As a CMO, or any marketing professional, it’s more difficult every day to cut through the noise and discover articles worth reading and sharing. Here are a few I’ve enjoyed recently – I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

When CMOs Learn to Love Data, They’ll Be VIPs in the C-Suite
by Beth Snyder Bulik for AdAge

“CMOs have historically been the brand steward. This is an opportunity to be a customer steward,” says Dave Frankland, Forrester analyst. “If they don’t do it, someone else will.” Social data is the legend that will finally decode customers, and let marketers understand them as never before. CMOs should embrace and own this data by becoming the chief advocates for customer centricity within their brands – and cement their place as heroes in the C-suite.

Visa’s ‘Social-by-Design’ Effort Makes Its Debut on Global Stage
by  Natalie Zmuda for AdAge

This article details Visa’s wonderful social strategy for what’s being called the first “social media Olympics.” They’ve brought fans’ “cheers” online, asking fans to upload text, photo, or video cheers they’ve created for their favorite Olympic athletes. Visa’s Facebook page serves as the global hub for cheers, and athletes on Team Visa will connect with fans on social networks to share how the cheers have inspired them throughout the games. The credit provider plans to use fan-created cheers in post-game congratulatory advertising. Harnessing the power of fans and inspiring the athletes at the same time. Let the games begin!

Branding Talk Isn’t Helping Your Company. Here’s What Should Replace It
by  Brian Millar for Fast Company

Millar argues that branding is broken, and companies should try something radical: stop talking about their brand for a month. It’s a provocative piece. My POV: the problem is with brand valuation models, not with branding. Building emotional connections and making/delivering a promise about the products and services you deliver is a necessity. Whether we believe that brand value for a brand like Coca-Cola is $95 billion or $35 billion, the point is that the number is still enormous.

A Social Summer, Part 1: Best Practices For Retail Success
by  Emi Hofmeister and Jordan Enright-Schulz for CMO.com

“Forty-four percent of executives say that the marketing department dominates the dialogue between company and customer.” It’s time to break social out of the marketing department, and weave it into every aspect of the organization. Retail brands have got to stop counting likes and start developing social strategies that drive measurable impact in the form of increased engagement, advocacy, lifetime value, and revenue. Social should be driving fundamental business transformation, so hold it accountable to do so.

In the Kickstarter Future, Hardware Is the New Software
by  Ryan Tate for WIRED

Kickstarter boasts an awesome new funding model and sales channel to bring great ideas to market. Consumers are the real winners – they can finance the products they want and are willing to pay for. Plus, Kickstarter developers get feedback during building and after launch, letting them improve products. Chris Anderson, editor in chief of WIRED magazine, described this feedback-iteration loop at our Social Summit. “You create an okay product, they buy it. They tell you how to make it better. Then you make it better, and they buy it again.”