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One of the many reasons I enjoy attending conferences is the people. The attendees give you insight into the issues, opportunities, and challenges they face. The speakers provide food for thought that helps to sate attendees’ appetite for the information they need to harness opportunities and overcome challenges.

As emcee of Yes Lifecycle Marketing’s inaugural customer summit, Yescalate 2016, I had the opportunity to speak with many of the attendees and, of course, listen intently to a bevy of insightful presenters. Below is a summary of my favorite advice and insights from the conference. Click the cover image to view the PDF.

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When brands focus on the experience rather than on the product, customers respond—with their dollars and their loyalty.

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“We’re no longer in the business of selling products; we’re in the business of selling experiences,” Brad Rencher boldly asserted during the 2016 Adobe Summit opening day keynote session. “Products are just along for the ride…. This is our new reality.”

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Survival as a chief marketer in 2016 and beyond will depend on being highly adaptable and maintaining a deep understanding of today’s capricious customers.chameleon700x400_905622

The CMO of 2016 and beyond is a chameleon. Survival as a chief marketer will depend on being highly adaptable, having the ability to blend with changeable surroundings, and maintaining a deep understanding of today’s capricious customers. If that sounds like a tall order, it is. Still, it’s the reality for the chief marketers of today and tomorrow.

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Evolving technologies and strategies—from programmatic to performance marketing—could have marketers poised to shift their budget allocations this year.

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Winterberry Group predicts increases in marketing spending on the majority of marketing channels this year. But expect some of that spending to be fluid. Several evolving technologies and strategies—from programmatic and video to performance marketing and campaign management—could have marketers poised to shift their spending as 2016 unfolds.

During his keynote at the Direct Marketing Club of New York’s 2016 Annual Outlook event, Winterberry Group senior managing director Bruce Biegel examined eight trends that the strategic consulting firm predicts could impact marketing spending in 2016. They are:

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Winterberry Group predicts increased spending on nearly all marketing channels.

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Where will U.S. marketing spending grow in 2016? The more expedient question, perhaps, is which channels won’t see spending increases in 2016. Winterberry Group predicts increases in marketing spending on the majority of marketing channels—the exceptions: marketing spending on cinema, insert media, and radio will stay flat; magazine and newspaper spending will decline (by 1.9% and 6%, respectively).

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I was recently honored with a Silver Apple lifetime achievement award in marketing. Here’s what I had to say.

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The Direct Marketing Club of New York hosted its annual Silver Apple Awardslast night. The lifetime achievement award honors those who have contributed greatly to the direct marketing industry over the course of their careers. I was fortunate to be among this year’s honorees.

I’m so ecstatic about receiving the award I want to share the moment with all of you. So, here, my acceptance speech:

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CMOs and CIOs speak different languages; taking time to translate each other’s priorities goes a long way toward accomplishing them.

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CMOs have a relationship problem. They need to win the hearts of their CIOs, but when it comes to communicating, the two are more like cats and dogs than colleagues. In fact, only 9% of marketing leaders surveyed think that IT understands what they do, and just 19% of IT leaders polled feel understood by the marketing leaders they work with—according to the Rackspace study “Marketing and IT:Overcoming a Cats and Dogs History to Create a Seamless Customer Experience.”

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Digital disruption is here; customer insight can help companies be disruptors instead of being disrupted.

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“Digital disruptions are threatening business norms,” Shar VanBoskirk asserted during her keynote at Sailthru Lift 2015.

But far too many businesses are unprepared for this new digital reality, said VanBoskirk, VP and principal analyst at Forrester Research. According to Forrester, 79% of e-business professionals surveyed think that their CEOs have a solid plan in place to become truly digital businesses. “What keeps us from being digital is that we don’t know how to disrupt ourselves,” she said.

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