Rebecca Lieb

Ruth P. Stevens consults on customer acquisition and retention, and teaches marketing at companies and business schools around the world. She is past chair of the DMA Business-to-Business Council, and past president of the Direct Marketing Club of New York. Ruth was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Marketing by Crain's BtoB magazine, and one of 20 Women to Watch by the Sales Lead Management Association. She is the author of Maximizing Lead Generation: The Complete Guide for B2B Marketers, and Trade Show and Event Marketing. Ruth serves as a director of Edmund Optics, Inc. She has held senior marketing positions at Time Warner, Ziff-Davis, and IBM and holds an MBA from Columbia University.

Ruth is a guest blogger at Biznology, the digital marketing blog. Email Ruth at ruth@ruthstevens.com, follow her on Twitter at @RuthPStevens, or visit her website, www.ruthstevens.com.

Marketing technology has exploded in the past three years. According to Chief Marketing Technologist, as many as 1,876 tech companies are battling it out for your dollars in 2015, nearly doubled in number from last year. The largest single category in marketing tech is marketing automation, with no fewer than 211 solutions available today.

Marketing technology has evolved in multiple ways, originating in spreadsheets, databases, contact management tools, graphic design software and word processing. The Internet accelerated the process, turning an evolution into a revolution. And the result was a jumble of tools and systems, each seemingly dedicated to solving a section or two of the marketing process. Some of these tools are known in the tech world as “point solutions” and focus on a single activity or segment of what marketers do. Email, for example, or lead scoring. Others attempt to automate large swaths of the process.

Branded content has become a staple of cross-platform, integrated marketing campaigns everywhere as a nearly fail-proof way to engage consumers and turn them into customers. As industry analyst Rebecca Lieb said recently, every single one of the major brands she speaks with is increasing its production of original content. But am I alone in thinking that maybe it’s enough already? What we need isn’t customization, but relevance. So how can we, as marketers, deliver the relevance customers want and need?

24 Marketers Look Into The Future: To get beyond the conventional forecasts, I asked a group of leading marketers across a range of expertise for their most extreme marketing prediction for 2012. Their responses are a quick roundup that could be conveyed on a smartphone. Here are 24 extreme marketing forecasts that take a look inside the minds of some marketing leaders. Social networks will not become the dominant messaging platform, but they will drive more email use.

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