Acting on Innovation


Every month or so, we meet here in the pages of this magazine and talk about all the great things direct marketers can do with today’s marketing technology. There’s a lot of innovation going on.

So do you feel like you’re innovating in your company? Do you feel like you’re able to effectively adopt the innovations you see other marketers implementing?

I hear a lot of marketers who say they’re not able to effectively make that turn and implement innovations; either their own ideas or ones they see other marketers using. They can’t budget for the tools, or budget the time to use them, or see how they fit into the marketing skills they have available.

But what I also see again and again in covering top marketers, including our Direct Marketer of the Year Dawn Zier, is that the marketers who can act on innovation are the ones who excel.

There are many marketers who look at things like today’s emphasis on data or on content marketing and say, “That’s nothing new, we’ve been doing it for years! Let’s just keep doing what we’re doing.”

The problem is, those are new things. They may look like old things, but they’re being used in new ways and to a far greater extent than ever before. Those nuances matter.

It’s important for every marketer to have strong fundamentals. But you need to be able to recognize when—and why—the fundamentals have changed, too. And you need to be able to move into position to succeed in that new environment.

It’s the marketing leaders who recognize why it’s different now, and how to use it, and especially how to free-up the resources to use it, who really lead their organizations forward. In that way, marketing is no different from any other type of business leadership.

That doesn’t mean you should grab every new fad and run with it. Only grab the new ideas that really have the potential to change your future. But when you see an idea that can, you have to find a way to make it happen.

Thorin McGee is editor-in-chief and content director of Target Marketing and oversees editorial direction and product development for the magazine, website and other channels.