Allowing people room to conceive and try things. Bringing in “troublemakers and tinkerers.” Encouraging ideas from everyone, then allowing “people to collide and generate ideas.”

These traits are part of the process that allows companies to adapt to change, to disrupt themselves and fend off competitors, and improve without losing sight of what they are. But it wasn’t just speaker Dirk Beveridge of 4th Generation Systems saying this — it was a CEO of a $50 million company and a corporate sales manager of a $1.6 billion operation. They model these traits as part of their vision, instill them in the culture, and ultimately inspire companies that iterate, think and adapt with guidance, but not micromanagement, from their leaders.

All this matters because, as Scott McKain said later on Thursday at the NAW 2015 Executive Summit, “Great isn’t good enough to grow a business in today’s economy.” If you are doing great work but can’t say what makes you different than your competitors, than your marketplace, then you aren’t differentiated or truly focused on customers. (read more…)

“The question is not whether AmazonSupply will be a threat,” says Richard Balaban, who has studied the site for management consulting firm Oliver Wyman. “Rather it is which customers, purchase occasions and categories will be attacked first.” ~ Forbes magazine, May 26, 2014

The goal of Amazon, in a way, has always been to become The Everything Store, the title of Businessweek senior writer Brad Stone’s 2013 book about the company and its founder, Jeff Bezos.

But does “everything” include the world of industrial supplies? That was one question Stone attempted to answer, with the help of knowledgeable insiders and the audience, at the NAW 2015 Executive Summit on Wednesday.

Amazon was first known as an online seller of books, then of retail, then of devices like the Kindle. Since then, it’s also become a producer of Golden Globe-winning television, tried its hand at a phone (and, so far, has failed), and has its hand in same-day delivery, grocery delivery, drones, and more. (read more…)

SmartBrief, as part of its Advertising Leadership Series, is interviewing top executives at the 4A’s, IAB, MMA and ANA.

In the fourth post of the series, Duke Fanelli, chief marketing officer at the Association of National Advertisers, talks about the rapidly changing marketing industry, the ANA’s expansion through deals with the Brand Activation Association and the Business Marketing Association, and collaborative efforts to transform digital media measurement.

Duke_ANABe sure to join SmartBrief’s e-mail list for daily updates on advertising, Web marketing, mobile, social media and more.

The ANA held its Masters of Marketing conference this past month — what were some of the main takeaways from the speakers and panels?

This year’s Masters of Marketing was the most successful to date. We had more than 2,800 marketers register for the conference. The feedback on the speakers, programs and events has been very positive.

Each year, several themes emerge, and this year was no different. (read more…)

Even in retail, an industry that might more often be associated with women rather than men, women executives are hard to come by. But Kim Strong has navigated her way to the top, becoming Target’s first vice president with diversity inclusion in the title.

Strong stopped by SmartBrief’s offices this week to talk about her experiences as a woman in an executive leadership position. She recounted her career and the challenges she has faced along the way during, talking about her professional life and personal life and how they did (and sometimes did not) mesh.

Strong has been with Target for her whole career, starting out in operations and human resources for former Target division Marshall Field’s and eventually moving up to become director of human resources for Mervyn’s, another former Target division, vice president of human resources for Target’s southern stores and vice president of diversity and inclusion for all of Target, the position she currently holds. (read more…)

SmartBrief, as part of its Advertising Week coverage, is interviewing top executives at the 4A’s, IAB, MMA and ANA.

In the third post of the series, Interactive Advertising Bureau Vice President Anna Bager discusses how video is reshaping the digital advertising landscape and how IAB works to stay on top this ever-changing space.

Be sure to join SmartBrief’s e-mail list for daily updates on advertising, Web marketing, mobile, social media and more.

We’re chatting with you on the second day of Ad Week, so let’s start with that. What do you see as the big takeaway from this year’s events?

The conference that we’re putting on here is focused on art, beauty and invoking emotion in people. There’s been so much talk about automation and technology in industry, and it’s a big part of what we do, and it can be a great help. But it can also lead to tools that create something artistic. (read more…)