Here’s something that all marketing professionals understand but that many marketing organizations have forgotten: the most sophisticated customer analytics tools cannot replace the insights we gather through genuine human conversations.

Humans possess the ability to be empathetic, compassionate, and intuitive. As of this writing, computers lack these abilities.

This is why no matter how powerful your data tools, you still need to talk with your customers.

We recently completed our third annual CMO Innovation Trends study….

Are you overwhelmed by the number of marketing innovations and software products available today?

You are not alone. When I last counted, I discovered over 1,400 marketing and analytics tools. How can any marketing leaders stay abreast of the latest trends that will propel their businesses forward when the rate of change is this fast?

Before you cry “uncle,” remember the fundamentals of marketing innovation:

1. Innovation is defined as applied creativity. I learned this definition from Alan Weiss….

Many of us have returned to business as usual this week. Thanks to the downtime, extra sleep, and extra meditation time, I had a huge insight: Reflection is more essential than making resolutions.

When working with my clients, I consistently find that they are stellar at hopping from one meeting to the next. They have sophisticated dashboards outlining their goals and progress against those goals. Some even revel in their ability to multitask. Before they know it, their calendars are completely filled with project work and meetings….

Blue Spirit Retreat Center embodies “pura vida.” The mantra – meaning “pure life” — has a deep meaning to the Costa Ricans. Marketing “pura vida” happens effortlessly at the Center. Your only method to reach Blue Spirit is a bumpy 3 hour shuttle crawl from Liberia Airport.

As you arrive at the Center, you are greeted by the haunting, guttural sounds of howler monkeys. Reception desk employees are warm, relaxed, and welcoming. You realize you have entered an alternate universe filled with mystery, beauty, and solitude….

 You will also hear Guy also share his latest interests and strong opinions on the most pressing social topics of the day–including the Apple-DOJ standoff. Over the years, Guy has endorsed my books, including “The Mindful Marketer” and “EnergizeGrowth NOW: The Marketing Guide to a Wealthy Company.”. Guy has inspired my work for over 13 years, and is one of a handful of leaders and experts who inspire my work.

Guy is one of the 6-7 leaders who have greatly inspired my work….

We brought together our CMO group “outlaws” on February 17 to show their ninepin chops at our annual “Bowl & Brew” in DC. These are the members of our private CMO peer groups and online community.

Who knew that Miss Acubed (aka Alicia A.) carried her own bowling shoes? Or that Sonny G. moonlights as a DJ (aka DLite?) Then there was The Edge (aka Stuart F.), illness who fought the good fight to take home first prize….

Love is in the air this month, there and Valentine’s Day, patient of course, is likely responsible. Much about the genesis of the holiday, and even who this St. Valentine was, is lost in the fog of time. One legend has it he was a priest in third century Rome who helped soldiers get married. Another tells the tale of the imprisoned Valentine who, having fallen in love with his jailer’s daughter, sent her a letter signed, “From your Valentine,”…

Featuring Stuart Foster, VP of Marketing of Luxury and Lifestyle Brands at Hilton Worldwide

 

In his presentation at our recent CLIC’ 15 CMOs Leading Innovation Conference, Stuart Foster described his fresh new vision of targeting consumers based on mindsets, and the results this “mindful marketing” has generated at Hilton. You can watch the first part of his presentation below.

Finding your ideal customers’ state of mind is essential for today’s brands to position themselves effectively….

Here is an example of extreme product innovation I’ve witnessed recently. I met with the President of a struggling technology company. She is betting the company’s future on developing products that have not been validated nor tested with any customers. You could call them “extreme product innovators.” In other words, they are developing products that may pay off in 4-6 years in a market they have never pursued.

Meanwhile, their legacy products (which keep the lights on) currently face severe price pressures and market share erosion….

When working with clients, I consistently find that they are stellar at setting goals and making resolutions. Some of us even revel in our ability to multi-task and complete two goals at once. Before we know it, our calendars are completely filled with tasks and meetings.

Here’s the downside: there’s little time left to step back and observe anything. This traps many of us in a “doom loop.” We want to be invited to the strategy table, but we commit all our time to solving problems and putting out fires….