“Marketing, we love you. Now, change” tweeted the Economist after the magazine’s Big Rethink 2014 US held in New York last week at a time when multiple screens, big data, and shortening attention spans are redefining the marketing landscape.

Consumers are skilled at ignoring noise as they switch from screen to screen. “Now more than ever we have to create unbelievable and unpredictable marketing. Things that have never been seen before…(and) deliver predictable results,” said Anindita Mukherjee, Senior Vice President and CMO of Frito-Lay North America speaking at the prestigious event.

The atmosphere at the Big Rethink was highly motivational; filled with decision makers eager to see the future and stay ahead of their competitors. Michael Brenner, Vice President of Marketing and Content Strategy at SAP urged marketers to put customers at the center of their stories and make them interesting.

While story-telling is important, so are results. No longer can marketers just concentrate on creating great marketing campaigns and let sales deal with bringing in the revenue. Today, CEOs are tired of budget demands from marketing; they demands results.  Marketers have to look at the quality of conversions, not just the number of conversions, said Anindita Mukherjee of Frito-Lay. Today you cannot run marketing campaigns and ads without checking on conversions and the quality of those conversions.

Lead intelligence is a vital part of the lead to money process, and is key to bringing sales and marketing into better alignment.  Several speakers underlined the need for testing campaigns and monitoring ROI.  With the use of a robust marketing automation platform you can track granular conversion data and better measure ROI for all of your campaigns.  Robust reporting and analytics is essential to showcase the true value of marketing to the entire enterprise. It can also help you optimize investments; cut back on wasteful marketing dollars, and put more money into campaigns that attract high-quality leads.  Thus, marketing automation is an important piece for digital marketers to embrace the future; keep pace with changing customers, and new technologies.

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