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The world of marketing moves quickly. To help you stay up to date with consumer insights and research, here are 4 articles that caught our eye this week:

1. "A futurist looks at the future of marketing" - Gerd Leonhard, Harvard Business Review

What: Leonhard, author and TheFuturesAgency CEO, makes a couple of interesting predictions about how companies will listen to their customers in the future.

You need to know:

"Companies are going to try to predict how people feel about their brand, and then adjust in real time by changing features, and starting new conversations with customers in real time."

"Companies can collect all the data they want, but data alone will never be enough. You still need to reach consumers on an emotional level.

Implications for your insight program: While transactional and behavioral data are valuable to companies, listening to consumers in real time (for instance, through social media or an insight community) helps reveal the why and the how. Data predicts how customers feel about you, but engaging your customers uncovers insights that can ultimately lead to the levers you need to drive brand loyalty.

2. "CMO-CIO alignment: The new competitive advantage for B2B" - Howard Breindel, Business 2 Community

What: The Marketing + Technology Summit: The Rise of CMO-CIO Alignment, a half-day conference sponsored by BtoB Magazine and Advertising Age, featured a handful of leading marketers who discussed the changing role of the CMO.

You need to know:

Many of the speakers focused on how marketers can build meaningful relationships with their CIOs. Sheryl Pattek, VP and principal analyst at Forrester Research, suggested marketers start with their customers, citing a Forrester report that found 60% of the B2B buying process is completed prior to sales engagement with a particular companyÛ_ "First you have to understand the buyer's journey, then you determine your must-haves," Pattek told attendees during her presentation. She also recommended including CIOs early on in the planning process, including establishing a formal timeline for implementation and measurement.

Implications for your insight program: Given the ubiquity of big data, the CIO and CMO relationship is more important than ever. Breaking down the metaphorical walls between IT and marketing is a good first step in leveraging data to help understand your customer.

3. "Amazon to produce 5 original series for streaming service" - The Associated Press

What: Amazon this week announced plans to produce a pair of comedies and three children's programs for its video streaming service. This announcement comes after Amazon engaged viewers to evaluate 14 pilots.

You need to know: Inc. saidÛ_that it will produce a pair of comedies and three children's programs for viewing on its video streaming service, capping a one-of-a-kind experiment that gave viewers a say in the selectionsÛ_

Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios, said he was gratified that the pilots generated hundreds of thousands of views from people in the U.S. and Britain. He said the company looks forward to repeating the process again.

"Once you have hundreds of thousands of people watch a specific pilot, you're not talking about a focus group anymore," Price said in a phone interview from Amazon's Seattle headquarters. "You're asking your actual audience how they feel about it."

Implications for your insight program: This news demonstrates exactly why we're so passionate about insight communities. The ability to quickly get input from thousands of people online allows companies to make decisions quickly. Just like Amazon, you might want to replace traditional research methods to keep up with the speed of business.

4. "5 lessons in creative content marketing from Mad Men" - Brittney Ervin, Business 2 Community

What: Who knew you can learn a lot from Don Draper? Ervin analyzes Mad Men and what the AMC show can teach you about creative content.

You need to know:

Whether it's a sensitivity and ability to reflect the changing trends in music, communication or lifestyles among your customer base and within your interactions with them, showing that you're paying careful attention not only to your customers' lives, but what could make them easier, is a huge part of developing a loyal following.

Implications for your insight program: The article was about content marketing specifically, but as the article alluded to, listening to the customer can also enhance other aspects of your marketing: from innovation to PR to advertising. Are you showing customers that you're paying attention to their needs? Your marketing efforts can't turn people into loyal customers unless you're attuned to the things that they care about.

What articles caught your attention this week? Let us know in the comments.

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