephen Hawking. Others, including data marketers who lack strategic skills, may react based on a vague fear of becoming irrelevant, thinking that a machine will replace them in the job market soon.

Influencer marketing was big for brands in 2017, and will most likely continue to grow in 2018. But how about the brands with marketing influencers? They exist, and they’re impacting marketing every day. Some influenced marketers so much in 2017, we made a list.

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