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If, like us, you find yourself pondering the formula for creating “relevant content,” look no further: it’s “generated by marrying “True Grit” (aka ‘big data’) with “True Confessions”, i.e. the real stories from real people that capture their emotional connections to brands.” So says Mary Kay Chief Marketing Officer Sheryl Adkins-Green.

Dallas subset of Top 50 Women iin Brand Marketing

From left: AT&T’s Cathy Coughlin; JCPenney’s Debra Berman; Sally Beauty’s Ashley Sheetz; Mary Kay’s Sheryl Adkins Green

That is just one of the insights shared when we asked some of the smartest folks in C Suites across America to share their “3 Top Trends to Watch in 2014” as part of the editorial package for the 2014 Brand Innovators Top 50 Women in Brand Marketing.

This year’s Top 50 list was unveiled March 20 at industry breakfast at Michael’s in New York. Since then, honorees whose couldn’t be with us in Manhattan have been collecting their awards at Brand Innovators events in cities throughout the U.S., including the Brand Innovators Future of Media summit at AT&T headquarters in Dallas April 28.

Adkins-Green, JCPenney Senior VP Marketing Debra Berman, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President and Global Marketing Officer Cathy Coughlin and Sally Beauty CMO and Group Vice President Ashley Sheetz were on hand, punctuating a day of digital learning with celebration of high achievement.

Here are are their picks for what we should look out for in the year ahead.

Sheryl Adkins Green, Mary Kay

Sheryl Adkins-Green

Sheryl Adkins-Green
Chief Marketing Officer, Mary Kay

  1. The “path to purchase” needs to be synched and seamless. The shopping/buying process is nowhere close to being linear. Consumers are collecting and assembling ideas and information from a wide-variety of sources. The opportunity for marketing is to provide engaging ways to help consumers curate – and share – the inputs into their purchase decision.
  2. Relevant content will be generated by marrying “True Grit” (aka ‘big data’) with “True Confessions”, i.e. the real stories from real people that capture their emotional connections to brands. The numbers will be a compass, but true insights will be sourced from the words and images that brand advocates provide.
  3. Marketing Technology as a Marketing role and discipline is quickly evolving to close the gap between the IT and Marketing functions. CMOs and CIOs/CTOs need to take their relationship to the next level and support their digital teams through cross-functional strategy and planning.



JC Penney's Debra Berman

Debra Berman

    Debra Berman
    Senior Vice President, Marketing, JCPenney

  1. Conversation-led marketing where in knowing your brand and how to be in the conversation, in the moment, is high currency. It requires inverting the paradigm to recess prescriptive positioning and yield to culture.
  2. Data-driven marketing will bloom once more, this time simultaneously looking up from the dashboard to fuel strategic choices in lifecycle management, while feeding the near real-time personalization machine.
  3. Flexible and dynamic content will challenge the traditional marketers preoccupations with message perfection, as one more domain of marketer influence goes agile.



Sally Beauty's Ashley Sheetz

Ashley Sheetz

Ashley Sheetz
Group VP and Chief Marketing Officer, Sally Beauty
Top Trends

  1. Convergence: Independent mobile strategies and social strategies will be a thing of the past. Channels and platforms will converge. Successful organizations will spend more energy around engagement strategies that cross channels.
  2. Mass personalization: One-size-fits-all campaign-style approaches will take a back seat to personal and relevant communications – the right message at the right time in the right place.
  3. Digital disruption: Technology will continue to change the lives of consumers and marketers at a rapid pace. Companies that leverage technology to deliver relevant customer engagements and great customer experiences will have a strong competitive advantage. New marketing disciplines like marketing technologists and data scientists will become commonplace on marketing org charts.
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by Brandon Gutman
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Brandon is an expert connector and seasoned business development professional. As Principal of Brand Approved, he's led the advisory to become the bridge between brand marketers and best of breed service providers that are reshaping the industry.

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