Welcome to the future of marketing

I’m delighted to reveal our inaugural Vision 100 list of the most forward-thinking marketers, entrepreneurs and businesspeople.

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The publication of the Vision 100, in association with Adobe, is our way of identifying excellence. We’re not just defining excellence in terms of ‘power’ alone; many people on this list are up and coming names sitting beside far more established figures.

So why does the Vision 100 matter? It is becoming abundantly clear that marketing is such a rapidly evolving discipline that those who can’t adapt will be left behind. Vision, translated into adaptability, is the currency that brands now desire above all others. The ability to look ahead and spot an opportunity has never been more necessary.

You can read through the full list of visionaries here. We have also asked our chosen few for their advice on how to create brilliant marketing in ‘How to be a visionary marketer’. You can see what they consider to be the best advice they themselves have received, along with tough questions that every marketer should be prepared to ask themselves.

There are a few trends that stand out when you examine the list. And they all come down to diversity. First, diversity of business. There is no one sector that seems more visionary than the others. Using a seven-point metric to evaluate the potential candidates for the Vision 100, we noticed a great diversity of business types. There are retailers, etailers, charities, media owners, airlines, food companies, celebrity brands and dating sites in there.

This suggests that being visionary is not something confined to the people and brands operating in a few key sectors. With all the talk about marketers taking trips to Silicon Valley, you would think only the hi-tech industry had room for fast growth. Our list suggests that for those with adaptable strategies and mould-breaking ideas, any sector has potential.

Also, diversity of personality. Some marketers in the list have been at their brands for decades, innovating constantly. Others have garnered valuable cross-sector experience by trying multiple brands, sectors and ways of working. You do not need to move jobs every three years to be visionary, nor do you need to be embedded in organisations for many years. The right people find a way to make an impact, wherever they are.

And I should mention diversity of background. Our visionaries are drawn from every type of background and alongside those who loved marketing from day one are former journalists, researchers, importers, accountants, chemists, mechanical engineers, builders and captains of fishing trawlers.

No list is definitive. You may agree or disagree with our choice of visionaries. But hopefully it will spark discussion and when we come to put this list together in 2015, your feedback will be essential.

So let us know – who should make the next Vision 100? With any luck, it could even be you.

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