With Samsung unveiling plans to turn the humble fridge into an “intelligent home assistant,” voice taking center stage, and brands exploring how to build connected experiences for consumers, all eyes were firmly on the future at CES 2019 — making it the perfect place to consider the future of marketing itself.

While on the ground in Las Vegas with more than 180,000 delegates, The Drum spoke with top marketers from Mastercard, Accenture Interactive, and more to hear their take on where marketing is headed. From how the chief marketing officer role might change over the next few years to how relationships with agencies will evolve, here are their observations.

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“My dream after having spent two-and-a-half years at Spotify — which was a fascinating journey at a terrific company — is to get in early with a growing company and build an iconic brand,” Mayur Gupta told The Drum. “Freshly provides that.”

Bold goals from a marketer known for his daring.

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As marketers struggle to outpace the competition, many find that the status quo, outdated technologies, and siloed operations internally are holding them back. In fact, one marketer who participated in the research behind the fifth edition of the Salesforce State of Marketing report released today (13 December) said, “We’re not competing against competitors; we’re competing against our past.”

It’s a competition that today’s marketers must win if they’re to triumph out in the market.

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Imagine you’re hired as the chief creative officer of an organization with an unmistakable brand voice in an industry you haven’t worked in. Your remit is change; to shake things up.

That’s the challenge that Landis Smithers faced when he joined Standard International, parent company of The Standard and Bunkhouse hotels, at the beginning of this year. Not having a background in hospitality may have seemed like an obstacle, but it wasn’t an issue at all. In fact, the company’s goal was for Landis to bring the moxie – and success – he had previously brought to Grindr, Pepsi, and Playboy Enterprises.

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Woman peering into a box

Let me start by saying: I’m all about the data.

I’m an advocate of one-to-one marketing. I think behavior-based targeting is an essential part of the marketing mix. And, I’m certain that machine learning and other forms of AI will become so core to marketing as to be a virtually invisible element of areas such as personalization.

But, please, marketers, I implore you: Don’t get so caught up in all that contextual personalization has to offer that you overlook the art of discovery.

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Millennial and Gen Zers expects businesses to be responsive and relevant, according to “The Digital Lives of Millennials and Gen Z.” The study, conducted by LivePerson, surveyed more than 4,000 people ages 18 to 34 from Australia, France, Germany, Japan, the UK, and the United States.

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breakfast sandwich on bagel with egg bacon cheese

Good morning! One bacon, egg, and cheese or two?

That’s how I’m welcomed whenever I walk into Andrew & Frank’s Deli in Astoria—even when it’s more like lunchtime than breakfast hour. And, believe me, this place has far more frequent customers than me. Even so, the guys who run the deli know my favorite order, and know there’s an equal chance I’m getting breakfast just for my daughter (long after I’ve eaten) or for both of us.

That’s the kind of one-to-one experience many marketers strive to deliver at scale, and that Don Pepper and Martha Rogers, Ph.D., predicted would be reality—at scale—in The One to One Future. For years, Don and Martha’s message changed the outlook and career direction of countless marketers. Based on recent conversations I’ve had, it still does. In fact, to me, one-to-one marketing has never been more possible, relevant, and in this time of ever-rising customer expectations, vital.

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Compass in the hand against rural road

“Really? Start with strategy, not technology.”

That was the epiphany from an attendee I overheard during a conference on CRM technology a few years ago. With a heavy sigh of relief, he added, “That makes so much sense.”

Not much has changed. Flashy new technologies catch our eye—as they should—but sometimes they become the proverbial cart pulling the horse. This situation applies to all types of technologies, including those that help to create, host, and distribute branded content, as well as those that help to measure its impact.

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