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With some $13.1 billion in sales expected over this long Thanksgiving weekend, brands and marketers have much for which to be grateful. With CyberMonday starting off the following week, digital marketers have additional reasons to give thanks.
 
In the spirit of the holiday, CMSWire took its own informal survey to quantify, what exactly, people most appreciate.
 
From the goofy to the incisive to the obvious-but-still-needs-to-be-said, we give you eight things about which digital marketers are thankful. 

Email marketing, contrary to numerous reports, is not dead.

With the evolution of mobile and social channels, people have asked over the years whether email is still relevant, says Joel Lockwood, vice president marketing and operations at Teradata Interactive. They wonder if these messages convert and whether it is worthwhile to even invest in the email channel because, as conventional wisdom dictates, social media is taking the lead.

This year, digital marketers can be grateful that industry research continues to validate what they always knew to be true, Lockwood says. Not only is email not dead, but it has been cited time and again as the dominant channel, often considered the single most effective means for driving awareness and achieving conversion and retention goals. "Thankfully, marketers can confidently justify their dedication to email as the primary communication channel, leveraging industry data to back up their 2015 budget allocations for email marketing programs."

Cameras are everywhere.

Says the CEO and co-founder of Wistia, a video hosting platform designed for businesses.

“Wistia is thankful for all the new and amazing cameras that come built into every smartphone, laptop and tablet, that let everyone capture the awesome stories around them," says Chris Savage. "We are thankful for all the people that love watching things instead of reading. And for course, we're thankful that coffee still hasn't been outlawed so that we can all get enough energy and confidence to jump in front of a camera and market our hearts out."

Oreo seized the initiative in the 2013 Super Bowl.

To recap: the power went out in the New Orleans Superdome during the game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens. During the 34 minute blackout Oreo tweeted "You can still dunk in the dark."

People still talk about it, including Marco Hansell, CEO of Speakr, and it brought industry attention to the power of real time marketing. Before that, "there were a handful of companies running real time war rooms, this year there were several dozen. The Oreo moment, for better or worst, made everyone pay attention to real time … now if we could only get them to use it the right way."

Google continues to update its algorithms.

To be sure, Penguin, Panda, Hummingbird and Pigeon have all caused massive disruption for companies and our clients, says John Cass, senior vice president of marketing for McDougall Interactive.

"However, I believe Google’s results are getting better, and the algorithm now more accurately reflects the ecosystem of the web. For example, a year ago Wikipedia was the number one result on the term 'definition of marketing.' Now the American Marketing Association -- a better authority on the topic than Wikipedia -- has the number one slot."

"Because the algorithm is now more realistic, marketers have to work well within the ecosystem of the web," he says.

Measurement tools are able to justify digital marketing spends.

Bruce R. Mendelsohn of The Hired Pen likes HubSpot for paid digital ad assessment and Google Analytics "which gets better and more valuable every day."

Digital marketing is no longer a siloed function.

The walls between digital marketers and the rest of the business team are coming down, says Bryce Liggins, marketing strategist for Brolik.

Companies are realizing that deep analytics and understanding that they foster can inform and improve many other facets of the business, like reducing call center costs, improving salespeople efficiencies and identifying improvement opportunities in product offerings, he says.

"I’m thankful that the words 'digital' and 'marketer' are no longer always delivered together. As digital platforms become a more integral part of businesses’ marketing campaigns, we are beginning to simply refer to it as 'marketing.' Which is how it should be."

Native marketing is taking off.

"I am thankful to see brands really start to embrace native marketing and understand that providing people with quality content that entertains and/or educates is the way to engage users and drive brand loyalty in the mobile era," says Rob Grossberg, CEO of TreSensa.

His favorite example: the way mobile web games are being leveraged by major brands like Progressive Insurance and Warner Bros./WWE as native content to drive brand awareness and other core brand goals.

And last but certainly not least, marketers are grateful that

Digital marketing's horizons continue to expand …

The number of product brands that see the need to help bring their local retailers into the digital age continues to grow, says Brendan Morrissey, CEO of Netsertive. "From a company standpoint, I am grateful" for that.

"For the industry as a whole, I am grateful that the fast pace of evolution in digital marketing has opened up new opportunities for businesses. The dynamic nature of this industry is due to the energy and enthusiasm that digital marketers possess, and this keeps work interesting for all of us."

… as economy continues to revive.

"The economic upturn has me personally excited about the upcoming holiday season and new year. Consumer spending has rebounded near pre-recession values and business’ are spending more," says Brian Mandelbaum, CEO of Clearstream.

"I’m also extremely thankful for the growing education of marketers in the digital video space, it’s shaping up to be a huge trend in 2015. I’m also really pleased with mobile becoming the centerpiece of marketing -- it’s long overdue. It’s going to be a key factor in allowing marketers to get more forensic about consumers' behavior at the zero-moment-of-truth."

Title image by Robert Barney (Flickr) via a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license