Buyers have changed forever, and marketers need to adapt. Executives are demanding that marketers prove ROI from their investments. To reach and engage prospects and measure effectiveness, it’s critical that marketers leverage trends and new technology. But it’s also an exciting time for marketers, as now more than ever before we can show how we are contributing to the overall success of the company. To make sure we take full advantage of this rare opportunity, here are some tips to navigate and survive this new (and maybe scary) marketing frontier:

Work/Market Smarter

As anyone who uses marketing automation knows, now more than ever it’s important to work smarter. If you attended Marketo Summit last month you heard this time and time again. Working and marketing smarter will enable you to accomplish more; from building and growing your career, to scaling your marketing, to driving more leads and revenue. So, how do you do that?

Use the right technology.

I can’t talk about modern marketing and not talk about technology. Many marketing automation platforms are working hard to build and expand on capabilities of their existing platforms. Watch for new announcements of new lead nurture capabilities, new plugins, mobile friendly interfaces, speed increases, and so much more. These new advancements in the marketing automation software space can certainly help marketers everywhere work smarter.

You’re not alone.

Leverage your marketing peers. There is an absolute wealth of information available online and through marketing automation user groups. Connect with others that are using the technology and let them help you market smarter, faster, and more efficiently. Many marketing automation platforms offer access to other users through their community.

Leverage analytics wisely.

Internet marketing expert Amber Naslund says “all the measurement in the world is useless if you don’t make any changes based on the data”. That line really sticks with me. We have access to a wealth of analytics information with advances in marketing technology and it’s important that marketers actually take some time to use that information to change their tactics accordingly – otherwise what’s the point?

Start Small and Build

You need to start small and build from there. It makes perfect sense, but it’s harder than it sounds. I think we have all been guilty of not doing this at one time or another. As an example, maybe we get this great piece of new technology, and we want to push it to its absolute limits. Then we build something so complex that we are skeptical if it’s even going to get off the ground.

Remember that marketing, and especially marketing technology, is a journey and you are better off to start small, get some great feedback, data and experience, and then tweak to enable improvement from there. I believe that is the real key to success.

Empower your Sales Team

Despite access to more information, best practices and new technology to help with the relationship between sales and marketing, it seems to remain… um, rocky. So how do you fix that?

There is no silver bullet. No easy answer. I think the solution lies in better understanding how both teams can align their goals. Establish a common framework for what success really means: provide Sales with ongoing training on tools and new content; start with small groups of Sales people and then build experiences that can be shared with the rest of the group. Once the Sales team sees other Sales people succeeding with Marketing, they will be more open to try something new.

“Sales people are creatures of habit, even when they suck”, according to marketing expert Craig Rosenberg. For Marketers to come in and change how they work is not an easy task. But, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t the right thing to do. Buyers have changed, but so have sellers (and if they haven’t – they need to). It’s in Marketing’s best interest to help get Sales up to speed on the newest technologies and ultimately to help our companies succeed.

Don’t be Afraid to Take Risks

Industry analyst Jeremiah Owyang mentions that the average consumer is bombarded with over 3,000 brand impressions every day. That is an incredible amount of noise that consumers simply cannot avoid. As marketers, our ultimate goal is to breakthrough and actually reach our prospects.

When I attended summit Ashleigh Davis from Rackspace Hosting was talking about how they wake up zombie leads in their database. If someone is not responding they send a quirky subject line like ‘Do you even care?!’. Many companies seem to be worried about offending their prospects – but what’s worse? Having people not notice you at all, or slightly offending a couple people along the way?

Marketers who write compelling and even controversial copy, will stand out from all the other noise in our inboxes and manage to make a big impact.

I simply cannot write a survival post without referencing Bear Grylls at least once. So, next time you’re wondering if you need to switch up your marketing methods, or introduce a new technology, or try quirky subject line, just think of Bear saying: “If you risk nothing, you gain nothing”.

What other tips do you have to survive the new marketing frontier?