NOTE: Nominations are now open for this year’s list – click HERE to make your nomination.
Who will you nominate for at @BrandQuaterly’s ’50 Marketing Thought Leaders Over 50′ list?

Each of the Marketing Thought Leaders highlighted here has a wealth of experience and knowledge to share; and have gained the respect of their peers through their words, actions, and achievements, in print, in person and online.

Combining their well-deserved recognition with added value for our readers, we asked each finalist to share what they believe marketers need to focus on moving forward.

Thanks to each of the 50 experts on this year’s list, for taking the time to share your insights!  And for our readers who would like to hear more from this fab 50, you can easily keep up-to-date with them by following our ‘50 Marketing Thought Leaders Over 50’ Twitter List HERE.

So without further ado… please join us in congratulating:

Brand Quarterly’s 50 Marketing Thought Leaders Over 50
(click on the ‘+‘ beside each name to view full finalist details and insights)

Colin ShawFounder & CEO | Beyond Philosophy

Marketers need to embrace the fact that Customers are irrational . In a bland world where everything is the same, to many marketers still focus on Porters 4P’s. Marketers need to recognize that human decision-making is far more complex than this. They need to elevate their thinking to the new science of behavioral economics. This shows us that customers make irrational decisions, and this affects what they buy. It is only by doing this that they will break the glass ceiling that is encaging them.

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Joel CommCEO | Joel Comm, Inc.

Live video streaming is the new blogging , and brands that engage using these powerful apps and tools will be able to engage with their audiences in new and powerful ways. Meerkat, Periscope and LIVE for Facebook Mentions provide an opportunity to broadcast content to the masses. And tools like Blab.im allow brands to create fresh live content and build community.

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Don PeppersFounding Partner | Peppers & Rogers Group

Consumer power is now being realized through ad-blocking software. Allowing them to opt out of advertising audiences either altogether or selectively, and new services (like Airpaper) that will even make the phone calls required to unsubscribe them from their cable service, and so forth. Over the next few years, we will see the launch of many more such “consumer take charge” solutions. So watch out. Consumers will now be having their revenge, and it’s not going to be pretty!

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

David Meerman ScottMarketing & Sales Strategist | Freshspot Marketing LLC

I’m fascinated by the convergence of sales and marketing on the web. Today buyers dictate how they choose companies, products, and services with online content driving action. The difference? Marketing is when a company communicates to many buyers at once while sales is communicating to one buyer at a time. Both are optimized through great content and real-time connection.

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

David MathisonCEO | CDO Club

We’ll see more digital marketing professionals emerge as leaders in their organizations . A good example is Linda Boff at GE. She was previously Executive Director, Global Digital Marketing, and was recently promoted to CMO. Expect to see more widespread adoption in the F-500 of titles reflecting this trend, such as Chief Marketing Technologists, Chief Digital Marketing Officers, Chief Digital Officers, and Chief Data Officers, as companies realize the strategic value of data in decision-making.

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Lee OddenCEO | TopRank Marketing

Data Optimization – It’s time to turn big data into useful insights for better customer targeting and experiences, optimizing tactics and ad spend. Integration – Customers engage across channels, so marketers need to integrate between mobile/desktop, online/offline to “be the best answer” where buyers are . Democratization of Content – Self-directed buyers require credible, useful content, so marketers will scale by co-creating content with influencers, staff, customers and their community.

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Marsha CollierPresident | The Collier Company, Inc

Looking over the horizon for new developments is a habit. In this age of transparency, rather than looking to sparkly objects, spend more time deciding what we are doing now for brands and their community. Make a conscious effort to genuinely have 21st century “best practices” in place . Marketing is different, be sure your message connects with today’s customer. Begin to use visual search technology; find occurrences in social platforms through image recognition to expand consumer reach.

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Jeffrey HayzlettRadio & TV Host, Chairman | C-Suite Network

For the last few years, everyone has been talking about Big Data, but I want to talk about hyper-personalization. That is to know my customers even better than they know themselves and to treat them like royalty. I have been saying over the last year that if content is King, activation is Queen, and context is the Kingdom . There are so many tools at our disposal to be able to serve your customers the way they want to be served.

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Ted RubinSocial Marketing Strategist, Keynote Speaker, Acting CMO | Brand Innovators

More executives need to embrace digital channels as a way to lead by example because there’s no turning back the clock to stay in our comfort zones. Social media is deeply embedded in the lives of most people you do business with every day. For companies to stay competitive, social engagement must become a top-down strategy. Those who adapt to social engagement will drive more business and stay competitive – those who ignore it will not.  #RonR…  #NoLetUp!

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Cheryl BurgessCEO and CMO | Blue Focus Marketing

Storytelling is the future of brands. Leaders who rise above the noise to make their messages heard will become memorable. In the social age, everybody has something to say, but it’s how you say it, and who you say it to – that will truly capture imaginations. Leaders must understand what their brand stands for – their mission, vision, and values – and capture that story in a compelling, easy-to-digest way. Next, they must spread their story far and wide – starting with their brand’s social employees.

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Jeff SheehanPresident | Sheehan Marketing Strategies

The emerging era of #1to1, or more commonly known, personalized marketing is what needs to be paid attention to. We’re all faced with an on-going content tsunami , where it’s critical that only targeted and excellent quality material be produced by marketers. If it’s not, it will most likely be filtered out. In a 140 character world, people have limited attention spans and can’t be bothered if it doesn’t personally appeal to them. Long gone are the days of mass marketing messages!

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Alan SeePrinciple and Chief Marketing Officer | CMO Temps, LLC

More employees will begin to realize that their personal brands truly have great value . Smart employers will recognize that an employee’s value or business net worth is more than just their job title, but is influenced by the size and strength of their individual networks. This subtle yet powerful shift in the employer-employee relationship will influence both corporate and personal branding strategies for the next several years.

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Gary R. SchirrAssociate Professor | Radford University

I think that Volkswagen will be in the news all year, as regulators make a political decision whether to force VW into bankruptcy. Partly as a result, brand integrity will be a focus in 2016. Be honest! Brands that may be a bit too aggressive, such as Nike and Facebook, should be careful in this environment. Video storytelling will be the communication medium of focus in 2016 for both B2C and B2B enterprises. Companies will learn to tell their stories on YouTube, Blab, and Twitter video.

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Janet FoutsDigital Marketing Strategist | Tatu Digital Media

Live-stream video is re-invigorating community online . Apps like Meerkat, Periscope and Blab allow us to have live conversations with our networks. In the old days, live-stream was a broadcasted show and people could comment on the side, but that was pretty much it. Now we can join in the show as well as comment and these apps are integrated with other platforms too so we can gain a large audience quickly via viral sharing. Powerful stuff!

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Terry Brock MBA, CSP, CPAESupreme Commander | Achievement Systems, Inc.

Marketers need to pay attention to the clutter and overwhelm that is happening today more than ever. This is more important than any “shiny new object” of the moment. Present clear, compelling messages that help people and you’ll do very well whatever happens

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Deborah WeinsteinPresident | Strategic Objectives

Marketers must develop an authentic brand voice to cut through the clutter and resonate in a meaningful way with consumers. Engaging with the right people, at the right time, on the right platforms, in the right way will get your brand message across and drive acceptance, affiliation, advocacy, and sales.

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Paul GreenbergManaging Principal | The 56 Group, LLC

The alignment of sales and marketing might be the most important 21st century development , even though not as sexy as its digital cousin. Companies worldwide are realizing that to meet the needs of a 21st century customer, they have to align objectives, decide on common definitions, set up jointly approved content and work together toward revenue results. Marketing becomes not only the 1st line of engagement, but drives content throughout the course of an opportunity.

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Trevor YoungFounder & Chief | PR Warrior

Marketers need to ensure they don’t get too besotted by all the tools and technology platforms that emerge with alarming regularity, promising ‘silver bullet’ solutions. Technology is not going to save us, but humanity might. Sure, dig deep into the data, leverage conversion tools and automate where necessary, but do so from a foundation based on human connection, respect and empathy. Pay attention to the tech, but don’t under-estimate the power of utility, generosity, transparency and heart .

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Adrian C. OttAuthor, CEO | Exponential Edge Inc.

The Internet of Things (IoT) will enable marketers to deeply understand what customers do versus what they say. Tracking habits and behavior via sensors will generate exponential volumes of data that will present unprecedented challenges and opportunities for CMOs. Marketers need to separate the wheat from the chaff with analytics that are actionable, timely and relevant. They will also need to be mindful that they don’t cross the “creepiness” line and alienate customers when collecting daily data .

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Kent HuffmanFractional Chief Marketing Officer | KentHuffman.com

In 2015, you should already be implementing responsive web design, mobile payments, social advertising, remarketing/retargeting and owned content. You may have even hired a marketing technologist or built a marketing ops team. In 2016, you should consider experimenting with agile marketing , as well as augmented reality, social payments, visual storytelling, democratized content, native advertising, hyper-segmentation, hyper-personalization, micro-targeting, and biometrics.

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Kirby WadsworthChief Marketing Officer | Mendix

Millennials pay for experience rather than things. Live small, dense, and downtown. Work at home/virtual, always online, constantly sweeping, instantly bored, multi-screened, and are constantly checking with trusted others Millennials accept interruptions only in context with the experience of the moment . They are will soon be controlling billion dollar budgets. We must adapt by offering fresh, in-context, relevant and helpful content. The key is Digital. The time to drive Transformation is now.

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

William MougayarEntrepreneur and Venture Capitalist | Virtual Capital Ventures

Two points.  1) The new kid on the block is the blockchain, that mysterious protocol behind Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.  It is creating new business models with decentralized users, and that will present marketing challenges for reaching those decentralized markets.  2) Too much emphasis on automation and customer communities is making marketers forget about brand building.  It’s like doing marketing with one hand tied behind your back.

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Ardath AlbeeCEO & B2B Marketing Strategist | Marketing Interactions, Inc.

The trend in marketing that concerns me is the declining relevance of content to our buyers and the effectiveness of our content marketing programs. Recent research conducted by Forrester found that 65% of business decision makers found much of the content supplied to them by vendors useless. Marketers need to make understanding their buyers and customers a top priority . And they need to use that information to drive the relevance of their content strategies if they want to prove performance.

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Jay T. DeragonManagement Consultant, Digital Strategist | The Relationship Economy

The only thing we need to pay attention to is things that matter. Empowered consumers expect real-time answers, seamless experiences and value-added utility from their suppliers rather than over promised performances and hyped up messaging pulling them into disconnected and disorganized organizational experiences. The organizations ecosystem has to create valuable moments that matter at and during every engagement. Great companies aim to create great experiences.

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Joel WaradyChief Sales & Marketing Officer | Enjoy Life Foods

It is not uncommon to hear words such as “transparency” and “authenticity” as companies and brands develop their marketing strategy. But for most, these are simply buzzwords that exist because they’re currently on trend. For companies to survive and, in fact, thrive, instead of buzzwords, these traits have to be in the DNA of the organization, and this starts from the top down. The focus on consumer/customer and meaningful, honest dialogue, is tantamount to success .

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Drew NeisserFounder and CEO | Renegade, LLC.

Mobile ad blockers are yet another signal to marketers of their primary issue – consumers are sick of tiresome ads polluting their media and will go to extreme lengths to avoid mere messaging. Unless brands can transform their marketing into a service of genuine value, consumers will reject their messages and rejoice in their defiance. Value can be delivered in many forms like a timely article rich with useful facts, a helpful app or a smile-inducing video. The rewards are transformational.

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Susan BorstDirector of Industry Initiatives | IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau)

Focusing on digital advertising, among the many areas that marketers should be paying attention to, I’d like to highlight, in no particular order, six areas:

  1. The shift from served impressions to viewable impressions
  2. Advances in programmatic
  3. Efforts to reduce fraud
  4. Taming the Wild West of Mobile
  5. Native Advertising  (Disclosure is not negotiable)
  6. Enabling digital video to reach its full potential.
It’s an exciting and evolving time for digital advertising!

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Mark BurgessPresident | Blue Focus Marketing

Social employees are the new marketing channel. Consumers are tired of traditional ads. They want to be engaged – and with social media, they can be. In the digital bazaar, social employees are the new marketing channel . Authentic brand ambassadors invite stakeholders into conversation, authentically engaging rather than selling. Many brands have already proven the value of social employees, but there is still room for growth. The key is an investment in your workforce – and a little trust.

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Lynne Jarman-JohnsonChief Marketing Officer | Consumers Credit Union

We need to be smart and thoughtful in all we do. Keeping data personal and relevant while bringing an intimate connection to individuals who do business or partner with us is critical. We must use data in the smartest of ways. Communication vs Targeting. Listening vs Re-Targeting . Finally, all the new technology tools in the world are only as good as the training we receive to make them sing. Marketing success is listening, communicating and educating across all parts of our organizations.

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Shaun SmithFounder | Smith+Co

What the VW scandal teaches us is that when executives start paying more attention to creating value for shareholders than they do customers, it all goes horribly wrong. I think it is time for brands to get back to basics and define their purpose; why they exist , which has to be to create value for their customers. If they do that, they will create value for shareholders and if they do so in a way that does not harm society, they will be able to sustain it longer term.

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Tony ZambitoCreator of Buyer Persona | Tony Zambito, LLC

Marketers are learning to distinguish between being customer-focused and developing deep customer understanding. The trumpet of customer focus, over the years, has emphasized putting the customer first. What marketers have learned is putting the customer first in an assumptive way does not always work . To truly enable marketing and branding to revolve efforts around the customer requires us to develop deeper customer understanding. We will see marketers allocate more resources to this need.

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Laura PattersonPresident | VisionEdge Marketing, Inc.

The 2015 MPM Study found that only 20% of marketing organizations can prove their contribution to the business in terms that matter to the C-Suite. To join the ranks of the Best-in-Class, marketers must be performance, process, and analytics driven . Marketers need to pay attention to how the BIC are transforming marketing into a Center of Excellence and institutionalizing best practices that improve the performance and increase the agility needed for achieving business results faster.

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Vince FerraroExecutive Vice President and CMO | Attenditus Networks

First, the world is quickly shifting to mobile-centric platforms, ads and video content. The desktop/notebook is diminishing in ‘share of screen’. Our marketing services and solutions need to evolve (faster than we think) to mobile first customer experience and usage models. Second, is the fragmentation of the CMO role. As traditional roles of the CMO fragment into CRO (Revenue Officer) and CDO (Digital Officer), we need to look in the mirror and ask “why?” We may not like the answer.

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Eric FletcherChief Marketing & Business Development Officer | Liskow & Lewis, APLC

Marketers have an unprecedented opportunity to become distracted – by toys, tools and grand opportunities. A marketing leader can maintain focus amid the wonderland of big data and an explosion of distribution channels. Doing whatever it takes to connect with the right target(s), at the right time, with the right message. Anything else diminishes ROI and does nothing to enhance the value of the brands for which we advocate.

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Joel BookPrincipal, Marketing Insights | Salesforce

Today’s consumers are increasingly demanding when it comes to how a brand engages and serves them. Customer Experience is Everything!  And the most important trends fuelling the digital transformation are:

  • Mobile Search (particularly Local Search)
  • Social Listening for Customer Service and Lead Generation
  • Direct Response Advertising in Social Media
  • Growing the database of Email and Mobile Push Subscribers
  • Customer Journey Optimization
  • Online Content Personalization

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Larry WeberChairman and Chief Executive Officer | Racepoint Global

In terms of current industry developments, there’s nothing more important for marketers to understand than how to implement and integrate software. Moving forward, marketers need to pay attention to software, marketing automation, influencer identification and analytics .

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Jim SignorelliPresident/Founder | Story-Lab

Brand transparency is the most important development that marketers need to appreciate and respect. As consumers gain more access to information, authenticity will become an even more critical component of survival and growth. Increasingly, both B2B and B2C companies will need to demonstrate values that resonate with their buyers – employee actions will be looked upon as proof of company promises. As such, internal branding needs to become more integral to marketing .

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

David PolinchockDirector of Marketing | AT&T

Herb Simon said an abundance of information leads to a scarcity of attention. We are certainly seeing that lack of attention in the ad space today. Brands must focus on captivating the audience, not merely capturing them . We must create better experiences using the tools we have, so that ads have relevance, both in context and to the target audience. More than ever, we need to create the right value exchange, making consumers happy to have the personalized ad experiences we can deliver.

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Kieran HannonChief Marketing Officer | Belkin International (Belkin, Linksys, WeMo)

From an industry perspective, digital advertising is top of mind given the fraud potential around delivery. Scale via Programmatic Advertising can be compelling but has a number of inherent issues that need to be addressed now. That’s probably a top concern. On the other hand, the Internet of Things is recasting user experiences providing brands the ability to truly understand how consumers engage with their products and other brands. “Connectedness” is onmipresent in the brand experience .

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Gina CarrBusiness Reputation Expert | Gina Carr International

An evolutionary change is taking place in how buying decisions are made. It is the use of online review sites to make decisions about everything from where to get your tires changed to whom to choose as your baby’s new dentist. Organizations need to learn how to get more good reviews and fewer bad reviews. Marketers need to learn how to help clients amplify the good reviews and reduce the impact of bad reviews . This single issue will have more impact than any other marketing campaign.

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Eric WeaverPrincipal Partner | Weaver Global Advisory

Ad fraud has become the No.1 issue marketers should pay attention to . Whilst trying to programmatically automate the delivery of the perfectly targeted ad to the highest converting customer; digital advertisers created a mechanism where ad stacking, image compression, zombie apps and clickbots will bilk brands out of an estimated £4.1 billion in 2015. Until this is fixed, marketers should rethink how their digital budgets are spent and consider alternative approaches to their audiences.

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Brian KardonChief Marketing Officer | ThinkingPhones

It’s a very noisy, cluttered world for consumers. Marketers need to pay a lot more attention to “engagement” metrics, not just “vanity” metrics . We all get excited when our content is shared, liked, followed. We are addicted to seeing that big spike in web traffic. The bigger the better, right? But if you care most about conversions, the strongest predictor is true engagement with your content: watching the full video, repeat visits to specific content, and session length, among others.

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Norman GuadagnoSenior Vice President, Marketing Strategy | Wire Stone

There are two trends that are going to keep marketers awake in the near future. First, the entire concept of ad blocking will set off a wave of change for marketers, consumers, and brands. There is a new battle ahead on what rights consumers have to choose when they are interrupted on their own devices. The second development that is critical is a coming shift towards a reassessment of “value delivered” by marketing. The more we measure, the more we expose the need for greater clarity .

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Heidi LorenzenVice President, Marketing | Singularity University

As marketing (thankfully!) continues its evolution to being increasingly personal, there are 3 developments to adopt now:  1. Strategies and campaigns that are more human (with values, emotions, empowerment, and co-creation at the core).  2. Technologies that make the digital customer experience more real (virtual reality isn’t sci-fi anymore).  And 3. going beyond serving individual humans to enhancing society at large (build your brand on acts, not ads; create movements, not just products ).

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Loren McDonaldMarketing Evangelist | Silverpop, an IBM Company

Two of the hottest marketing buzz phrases are “content marketing” and “customer journey”. Neither of these two concepts are actually new ideas; however, it is key that marketers bring content marketing and customer journey together into a combined activity and process. Journey mapping sheds light on where brands are falling short in creating a great customer experience, but the process also can and should be translated into actual specific content and channels for each customer segment and step of the customer journey.

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

David NewberryConsultant | Sococo Inc.

Employee engagement – If a company does not win the hearts and minds of its employees, then it will not build an authentic brand with its customers. Marketing need to help every employee become a passionate brand ambassador. Social Purpose – Both customers and employees care more deeply about the values of a company and how well it lives them. CSR is now about Corporate Social Results, not responsibility . Marketing need to invest in making a positive contribution to local communities.

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Jeffrey PeelCEO | Quadriga Consulting Ltd

Marketing is about gentleness and not over-selling. Digitally savvy consumers can see straight through over-claiming and tell-selling given the vast availability of information and competing channels. So, the result is that marketing should be honest, storytelling, and engaging. Without honesty and humanity, marketing tries to fool. Marketers should not treat customers as fools. Therefore, the biggest industry development is customers who simply won’t tolerate bad marketing .

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Christine MoormanFounder | The CMO Survey, Sr. Professor | Duke University

Marketers should work to develop better skills at experimentation . Digital marketing affords more opportunities to perform experiments quickly and easily. Experiments will always be the gold standard for assessing causality and with this type of control, marketers will be in a better position to sort out the effects of their actions on customers, competitors, and financial performance.

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Saul J. BermanChief Strategist & Vice President Global Business Services | IBM

Cognitive! Our new study of 5,000 CXOs by IBM’s Institute for Business Value finds that the higher-performing companies place much greater priority on cognitive business capabilities . For example, cognitive allows advertisers to unlock previously unavailable insights hidden in their data. Cognitive system, IBM Watson, learns over time, so advertisers can course correct and refine their campaign strategies in real time. It’s about augmenting human intelligence, helping us think better.

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn

Rick MillerDirector, Data Solutions | Valid USA

I continue to hear from CMO’s and CIO’s that their brands need to develop systematic approaches to the vast and disparate data they are gathering. A focus on best practices for master data management and data governance is an industry development that marketers need to pay particularly close attention to. This approach is critical in making a brand’s data actionable through advanced analytics, ultimately allowing them to deliver the right message, at the right time, to the right audience.

 Website      Twitter      LinkedIn